Wednesday, June 3, 2015

A Sun-Soaked Saturday

We arrived at the border of Mexico at 9:30 that night. In our haste to leave for vacation, we did not pull cash out of the ATM at our bank (for free) so we ended up paying at least $20.00 in fees for our withdrawals. We also did not have the foresight until we were miles from the border to call our bank and let them know we were travelling. Nor did we think to call Verizon to ask about international data plans and cell coverage. (We both just assumed that Verizon would work automatically in Mexico.)

We had to stop to activate our phones through Verizon, but we needed a third-party phone to do it since we could not call internationally! A very nice C-store attendant let Corey use minutes on his flip phone to complete the transaction. After our short delay, and asking directions to make sure we were on the right road, (since our GPS wasn't working yet) we headed out of town.

The kids fell asleep very quickly after leaving the border town of Sonoyta behind. After getting slightly turned around when we reached Rocky Point (Punto Penasco), We arrived at 11 p.m. at the Playa Bonita Resort. Corey stepped out just long enough to get the keys from the front desk. He hopped back in and announced he had directions to the taco stands back in town. (We were on the beach slightly removed from the rest of the city.)

Carrick woke up unexpectedly as we left the parking lot. When we found the "taco district", he joined Corey on his food quest. There was loud techno/house music playing from a club down the street. People were walking, biking and driving as if it were the middle of the day. There was a man with an accordion playing on the corner, adding his notes to the thumpy music. We took our tacos back to our room, which was also thumping with the vibrations of music. There was a restaurant next door, a part of the hotel, which was hosting an outdoor reception on their patio. At this point, Lily was awake too.

We finished our tacos, and Corey decided he had not driven this far to stay inside when there was a beach 50 yards from his door. He took us all down the stairs from our patio and we strolled the beach by moonlight. It was a magical experience. I have been on beaches at night before, but never with my children. Their delight washed away my fatigue with the waves. The fact that loud music was playing at midnight, just added to the mystique of the gently rolling tide.

When we returned to the room, my attitude flipped completely. I was tired from being on the road, and irritated at the vibrations of the music. Finally, I put in my earbuds and listened to my night music. This did the trick, and I woke up the next morning to a sunny beach vacation.

We ate breakfast at the next-door restaurant, and to my surprise, they were still paying techno/house remixes! The difference from the night before was that the music played over the speakers in the establishment, and was not from the speakers of an excessively loud DJ.

The people there just liked to listen to energetic music....all the time! As I went through my day, it became more and more apparent just how important playing music was in this particular culture. The music is like the heartbeat of the people. They are a very happy and energetic; they love to dance, eat, be with family, and enjoy life. No one was yelling at their kids to behave. No one was in a foul mood of any kind. Whether is was a vacationer, or a local, everyone seemed to be joyful to be alive. It was incredibly refreshing.

I played with the kids on the beach. I sat in the "spa" and enjoyed a pedicure. I even watched Carrick swim while I sat on our patio while Lily napped on the other side of the glass door. I could watch both kids and relax at the same time! (I know what you're thinking, "You let your kid get in the pool without being in there with him?" My answer to you is this: There were about a dozen kids between the two pools, side by side, and at one point, there were NO adults in there! They were all seated around the sides under umbrellas, all of them keeping an eye on their kids by proxy. It was something that would never happen in the US, I don't think. Everyone was so chill, that it just wasn't a problem. The kids all played so nicely together that no one needed adult intervention. And if something did happen, 24 adults would be right there to help in a snap.)

That evening, we took a taxi to the other side of town for dinner. We had reservations on El Rey Del Mar (The King of the Sea) Pirate Dinner Cruise. Right after boarding the ship, Lily found the need to remove her shoes. Try as I might, I could not get her to keep them on. Finally, I just decided to "let it go" and allow the bare feet. If anyone said anything, I would of course put her shoes on, but no one did.

There was a group of cute young Mexican guys,
and one of them danced with Lily.
We set sail around the bay, and the music started up again. After several upbeat songs, the MC for the night called for some volunteers, and the entertainment began! She had two activities that required volunteers before calling all the children from the ship to come down. She had them play a game of musical chairs. The little boy (whose father was the pirate captain) led the kids around the ship, running in and out of tables and people while the music played. Then, when the music stopped, the kids had to dash to the middle of the boat and try to get a seat. Watching Lily run hap-hazardly wherever she wanted to with her baby cheeks bouncing made me laugh so hard I couldn't drink my margarita! Bare foot and all, she was the favorite of the onlookers. When she finally was eliminated, Corey ran up to get her, and said, "How about a hand for the little one?" and the entire boat cheered! So much for worrying about bare feet!

We headed back up to the second level where our seats were, and we enjoy another (very weak) margarita. Then Corey left me with the kids to go down to el bano. As soon as he left, the crew DJ started playing a Spanish version of Achy Breaky Heart. The little girl (daughter of the Pirate Captain) who was leading all the dances was down there, looking awkward shuffling around to the electric slide. I looked around for Corey, desperate to go down there and show everyone what a real electric slide should look like. When I realized he was nowhere close, I shouted out over the music, "Oh, Come on!!!! I'm from Illinois, this is what we DO!!!! I gotta represent!" This awesome lady we made friends with told me to get on down there to dance and she'd watch the kids. (After all, we were in the middle of the bay, so she couldn't just run off with the kids.)

I hopped down the stairs with my margarita and rocked out doing the electric slide! Go, 8th grade P.E. class!!!!!

The night ended with one of the crew dressing up like a ghost, and choosing "victims" from around the ship. I was chosen to sit with the other victims in the middle of the boat. We each had to dance with the ghost to a different song, each in turn. While I was getting ready to go up, the MC asked where Corey was, and I told her he was chasing Lily (out of sight of the dance floor). She made some comment in Spanish, and everyone made a sound like, "Woo!" I did my thang on the dance floor, and then returned to sit among the victims. It was time to vote.

The MC held her hand over the head of each victim and waited for the crowd to cheer. I was the last victim to be voted on, and surprisingly, I had one of the loudest cheers! She pulled me up to my feet as well as the only male victim, and she held her hand over each of us to see who had the loudest cheers. I don't know what I did that earned me the prize, but I was clearly the winner.

The pirate ship experience was better than going out to a club, and better than a fancy restaurant. It was a crazy-fun party that our entire family could enjoy together.

As the kids slept on the bed back at the hotel, Corey and I talked while a mariachi band had taken over from last night's DJ. It was a quincenera this time, and ended at midnight. As the thumping drums and blasting brass declared their joy to the ocean, we were able to share some adult discussion time. We talked about what we enjoyed about our vacation, what we want to do with the rest of our summer, and how we can carve out more time for family with Corey's job challenges.

The entire trip was filled with priceless moments that I will treasure forever.

(If you missed the link above, here are more pics from the trip.)

Cab fare to the Pirate Dinner cruise- $10.00
Balance this pay cycle-  $68.00
Happy  Spending!

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