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Trip to Cancun (Day 4 of 9; Tuesday)

We woke up, showered, got dressed and then went downstairs to reschedule our snorkeling tour. We had originally scheduled our snorkeling for today and went to reschedule it last night, but their phone number was busy. So, seeing that the travel representative was not in yet, we left the information with a very helpful concierge person. They said they would give it to the on site travel representative when he came in today. We did this and then we went to eat at the buffet as usual. Were we hungry. Not so much. Was the food there and begging to be devoured. Yes. Who are we to refuse their request. *sigh*

Resting Part I

Water was just a wee bit cold this morning.

Water was just a wee bit cold this morning.

We went back, changed, got some drinks, and sat on the beach tanning. Eventually we made our way into the sea water and played there for a while. We just rested and enjoyed our sunning time. When lunch came Tanya get her usual sushi and I went for the flawless and oh so exciting Hamburger and French Fries combo.

Resting Part II

Rather annoyed but somewhat optimistic we left and went back to the Hotel to rest some more. We spent the rest of the afternoon sunning ourselves, swimming in the sea and the pool, drinking and eating even though we were not at all hungry. We ate at their seafood restaurant for supper. I had grouper for the first time and it was good. Tanya had clams. Towards the night time Tanya decided to do some Yoga on the beach and while she did that I sat next to her and read.

At some point we also met with the Tour Representative to reschedule the snorkeling tour for tomorrow. He was not happy that we could not make it yesterday, and tried to hide it. He made a call and changed it for tomorrow.

We were really tired from all of the eating, drinking, sun, heat and stress. We had considered going to bed early at about 20:30′ish (8:30pm), but Tanya was insistent on seeing what the resort had planned for entertainment tonight. I am so glad that she was.

THE Concert – Alejandra Milan

Alejandra Milan performing live a the Oasis Palm Beach" title="Alejandra Milan performing live a the Oasis Palm Beach

Alejandra Milan performing live a the Oasis Palm Beach

First I will apologize for the crappy photo. Night pictures are not so easy to take…. or maybe it is just me. =(

For us this was not just a concert, it was THE Concert. Tonight’s entertainment, Alejandra Milan, was what they labeled ‘a 4 piece acoustic group‘: lead guitar, bass guitar, keyboard, and lead singer. ‘Holy Wow do they Rock‘ and you can quote me. I can honestly say they ‘Roxors My Boxors!‘. =)

This small concert was the best part of our week in Cancun The female lead singer has as slightly edgy but controlled voice. She could project attitude if and she liked. All four of them seemed to have this amazing rapport – a connection that they knew where the other was going.

Once the lead guitarist started a song with a solo and the singer was waiting for the music to break for her to begin. He would fake the break and then keep playing the solo. Some times a person would start a key change and the rest would follow flawlessly. Her voice is strong, beautiful, and full of passion. Their distinctly soothing Spanish flavored soft rock is kindly graced upon American songs as well as traditional Mexican songs.

They were amazing and I hope to be able to see them perform again. If you are in Cancun on a Tuesday stop by the Oasis Palm Beach and check out Alejandra Milan and the group. You will not be disappointed and tell her that we sent you. =)

We were so full of positive energy and wonder following this that we could not go directly to sleep, so we sat out under a moon filled beach’s sky, drank a little, and enjoyed the energy. When we tired of that we went to bed and dreamed of snorkeling near the second largest coral reef in the world.

Trip to Cancun (Day 3 of 9; Monday)

Yoga in the Morning

I was awoken rather so rudely and early [06:30 (6:30am)] by the sun shining through the window of our hotel room. It was trying to peek through and get our day started earlier than I would like. I covered my head and tried to sleep some more and was able to sleep for another hour or so.

Tanya practicing Yoga beside the hotel pool in tree pose.

Tanya practicing Yoga beside the hotel pool in tree pose.

Tanya and I woke up finally and made our way down to the pool area early as they are supposed to have about a half an hour of Yoga starting at 09:30 (9:30am). We wanted more time time practice so we started about 09:00 (9:00am) and we practiced through when the class was supposed to start, until 10:00 (10:00am) and no one came. More room for us

Now, I am in pretty good shape. I am a martial artist and have been active, and have been working out a little bit. Martial Arts is easy for me and I have been doing it for many years. Yoga is not so easy for me. I can do it and it is work. Martial Arts is comprised of quicker movements – like a deadly dance. Yoga is slow and steady with you holding one position for a little while. It is a really good work out. I wish that I had more time to practice both Martial Arts and Yoga. It does a body good. For both lifting weights, martial arts, and Yoga you need to remember that there is good pain.

Following the Yoga work out we went back to our room to shower and then readied ourselves for our breakfast appointment. By this time we were both really hungry and looking forward to eating.

The Rest of the Day

We were determined to not let this ruin our day or trip, so we went down to the beach swam a little and tanned for a few hours. Smartly, before we went on the little Time Share adventure, we made a reservation at 18:30 (6:30pm) at their Italian restaurant named ‘Scarape’.

