- We Be Nomads Home Page
- South Pacific 2014
- Tahiti, French Polynesia
- Mo'orea, French Polynesia
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- Pacific Harbor and Nadi, Fiji
- Cairns, Great Barrier Reef, Daintree Rainforest, Australia
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- 2007 World Tour Final Words
- Coastal Costa Rica
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- Belize Interior
- Caye Caulker, Belize
- Mayan Ruins - Yucatan
- Caribbean Mexico
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- Auschwitz, Poland
- Czech Republic
- Arizona 2
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- Machu Picchu and More
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- California Coast - Hwy 1
- Agra, India
- Varanasi, India
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- North Vietnam
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- South Vietnam
- Phuket, Thailand 3
- Phuket, Thailand 2
- Phuket, Thailand 1
- The Killing Fields, Cambodia
- Phnom Penh, Cambodia
- Siem Reap, Cambodia
- Chiang Mai, Thailand
- Chiang Mai, Thailand
- Bangkok, Thailand
- LATEST TRIP LISTED FIRST
Riviera Maya, Akumal, Tonkah Bay
We spent an entire week at the Mayan Resort in the Yucatan (Mexican Riviera) and had our first
true vacation of the year! Along with the Iguanas – we were a pair of lounge lizards. You could find us at either one
of the massive pools under a woven palapa, on a partially submerged chaise lounge, on a large King Size Bed next to the pool
immersed in our books (FICTION) or at our own private patio with palm trees fanning us. At times Jim roved around and took
photos (this place has its own crocodiles, flamingos, private beach, huge health club – it has it all). Suzan took water
aerobics classes (though these turned out to be more about standing in a circle holding hands and sharing about ourselves
than getting much exercise). Nights were spent either preparing our own meals in our fully-equipped kitchen in our suite or
going out to one of the restaurants. Our favorite dining spot was called Havana’s, a Cuban Restaurant, with a view of
the Caribbean Sea and the pier with dazzling lights to our left and the Cuban band with large dance floor to our right. We
danced to our own rhythm (our own latin creations as…we need more lessons)! Then we’d stay up reading until 1:00am…resort
life – a vacation from our adventures. We needed one!
I must add that I felt so grateful when our week was up and we weren’t headed for the
airport (as in years past while in the working world). Instead we were on our way to another resort with more than two months
remaining and two other countries to visit. Ah for the Nomad life.
|The Main Pool at Our Grand Mayan Timeshare on
|the Riviera Maya, South of Cancun
While on the treadmill at the resort’s health club, I looked up at the
television and read, “50,000 evacuate Southern CA wildfires.” The brief report disappeared after showing a shot of raging
fires across the screen. We went to our room to turn the television on and learned that the brunt of the wildfires were in
phone would not work, nor would the hotel’s outgoing phone line so we went to the internet area to connect with friends
and family. Nearly all had to evacuate and we’d asked our Tenant, Anita, to crawl into the trunk of my VW bug parked
in the garage, with a flashlight since the light did not work, and find our two laptops, hard drive, and then take all of
our paintings from the walls. God bless her!
We were so relieved and grateful when we heard back from our friends and family that their
homes had been spared, including ours. Yet so many homes had been lost…homes that had once been filled with family
noise, conversation, laughter, deeply personal belongings – universes of their own creation – now were no more.
Mother Nature had once again unleashed her unpredictable fury.
I imagined myself with my arms wrapped around the planet Earth - this land containing all whom I love, all that matters
– all that is. As I curled up on the lounge chair with the azure blue Caribbean to my left, a pool with streaming lakes
to my right – realizing that the worst scenario here is a sudden rain shower – gratitude flooded through me.
Feeling so thankful I sent a huge prayer to San
Diego – to the precious lives spared – and especially
to those who had been marred by the destruction. I held in prayer the years it would take those affected to rebuild their
homes and their lives from the smoldering ashes and asked that they receive the patience of piety to go through the process.
I kept wondering
though, Why do we need such harsh reminders of how precious life is?
|While San Diego Was Burned by Fires, We Were
|Getting Burned by the Sun ... El Sol!
|Swing Up to the Bar and Order an Umbrella Drink
|A Romantic Beachside Dinner
|Parasailing, Which Neither of Us Got Off the Beach
|In The Bedroom of Our Suite
While at the Grand Mayan we attended a timeshare presentation.
