Ah, me and Ericka. For as long as we've been friends we've traveled together. Over a decade of fun times and adventures (Toronto + rickshaw = a whole other blog entry). Hilarious adventures that only seem to happen to us. Our Cancun vacation was no exception during our excursion to Xel-ha
Xel-ha is a beautiful water park about 2 hours from Cancun. As water parks tend to have, there were many water-related activities to choose from, swimming with dolphins, snorkeling, rope bridges suspended over a lagoon. Ok, I don’t know how to swim, but there was food and a trail and drinky drinks to keep me happy and occupied. Did I say I can’t swim? Yup. So why did I let Eri talk me into a floating tour of the river on Xel-ha via inner tube? I don’t know. She sounded kind of convincing when she explained that we would "just be floating", along water that "wasn't deep at all". We’d have a life vests. One didn’t have to know how to swim to enjoy it. I say “kind of convincing” because I wasn’t totally buying it, but what the heck it's vacation.
So we took the train to the starting point of the tour. It was suggested that we rent fins so you could direct yourself and move forward through the river more easily, but we didn’t bring our money with us and I was told, by someone with the name starting with an “E”, that we wouldn’t really need them. So, per standard practice, we shipped all of our belongings, our shoes and cover ups to be picked up after we got to the end of the tour. Remember….I said shoes.
The minute I get into the inner tube I’m nervous, but I didn’t near panic attack until some minutes later. We started in this narrow area of the river with mangrove trees. I couldn’t direct myself well and kept bumping into the trees. I felt like I would tip over at any moment and find myself in Davy Jones’ Locker (and the cutie from The Monkees would not be there!). I could see the bottom of the river, but it didn't seem too shallow, but deep. Still, I wasn’t panicking….yet. THEN the narrow passage broke out into a larger area of the river. Now I’m bumping into the people snorkeling and I’m freaking because beyond this larger portion is an even larger area of the river that looked like huge ocean, a calm ocean, but very ocean-like nonetheless. My first thought is to get the heck out of there somehow. The tour was a total of an hour and I was about to have a heart attack at a measly 15 minutes in. I started crying out to anyone who would listen, begging them to snorkel me to the dock that I’d just eyeballed. Some nice gentleman obliged (probably to keep me from smacking him in the head with my inner tube at some point as I drifted wildly about.) Boy was I grateful and told him he was my hero. Oh and he was my hero because I have no doubt that I would have DIED during some part of that tour.
Now what was my best friend doing during this? Was she feeling my pain? No, she was laughing hysterically at me!!! Probably because I was giving her the gas face of a lifetime. Seriously, she was concerned and totally apologetic because with any of our adventures, they can be idiotic as well as side-splittingly funny!
I get to the dock and I’m completely relieved, but now I have to walk the trail to the end point of the tour. Guess what? Shoes. My shoes were removed at the starting point to be delivered to the end of the tour, remember?! So I start walking the trail and thank heavens it’s paved, but crap the trail is paved! Concrete paved. I’m walking and walking, walking some more and walking. My feet hurt. There are animals on this trail which I could hear in the bushes. Various iguana would be lounging smack dab in the middle of the trail I as I trudged along. Being a city girl I should have freaked but my feet hurt like the dickens and I was frustrated. I’m walking up to the iguanas daring them to do anything, I didn’t care. (The critters seemed to sense this vibe because they would very calmly saunter out of my way.) You should have seen the looks from the other people traveling on this trail. A barefoot black woman with steam coming from her head stomping angrily down this path, what?
So I make it back to the designated area, collect my shoes and head directly to the bar and order some cold and fruity drink with extra alcohol to sip while I sat in a sun chair catching rays while waiting for Ericka. Another drink, another 15 minutes. I can see the people coming through the river and I start to look for the cocoa-colored girl in the aqua-colored swimsuit, who should be easy to spot. I see other people that we started the tour with, but no Ericka. Now I’m panicking again, surely my bestest friend has tipped over somewhere along the way unnoticed and has DIED. What am I going to tell her mother? Why is my buzz being killed so harshly?