Sombreros at the restaurant.

Sombreros at the restaurant.

The restaurant was beautiful and our waiter rocked. He was very, very attentive – always making sure that our drinks were full, getting our dishes, he volunteered to take our pictures and even went so far as to volunteer to get some sombreros for us to wear in the picture. He was happy and great. This waiter was one of the highlights for our trip. We tipped him more than anyone else in our week there.

Mexican Dance Demonstration

This one was Ok. The main female dancer was good and the rest that were with her (4 guys and girls) were OK. They all seemed as though they had practiced together quite a bit, but not enough to develop trust or a fluidness. We were both like – this is OK. It was definitely interesting, but that was it.

Dance Contest

In the middle of the Dance the dancers took a break and the MC selected 3 ladies from the audience – of which Tanya was one. The contestants had to walk up to the front of the small stage like model – all sexy like, then do 3 poses, and then dance for us. She was sooo very shy and embarrassed.

I will tell you this right now, and yes, I am biased, but watching my wife dance is one of the greatest things I have experience in my life. She is amazing and so very sexy.

The first two girls went up and did their thing and then Tanya went. Once they were all done they had the audience clap for the one that they liked the most. They had two people step forward and Tanya was not one of them. He told them thank you, congratulated them and then sent them back into the audience, and then named her the winner. Before she left the stage they had her dance some more. =)

A few times for the rest of our stay some one would say weren’t you the one who won the dance contest. She would blush and be surprised at the attention. =)

End of Day

Following the Dance Show which ended at about 22:00 (10:00pm) we spent some time sitting on the beach and drinking, eventually making our way to our room to sleep. We went to bed looking forward to the snorkeling trip that we have planned for tomorrow and we are both really looking forward to the the boat, sun, water, and seeing a reef and schools of fish up close.

Trip to Cancun (Day 2 of 9; Sunday)

Leaving the Hotel

We woke up early Sunday morning – like 06:00 (6:00am) – showered, gathered our stuff back into our suitcases, and went down a little before 07:00 (7:00am) to meet the hotel shuttle to take us to the O’Hare Airport (ord). The Four Points Hotel has, if I remember correctly, a shuttle leaving every 20 minutes to the airport which is very convenient and reassuring.

The Flight to Cancun

The Island of Cozumel as seen from our plane

The Island of Cozumel as seen from our plane

We flew about a 3.25 hour chartered flight via United Airlines for Funjet Vacations to Cancun. The flight was delayed about a half an hour due to the flight crew getting in late, if I remember correctly, but after that it took off without a hitch. There was one stewardess that was really, really rude, in general, and seemed to be genuinely annoyed at having to deal with passengers. Fortunately we only had to deal with her a little bit. The rest of the crew was pleasant.

The flight only served refreshments and had played a the Pixar movie ‘Ratatouille‘ which we originally saw in the theater. My wife’s headphone jack did not work without holding it, so she used mine. I did not concern myself overmuch with this situation as I’ve seen the movie before. I mostly enjoyed seeing my wife laugh and smile while enjoying the movie again.

First Day in Cancun

On our descent to the landing strip it was apparent that Cancun was still rebuilding from Hurricane Wilma. From up above we could from see it in the ruined buildings and construction that was going on.

Now, my wife had a bad feeling about the trip with our flight being delayed, leaving her pajama’s at the hotel in Chicago, not being able to find the theater, and the crazy Wisconsin winter weather for our drive down to Chicago. It seemed to be all written in the cards that this trip was doomed and she worried now even more as we would soon have to go through immigration/customs. The Bad Mojo ™ seemed to be flowing about us and our trip.

We went found our luggage and went through customs without any problems. Yea! and then found our way through the airport to our shuttle.

Creatures of the Time Share Sales Kind

Ok, I will get this out now. I really dislike the slick, polished, and silver-tongued sales people, especially those of the time share kind. Focused sales techniques hell bent on the sale regardless of the real need of the person involved. This makes me really, really cranky.

Our letter of welcome from Funjet said that their would be a bunch of time share people there in the airport and we avoided all but one who we promptly got information out of and the deftly left him in our dust.

Here is a quotable quote for you: Friends don’t let friends make decisions while under the influence (of a Sales Person).

Our First Day at the Hotel

Our hotel, the Oasis Palm Beach was about a half an hour from the airport and the shuttle took us there without a problem. We checked in and got our room. They gave us an appointment with the concierge/travel people to get some information later that night.

The view outside our hotel room.

The view outside our hotel room.

Our room was on the 8th floor and was OK. It was simple and to the point. two beds (one of which we slept in and the other bore our clothes), TV, table, tile floors (and not carpet because of all of the sand), and a tiled bathroom. Our first annoyance was that the towels were stained just a little bit and there was a hair or two in the sink. =( We also later found out that noise travels really well. The view outside our window was nothing amazing. We got the cheapest deal we could so I should not be so cranky. More than serviceable, but nothing that stood out.

