My trip to Cancun

On April 27th, I - along with 18 other people - went to Cancun for the wedding of my husbandís niece. The players in following story are:
MeOur Hero
BeverlyMy sister
GlennMy Husband
RickGlennís Brother
MaureenRickĎs wife - mother of the bride
RickySaraís Brother
Friends Amy and Pat Maureenís Family

I knew I was going to Cancun for about a year when Sara told us that she was Ďelopingí to Cancun, but inviting a number of her family and friends with her. I was hoping to go sometime in February, when the weather up here in Maine is cold, and this year was beyond snowy. However, due to finances she picked the end of April. I was very much looking forward to it, but also dreading it at the same time. Dreading it for the sun, and because of Emerald my cat. She has diabetes and needs to be injected with insulin twice a day. After a lot of searching and questioning, and a bad incident at a kennel while we went to NYC for the Macyís Parade, my parents agreed to take her in. We dropped her off the night before we left.

Three weeks before we left Beverly emailed me telling me that she was going to be in Massachusetts the weekend of April 27th and invited myself and my husband down to visit her and catch a show in town Boston. We decided to go see the Blue Man Group. Beverly recommended we get the tickets at Bos-tix, a discount ticket place in town. So when we got to town, we dropped Beverly off at her hotel, because she had a meeting, and Glenn and I headed in town to get the tickets. It was 4pm when we left the hotel, and was 5:30 when we got to Quincy Market to get the tickets. The traffic was horrid. The show was sold out.

We got back to the hotel in 30 minutes. We decided to go shopping in Burlington, and then to a movie. We picked ďAlong came a SpiderĒ. We went to the Mall, and I was hoping to find a shoe store to buy a pair of sandals. I have a hard time finding sandals and I found one pair up here, but it was the wrong color. I was hoping to find the pair in black. However that shoe store was not in that mall. We did end up going to a book store, and I did buy a couple of books... two being on HTML. I was about to go to a country that didnít have Internet access, and I wasnít brining my laptop, but yet I bought HTML books. I had to laugh at myself for a while over that one.

We had dinner at the Rainforest Cafe. It was pretty interesting because the fake animals moved, and they often simulated thunderstorms there. The food was pretty good. Bought a cool souvenir there too. It was a snow globe that the globe part is made out something soft... so it is gooey. Very cool.

Glenn and I then rented a shuttle down to Logan Airport to catch the charter flight to Cancun with the rest of the cast. Glenn and I sat in the terminal and there wasnít anyone else there. We were getting very worried because they were all coming in on a bus from just down the street from where we were staying. They called to board the plane, and we actually started to consider not getting on the plane till they showed up in case something happened. We decided that no matter what we were getting on the plane. Just as we got up to get in the line, they showed up in the lines to go through the metal detectors. We got on the plane, and realized it was a sardine can. We were going to be stuck on this flight for five hours with little more than an inch around our body. It was not comfortable to say the least. Not only that, but the airline food was just that.. AIRLINE FOOD.. it was beyond description.. well at least the roll was edible. They included a bit of water with the food, but they stored it in the same tray as the food that they tried to keep warm. The actual fight was horrid too. It was worse than going mudding in a 4x4. I was SOOOOO glad to get off the plane. However it was not rolled up to the airport, we had to get off the plane in one of those rolls up to the plane and you had to walk outside to get to customs and immigration. It was very hot, and I was still wearing jeans. I was hot. All I wanted to do was get to the hotel and relax and take a swim. We got through the immigration rather quickly, and walked to the other end of the airport. There were lots of tourism people handing out coupons and brochures to the tourists. It was obnoxious, because there we were carrying all of our baggage and we didnít have a free hand, and they were shoving stuff at us. All over the place there were people who wanted to take our baggage from us and carry them to a taxi for us. I knew they only wanted tips, so I refused. We finally met up with everyone in the party and the GWV representative ( GWV being the travel agency we went through). Right after that, there were more people who basically tore the baggage out of our hand to bring it to the van. They mentioned GWV, so I figured they were a part of it, so I didnít get into a fight about it. However once they got to the van, they stood in front of us insisting a tip. I was pissed. But such is life, so Glenn tipped them, and we got in the van, which was thankfully air-conditioned.