Finally we meet up, I did a little more stomping, we ate, drank, and then went to some hammocks where all was good with life. It’s vacation! Are you really going to be truly mad on vacation? Not me!
The hammocks were lovely. You could hear the birds chirping in the trees and I fell asleep peacefully. There’s a picture of me doing this but I look like a Butterball turkey wrapped in its plastic wrapping and no one will see that photographic proof....ever. Just believe that I look like I’m taking the nap of my life.
So that was The Xel-ha Adventure and I survived to tell the tale!
(Had to crop this bad boy, my arm was looking ginormous!)
Hey! I’m back from vacation!
Ok, it was two months ago, but I had a blast in Cancun and I feel I must devote a little blog space to the fun times.
Cancun is my ultimate vacation spot. I’ve always gone with my BTF (best traveling friend) Ericka, who I’ve been on countless of vacations with because we travel well together. We go right before the spring breakers come and tear up the town and the deals are great, all-inclusive, pay one price and everything is included. Air, hotel, food and drinks on the resort (drinky drinks too). Basically we sleep, sun trying to get as dark chocolate as possible, eat and drink, repeat the next day. Add an excursion or two and that’s it. It’s ridiculously relaxing and if you’ve never jumped calm waves in the ocean, slept to the sound of them crashing against the shore while bathing under a warm tropical sun and breathing in the salt air, then you haven’t lived!!!!!
So this time we stayed at the Oasis Viva Beach and Cancun being such a tourist area the hotels are usually very nice, this resort being no exception. We had a great ocean view, the room was clean and pretty, the food was great, the service was awesome, the drinks plentiful, all that.
A few notable events:
The weather was, for the first time since I started going to Cancun, kind of rainy. Rain and Cancun doesn’t cross ones mind since it’s sunny there like 364 days a year. So the days it rained me and Ericka would sit looking stupefied because we didn’t know what to do with ourselves. We just stayed in the room, watched movies and ate during those days, which is exponentially better than being at work for sure.
We also went to the flea market to shop and got lost on a bus on the way there (a scary yet minor inconvenience). The market itself was crazy chaotic! Music blaring and colorful merchandise everywhere! As soon as you entered everyone wanted you to check out their wares, see that they had the best prices and were willing to deal. We quickly found out you’d be a fool to pay what anyone asked at first! If a price was too high, they’d go down…which we found out as we tried to leave several shops. Our intent was to browse several stores and go back to our favorites, but that was an almost impossible undertaking. The store owners basically didn’t want you to leave without buying something, anything. Say you like an authentic Mexican purse, the first price quoted would be seriously high, like $35 for a cloth bag. You didn’t even have to counter as the price would drop to $30. As you’re walking away the bag gets cheaper $25…you still haven’t decided if you really want the purse because you just glanced at it in passing in the first place. So if you include the tactic of a counteroffer, well, well, now you’re bartering until you’ve bought something within your budget.
And every trick in the book was used by the sellers. You’re everyone’s sister from another mother, you’re being outright flirted with, and I even had one who tried to dupe me with some exchange rate trickery. In the end there were good deals to be had, although you know you still paid more than you probably should have, but it’s vacation and you need to bring back souvenirs, right?
We took two excursions. One was the Pirate Cruise where you get a dinner and pirate show, complete with dueling ships and cannons. There was this great game that Eri was picked to play where she competed with two other contestants to see how many pairs of shoes they could collect from the passengers. The one with the most pairs was the winner. Then you went and tried to find you shoes in this pile of 80 pairs of shoes and really, it is fun. Ericka won, yay! I didn’t get seasick because I was hopped up on Dramamine, but someone neglected to take some and should have. ;) There was lots of drinking, dancing with strangers and gorgeous faux pirates, huzzah!
So my Cancun vacation was a pure blast and if everything goes as planned there will be yet another in 2011.