Accommodations, Cruising, DESTINATIONS, International, TRAVEL, Travel Planning

Welcome to Concierge Class

Celebrity Edge
Celebrity Edge

TRAVEL THERE: THE SECOND MOST EXCITING DAY OF MY CRUISE

I’ve already told you about the most exciting day of my cruise.  That’s when Jim and Melanie told me they had already booked their cabin.  It was because we hadn’t and staterooms were filling fast.  By the end of the day, we had our Deluxe Ocean View Staterooom 1B with Veranda #5578.  The second most exciting day was when they assigned me to Concierge Class.

Concierge Class

I may never know exactly what happened with Celebrity, but I’m guessing my upgrade to Concierge Class had more to do with CTC Travel than it did with my social media footprint.  One day I was going to have to pay $100 per person not to look through an over-sized porthole and the next I had a free upgrade to Concierge Class.  I tell everybody, all the time, DO NOT take a cruise without a travel agent.  Let my upgrade to Concierge Class stand as evidence of my reasons.

I’m going to tell you a little secret though.  It wasn’t that big of a deal.  The Celebrity brochure promised “from the moment your Concierge greets you for priority check-in” I would be in for a treat.  Only there was no Concierge to greet me and no one had any idea of where to go for my priority check-in.  That wasn’t really a big deal, because I had the Celebrity App, which actually was a big deal and check-in was such a breeze that it might have well as been priority check-in with a Concierge.

My only interaction with said Concierge was a telephone call I got from him each day, where he’d give me the weather report for the next day (often inaccurate) and tell me the HOUR, yes the one hour, that he would be available the next day.  It was never an hour that I would actually be available to talk to him.  I was hoping said Concierge would help us out with dinner reservations, because we had found it particularly difficult to book shore excursions together, since the Bagley’s  had booked with another travel agent.  My brochure had assured me my “own dedicated Concierge” would be just steps away.  HA!  He was over the river and through the woods from our room, if he actually existed at all.  We stood in line with everyone else to square away our dinner reservations and I’ll just say it didn’t go well.

Other Amenities

But there was supposed be even more treats to come – like a destination seminar. Never a word about that on board.  We were also supposed to “open our door to a beautiful array of fresh fruit and a chilled bottle of Blanc de Blancs.”  Yeah, that was an exaggeration, too.  The local Celebrity sales rep, who I’ve gotten to know through CTC, did send us some hors d’oeuvres, some flowers and a bottle of pinot noir.  CTC gifted us with some chocolate-covered strawberries.  But fruit from the Concierge? Nope.

We did get a bottle of champagne, but it was quite a challenge.  On the first day, I told our room steward to go ahead and deliver it, because we had a frig and I could keep it cold.  As it turned out, we got it on the last day, not chilled, to bring home in our suitcase.  Not exactly as advertised.

They also promised afternoon delicacies, which they did deliver every afternoon.  We’d come in after an all day shore excursion and voila, we’d have a four-sectioned, covered plate waiting for us.  In each section would be a tiny sample of something odd.  We could rarely tell exactly what it was, which was better than the days that we could.  For instance, one day there was a teeny tiny little shrimp tooth-picked to a piece of bread.  Only our covered plate was not on ice or refrigerated and we had no idea how long it had been sitting there.  I’ve had food poisoning from seafood – no thank you very much.  One thing I never need more of on a cruise is food.

There was a pillow menu, but the pillows on the bed suited me fine and I wasn’t going to chase down any others.  The promised Hansgrohe massaging shower head was quite nice, however.  No complaints there and I’m not even the showering sort.  There was also a Welcome Luncheon for Concierge Class passengers which kept us from rubbing elbows with the likes of those who were staying in the Deluxe Ocean View Staterooom 1B with Veranda I’d first been assigned to and it was quite nice, but I’ll save the details about that until embarkation.

I guess I’ve fussed a little about about the short-comings of Concierge Class, but before they write about it in the brochure, they ought to do a little fact-checking.  I loved my stateroom, but the not the mostly unavailable Concierge, his destination seminar, fresh fruit, chilled bottle and daily delicacies.  As it was, I’d gotten a free upgrade, so who was I to complain.

Getting upgraded to Concierge Class proved to be more exciting than actually being in Concierge Class, and that’s too bad.  However, we’re getting closer to our departure, so come back next week and let’s talk about the gown for my vow renewal.