We got to the hotel.. our room was on the fourth floor of a building that was far far away from the reception area. Since we were staying in an all inclusive resort they put a wrist band on us. This hotelís was neon blue with sliver stripes. I knew it would have to stay on my wrist the entire time. I wasnít happy about it, but hey, it meant free food, and free drinks (not that I drink alcohol, but I do have a weakness for strawberry daiquiris) The hotel room wasnít ready when we first got there, at least we think it wasnít.. the entire staff spoke broken English, VERY broken English. So we sat and waited a bit, and then someone came over and told us that Ďfor youí your room was now ready. So we followed him to our room. Which was on the fourth floor over a bar. We got up to the room, and the tiles on the floor were all wet, so they were very slippery. But the room was cold. I threw all my stuff down, and found the bed, which was harder than a rock. I sent Glenn down to get me a daiquiri, and he came back with one with alcohol. Apparently they have never heard of people asking for one with out one, and they didnít understand Ďno alcoholí. We went and stood on our balcony for a bit. Below us was a Ďnatural aquariumí but from the fourth floor it just looked like a pond over grown with weeds. The roof tops of the other buildings were all cracked and everything looked very old and run down. I was kind of grumpy about the whole thing... but then I am always grumpy when I travel.

It was about 4pm when we got there, so after changing into some shorts, we walked around the place a bit. They stopped serving lunch at 4:30, and donít start serving dinner till 7:30. We fixed the daiquiri, and found out that the weeds that are in the aquarium were actually algae on the bottom of the pool that the fish had eaten rows out of. I didnít see any fish in it though, but there was a sign that said donít touch the turtles. We later found out that there four turtles, some star fish, and a number of large fish in that pond. We then went back to the room, and went out to the balcony again, and saw that Rick and Maureen were in the room next to us, and Doug and Sara were in the room beyond their room. They were all on their balconies, so we talked and decided to go to one of the restaurants together. The Italian one. Rick and Maureen had been to this place before and liked that restaurant. We agreed, and decided to take a nap till then. Napping was hard, but I was tired. There were also only three TV stations that were in English. HBO, Showtime, and USA.

At 7:30 we went to the restaurant, but we couldnít get in because they didnít allow shorts. We were disappointed, but moved on to one of the others. There were four places to get dinner at this place that was included. The Italian place. A place the did Oriental, a place that did just hamburgers on a grill, and one that changed nightly. It was just beside where they did their nightly Ďshowí. This night they had what I considered standard fare for them. It was all buffet. The first dish was rice with seafood in it. Big huge crab shells, muscles, and octopus. Very not my style. Then there was a chicken dish, a beef dish, and a pork dish. The chicken was on the bone, something else I donít enjoy, the beef was in beer, so I went with the pork. It was pretty good. Glenn had the chicken, it was pretty good. They also had sliced fruit, salad, some fresh salsa and guacamole. they also had bread, which was VERY good. They had a desert bar too, but they were all very disappointing.

After that, we then went for another walk around the place, and went to the beach. The beach opens up to the lagoon. The sand is white, and the water was clear. That night we saw some fish jumping out of the water, it was very cool. We also saw a baby manta. It was about the size of your palm. It was just sitting on the sand. I went into the water to get a closer look, but it moved away from me. Then we heard Rick and Maureen, Ricky, Doug and Sara on the other end of the beach. Ricky is five and was really interested in the jumping fish.

We went back to the room, and watched a movie and went to bed. In the morning, the birds were so loud that they woke me up at the crack of dawn. I ended up getting back to sleep for a couple more hours. Finally I gave up, and we went down to breakfast. Breakfast was at the Ďorientalí place that was over the water. Their standard fare was sausage and bacon, pancakes, ham and cheese omellette, a meat dish - usually chicken with red sauce, scrambled eggs, and potatoes. They do not know how to make scrambled eggs. I donít know what they do to them, but they were horrid. We met up with Rick and Maureen as they were leaving, and they warned us to be careful of the birds. There were lots of seagulls and some sort of black bird hanging around the roof and the umbrellas waiting for scraps of food to fall or for them to be unattended so they could nab it. I had taken some of the omellette, and didnít like it so I had gone up for some more fruit, and when Glenn wasnít looking one of the black birds had swooped down and stolen the entire thing. It fell out of his mouth on his way to a safe place to eat it, and all the other birds swooped down to nab some.

