Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Ahhh... Cancun, Mexico!!!

Hi everyone!  I'm sorry I haven't been able to post - I've been sick and I haven't had much time to do anything.  I've finally had the chance to sit down, so I'll finally be able to blog about my lovely trip to Cancun.  My entire week was packed with things to do.  I barely had any downtime and the best part was that I was with my family and my other half.  We had our two family friends come down, as well as my aunt and uncle from California.  It was the best vacation I've had all year... and I've had quite a few already.  I wouldn't mind going back there to do it all again!

We left for Mexico the day after NY Wizard World on Saturday, June 29th.  My family and I caught an evening flight, so we were going to be getting to Mexico and passing through customs at the airport by 10PM.  We scheduled everything on Saturday so all of us would have some things to do.  My plans for the week went as followed:

  • Saturday:  arrive at airport, unpack, and sleep
  • Sunday:  morning on the beach, go to Wal-Mart, go to Sweet Club with Oscar
  • Monday:  scuba diving and beach
  • Tuesday:  XCaret Adventure Resort
  • Wednesday:  relaxing, celebrating my aunt's birthday, and going to Senor Frog's at night
  • Thursday:  ATV, ziplining, and swimming in the cenotes at Boca del Puma
  • Friday:  Isla Mujeres and exploring Cancun
  • Saturday:  flight back home
I haven't done anything crazy like that in a while.  We had something to do every single day and by the end of it, I was so tired and exhausted, but I had a lot of fun along the way.  Oscar and I went to scope out the water on Saturday night after we got to the hotel.  We stayed at my parents' time share at Casa Maya Resort.  It was my second time to stay there and I wouldn't change where I stayed.  Everyone is always so nice and it's right along the beach, so I don't have to drive anywhere.  The area is also convenient because the scuba shop is across the street and we can also just hop on the bus that'll take us to wherever we want to go.

5th Floor - Special Timeshare Members

Our Wristbands

Our Hotel Suite

We played around in the water on Sunday and hung out for a little while.  Oscar and I did some snorkeling while Michelle (my sister), Jackie, and Jaymie (sisters and our family friends) played in the sand.  Since we were time share members, we found out we could rent out the cabanas for the day and it was free, so we could lay around and put our stuff there.  Oscar and I saw some trumpet fish skimming the top of the shallow waters and a crab.  I love swimming down there because the water was a beautiful shade of blue and it was so warm.  After swimming and doing some tanning, we had lunch, showered, and walked around the resort.  There was a guy selling tickets for the Sweet Club for a $50 promotion and that included VIP service (no waiting on line, table, bottle service, unlimited drinks).  We had nothing else to do that night so Oscar and I decided to go for it.  We also booked a reservation for a boat to scuba dive the next morning.  I'm not sure if that was a great idea, but who said we were thinking about great ideas?

Almost Invisible Trumpet Fish
Can you see it?

All the adults ended up taking the bus to Wal-Mart so we decided to tag along.  My mom and her friends ended up booking our trips to all the different sites, so we had a busy week ahead of us.  We had to buy some toiletries and things, but it was very interesting to see that Wal-Mart never changes, no matter where you go.  Once we got back to the hotel, Oscar and I had dinner, took a short nap, and got up to get ready for the club.  I haven't been to a club in quite a while (even though I live in NY), so it was time to party.  Once the shuttle came to pick us up around 10, we got in and went on our way.  We were with four other people from Chicago whom we later befriended.  Once we got to the club, they let us in right away but all six of us were put into one table because the host didn't realize we were two separate parties.  Oh well, the more the merrier, right?  We sat down and didn't say much to each other, but one of the guys in the party of four was chatting lightly with Oscar.  The two girls and the other guy decided to just sit quietly until the bartender came around to get us a round of drinks.  I ordered my usual gin and tonic while everyone else had their own specialty cocktails.  After 15 minutes, he came back around and got us another round of drinks without us even asking.  10 minutes after that, he brought a nice big bottle of Smirnoff Vodka for us.