We figured what pressure could there be, we already own one. And we would receive $100.00 credit toward our meals plus 10%
off of our entire bill. Well worth the effort.
Over a gargantuous breakfast buffet with our sales representative, a suave gentleman named
Fabian (½ Italian; ½ Spanish) with a balding head, a bold stature, and an impressive background (formerly in
Pharma Sales and he held an MBA in Marketing). We realized later that they must assign the Great White Sharks to the owners.
filling breakfast we walked into an oversized room filled with round tables and people sitting around them in trance-like
postures. The 'sharks sales presenters' were all suited up and all of the ‘fish victims’ were in leisure
wear. We were promised 90 minutes only for the presentation and gave 5 hours of our time. Where did the time go?
It wasn’t until I excused myself to
go to the bathroom that I remembered why we were there. Not to purchase anything – only to take our discount and run.
In the bathroom I recalled that we do not need the golf membership – we don’t play golf. We’d tried brokers
in the past and it had never worked. Why would we need two extra weeks when we have four already. We do live in America and vacations
here are scarce!....It is just that he kept discounting the price each time we tried to walk away…we thought it might
soon be given to us for free….
I came back from the bathroom and kicked Jim’s leg under the table. He had a strange
glaze in his eyes.
At this point I felt my anger rise like a scalding fever. I scrunched my face and looked between Jim and Fabian
sitting side by side. I thought, “How did we let this happen? What are we still doing in this room?”
“Fabian, We need another
time out,” I said.
“Jim, we do not need to spend the money now. We promised each other that we came here for only one reason
– the discount. What happened?” I said.
“That’s true. We really do not need all those upgrades. Okay – we are back
to NO,” Jim said.
Fabian walked back and Jim said, “The answer really is NO.”
“Let me check with my
Sales Director,” Fabian said as he briskly walked away. He came back with yet another set of lower sales figures with
terms of 6 months at 0 percent interest. No need to even think about it right. The American way…….”We
said, NO. And now we would like to GO,” I replied.
Fabian shook our hands lightly with a sad, long face. “I don’t know why you have
not bought with us. You are missing out on the only opportunity that you will have.”
We walked away from the shark
tank and returned finally to our vacation, to the pool, to lounge chairs and to our books. And wondered what we had ever been
thinking. A full day of sales badgering is never worth $100.00 or any discount…we have now attended our last timeshare
|The Grounds of the Grand Mayan
|I Hope He Is a Friendly Crocodile.
We next stayed at the Oasis Resort, a much smaller property filled with Mexicans,
Spaniards and Italians with the majority being adults. What a difference the clientele of a resort can make. This ambience
felt chic with a European pulse whereas our last place, though magnificent, seemed to have clientele creating a Disneyworld affect.
There were other disappointments here though.
We went to work out at the gym and instead of a plush two story building with trainers, loads of equipment and such (as we
had at our last place) we found one small room with rusting antiquated equipment. No worries though, walking in the thick
white sand (as white as a baby’s butt) along the aqua blue and emerald Caribbean Sea became exercise enough. The sky
often had such a remarkable hue of colors of blue, then purple, then dark hovering black. The air had a magnetic feel as the
thunder storms approached. We traveled here on the cusp of the hurricane season as we figured this was a small risk to take
to receive nearly a 50% discount off the rate.
One night we listened to a Latino band in the lobby area put their groove on with the dazzling
Euro crowd in the background. We again feigned our Latino moves. I did feel a red rush of embarrassment as we moved our feet
to the beat and they were not at all doing the Salsa. Jim didn’t seem to mind as much as me – of course I was
convinced that all eyes in the room were upon us. (as if we command that much attention). Jim reminded me that most of the
crowd was sitting down – they didn’t have our courage. So we shuffled along and enjoyed ourselves thinking
that all those seated were missing all the fun.
|Our All Inclusive Resort in Playa Akumal
A typical day at the Grand Oasis had us outdoors at the sushi bar sampling many
varieties; sipping on beers; reading our novels under umbrellas; and then walking the bright white beach sands with many shades
of green and white foamy waves splashing us all the while. The Caribbean landscape here is such an artist’s palette. The light and dark blues of
the sky with patches of dark grey and black promise another quick pass through rain shower. We found the beach studded with
coral seashells; European couples kissing with abandonment; children playing in the sand with buckets or in the water jumping
waves; many other vacationers of all ages were snoozing under the scores of palapas along the beach landscape. And we returned
from our walk to another carefully orchestrated buffet stretched out before us in the dining room for our consumption. Wine
and beer pour freely and the mostly European guests seemed to flit from table to table sharing joviality.