Accommodations, Cruising, DESTINATIONS, International, TRAVEL, Travel Planning

It Wasn’t Their Fault

TRAVEL THERE: WHEN YOUR CRUISE LINE SAYS OOOOPS

I want to begin this post by saying I love Sandra Rubio and CTC Travel.  They have been more than good to me.  They get all my lavish dreams and help me balance them with my frugal husband’s concerns.  They have wonderful travel events.  They treat me like a star, even though my travel is small beans in comparison to some of their clients.  When I get all flustered and frustrated, Sandra is a rock.  I’m about to complain, but I want you to know I’m not complaining about Sandra or CTC.  In fact, they saved the cruise!

Obstructed View

I wasn’t exactly sure what Celebrity meant when I read “obstructed view” in an email from my travel agent.  I’m actually a pretty easy-going traveller.  Some people think obstructed view means that if you stand on your tiptoes and hold your head just right, then a tiny corner of the balcony above you can be seen.  That’s not me.

Then I saw they were talking about and they were 100% right.  I was going to have an obstructed view.  It was like a porthole view, not a veranda view.  I’d booked my cabin 18 months ahead and NOW, after I’d already booked my non-refundable air they were telling me about an obstructed view.

I’d booked the cabin especially, to be close to Eden, because I saw that as a sort of gathering spot for all of us who were traveling together.  Then when we booked the vow renewal ceremony, I’d requested for it to be in Eden for all kinds of reasons.  I was emotionally married to this Deluxe Ocean View State Room w/ Veranda 1B and now it was flawed!  You might say I was even a little hysterical.

I’m a reasonable person and while I wasn’t crazy about the fact that a mistake had been made, I was willing to get over myself and change cabins.  But guess what, after they had made the mistake of allowing me to book a deluxe veranda cabin, which was actually an obstructed view mess, they were ONLY going to charge me a $100 fee PER PERSON to transfer our reservation to another cabin.  Oh and if the cabin was in a higher category, then I’d have to pay for the upgrade also.  I could live with that, but $100 per person for their mistake was just a little more than I was ready to fork over.

My Little Russian Powder Keg

If I was a little hysterical, then you might also say my friend Viktoriya was Mount Vesuvius.  She wanted heads to roll.  To be honest, I kind of wanted a few heads to roll also, but I didn’t want those heads to be on the shoulders of anyone at CTC Travel.  I told Viktoriya to dial it way back.  I also told her the first thing we should do was pray, especially before we started lopping off heads.

What I most felt like doing was going somewhere to mourn, but if I didn’t do something and quickly, things would get ugly.  While I’m certainly not a travel celebrity, I have been travel blogging for a decade now.  I have thousands of followers on social media and hundreds of thousands of people see my Travel Advisor reviews.  In fact, I’m one of the Top Twenty reviewers in Dallas.  While Bill has tried to get a few upgrades with that information over the years, I do my best to downplay it.  I don’t want to be feel beholden to anyone and feel like I have to say anything nice, especially if I don’t feel there was anything nice to say.  I also don’t want anyone to think I’m just saying something nice because I was compensated for it.

For once, I was changing my policy.  It’s one thing to tell some housewife in Heath that she’s looking at the Mediterranean through a big circle.  It’s another to know that hundreds of thousands of people will hear how you ripped off someone celebrating their 25th Wedding Anniversary on your cruise ship.  I can tell you one thing, those hundreds of thousands Travel Advisor people might not have cared and maybe even my 2,000 some odd Twitter followers might not have either, but let me tell you, my 500 plus Facebook friends would care and they were going to hear all about it.

I wrote a very apologetic email to Sandra, but I did give her all my social media stats (including a copy of one of the emails Travel Advisor sends me regularly about my status in the Top Twenty) so she’d have some ammunition to use with Celebrity.  I assured her I didn’t blame her, but that I expected a different cabin and I wasn’t going to be paying $100 per person for it.  In fact, I suggested an upgrade was probably in order.

I’ve already told you that Sandra saved the day, but come back next week and find out what she did for us.

Accommodations, Cruising, DESTINATIONS, International, TRAVEL, Travel Planning

Trying to Pretend We’re Having Fun

Celebrity Edge Brochure
My Cruise Planning Bible

TRAVEL THERE:  PRESSURE COOKER PLANNING

With 18 months to plan our Anniversary Cruise on Celebrity’s new Edge, it would seem that everything should have been smooth sailing, but as I shared last week, almost from the day we booked to the day we left, life was just one big crisis after another.  So, what cruise planning did I manage.  I’ll tell you.