Sweet Club

By 11PM, the place was getting packed with people.  There were so many tourists around, as well as Americans looking to party it up.  Girls and guys were dressed in shorts and flip flops, all drinking and enjoying themselves.  I was hanging out by our table just sipping my pomegranate and vodka.  I'm not usually a drinker, and it's been a long time since my Xanga party days with some old friends.  Oscar thought after my third drink, it would be a good time to get on the dance floor and dance.  He and I tried to get around, but we could barely move because there were so many people walking by, trying to get through to their own destinations.  On top of that, it was cramped, so we decided to just dance by the table instead.  Besides, we had our own little space there and by that time, our tablemates have also loosened up a bit and warmed up to us.  We were dancing, chatting with them, and having drinks.  By 12:30AM and 7 drinks later, I was very drunk and having the best night ever.  We had almost finished the bottle and I realized there was a table next to us that was never inhabited with drinks on it, so I took the bottle sitting on their table and we drank that too (yes, I know... what a great influence I am).

The Fun Table!

We had a great time and I even watched a spectacle on stage.  There was a "Sexy Wet Girl" contest and the winner received $1000 USD.  Three girls went up on stage to strut their stuff while a shower ran down on them while the MC said, "Here are the rules - THERE ARE NO RULES."  I suppose they had a bit to drink, so it made things easier for them to take their clothes off on stage in front of everyone, but it was very funny to watch.  Oscar was on the floor while I was standing by our table on top of a stoop, so I could see everything.  He didn't even know what was going on, so I just kept it that way.  Contestant #3 won, and she showed her boobies and hooha to everyone there... but hey, she won $1000, so she's going home happy.  In the middle of that strange business going on, a fight broke out in front of Oscar, so he was trying to get away from them.  There was an argument between two guys and they just started punching each other, so Oscar was trying to get away from that.  He was not in the greatest mood when we left the club, but he had every right to be.

The club was great for their music and everything, but we weren't pleased about our bartender.  He came to us around 11:30PM asking for his tip.  We gave it to him and he ended up coming back two more times after that asking for more tip, claiming the bartender was looking for his tip.  He didn't give us anything other than ice and juice after the bottle, so we couldn't understand why he kept asking.  Even though we were drinking, we weren't stupid to give him all the money we had in our pockets.  I'm not sure why he kept asking for more tips, but whoever asks for a tip shouldn't be tipped at all.  A tip is something a customer gives to someone if they deserve it - and by the second time he asked, he didn't really deserve it.  Even though we had fun at the club, we probably won't go back there next time.  I think we'll try Coco Bongo's the next time around.  We left the club and got back to the hotel by 3:30AM, and of course I ended up getting locked out of my room because the key didn't work, so I ended up staying in Oscar's room for the rest of the night.

My parents didn't see me come home, so they went looking for me in the morning.  My dad knocked on Oscar and my brother's door and found me, so he wasn't really worried anymore.  Once Oscar and I got up, we grabbed our scuba gear and took it to the boat.  I wasn't feeling that great because of all the drinking, so I tried to relax on the boat and get ready for the dive.  I put on my new 3mm Aqualung wetsuit and strapped myself into my BCD.  Once the boat stopped, however, the waves got to me and I wasn't really used to the movement, so I ended up unstrapping myself and throwing up over the side of the boat.  Once I finally felt better, everyone had already gone into the water and I hopped in.  The water was still warm through the suit, but I'm glad I went in.  I had maintenance done on the BCD, however, so the buttons were a bit stiff.  The divemaster had to take me around the reefs because my equipment wasn't working properly.  It was a bit annoying because I kept floating up since the air wouldn't release in the vest, but Oscar helped me remove the air by shaking the air out of the emergency valves.

