Viva Mexico!

Just returned from our Honeymoon in Cozumel the other day, what a fantastic place!

The flight in went well, I’d never flown on US Airways before, but all of the staff was outstanding, and we easily upgraded to first class from the kiosk when checking in.  I discovered later on that choosing Thanksgiving week pretty much doubled the cost of our tickets – something to keep in mind for our next voyage.  The agent at the gate was also nice enough to ask another first class passenger to switch with me so I could sit next to my wife – US Airways staff was 100% courteous and professional throughout the trip.  Security was no big deal either, no full body scans, no pat downs, everyone was very friendly and easy to work with.  Had a few forms to fill out on the flight in for Mexican customs, no questions about my prescriptions either – just hand over the form, press a red button, and leave.

Most things are less expensive there, some places US cash is easier to work with than the Peso, and visa versa.  Plastic was the easiest bet.  Eating out at just about any sit down restaurant adds up real quick, so it was a good thing we took the all inclusive route at Wyndham.  Things we needed, basic staples, gifts, and etc – purchased them outside the resort as on-site the cost was at least 50% higher.  Most folks spoke English, but in all honesty the only time we really spoke English was when we were by ourselves, all those years of Spanish class actually paid off. 🙂

The room was big, 3rd floor with a wraparound balcony and private jacuzzi. It was more or less a big bathtub with water jets, but sitting down with a book and a beer while just relaxing in it was fantastic.  Small kitchen, fridge stocked daily with Mexican Coca Cola and Dos Equis, strong coffee, two air conditioners, HUGE bathroom with big sit down tub, and a view of the clear BLUE sea – couldn’t have asked for a better location.

On Wednesday and Thursday we rented a car, the first day was an old Jeep Wrangler that’d seen many years in the corrosive seaside environment, but it let us explore the island, check out some secluded beach areas and Mayan ruins as well as the local Tequila factory.  Second rental day I picked up a small Hyundai (rebadged as a Dodge) with manual steering, damn that was a workout.  The main roads were fine, but the back roads would have destroyed most cars.  I managed to kill the battery on the Jeep at El Cedral by leaving the headlights on (old habit) – taught my wife to pop-start and we were on our way again.

The resort itself was great, couples massage was worth the small cost, plenty of pools, plenty of bars, plenty of restaurants – and the entire staff was very friendly.  Only one of the restaurants really impressed us – Vista Del Mar, it had a rotating menu, but consistantly delivered food and drinks at a level of quality we were expecting.  The first night we stopped at La Isla – the food was OK but had me craving takeout.  Robertos is the only completely enclosed sit-down restaurant at the resort, the food was again – OK, but overall the dress code and reservation requirements weren’t worth the hype.  It was loud, it was cramped, and while the service was fantastic – we found ourselves revisiting Vista Del Mar as well as the VIP snack/bar near our room more often than not.

Drinks were plentiful – watered down unless you specified a stronger drink, and no straws (forces you to take longer to finish the drink, so you drink less).  Isias, the bartender at the VIP bar seriously made the trip all that more fun.  I’d discussed my love for Mexican cuisine with him, Jimmy Changas, and my favorite – Carnitas (roast pork) tacos.  After asking him who made the best carnitas in town, he told me that it was actually a morning meal in Mexico, not a lunch meal – and the next day he brought me back over a pound of shredded roast pork, a 4 inch tall stack of fresh tortillas, chopped onion and cilantro, and lime wedges.  I can honestly attest now that the food made at Jimmy Changas is dead on authentic, and the closest experience you can have to eating in Mexico.

The breakfasts at Vista Del Mar were beyond amazing, everything was fresh – fruit, meat, eggs, etc…  There was not a single weak cup of coffee to be found anywhere (as a side note, the coffee served on US Airways flights is amazing as well), the oatmeal tasted like rice pudding, the portions were just right (you COULD over-eat, but every single meal left us satisfied).  We did visit two other restaurants while there, Coconuts which is  on the north shore of the island, situated on a bluff above the ocean served the best nachos and fish tacos I’ve ever had in my life – while Toros on the main drag in downtown Cozumel had killer grilled shrimp and quesadillas.  We also gave the resort ‘club’ a shot one evening, a bunch of drunken 20 somethings grinding away (half the people dancing were staff) – we hung out for about 15 minutes before escaping to the relative calm of the seaside bar.