Plodding Through the Planning

In late August, I decided I absolutely had to start thinking about the cruise.  Deb was in her new house and even though Bill was all tied up remodeling our rent house, surely we could start thinking about the cruise. I got on the Celebrity Cruise Line website and started studying everything they had there about our dining choices and the shore excursions.  Excitement abounded while I looked at all the options, but Bill wasn’t as thrilled about it when I tried to share the news.  I understood why, but it still made me sad.

The next time I got around to thinking about the cruise was late September and the first thing I discovered was that much of the research I had done in August was null and void, because all the pricing had changed.  I emailed my travel agent, Sandra Rubio of CTC Travel.  She was glad to hear from me, because since we’d booked the cruise I’d been fairly invisible, but come to find out, the shore excursion pricing I’d been looking at was based on a special they’d been running.  Not much she could do about that.  The special was over.

Because we knew the cruise was going to cost so much, we’d already decided to keep a low travel profile for the year, but as I began to actually plan the cruise, I knew this event was going to take up more than two years of travel budget – more like 3 to 5 years – and all the while, we’re bleeding money on the house we were trying to sell.  Still, I had to start making some decisions.  If we were going to have a vow renewal ceremony, Sandra encouraged me to go ahead and book it.  I got over that hump in October.

The next hurdle was considering pre and post trip excursions, so we’d know when to book the air.  I planned the trip 14 ways.  I priced it out with the Celebrity pre and post trip excursions.  I even had Sandra price out DIY pre and post shore excursions.  After all that research, we finally decided to just do the cruise and splurge on the best short excursions during the trip.  I was ready to book our airfare on January 7th, exactly the number of days ahead all the travel bloggers say you are supposed to book international air.

“Obstructed Views”

We got air hundreds of dollars less than the cruise company was offering it and I had just started to relax.  Things were shaping up for our trip in spite of what was happening with the stupid real estate problem.  And that’s when I got an email from my Sandra with the words “obstructed views” in it.  It’s a darn good thing we’d booked non-refundable air, because had we not done that, just days before, chances are we would have cancelled the cruise.  It was just too much.  There had been too many complications about the cruise and in our lives.  Obstructed balconies made me want to stay home.

So what did we do?  Come back next week and I’ll let you know.

 

Accommodations, Cruising, DESTINATIONS, International, TRAVEL, Travel Planning

A Year of Antiscipation

Cruise Buddies

TRAVEL THERE: I HAD MORE TO DO THAN WAIT

Excuse my sabbatical from blogging.  I came back from my cruise more than overwhelmed.  I came back, got to work and haven’t looked up since, until today.  Let the cruise blogging begin!

If you’re thinking of cruising, a shift has occurred in the last few years.  After of decades of saving the best deals for last, the cruise lines finally learned they’d been training their passengers to wait until the last minute to book their sailings.  So, a major shift has occurred.  The earlier you book, the better the deal – or at least that’s what they tell you.  Sure, there will always be last minute deals, but you might not like what you get.

I just checked.  To get a room in the same category I first booked, I wouldn’t save a penny if I’d waited until now.  The good news would be that I wouldn’t be spending anymore.  However, chances are, I wouldn’t have gotten the same room, but on a smaller cruise ship, there’s the chance I wouldn’t be going at all.  So what did I do with that 15 months I had before the cruise?  Well, I’ll share some it with you.

Come Cruise with Me

My first consideration in this had been to let our family members know what we were planning and invite them along.  I notified them months before we ever settled on a cruise line.  As we considered our options, we paid serious attention to which cruises would work best with the potentially interested family members.  All that was for naught.  In the end, not a single niece, nephew, sister or cousin joined us.  Once I knew which cruise we’d be on and that there’d be no group deal, I sent out an invitation to virtually ever one on our buddy list.  Several friends had talked a good game when the cruise was mere speculation, but when it came time to book a cabin, most wandered away, some without a word, some with ‘maybe later’ and a few with stated regrets.

In truth, I’d hoped for a heftier guest list.  This whole thing had come out of my desire to stand before our friends and family and renew our marriage vows.  Moving the ceremony from our backyard to the deck of a cruise ship had emptied the party chairs of all but the most faithful and oh, what faithful friends those were.  Let me introduce you to our crew.