Lovely Reefs and Tropical Fish

I got to see some beautiful fish down at 60 feet and I loved the color of the reefs.  I forgot how calming the ocean was when you leave land and dive towards the unknown.  I swam through schools of fish and even found a sea biscuit (but I wasn't allowed to take it).  Even cooler (and a bit scary) - I saw a barracuda swimming about 10 feet away from me.  It obviously wouldn't be wise to touch that fish since they are actually very nasty and love to bite, but it was nice seeing them in their natural habitat.  Once we finished the dive, we got back on the boat and relaxed before the second dive.  I stepped on the boat and the waves got to me once again.  I threw up and I realized I couldn't dive anymore.  I was too sick to do anything, so I sat that one out.  I knew I would be losing my money because of the second dive, but I would rather be safe than sorry.  My gear wasn't working properly, I couldn't swim out on my own while diving, and I was feeling really ill.  I decided to fall asleep while Oscar and all the other guys went on the dive.  Once they came back from the second dive, Oscar ended up throwing up as well.  By that point, I threw up six times and I just needed to get off the boat.  We got back and just rested and slept the rest of the afternoon because we were so tired.  Oscar didn't feel good after that and it took him a few days until he could feel normal again.

We got up early the next morning and everyone took a bus to XCaret.  I wasn't really sure what this place was, but my mom said it would be pretty fun.  Once we received the map, we found out the place was very large, with various natural exhibits for animals.  The biggest attractions there would be the show and snorkeling in the underground river.  The place was about an hour away and once we got there, we had to wear biodegradable sunblock and mosquito repellant since it was a natural park.  Having chemicals on our body would disrupt the natural ecosystem of the area.  It wasn't like we needed much sunblock though.  It was raining half the time we were there, but we were wet anyway so it didn't matter too much.  We took our age group and swam through the underground rivers in the caves.  Since we had snorkeling gear, we ended up seeing all the tropical fish around the area.  Once we finished, we walked through the aquarium, took some pictures, and had lunch at the buffet.  It started raining once we were seated, so we stayed there for a while until the rain stopped.  Oscar found a flower in the men's bathroom and gave it to me.  Apparently, there was a sign saying, "Take a flower and give it to someone you care about."  Oh, how sweet.  :)

Two Fake Turtles...

...and One Very Real One


We walked around half the time afterwards looking for a few things to do, but since it was raining, many of the places had the animals in hiding.  The butterfly exhibit was lovely, but it rained all over the butterflies so they were hiding underneath the trees and bushes.  We did get to touch and play with them a bit, though.  Oscar and I went and got some snorkel gear and decided to go swimming in the laguna, where we saw even more fish than we did while diving.  Everyone else decided to go shower and relax because they were just tired of walking the whole day.  We saw a beautiful fish known as the princess parrotfish, which was large and colorful.  If I were a fish, I'd be that one because it would definitely represent me.  There was even another barracuda in the laguna, so we went to the other side so it wouldn't try to bite us.  Once we were done, we showered, got dressed, and went to watch the show.  I have to admit, the show was really a great show.  They showed the history of Mexico with the Mayans and their civilization, as well as the different traditional dances and cultures of each part of Mexico.  All in all, it was a great day.

Mayans and the Mariachi Band

Viva Mexico!

Wednesday was a rainy day so we spent most of the day inside doing nothing since it there was a tropical storm hitting the beach.  Once the sun cleared up, Oscar and I went out for a walk to get our tickets to Senor Frogs and to take a bus to Wal-Mart.  We were going to a glow party that night, so that meant we were getting painted on.  I needed a shirt that would be expendable in case it got really dirty, so we both bought some shirts and souvenirs there.  We also found a liquor store where he bought wine, a Starbucks, and a really great bubble tea place called Snow Tea.  Who knew Mexicans could make better bubble tea than Asians?  They even had taro!  When we were done, we hopped back on a bus and took it straight back to our hotel.  I think the buses are safe to ride because we had no problems taking them back and forth.  Jaymie and Carlo were coming with us that night, so it was going to be very interesting to hang out with two of my family friends, whom we never party with.  Once the shuttle came and picked us all up, it all went downhill from there.  