The other cool thing about this place was that since it was over water, the fish hung out there too. There were what I called needle nose fish, and some little fish that looked like unpainted headlight fish. There were some other bigger fish in the background which I couldnít make out. There was also a cow fish there too. Very cool looking. One day there was even a fish with big pink lips. I wanted to feed the fish, but the birds kept stealing everything I threw in the water, so I threw smaller and smaller pieces in, till I found the right size. Then the needle nose fish always got those pieces. If I threw in smaller pieces the little fish usually got to them first. Getting bread to that fish with the pink lips took a long time.. but it was funny when it finally happened.

We then went back to the room, and rested for a while, and then went for a swim. There were two pools in this place.. the Ďquiet poolí and the ďparty poolí. There was also the beach that went to the lagoon, but the water only went up to your waist. We opted for the quiet pool We had found it the night before in our walk, and had seen an arch way by the pool the night before and wondered about it. This morning they were cleaning it, and when they were done, they turned on the water fall that was the arch way. It was very cool, but not very quiet. The water was either a little too cold, or I was a little too warm, but I didnít end up going swimming, I just sat by the edge for a while. That is when I noticed that no one minded going topless. When Glenn was done swimming we went back up to the room for a while, and then decided to find the Wal-Mart I knew was in the area. We got instructions, and got on a bus heading to the store. We were told we would have to walk through a Ďjungleí to get to it. The jungle was a median strip. When I got in the doors, I felt sooo much better. It was a tiny piece of home.

I had come to buy a pair of sandals, some post cards, and face cloths. For some reason the hotel didnít have any, and I didnít bring any. I found two pairs of sandals right away. I was very shocked. I needed a pair of dress sandals for the wedding, and I was reminded during the walking I had done over the past two days that the sandals I had brought were not kind to my feet any more, so I wanted a new pair of walking sandals. Finding ones in my size was kind of interesting. Apparently there arenít many Mexicans that have a foot size larger than an eight. I require an eight and a half. After a bit of digging, I finally found the right size in both and we moved on to find face clothes.. which we found out was harder than just going to the towel section. Apparently there arenít face clothes in Mexico. No where. Went to the dish towel area to find wash cloths there, and there wasnít any. I finally found something in the baby section. I was relieved. I also wanted a pair of scissors to cut my bangs. I have always trimmed my own bangs, and always used a pair of scissors made for cutting cloth. I had put off cutting my hair before we left in the hopes there would be a beauty salon in the hotel, but there wasnít. While searching for scissors, I realized the entire store was set up very differently from those in the US. They had hair care products next to the pharmacy which was in the back of the store, but I couldnít find any hair accessories. No hair brushes, no barrettes, nothing. Anywhere. We bought a few other things, including some beach towels for two reasons. One being they would be an interesting souvenir, and because the oneís provided by the hotel had to be back by five PM, and I enjoy night swimming. We also got a few sodas that arenít available back in the states including Pepsi Max, which is apparently a diet Pepsi, and some sort of apple soda, which was VERY good. We found our way back to the hotel, and wrote out the post cards, and sent them off. Glenn ran into the rest of our group on his way back to the room, and they told him that we had a meeting with our GWV representative. It was an introduction to the hotel, and information on day trips around in the area. Some of the men in the group wanted to go deep sea fishing. There was also horse back riding, and a Ďjungle tourí that was riding on a jet ski built for two out to the reef, and snorkeling to see the fish. There was also a trip to Tulum and Xel-ha. We opted for the jungle tour and Tulum.

So now we had plans for Monday (Jungle Tour) Tuesday (Wedding) and Thursday (Tulum). Looking at the map, we decided there were a few other things we wanted to do. Eat at the Outback and Ruth Chris Steak House and also do a bit of shopping. We decided to hang out at the hotel on Sunday, and on Wednesday we would go out shopping. We also decided that on Monday night we would go to the Outback.

