By Greg Price
Traveled to Mexico for the first time in my life (border towns don’t count), and must say quite enjoyed the experience at an all-inclusive resort in Playa del Carmen. As always there are several observations to be made as this trip to sunny paradise, there was no lack of them.
ANIMAL FARM: There were plenty of things to rave about at the resort, the great restaurants, the beautiful beach, swim up bars, the night life, but sometimes what you find fascinating are the little things… like towels. Each day as the cleaning ladies came in, a new towel creation awaited, be it your traditional swan, then an elephant, then a cow, then a turkey, then a double swan and so on. Yes, sometimes it’s the simple things that can make your trip enjoyable as well.
CHICKEN RUN: Traveled with a rubber chicken named Clucky that has seen many travels around the world. Served as a conversation starter and in the trip to Mexico it proved no different. From entertainment to help staff at the resort, to fellow couples on a romantic cruise, several people posed with the chicken who also had its share of alcoholic beverages stored in it for consumption.
BASEBALL IS UNIVERSAL: While most people I encountered spoke English to some degree, there was a language barrier at times, especially in markets of commerce. But those barriers quickly dissolved with the simple game of baseball. ‘Fernando!!!!’ could be heard nearly every 10 steps I took in the markets, as people reminisced about my Fernando Valenzuela jersey. Valenzuela was a pitcher I grew up watching with my beloved Los Angeles Dodgers, having a career spanning from 1980-1990 in which he would strike out batters by staring up to the heavens before delivering his lethal screwball. I demonstrated his unique pitching style to my fellow travelers. As we jumped into a cab, there were four drivers sitting on the corner doing the exact same motions as they smiled to me sitting in the cab, giving a thumbs up as I drove away.
MONEY WELL SPENT: I’ll admit it, I’m cheap. Growing up with a thrifty mother, it’s in my DNA. After initial grumblings of paying a set amount for a romantic sunset dinner cruise with my companion, I have to say it was well worth it in the mood it set and also when you really do look at your pocketbook. With a drink that was never empty, steak and lobster accompanied by sexy saxophone music, good company from other couples and a sunset you thought you only saw in movies, all for the price of what amounts to a healthy night out at The Keg for a couple. This cheapskate probably would have paid double for the same experience again.
THE THINGS YOU KNOW: The informative tour of the Coba ruins at Quintana Roo, Mexico was well — very informative.
I learned the red colour of the ruins back in the day was not from human sacrifice, but from the blood of beetles. The Mayan cycle is every 52 years where after every cycle a new temple was built on top of another.
Royalty in the Mayan culture definitely had their quirks as jade was driven into teeth, and, during infancy, boards and such were shaped to the babies heads to have them form into an elongated shape, taking on an almost alien-like form for those X-Filers out there that think perhaps the Mayans were visited by friends from space.
The tour proved to me also how cushy our elite athletes in North America have it. Here in North America they get multi-million dollar contracts, shoe and soft drink endorsement deals and super model wives or girlfriends.
In Mayan culture, the top athlete/captains on teams either got sacrificed so they wouldn’t go to hell (there was no heaven in Mayan culture) and to be reincarnated as part of the Eternal Tree or have their genitals pierced as what I can only think is some fertility ritual. Yep, North American athletes are wimps compared to their Mayan counterparts.
SUNNY SHORES: I’m a redhead so sun and my pasty skin do not always agree with each other. While some can get a nice bronzed tan from the get go, I get as red as a shamed Senator which finally turns into a nice brown. Fearing this I bought SPF 60 sunscreen which is essentially saying a nuclear bomb can’t get through. First day of total sun in Mexico and it looked like I was still Casper the Friendly Ghost. I quickly pared down the sunblock and ceremoniously got as red as the Hammer and Sickle of Mother Russia. There is no happy medium when it comes to tanning for me, rather being very well done.