Senor Frogs

We got to Senor Frogs and it was already packed with people... and it was only 10:30!  We got to our table and one of the members almost kicked us out, but our hostess said this was our spot.  Senor Frogs is a place where you just drink and become hot messes, unlike Sweet Club, which was a little more refined.  After the other night's fiasco, I wanted to just sit around and enjoy myself and take my time on drinks.  We had bottle service once again and unlimited drinks, and this time, no one was coming around asking us for tips every chance they got.  Carlo and Jaymie had a drink and we just danced, got painted on, and jumped around.  Oscar and I even got close to the stage and they threw paint on us.  Haha, you know the saying, "Whatever happens in Vegas stays in Vegas?"  Well, let's just say, "Whatever happened in Mexico stays in Mexico."  Everyone had a great time that night and we got home around 2:30AM.  The only problem was, our keys weren't working again... but that got fixed after another 15 minutes or so.  We had to get up early the next morning to go ziplining anyway, so it was a good thing we didn't come back too late.

Fist Pumping!

Bottle Service

Oh, the tequila!

Check out these crazy hot messes!!!

The shuttle picked Oscar, Jackie, Jaymie, Michelle, and I up from the hotel the next morning because we got tickets to go to Boca del Puma.  This place was strictly for ziplining and ATVing.  I wasn't too thrilled about the area itself because it was right in the middle of the forest and the place seemed to be a bit unorganized.  We had to use safety harnesses for ziplining, but the helmets smelled so horrible that I felt like I was going to get lice in my hair if I kept it on my head too long.  The bathroom was more of an outhouse and there were ants that bit you every chance they got if you stood near their hills for more than 2 seconds.  However, ziplining through the forest was awesome.  We were strapped and hooked up to five different lines all around the area and I even got to go upside down on the longest line.  The view above the forest was spectacular.  We were strapped for time in that area because we were only given enough time to do the things we were going to do, but it wasn't terrible after all.  

Family Photo! 

Low Hanging Fruits

 Three Upside Down Monkeys Swinging From A Vine
The other two were too chicken to try it out... 

After ziplining, they gave us a chance to swim in the underground cenote, which was a basically a natural sinkhole filled with water that was 60 feet deep.  We declined because there really wasn't much room to swim since the cenote flooded a bit and it was dark in the cave.  We ended up waiting for the ATVs and I have to say, that was even more fun than swimming.  My sister and I were put together so I could drive and we ended up going through the mud and dirt by ramming through it.  There was one point where I got stuck and hit a tree, but one of the guys on the road with us pushed us out so we could go on our merry way running through bumps and mud puddles.  By the time we were done, we were pretty gross, covered in mud.  Oscar miraculously didn't get muddied at all, while my sister and I were so dirty.  There's a new meaning for the term "dirty girl."  Jackie and Jaymie were also covered in mud, but they weren't as dirty as us.  We later found out the guide took us through an area where he really wasn't supposed to take us, but since we waited so long and we were the last group, he thought it would be a fun idea... and it was!  We used the cenote to wash ourselves down a bit so we weren't too dirty by the time we got into the van.

ATVs!!!  Who says girls can't drive?!

Chillin' in Front of a Banana Tree

I didn't even realize we were matching that day until now...

Once we got back to the hotel, it was about 4:30.  We didn't even go up to our rooms... we walked straight through the hotel lobby and went to the beach.  We rinsed off in the nice warm water and swam.  Oscar and I decided to try our luck again by snorkeling and we both saw a small spotted sting ray!  He even saw another barracuda lurking near the shore.  The water there is shallow up until a certain point, and once you hit that point, it's a steep drop down into the deep blue.  We swam and got a tan because the sun was finally out after three days of rain.  He and I found some seashells along the shore and once we were done, we cleaned up and took a trip out by the clubs.  We walked by the strip and took some pictures in front of Coco Bongos.  He was hungry and wanted to have some actual authentic Mexican food instead of Filipino food (my parents and family relatives were cooking all week instead of going out to eat since it was cheaper), so we found a place called Caminero's.  They served us some amazing quesadillas and tortilla tacos. 