Sunday were very lazy. Slept some, went shopping with Sara and Maureen and Ricky. Sara had picked out rings the day before with Doug, and were going to pick them up. Everyone was interested to find out how the rings were going to come out because the oneís they picked up had be sized up four sizes to fit Sara. They came out quite well. We did some more shopping with them, but soon they wanted to go back to the hotel. Glenn and I stayed to explore the rest of the hotel, but most of the stuff there was the same kind of stuff you can by at any tourist trap towns. I live near Old Orchard Beach, and it an amusement park/beach tourist town. Most of the stuff for sale at this mall was the same kind of stuff you could get there, or was too big or two fragile to bring back. I got a pair of earrings and a ring. There was also a Subway in this Mall. Very Americanized. We gave up on the mall, and headed back to the road to catch the bus. I realized the road only went one way where we dropped off, so I recommended we walk around the mall till we found the road going the other way back to the hotel. We walked and walked, and my feet got soarer and soarer. We finally found a bus station, but it seemed to be the exact same one that we found when we first left the mall. I was unhappy for doing all that walking, but I was glad to be heading back.

When we got back we ate lunch at the restaurant over the water. There wasnít much to eat, so I ended up sending Glenn down to the grill later so we could split a burger later on. It was good, but the fries were old and stale. He also got me another daiquiri. Let me take a minute to talk about the drinks in this place. No two people made them exactly the same, but they all ended up making them taste like some sort of strawberry Kool-aid on ice. They were OK, but they were NOT what I was hoping for. In fact, there was a lot this place was lacking. Including the lack of cabana boys. (inside joke). I was getting grumpy again.

When we had gotten back to the hotel, Maureen and Sara hadnít shown up yet. They had told us they were going back to the hotel, but they hadnít shown up. We figured they had just done some more shopping. They still hadnít arrived after we had eaten the burger, and were starting to get a little worried. They had turned up after a time. Apparently they didnít think about the fact that the bus stop was on the outbound side of the road. They ended up at the end of the bus run. They told the bus driver where they were staying, and he agreed to take them to the hotel, but ended up taking them to some remote part of the town where the busses didnít run, and the taxiís couldnít stop to pick them up. They ended up walking five miles with Ricky in tow. Sara had blisters all over her feet. We were all glad they were back.

We hung around and napped and watched movies till dinner. Dinner was OK. Nothing to write home about. But hey.. it was free. Then we went to bed.

Monday was the Jungle Tour. I still donít know why they called it that. We got there, and Rick, Doug and Sara were there with us. There were supposed to be a few more, but they canceled. Maureen and here sisters and their kids went horseback riding. Rick had to share a jet ski with a girl that came with a group of three. Turns out that those girls lived about 40 minutes away from us back here in Maine. It was funny. Glenn and I ended up getting a boat instead of a jet ski, and I was ever so glad. Glenn can be a nut when heís playing with a new toy. So we road out of the lagoon, through some trees (maybe this is the jungle part of the tour?) we saw a crane in the roots of the trees. We got out to the open ocean, and it was stunningly beautiful. We got off the boat, and into the water, and the fish were EVERYWHERE!! It was enough to make me horribly claustrophobic. The boats / jet skis were over my head, and the tons of fish were under me, I was afraid to move. I finally got the hang of it. and it was very interesting. Like swimming in an aquarium. My mask kept fogging up, so I kept having to take it off to clear it. I was wearing my contacts, and the water was salt and yes, my eyes ended up stinging a number of times. Doug said he saw some squid, and he had an under water camera. His pictures didnít come out that well because he didnít look through the view finder when he took the picture. One of the hardest things about snorkeling there was the tide. It kept pushing us away from the reef, and the jet skis. I finally gave up, and headed back to the boat. Getting up with flippers and a life jacket wasnít a good thing. They tried to pull me up into the boat, and ended up giving me a huge bruise on the inside of my right arm. I finally gave up, took off my flippers, and jacket and got out of the water. Our time was just about done, so every one else then started getting out. We all got a sprite, and headed back. The water way out was packed with people heading out.. and so we had to go kinda slow till we hit the lagoon again. We got back to where we started, but for some reason he took us beyond that and out driving for about 10 more minutes before heading back.

