We came to Mexico for a long needed rest after a hectic year of moving, retiring, campaigning and resettling into a new home. I also wanted to spend time over the holidays with my daughter who lives in Ottawa, practically across the country. We had planned to meet in London, then Paris, but travel dates were hard to coordinate. So after checking a few other southern destinations, I kept coming back to Mexico.
We settled on Ixtapa for this vacation, mostly because the flights and dates were convenient to all of us. I had been to Ixtapa in 1979-80 when I was 21. It was my first Club Med experience. I was travelling alone as my girlfriend cancelled her plans to join me as we were about to pay our final installment. My friends at work talked me into going anyway, which I never regretted. Back then, we had to fly into Puerto Vallarta and take a 2.5 hour school bus ride over the mountains to arrive at our village. (Just as a note, I was told that Puerto Vallarta was about 13 hours from Ixtapa, so I guess my memory is faulty. Perhaps we flew to Acapulco and drove to the Club Med. As I searched through the pictures of Club Med Ixtapa, I cannot even recognize the current resort which was updated in the early 2000s.) Ixtapa as we see it today was not even developed back then. That vacation was the sort a young woman might enjoy full of late nights and too many tequilas. You’ll notice that tequila is never among my favourite drinks. I haven’t been able to stand it since my first visit to Ixtapa!
My favourite things about this country are the people, the food and the fact that someone understands my grade 10 Spanish. I actually understand quite a bit of what I read and hear, but tend to be a bit tongue tied when faced with an actual conversation. I usually manage to order food and drink with some ease, greet people politely and at times, even understand most directions.
I remember the first time I went to the market in Cancun (the only time actually), the look of puzzlement on the vendor’s face as I asked for the price of a shell bracelet and paid without haggling. The price had seemed reasonable to me, perhaps $5. But I think locals would have valued it at under $1 at a time. Let’s just say that I am not a good bargain shopper in that way. Besides, it occurs to me that giving people a fair amount for their efforts and goods allows them to support themselves without turning to alternate incomes. And we all know that Mexico is known for its alternate income sources and that in reality, it is not the Mexicans who benefit from it but rather a select few criminals. Ok, I am stating the obvious, but all that to say that I probably spend too much on some items for someone on a fixed income, but I feel good doing it. On the other hand, we are sitting on the beach at our hotel with beer, nuts and limonada that we purchased from the store at half the bar prices. I actually like this lemonade better.
The service on the beach here is quite good. You can order drinks and they’ll even bring you a place of nachos or any other food from the snack bar. My typical meal here is grilled fish, salad, guacamole and pico de gallo. I seem to eat that on all my southern vacations now. Of course the morning omelet is a must too. Unfortunately, I am a bit limited with other foods due to gluten and dairy restrictions. You should see me look at the labels on the back of a pack of nuts at the store. I managed to sort it out though. It’s our 4th day here and so far my stomach is happy. Of course I only drink rum, so I am stay away from gluten that way too. Rum Collins, rum punch, strawberry daiquiri, you know, the healthy stuff.
Our room is on the tenth floor, overlooking the ocean and a fabulous stretch of beach. The resort has a large pool and a few restaurants. We are at the beachside restaurant the first night we arrived. The atmosphere was lovely with the sound of the waves and tropical breezes. One night we were treated to a concert from the neighbouring hotel, sax and guitar played all Beatles music. We left our patio door open and we about to doze off to the soothing sounds when the karaoke started up followed by the sultry boom boom boom of the beach disco den the beach.
The following night, the music was lovely once again, and the breezes so I couldn’t resist leaving the door open. Besides, I had purchased my “muy buenos noches” earplugs! Things were going fine but I could still hear the boom boom boom. I tried to sleep but I suddenly started to itch. I had a fleeting thought that mosquitoes might make it up to the 10th floor, so I got up to close the door and check myself in the mirror. Sure enough, some critters had been chewing on me. I went back to bed, checked my pillows where I found 2 mosquitos just engorged with blood. Once I swatted them, you would have thought a minute mass murder had occurred. I felt sorry for the nice cleaning staff who would discover it the next morning.