Resort Food

After getting settled in we decided to eat. This resort has like 7 places to eat. A small sushi stand, a small hamburger like stand (hamburgers, hotdogs, nachos), the International Buffet, which were open most of the day; and then they had a Thai, Mexican, Italian, and some other restaurant which all were open at night. We ate at the Buffet because the ‘restaurants require require reservations which usually fill up in the morning.

My first fear with a trip like this was that the food was going to be fancy and that my very selective taste in food would find the selection wonting. I expected fancy hotel restaurant foods that my wife would love. That is exactly what we found. My wife was basically in food heaven and I found a few things that I liked. My taste in food is simple and not fancy at all. No surprises there.

The Rest of the Night

Following eating and walking around a bit we went to see this concierge/travel person. We talked with her and she gave us some information and then she also made us an appointment for breakfast in another hotel. I assumed that this was a part of the Funjet package so I did not think anything was amiss. We made our reservation and then went about the rest of our day.

We spent some time checking out pool and the ocean. We swam a little and then towards night time we went to the Sports Bar where they were having a Movie Trivia Contest which started at 21:00 (9:00pm). If you get a question wrong you had to drink a shot of Tequila. They asked about pretty much all American movies. I was quite surprised with this. There was this one guy who was Mexican, I think, who was knew and a crazy amount about American movies. The MC said he question in both English and Spanish.

The Sports Bar had like 4 televisions that showed various sports channels. ESPN plus basketball, football, soccer, boxing and some UFC type stuff. This was open pretty much all day.

After the movie trivia we walked on the beach and then went to bed ready for a full day of sun, ocean, and fun.

Trip to Cancun (Day 1 of 9; Saturday)

The Trip’s Genesis and Basic Planning

Why we are taking this trip is kind of covered in the previous post titled “Warm My Frozen Bones…“. A brief recap – my wife spent several months in Belarus this fall and it was really freak’n cold there. She wanted to go somewhere warm to recover from the trauma of the obscenely (at least in my opinion) cold and depressing weather.

In case you care, and I don’t think you do, my wife will argue that I think that it is colder there because we are not going from car to car like we are here, but from house to bus station to house again. I liken the temperatures in Belarus similar to what it was like here in Wisconsin in the 1980′s – really freaking cold. This is my opinion and I am sticking to it. =)

I booked the cheapest (~$1500) all inclusive trip I could find for the two of us to a resort in Mexico through Marathon Travel out of Marshfield, Wisconsin, which is where my sister went to plan her vacation there last year (I think is was last year). Our travel agent found one in Cancun, Mexico at the Oasis Palm Beach via Funjet Vacations and we said ‘Let the party begin!”.

Park and Fly

Our flight was scheduled for 08:54 (8:54am) on Sunday and neither of us were looking forward to a 3 hour drive to the Chicago airport (ord) really early in the morning so we decided to stay one night in a ‘Park and Fly‘ hotel prior to our trip. We accepted reservations for the Four Points Hotel by Sheraton for the night before our flight (Saturday).

What is a ‘Park and Fly’ hotel you ask? A Park and Fly Hotel is a hotel where you stay at at least one night (either before or after your trip) and they will shuttle to and from the airport, and you can park you car in their parking lot for the duration of your stay with no further cost. I think these are usually limited to trips 2 weeks and less. You will want to check about the specifics if you are thinking about this for your trip. This is such a great time and nerve saver

The Trip to the Hotel

Driving there was a complete bitch. Saturday started the first day of a snow and freezing rain storm, and imagine this – we left the house (a little after noon) when the storm was just getting started. It did not take too long before we were pretty much going mostly 40 mph on the interstate and that really sucked. Driving there was messy and stressful. At most we were driving 50 mph. Needless to say we were stressed and tired from driving there from the Wisconsin Dells.

What can I say about the Four Points? Well it is a hotel. The fitness room does not have a lot of machines as I prefer, but I think that is normal for most hotels. They have enough for you to burn some time: tread mills and such, but nothing for an in depth work out. They have an indoor pool, a children’s pool, and a whirlpool. That was all good. They seemed to be very convention or meeting oriented as there were quite a few of them going on when we arrived.It was clean an neat.

The entry way was under construction so finding our way in was annoying. Thankfully my wife has a sense of direction otherwise we would have been out there for a while. We checked in and parked our car in the Park and Fly area. Instead of eating at the normally over priced hotel restaurant we went to Subway to eat and got our usual. We also considered seeing a movie but that was not so convenient to find. The hotel’s map to local attractions was incorrect (2 street were swapped) and I think one of the theaters is no longer in business. By this point we were tired and instead of wandering around looking for the theater all we really did was go to our room, watch TV, and then go to bed – nice and quite. We went to bed dreaming of what Cancun may be: the sun, the palm trees, and the Gulf waters.