After dinner, Oscar and I walked to the Mexican Outlet and bought some souvenirs, as well as a bottle of tequila with a worm in it for his uncle.  He went to a pharmacy to get some medicine for his stomach and we had a passion tea at Starbucks.  I was surprised to find out they accepted the Starbucks card there, which was very convenient for me since I use it all the time.  All along the way, we were taking pictures and enjoying the evening together.  It was a lovely date night for the two of us and a nice change in pace from all the crazy fun activities we were doing all week.  Contrary to the popular belief, Cancun isn't as scary as most people say.  I think when people refer to the drug cartel and kidnapping, they are talking about places like Mexico City and Tijuana.  Cancun seemed to have a better vibe, and we were just walking around and taking the bus or taxis to and from various places.  I think since that area is a tourist spot, you don't have the same problems as you do in other areas.  We ended up taking the bus home and got back for an early rest.  I was also feeling a little ill, so I wanted to get some sleep.

We woke up early on Friday and had a quick breakfast before taking a long walk to the marina to catch a boat to Isla Mujeres.  My mom and her friends wanted to see what was going on there, so they bought tickets to go.  I wasn't feeling too well, so I fell asleep on the boat.  I later took a Dramamine so I wouldn't have to feel the waves while we went snorkeling, but that wasn't a great idea because I was drowsy half the time I was there.  At least I got a nice tan while lying on the beach.  Oscar and I went snorkeling and found some more very beautiful reefs and fish.  He used his GoPro to catch some of the action down under the sea.  I even looked around and found a starfish larger than my head!  Of course, the princess parrotfish was there, and I found one larger than a foot.  The current pushed us along the reefs and we toured around with many other people until we hit the boat.  Once we got back, we splashed along the water, had lunch, and I took a nap for a little while since the Dramamine was too strong for me.  Oscar woke me up to take a walk around the area and we found gift shops everywhere. There was really nothing more than just a bunch of gift shops and the ocean, but the walk was all right.

Everyone got back to the hotel around 5PM and Oscar and I decided to take one more trip on the bus out to La Isla, which was a large outdoor shopping center that sort of reminded me of the Deer Park Outlets on Long Island, except there was water running through and there was an aquarium.  Jackie, Jaymie, and Michelle decided to come along so we left everyone around 7PM and took the other bus there.  We found this chocolate store called La Cacao and bought a few items there.  Every item in the store was made with chocolate... they even had a body cream and massage oil that had chocolate in it.  We all went to another Mexican Outlet and took some fun pictures there as well.  It was just nice to walk around on our last night without the rain.  I've been here before and not much has changed, but there were a few more stores around the area and Hooters was moved to another location.  I definitely liked seeing some new places.  Oscar walked into a store and bought a few things as well.

Jaymie, Jackie, and Michelle

My "Mexican" and I 

Funny Poses at the Senor Frogs Souvenir Store

On our last stop before catching the bus home, however, we found a store called Del Sol and they had these amazing shirts that changed colors in the sun.  What was even more amazing was that they had color changing nail polish!  I have a color changing polish called Ruby Wing, but they are only subtle changes in the sun.  This polish by Del Sol, however, changes dramatically from one color to the next!  You know what's coming soon, then... **cough "review" cough"  I ended up being a nerd and I got myself an Iron Man shirt while Oscar got one that specifically said Del Sol on it.  It was 11PM by the time we were done and we knew we had to big adieu to the lovely Isla, because we had an early flight to catch the next morning.  We all got onto the bus and took it straight back to the hotel.  Everyone went back to their rooms and packed their things.  I made sure I had everything and we all went to bed, just to wake up at 6AM the next morning to hop on a plane to go home.  Watching the sun rise with Oscar on the beach was the last thing we did before we went to the airport.  It was a lovely little moment before heading home, back to reality.

It was bittersweet to leave Mexico, considering I wanted to stay longer and have more fun in the sun rather than have to work the next day... but I'll definitely go back again in a few years.  I just have way too much fun there and it's always nice to spend time with my family and friends every so often.  I want to travel to more places like this.  Maybe next year we'll go to Colombia and see what Oscar's home country is like!  I'd love to go there... he was telling me about the beaches and how beautiful they are.  I want to do some diving when I have the chance as well.  We'll see how things go, but all in all, I had a wonderful vacation and I can't wait to do it again!  Phew... what a long post.  I hope you all enjoyed living vicariously through me on my expeditions!  Until next time!

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