Friday, February 18, 2011

Our First Vacation

Joanne and I have been together for over 17 years and we’ve never gone on a vacation. Oh yes – over these many years we’ve had many wonderful adventures – 2 or 3 day road trips, weekend camping, etc. For 5 years we traveled across Canada – but that was moving from one community to another where we rented apartments and worked in the places we traveled to.

Our adventure to the Riviera Maya region of Mexico was the first time we’ve flown anywhere together to stay at an all inclusive resort. We worked really hard at saving enough money to do this – at this point in our lives – cuz we may not get another chance for another 20 years or so.

We had a most amazing time and are very grateful for this once in a lifetime experience. Let me share some of our photos and stories with you now…

This photo was taken from our ground floor balcony at the Blue Bay Resort, just 40 minutes south of Cancun. Our room was in the farthest away building – from anything – and this was great cuz we had to walk past all the other buildings at the resort to get anywhere. The people staying at the beach front properties missed out on a lot of people watching!

To get to this pool – the second fresh water one and the largest – we had to walk past ‘our pool’ dubbed “the quiet pool”, past an outdoor restaurant – where I’d always grab something yummy to take for our walk, past the open sports bar, spa, shops and other resort buildings.

You can see the many lounge chairs that are actually sitting on a ledge in the pool. You can lay back to enjoy the sun and a cold drink while your feet dangle over the side of your chair in the refreshing water.

We arrived at the resort just after 11:00am and found our room. I cracked open a beer and sat on our patio for a few minutes to relax from the many hours of traveling. A minute later I was refreshed and wondering where Joanne was. She was unpacking. I said that this just wouldn’t do, “Unpack later… beach now!”

There were many employees at the resort, with so much to do. They all looked like they enjoyed their jobs – and all the extra tips we gave them!!! Everyday, we found a different towel creature on our bed – they were all great! This was Jo’s favourite…

… and this silly creature was mine!

We spent our days doing many activities, like eating breakfast, having a morning swim in the pool, relaxing with drinks on the beach, then a light lunch, more swimming and lots of doing nothing. Never a dull moment!

In the evenings we would hang out by the sports bar to be entertained by the many different performances. Before the evening shows would begin, strange characters would appear – like these dudes from ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ and people could have their pictures taken with them.

The poparatzi were everywhere and on one night Jo’ and I also got into a few photos! I just love the body painting and ancient Mayan costumes that these dudes where wearing. Jo’s kiss was really nice, too!

As you can see, the poparatzi probably had the best jobs at the resort!

This is a Mexican Raccoon. And they are not shy in the least!

They would walk right through a sitting area or dining area always looking from some free food. I wonder if they realize how easy they’ve got it.

These birds were always around, too! Twice I saw a bird flying away from the pool areas with long crispy strips of bacon in their beaks. Score!

They had a very pretty song. Whenever they’d sing I’d see their feathers ruffle up and their bodies fill with air just before their high tones cut into the surrounding soft breezes.

This was a bird I saw almost every morning, as we walked to the beach. It reminds me of the North American Blue Haron, except that it’s much smaller and white.

We had a lot of fun, sharing the camera. I tried my best to capture a few images to portray the Nature of the surrounding landscapes.

This is a moth that habituates in the area.

I love the shapes and textures of the designs of its wings.

When we were preparing for this leisurely break from our regular lives, we decided that we did not want to fill each day with sight-seeing activities. We wanted to go for a couple of interesting adventures, but our main goal was to enjoy the sun, warm breezes, great food, cold beers and the occasional shot of Tequila.

The resort had quite a number of activities happening around the large pool and on the beach, so we spent a lot of time watching other people, but on a few occasions I got a bit ‘ansy’ and found I had to do something.

This was the first time that I’ve done something like this and I had a super great time! A jet-ski brought me to the boat and then the dudes on the boat where like, “Stand up, step into this, sit down, strap this around, move here, sit on this,” and then in a flash I was being lifted into the air. The surprised expression on my face had the guys in the boat laughing.

When in the air, I could see very far. The ocean stretched out for miles and when I looked the other way I could see the land did the same thing. This region of Mexico is very, very flat. The colours of the ocean waters were many different shades of blues, greens and turquoise – very inspiring! I could see the ocean floor with outcroppings of rocks, as well as small valleys of coral. I spotted one huge fish, lazily swimming along and a rather large school of smaller fish.

On two separate afternoons, Joanne and I visited the nearby tourist town Playa (beach) Del Carmen. The outskirts of this small city were a little run down, but the main shopping areas were well upkept.

As we walked along the famous 5th Avenue, our noses were continuously assaulted with many fine aromas from all the restaurants.

It was so nice to go from bare, sleeping trees and roads covered in snow to outdoor markets surrounded by green and blossoming trees!

This is the latest addition to my Peace T-shirt collection. The peace-heart design is surrounded with a few lyrics from some Beatles songs. I wonder if they’ll get some royalties from this sale.

This is the inside of the store where I bought that T-shirt. As you can see, there is a huge tree growing right in the middle of the store. Walls and ceilings had to be built around this tree.

This photo is of a different store and it shows how the trees grow up into overhead balcony areas, adding lots of green to the streetscape. Very cool indeed!!

We visited the famous Tequila bar, where I met my newest girlfriend! She was the quiet type and didn’t say too much.

A little further down the street, I met this little character. I was told that this was the second smallest monkey in the world.

The beaches here were the cleanest in the region and many people were enjoying the warm salt waters. I was lucky to get this photo before people walked in front of me.

There was about 20 feet of beach along the water’s edge and then the sand towered upwards about 5 feet to level off again for several hundred more feet. Then the landscape filled with small hotels, restaurants and more shops. The 5 foot sand cliff was often designed with staring eyes or heart shapes created by children.

I was surprised to see that only a few seagulls were in the area. With all the food nearby I thought there would be a huge population. I saw more of these birds enjoying this area than seagulls.

I spent so long trying to get a photo of a pelican flying, but I could never get my camera out in time, before they flew too far away. I guess I’ll just have to settle for a tamer image of these birds as they bobbed up and down on the waves.

I’m sneaking this iguana photo into this story just to give you a peak at my next blog where I’ll tell of our adventures to an ancient Mayan ruin and our underwater journey with snorkels and flippers!

But, right now, I’m feeling a little tired – it’s been a long day! The moon is just rising and I can hear the mermaid calling to Joanne, and me from our bedroom, saying, “Time to go to sleep and dream of ants and honey.”

Hmmmm…. what does she mean by that?


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