Now, there is one thing you need to know about the Mexican coral reef. They donít allow you to use sunscreen while snorkeling around it. I was so scared the entire time. It was a big test of the three months of tanning I did before coming. It had taking me the entire three months work up to be able to tan in a booth for 20 minutes. I had put sunscreen on in the hotel room, and it had all worn off by the time we got there so I was freaking when they went past the place. Turns out I only had a bit of a burn on my left hand and for arm, which I was holding my black shorts in while we were heading back. Doug and Sara were absolutely toast. Dougís feet were purple. Saraís nose was cherry red and donít forget, they were due to get married the next day.

However, that was not to happen.

While we were having fun on the lagoon, Maureen and her family were horseback riding. When Glenn and I got back from eating after we got back from the trip, I went out on the balcony to put out our suits to dry (if we didnít put them in the sun they did NOT dry.. no matter how long they were in the air conditioned room) and I saw Amy. She asked me where Rick and Sara were, and I didnít know, so I told her we had all come back together, so they were probably eating. Turns out that Maureen had an incident at the horse back riding place and was asking for Rick. Amy told me that she was told we shouldnít worry. So I was concerned, but went back into the room to relax and stay cool in hopes of not burning as much as I was afraid I was going to (most often burns donít show up on me for 6 hours or more) We had gone to dinner at the Outback Steak house which was very very good, and the service was excellent, and the strawberry daiquari was more what I expected..... and were back in the room before we got more of the story, and didnít get all of the story till she got back two days later. There were 50 people there to ride the horses on the beach and what not, and Maureen thinks they ran out of beginner horses for everyone. The horse bucked her off, and like the axiom, she got back on the horse, and it bucked her again, this time into some rocks. She ended up with 18 stitches and broken ribs. She wanted to get out of the hospital to attend her daughterís wedding, and tried to tell the staff that, and they thought someone had stolen her jewelry and called the police. I told Sara to call the coordinator immediately on Tuesday when we found out she would be in there for two days (which was after hours) and tell her what happened. Sara didnít think she could do anything about moving the wedding, and was beside herself that her mother wasnít going to be able to attend. The doctor was totally opposed to releasing her even for a few hours to attend. Which was a good thing anyway because due to the drugs Maureen didnít remember anything that happened anyway. The coordinator was able to move the wedding to Thursday, but in the mean time all of our plans were totally messed up. Since we didnít have any real information till late on Tuesday, we werenít able to do anything but sit around and wait. Finally at noon time we found out the wedding was moved, and we decided to do the Wednesday things on Tuesday (shopping) and go to Tulum on Wednesday. (The rest of the group canceled the trip when they found out what happened to Maureen. Maureen was stuck in the hospital for two days, and Rick insisted we continue to have a good time. We tried to get a GWV representative to move the trip, but we couldnít get anyone to come to the hotel, so we ended up booking it with the travel agency that worked out of the hotel.

So Monday night we went to the Outback, and went shopping in the flamingo shopping plaza, and bought some shirts for my parents and ourselves. We then walked up to the next mall. It had a place called the Mayan Ruins game, a haunted tower/place type place, and an interactive aquarium. We decided to not do anything on the hopes we could get other people to join us. Tuesday after everything was settled, we went back to that second mall and went to the Mayan Ruin game. Everyone else went to a Pirate ship dinner and show. It was like a big fun house. You had to go through it and find electronic pods to pass the plastic key that had a microchip in it they gave you. Then you had to find the temple in each of four worlds and answer a couple of questions. It was fun. We then went to the interactive aquarium. They had some incredibly beautiful fish there. We then went to a different section of the aquarium you could touch mantas. They had one that was the size of 30 inch TV.. maybe bigger. They had a shark in that tank as well as some turtles, which you again were not allowed to touch. The fun part of that exhibit was the turtles. One of them decided he wanted to sit on top of the large manta, and did for a while, the manta then moved, and the turtle followed him trying to get back on. The sun was setting then, and I got some great shots of the sun set. The next tank had star fish and sea cucumbers in them. I was asked if I wanted to touch the big slug looking cucumbers, I said no. The trail then lead over the river, and over to the dolphin tank. It was separated into two areas. Probably boy and girl tanks. One of the dolphins had a Ďnoodleí around her middle section. Noodles are pool toys that are about 6 feet long. They come in different colors. This one was orange, and she seemed to like it a lot. By the time we were done with the entire aquarium, it was no longer around her middle, but it was the entire time we were hanging out there. After the dolphins was a huge shark tank. It was probably larger than my house. We exited through the gift shop, and I couldnít think how jealous my friend Dawn would be to be there because almost all of their trinkets were dolphin related and she loves dolphins. We then went to the Ruth Chris Steak house.

