Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Mexico - Include Me Out

ADW: Iguana iguana: Information

"A vacation is like love - anticipated with pleasure, experienced with discomfort and remembered with nostalgia." (but not always...)

We're home from our vacation at a ritzy all-included resort in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. My husband won the trip, airfare included. And--as I would learn on my first day under a lush palm tree--iguanas also included.

Never. Again.

There I was, two weeks after minor (yeah, right) back surgery. Still hammered by a respiratory trifecta: sinus infection, bronchitis and laryngitis (my Marge Simpson voice, for those who know and love it).

Awash in painkillers and antihistamines, I gamely head for the airport, craving the reward of rest and sun at the end of the long, dark Travel Tunnel.

Arrive Phila airport 6 AM. Arrive Puerto Vallarta airport, via Phoenix, 6 PM. Thirteen hours and three time zones in one day. Phew. Circadian whiplash.

(Puerto Vallarta's on Central Time, which seems odd since it's on Mexico's Pacific coast. But alas, no geography lesson included.)

Nevertheless. Never. Again.

To be fair, the resort is beautiful. Tile floors, open terraces, fountains, lush greenery, pools galore, white beaches, blue ocean. The rooms are spotless and comfortable, though we've never encountered mattresses so unyieldingly hard.

A nice touch: every room has its own fridge stocked and restocked on demand with Corona, Pepsi, 7-Up and bottled water ... all included. Also included, hanging above the fridge are bottles dispensing scotch, rum and tequila at a touch.

The crowning touch: perfect ocean view from broad balcony for glorious nightly sunsets ... all included.

The food is plentiful and edible, if not remarkable. The drinks are a bit watery, but you just keep 'em coming, since all food and drink is included too.

Entertainment runs along two lines: local music/dance and pool games/drinking contests. Since the crowd mostly includes families with young kids, Baby Boomers and beyond, music wins.

As does civilized conversation. We find congenial couples, discuss movies, books, politics. And of course, after a few too many margaritas, spill the more interesting family secrets.

In the end all agree our personal game of choice is Find English-Speaking Programs On TV. You haven't lived til you've seen Oprah in Spanish. Not to mention Heroes and Wheel of Fortune.

It turns out the BBC, CNN and ESPN are included. In English. Along with ER, Gilmore Girls, Grey's Anatomy and Cane. Plus, NFL games. While we watched little TV, I must confess to a longing for Law and Order and House on a few early nights or while escaping the midday heat.

One escape should be the Internet Cafe, aka the Sports Bar. Empty and quiet during the day. Rows of speedy laptops to jump on for $8 an hour. But the stench of stale beer and cigarettes is so overwhelming it's literally hard to breathe. Even this Internet junky only braves a few minutes to check email.

And here's the bottom line about free trips: they're never really free. Tips, gifts, phone calls and incidentals add up to a pretty penny.

Plus, who bastes in the sun any more? Not I. Used to get brown as a berry. Result: five basil cells removed from my face. A Boomer face which doesn't need any more sun-baked fine lines, thank you. Or, god forbid, melanoma.

My idea of a perfect vacation is Paris, Prague, Jerusalem and environs. Or if a sunny locale, Jamaica, Bali, Martinique. No spicy food. No need for bottled water. No tiny commuter planes.

And, worth repeating ... no iguanas.

Never. Again.

No matter what's included.

Labels: , , ,


Anonymous Marcy said...

Iguanas, yuck! I hate Mexico and won't spend my American dollars there.

4:31 PM  
Anonymous Lee said...

You seem to have funny experiences wherever you go. Thanks for sharing them, I enjoy your writing.

10:41 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home