The Europeans seem to travel in large numbers of family and friends, perhaps an entire village,
so they are set when they arrive with their babysitters and party going companions. Who would have thought we would have had
another European experience across the Mexican border. There is much to learn from these people with a profound sense of belonging
to one another. I guess the lesson bears repeating!
|Swimming Up to The Smoothy Bar Was Refreshing
|We Read and Read and Read and Read Some More
|We Did Not Even Swim in This Pool.
El Isle De Cozumel
The most challenging aspect of Mexico had nothing to do with
the food...it was this ferry ride that takes everyone over to Cozumel. The ferry swayed from side to side and shook as if
it was in a typhoon rather than an ordinary trip across. Everyone who sat in the rear of the ferry on the upper deck - were
soaked - as if they had sat on the lowest row at the Shamu Stadium at Sea World. The musicians did their best to distract
us although all of their equipment toppled over and they lost their electric connection....they still belted out some tunes...anything
to justify getting their tips before we disembarked. The man in front of me stopped to kiss the ground when we climbed off
the ferry. I realized we had one more trip later....yikes!
|The Band That Plays on the Ferry From Playa Del
|Carmen to Cozumel.
I almost signed up for a Discovery Dive Course to certify me as a diver. For
three days I’d have been immersed in studies, tests, and dives….so I could then be a ‘diver’ as opposed
to only a ‘snorkeler.’ Yet then I came up for air. The truth is I like feeling free. All of
that gear wrapped around me would be a bit much for my claustrophobia. And I’d rarely use the license as I’ve
no interest in diving in the murky waters in San Diego. I prefer to see what is in front of me, below me, behind
me and all around me. So a ‘snorkeler’ I will remain. Especially when one can swim out right out from the beach
chaises under the palapas to beautiful reefs streaming with fish of all sizes, shapes and colorful designs of endless patterns
– snorkeling is just fine with me.
We took the bus from Playa del Carmel to Chetumal for an overnight before heading down to Belize City
the following day (via bus). What a surprise – a bus with lavish seats and our own private movie
screen with continuous movies in play (and subtitles)! In Chetumal we glimpsed more of the authentic Mexican life (not jaded
by tourism). We walked around in the evening along the main drag (Avenida de Las Heroes) noticing all of the locals buying
their food at side stalls with steam and grease pilfering out. They then sat with one another on little red plastic chairs
and tables, or on benches, on sidewalks – the main theme was for the townspeople to huddle together – laughing
and sharing their days and meals.
We walked to the Bay and what a beauty.
Birds shrilled exuberant whistles in the mangroves which lined the Bay. A sunset of pinks and reds had the sky all aglow.
We bought corn on the cob (on sticks) and rolled them in parmesan cheese and then sat on a bench to munch these. Tasty treat!
We sat near a statue of a fisherman throwing out his net epitomizing the local culture.
passed a large open park where the children congregate with parents in the background. They each rented a motor car (children’s
versions of course) and had their own bumper car lot – and some chose instead to be dare devil drag racers. Another
group of children were coloring, painting or drawing at an area set up with easels to the side. Children here are encouraged
to express themselves. They are also the ‘center of attention’ – as it should be!
Our hotel Los Cocos felt comfortable enough, though the rattles and AC hums from next door were loud enough
to keep us awake the whole night along with a funny acrid smell. Another shower too……it is rare to find a bathtub
or a room without tile floors here in Mexico.
we did find refreshing and pure in Mexico are its people. There is such a gentleness which prevails in
this culture in how people treat one another. Community is revered here (and practiced). There is no looking at the calendar
to put in a date months away to get together with friends or family. People are just together sharing their lives –
they are not so ‘busy’ that they would delay this precious time with one another. Affection
with one another and especially with their children (all the smiles, hugs and kisses) seemed to be an unspoken language of,
“I adore you.” There is much to learn from this culture.