If you can get to a Ruth Chris Steak house, I HIGHLY recommend it. Make sure you have about fifty dollars per person though. More if you want alcoholic drinks. Everything at this restaurant is al la cart. You get a menu, and it lists the salad, the steaks, the potatoes and vegetables and then desert all separately. We ordered two stakes, two potato dishes, broccoli au gratin, a strawberry daiquiri for myself, Glenn had two sodas. and we split a desert of creme bruelle. The total came to 892 pesos, or $98 USD. before the tip. Again, I can not recommend this place highly enough though. The steak was as tender as you can possibly get, and highly flavorful. The veggies went of that high of a quality as they were when we ate at the Ruth Chris in San Antonio, but non of the potatoes I had eaten down there were to my taste. Desert was heavenly.

Afterwards, I decided to go to Wal-Mart to try to find a pair of sneakers for the trek the next day. The only shoe stores I had seen in the three malls we had been to were sports shoe stores and sold sneakers for 100USD or 1000+ pesos. I was not willing to spend that kind of money on shoes since I have a good pair at home. We got on a bus, and headed in that general direction. We got off at a place that seemed to be the right spot, but totally wasnít. We walked for miles in the direction we thought Wal-Mart was, and it wasnít. We found a police car, and asked the officers where it was, and they said long way that way, take bus. Well there were no bus stops, and we knew it couldnít be that far away from where we dropped off, so we walked back to there, and were beyond lost. I finally gave up and insisted we take a taxi because my feet felt like they were going to explode, due to the swelling my feet and hands and all the walking. He wanted 25 pesos to take us to the store, which was right around the corner. He then tried to get us to agree to having him take us to the airport. He was very pushy. We then went in Wal-mart, and there were no sneakers in my size. I gave up and we got home around 1 AM.

The trip left at 8 am the next morning from the hotel across the street. It was called the Carousell (I love carousel horses). We drove for about an hour to Tulum. The tour guide Senior Mike, talked the entire time. We did stop at a artisans mall on the way. A big building that held crafts made by the local artists, and government sponsored. Senior Mike told us that the bathrooms at Tulum cost two pesos to use, so if we needed to we could go here for free. I didnít need to, but thought I would anyway so I wouldnít have to when we got there. The weird thing is was that there were no toilet seats in these toilets. The crafts were really nice. We got a nice lecture on the cactus plant that makes tequila and the volcanic rock that a lot of the artisans use. It comes in four forms. Plain black, black with a silver hue, black with a gold hue, and black with a rainbow hue. While looking around the shop, I found a turtle made out of that rock with a gold hue. I had seen a number of these turtles in the local stores that had inlays of local semi precious stones. They wanted 150$ USD for them. This one was 180 pesos... which works out to about to twenty USD. (United States Dollars). Heís really cute. I like turtles. I also bought a pin for my sisterís birthday in June, and a green stone egg.

The ruins were spectacular, but very much like every single post card makes them out to be. I took a few pictures. But one thing that really interested me were the iguanas. They were all over the place. There was even an iguana crossing sign as we were leaving the place. The ruins were right on the ocean. The water was spectacular looking. Glenn wanted to go swimming in it, but my feet hurt, and the only way down to the water was a rough looking trail. After what happened to Maureen, I wasnít willing to risk going off the allowed trail. We headed back to the bus. We stopped and got some water. Then back on the bus, the driver offered us water soda or beer from a cooler full of ice. When we signed on this journey, we were told it was all inclusive. But the bus driver was selling the water. I wasnít happy about that, neither were any of the other members of the trip. Apparently the all inclusive part started when we got to Xel-Ha.

