The last post I wrote was in the middle of a two week holiday to Mexico from the comfort of my five star room, complete with sea view and jacuzzi bath and it was about the pains of having to move house as soon as I got back.
That seems like a lifetime away now and I have only just emerged, realising that a month has gone by without writing about my experience, which I fully intended to do when I got back.
The trauma and upheaval of moving put paid to that but that’s a story for another day.
I want to recapture those hot, steamy days spent on the Mayan Riviera, surrounded by luxury and my extended family.
The main reason for the trip was the wedding of my half sister Sarah, a mere thirty years my junior. Also sharing the holiday was Tim and Chris, my half brothers and Chris’s wife and two adorable daughters Stella and Isla who were going to be bridesmaids.
The wedding was booked well in advance, fifteen months to be precise, so there was a long anticipation of the big day. And the big holiday.
At last the day of departure dawned amid much excitement as we were already at the airport, having stayed in the Premier inn the night before.
We had booked the V room through Virgin, who our holiday was booked through, to spend time there after check in.
The V room is a bit like a VIP room, with a bounty of goodies both hot and cold to eat, from pastries and cakes to the full monty cooked breakfast. As I was full up from the hotel breakfast, I decided to have liquid refreshment in the form of a couple of Kir Royales – well start as you mean to go on!
The lounge overlooked the planes parked in the airport and we watched the planes taking off and landing from the runway.
The girls played happily in the play area and after a disappointingly short amount of time, it was time to board. I even had to neck my second champers, which left me with bubbles up my nose!
After a very long walk to our departure gate, we were met with a view of our plane, the English Rose, a 747 and a stunning sight to behold,as the photo shows. Now the excitement was palpable.
Once on board, we mounted the steps to the top deck to find our seats. There was a brief delay and then we took off to face the nine and a half hour journey. I had decided previously that the only way to get through the long flight was to chose a few films on the entertainment system and get through them one by one. And do you know, it worked. Before I knew it, we were landing.
The heat didn’t hit me until we left the terminal building and then the humidity almost sapped the life out of me the moment I stepped into it. We were offered a bottle of ice cold water as we boarded our coach for the short journey to the hotel, a clear sign of the tropical climate that we were going to endure; reinforced by the spiel of the Virgin rep who warned us of a possible heat wave of temperatures of 45 degrees. Luckily that didn’t happen, which was just as well.
On arrival at our hotel, the salubrious 5* Moon Palace Golf and Spa Resort, we were met with a team of bellboys, sweating profusely in the heat and rallying round frantically to organise our suitcases. Ladies were given a fresh, wrapped flower and everybody was given a cold, fragranced face towel to mop our weary brows. I was temped to give the bell boys mine as they were literally dripping with sweat.
After the melee in the lobby entrance (and Stella puking up), we were led to our golf buggy – yes, we were actually driven to our rooms, such was the scale of the complex but I thought it was a nice touch and as it was a first for me, made me feel rather special. The bellboy showed me to my room and took me in to show me the necessary things for my usage (like the mini bar, complete with optics!) and when I saw the sea view from my balcony I actually welled up! He must have thought I had lost the plot because I just couldn’t believe that all this was for me. I tipped him handsomely and was left to revel in the luxury that surrounded me. I had two double beds and I chose the one with the best view of the sea and started to take some photos before I unpacked, so it was still tidy and would like to share them with you here. What you can’t see in the photos is the air conditioning, which was on night and day and became my treasured friend. Even at night, hours after the sun had gone down, the humidity hit me in the face and steamed up my glasses as soon as I stepped outside.
It took a couple of days to adjust to the tropical heat, so the next few days were spent in the pool, cooling down and consuming vast amounts of cocktails that seemed to appear at regular intervals by the attentive staff.
A few days in, I went on an excursion which I booked through the “vacation planner” at the hotel, to Chichen Itza. There are many Mayan sites in the Yucatan Peninsula but Chichen Itza is the biggest and best and has recently been awarded the title of Seventh Wonder of the ancient world. It was a long day, almost 12 hours but it was something I felt duty bound to do, incase I didn’t make it back to this neck of the woods again. I plumped for the “Luxury package”, in keeping with the rest of the holiday and this entitled me to a tasty breakfast on the coach, male and female toilets on said coach (which we were strenuously encouraged not to use unless it was an emergency, and then only a number one!). There was a very informative film about the site and the Mayan history, which I found very interesting. I didn’t realise that the Mayans were so intelligent and ahead of their time. A bottle of cold water was issued on disembarkation of the coach and umbrellas were available to keep the sun off delicate shoulders. The guide told us that it was 36 degrees with about 80% humidity, so very hot indeed. He had the decency to give us his speeches huddled under the shade of some conveniently placed trees, thank goodness. I was impressed with his knowledge of the site and he even managed to crack a few jokes to keep us entertained. The tour took about an hour and then we were allowed to explore the area ourselves. I took a walk down to a cenote, which is a sink hole filled with water. On closer inspection, it looked more like a small lake. Apparently the Yucatan region is full of them. On the way I had to pass hundreds of souvenir vendors, all trying to tempt me to their stall. It was quite tiring having to fend them off. Back to the bus and we were offered another cold, fragranced flannel to wipe the sweat from our brows and this time a cold beer as well. Things were looking up!
We were driven to our next stop for lunch in a place called Valladolid. It was a typical Mexican cantina and dated back to the fifteen hundreds. The food was buffet style, typical Mexican Fayre and included in the “Luxury”ticket. I loved it here because the deco was so interesting and there was a profusion of tropical plants growing in the courtyard the size of banana trees and palms almost as big. In fact, I think they were banana plants. The Senorina who greeted us was wearing the traditional costume of the area and was very accommodating, although I was surprised that she stuck me on a table for one, even though I was on my own. Usually in these situations, you are encouraged to sit with others in the group.
After lunch, we went into the town square where the cathedral overlooked the plaza. I have to say, all the buildings were quite shabby; they reminded me of those in old western films with their peeling paint. I suppose it gave the place character, if nothing else.
Back to the coach and another cenote to visit, this one had stalactites and stalagmites and some people were brave enough to swim in the cold water. We were told, in no uncertain terms, that we were not to jump in because we would make the seats wet on the coach! I was rather relieved because I didn’t fancy it anyway. More souvenir opportunities and then we were on our way again for the three hour drive back to the hotel.
To be continued…….