We did some heavy shopping on Thanksgiving at a few stores down town, mainly at Los Cinco Soles, which sold just about everything – very high quality jewelery and gifts at very reasonable prices.  The last day there I took one more run and stopped at the local mall for a few last minute gifts.  Smokes? $3 a pack.  A six of Corona? $3.  Viagra? $20.  Didn’t pick up any drugs down there but I was stunned that pretty much any drug you would need a prescription for in the US is available – at a cost – from any pharmacy.  Still, next trip down we’ll be bringing our own Sudafed, as it is one of the few things you need a prescription for in Mexico.  My wife had some serious sinus issues, and lets face it – marketing phenylephrine as a decongestant is a crime against humanity.  Its good for hemmorhoids and puffy eyes – but is neutralized in stomach acid.   Lame.  The fact that these companies actively market it and profit off it should be stopped until they can find a way to either make it work as well as pseudoephedrine or so that it can be delivered in a way that makes it work as advertised.

The flight back was a bit more eventful than our flight down.  For starters, customs.  Mexican customs wasn’t any big deal, a few questions and we were on our way – biggest holdup was the line to the agents who check bags, after that we sailed through customs and onto the plane.  The pilot on the first flight wasn’t very communicative, and I’m pretty sure at least one of the flight attendants was drunk.  What was initially thought of as an odd accent approached heavily slurred speech towards the end.  Also odd – when we reached the end of the runway, halfway through the curve on the taxi way, the pilot went full throttle, making initial entry to the runway jerky, and the plan also jerked from side to side until we were in the air (pilot kept steering left/right/left/right).

We get to Charlotte, things got even more interesting.  Besides the lines, getting through customs was no big deal, we got through quick enough that I tried to grab an earlier flight with no luck.  They couldn’t get us seats on a flight that had room – but oddly enough our luggage got to Albany before us – on that very flight.  We hung out at a small sports bar adjacent a Nathans stand for a short time, and then waited at the terminal for another hour – and that’s when things got downright odd.  Initial boarding (before first class) is usually reserved for families with small children and the disabled.  One of the disabled folks was a large woman in a wheelchair (not a normal wheelchair, this one had small wheels like a shopping cart).  Apparently there was some issue with getting her on the plane, and she proceeded to berate both agents at the gate.  Her husband eventually threw up his arms and marched on to the plane by himself, leaving her there with her daughters (and from what I could tell – her mother/grandmother who was also in a wheelchair).   Both daughters were actively trying to calm their mother down while becoming more embarrassed as well as concerned by the growing number of impatient passengers standing behind them, waiting to board, and being held up by one obnoxious woman.

Finally they began to board the woman, and after they wheeled her into the hallway to the plane – one of the daughters called out to her, she forgot her laptop.  The agent parked the wheel chair on a slight incline, and walked back to the daughter to retrieve the bag.  In that 20 second gap, the woman leaned forward and went ass over teakettle onto the floor, screaming dramatically that the agent pushed her off the chair.  So now after waiting for 20 minutes, another 20 minutes went by as the woman was slowly heaved back off the floor and into her chair.  I consider myself compassionate to a point, this woman sailed past it at the 10 minute mark.  While she still shrieked about being pushed, several other passengers countered (correctly) that the agent was nowhere near the woman when she fell.  She was simply top heavy and not strapped in to the chair, so when she leaned – BOOM.  At one point, the elderly woman (either her mother or grandmother) screamed ‘MIND YOUR GODDAMNED BUSINESS’ to the passengers who were only trying to back up the agent.

Eventually, the woman was wheeled away to be checked over, and everyone else was allowed to board.  My only thought was ‘if that woman sits in first class i’m giving my ticket to someone in coach.’  She may have been injured, but she was obnoxious and playing up the victim crap, it was pathetic.  So we get in our seats, the attendants on this flight were very friendly – I had one start to crack up when they wheeled the aforementioned wheelchair woman onto the flight, when I offered some pain killers if it’d help us get off the ground quicker.  Eventually when we were back on the ground an I was waiting for our bags, I see the woman getting wheeled past as she exclaims ‘DRUGS ARE GREAT!!!.’  Unable to bite my tongue I shout ‘THEN TAKE SOME MORE AND SHUT THE HELL UP.’  Sorry, immature I know, but she pissed me off.

Despite some bumps, overall the honeymoon was a success and I got to spend some quality time alone with my girl – I wouldn’t have traded the time with my love for anything in the world (well, perhaps some sudafed! lol).  We’ll be going back some day.  I’ll probably add some more to this post, but I think that covered most of it.  I’ll be putting up pictures soon as well.

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