Xel-ha is a big inlet for snorkeling. I didnít know when I signed up for the tour that it was the main and mostly only reason for going there. I didnít put in my contacts, and my eye glasses didnít fit inside the mask. We walked around the place. Went to Turtle beach. Turtle beach is a rocky beach but where turtles come to lay their eggs. I was hoping to see wild turtles but it was only a few fenced in turtle mounds. But, Turtle Beach was SPECTACULAR. It was the stuff my dreams. There were chairs there, and I sat in the chair for quite a while just enjoying the view, and the coral beach. My feet were still very soar. I had three or four blisters on the bottom of my feet. We headed back to the main area, and ate at a Mexican restaurant. Had a pork dish which was very good, and some bottled water, and sprite. The drinks were very warm before put into the glass with ice, so that was strange. We walked around a more, and then I sat in a chair in the main part of the bay while Glenn went snorkeling. He said he saw some incredible fish. Cow fish, lion fish, puffers, and other things that were really interesting. On the way out, we saw a temporary henna tattoo parlor. I really wanted one, but I didnít want to risk missing the bus, so I didnít stop.

We got home, by going right by Ruth Chris. I so wanted to stop and eat there again, but I was in desperate need of a shower, and once we got back to the hotel I wasnít willing to go back out (also didnít want to spend another 100 dollars on a dinner when dinner at the hotel was free). We ate at the hotel. I put on one of the dresses I brought and went to the Italian restaurant. They had many kinds of pasta, and different sauces for you to put on them. There was a meat lasagna as well that was pretty good. There was a few other things there as well. This time the desert was almost edible. and hung out there.. rested, and took another swim and did pretty much the same thing the next day. We thought the wedding was at two PM since that was when it was scheduled on Tuesday, but at noon time we found out it was at four. At three PM we went down to the front of the hotel, and got in a van to shuttle us to the beach where they got married. The surf was loud so I didnít hear much of the service. It was a public beach and there was a girl in her bra and underwear swimming right next to where we were. Only one group of people cared about the video camera taping the service and went around us. Maureen looked VERY good considering what happened to her and how she felt. There was only one visible sign, which was a scab on her nose that turned into a bit of a black eye on the left side. Getting her down to the beach was a task because the hill was so steep. We took our time walking down and back. We then went to a different hotel to have more pictures taken and have cake and champagne. It was a Moroccan / Indian style restaurant, and they gave the women velvet pillows to put their feet on. That was a VERY nice touch. However, every time Sara turned around that day people were wanting more money from her. She was already running out of money, and it was annoying her more each time. First it was the $150.00 USD to do her hair and make up. Then it was $100+ USD for champagne because they didnít provide enough. Then it was $225 USD for the second van because the one they provided wasnít large enough. They were also told they would get to pick 36 pictures that the photographer took, and get the negatives, but it turned out they only got the first 36 he took at the ceremony, and then everything else was a secondary charge of $200.00. The pictures he gave them were 4x6 prints, and in most of them the couple was very washed out, or the background didnít show up because the flash didnít reach it. When I asked the photographer how much it would be if she just wanted one or two pictures from the second batch, he said it would be $10.00 per picture. They wouldnít get the negative. I was in shock over that, and kept calling it obscene. The photographer asked how much it would be in the states, I told him $0.46. He asked if that was for professional work, and it took every ounce of my strength to not laugh in his face. I have taken better pictures than he did with my little point and shoot camera. We then watched the video they took, which was going to be an extra $100 USD. That was ok, but they didnít have the money for that. In fact they didnít have any money at all. The photographer agreed to let them swap five pictures from the ceremony with those from the Ďreceptioní. There was six that Sara liked, so I convinced her to just take the last one she liked. We then went back to the hotel and changed, and went to the fiesta restaurant because they claimed to have Mexican food, and Sara really wanted some. It wasnĎt what she wanted so we made plans to see the Mummy II and eat at the Mexican restaurant ĎOn the BoarderĎ when we got back. We goofed around, and then went to the show that the hotel puts on every night. It was a Ďhorrorí show. It had all the style and grace of a junior high production. They had different horror characters such as beatlejuice, the wolfman, dracular, and others just jumping around and singing the song that went with their particular character. I left after a few minutes and went back up to the room to pack and rest and wait for the flight home.

However, there were a few last things we wanted to do before we left. Glenn wanted to swim in the ocean, and I wanted a henna tattoo. My feet were almost falling off my legs the night before so I was afraid to go out that morning and hunt down a beach. Glenn went on his own and enjoyed it. I do not regret going. When he got back, we still had two hours before we had to leave, and the guy who had come to the hotel to do temporary tattoos a couple of times that week hadnít shown up yet. I also was walking rather well, so I decided to go into town and find a place to do it. I also wanted to stop at Planet Hollywood to get a T-shirt. We went there first since it was last on the bus route. They were closed. We caught the bus back to a flea market of sorts, where I saw a sign for henna tattoos. When we got off the bus EVERY vendor was halking at us to come to their store. But I went to the one that had the big sign that I saw from the bus. I picked out one for the back of my neck, and one for my ankle. They both came out very nicely, but time was running out, and glenn wanted to take a shower before leaving, so I sent him back to the hotel, while I sat there and had them work on me. I then caught the bus and headed back myself. It was very uneventful - for a change! However when I got back to the hotel, the tattoo on the back of my neck was running. I was so sad. I had my hair up in braids so my neck was exposed to the air. But because of the heat and humidity, I was still sweating, and it still ran. Glenn cleaned it up a bit for me, but it isnít as crisp as I would like, unlike my ankle.

At 11:40 we went down to the front to head back to the airport. We had asked for an upgrade to first class for the trip back. We were told we could do that for no additional charge. After what happened to Maureen, we insisted we get first class. GWV brought the wedding group to a special place to check in, and then tried to check in all of us at the exact same time. When we got to the terminal, we realized that they had given Doug and Glenn the exact same seat. We tried to tell them, and they tried to work it out, but the only answer we got from them was Ďno problemoí So when we finally got on the plane, I told Glenn to just take two seats that were available. There was lots of confusion around where everyone was sitting, but because of the mix up I wasnít moving, and eventually we all got seats, but just barely. There wasnít a spare seat on the plane. This flight was a bit easier than the one going in. I had taken some sleepy asprin to try to help me sleep on the way home. I had worn my contacts though, and they were so dry that closing my eyes almost hurt. When we landed, we had to go through immigration, and then through customs. That was scarier in my mind than it actually was, but I am dying to know what they typed into their computer. I should have asked. We the same shuttle that Rick and Sara used on the way in, and drove back with Sara and Doug to their house to get our car, and finally at 1:30 am we made it home.

Ollie was in the house, but afraid of us. It took us about 45 minutes to convince him that we were his owners, and once we did, there was no dislodging him from my lap. He was pissed that we had the nerve to go to sleep, and sat on my hip all night meowing like a hungry baby and sticking his head under my hand to get me to pat him. I finally gave up trying to sleep at seven AM. I wasnít feeling well to begin with - my stomach was in knots and there is some gatro intestinal distress. This happened to me when I came back from Seattle as well. It will take about a week for me to feel better. Hopefully there will be some weight loss because of it. (giggle) The next morning Glenn got Emerald home from my parents, and it took her about an hour before she attached herself to me as well. There has been some fighting between the two, mostly for my attention I think.

Since we had plans with Doug and Sara for that night, I did what I could to rest. It didnít help. We went out at 4:30 and got right in at On the Boarder at five PM. It was interesting because it was Cinquo de Mayo. We come back from Cancun, and have Mexican food in Portland Maine! We then went to a 6:40 showing of The Mummy Returns. It was PACKED. The movie was very good.

I went to bed when I got home, and slept till two pm. I am still hurting, and Glenn has a major head cold, but I am so happy to be home, and in a nice soft bed, and I am almost not dreading going back to work tomorrow.