The first to sign up, as I’ve already told you, were Jim and Melanie.  What delightful souls they are!  Had they not stepped up and bought their fare the moment we told them which ship, I might be telling you a different tale today.  I will be forever grateful for their encouragement that day.  As a Christian I’ve learned that God often speaks through circumstances.  The message that day was loud and clear.  Come on, book your cruise.  If Jim and Melanie are there, you don’t need anyone else.

But I knew there would be someone else coming along.  From the time I first mentioned the idea of a vow renewal, my bestie, Deb, had planned to be there – backyard, boat deck or the back of beyond.  Deb is always there for me.  When we announced our choice, she was in the middle of a huge life crisis, but life crisis be damned, Deb was going to be there.

And then there’s Viktoriya.  I’ve never had children of my own, but God has filled my life with wonderful people, who mean as much or more to me, as anyone who is actually a member of my family.  Viktoriya is one of those people.  She was literally a lost soul when we met in a class at UTD and I have observed her grow into an amazing woman.  She graciously gives me some credit for the journey she has made, but it has been God that made all the difference.

Then Life Happened 

When Bill first turned my attention away from a backyard ceremony to a cruise, I envisioned the fun we’d have, poring over the ship’s brochure, selecting our shore excursions and choosing our dining venues.  He’d even promised that would be part of the package if I’d do things his way.  Well then, life happened.  Come back next week and I will tell you about that.

Accommodations, Attractions, DESTINATIONS, International, Road Trips, TRAVEL

Are You Kidding Me Right Now?

people at theater
Photo by Monica Silvestre on Pexels.com

TRAVEL THERE: THAT’S ENTERTAINMENT?

We arrived at the Seadust’s theater in time to score some pretty good seats and the show started promptly at the given time.  Things were looking up.

Audience Participation

Many of the live shows we attend when we’re traveling include audience participation.  It was probably most enjoyable when we were on our Nile cruise a few years before I started blogging.  There was a hysterical game with potatoes and I won a belly dancing contest on Gallabeya Night.  Bill is always the guy they choose out of the audience when belly dancers are involved and he frequently ends up on stage for other performances, too, like one of the shows on the Danube cruise.  Thankfully, the participants for this particular show had to volunteer.  Bill never volunteers.

Toto, we weren’t in Kansas anymore.  The MC did a silly skit where he and an assistant taught four guys a series of four schticks and then the MC called out the names of the schticks in quick succession, trying to catch the contestants performing the wrong schtick.  I was little surprised at the skit, because one of the schticks emulated a series of effeminate gestures.  I’ve seen things like that before, but in politically-correct America, it’s been a very long time ago.

The audience enjoyed the antics and would laugh particularly hard when the four burly guys would wave limp-wrist-ed at the audience and turn around with simpering steps to waggle their behind at us.  Apparently, politically incorrect is funny in Mexico.

Let’s Start the Show

After the Audience Participation skit was over, a series of Broadway songs were performed. The only song I actually remember was from Beauty and the Beast.  I remember it, because the costumes were beyond shopworn.  The yellow ballgown was thinner than cheap toilet paper and the Beast looked like he’d been roused out of bed for the scene.

Our favorite part of the show was a dance performed by a guy in, what I can only describe as a multi-limb-ed fabric-enclosed Slinky.  The Slinky costume was brightly colored and the dance very entertaining.

Then, yet another opportunity for audience participation came along and yes, another gay-bashing schtick was involved. At that point we had seen enough.  I sort of hate most political correctness, but obviously I don’t like gay-bashing.

Time to Call It a Night

Though it had been much more relaxing than the previous 24-hours, I’d had a pretty full schedule.  We’d be leaving the following day, but I’d have plenty of time to do my packing before our transportation showed up.  I’d stopped by the Best Day desk in the lobby right after breakfast and had made the arrangements.  We wouldn’t be leaving until almost one.

I did take the time to be sure our towels and swimsuits were hung up to dry, but soon I had on my jammies and was reading more of my novel about Mexico.  It was really beginning to get good.  However, I didn’t get very far, because I was soon drifting off to sleep.

Packing It All In

I woke up early and went to the large bathroom and dressing area to pack up our things.  It actually took longer than I expected, because Bill was up before I was through.  We went downstairs for breakfast at the buffet and I had one more errand I wanted to take care of.  I’d been shopping for a gift for my bestie throughout the trip and to my amazement, the best combination of selection, quality of merchandise and pricing was actually in the gift shop of the Seadust’s lobby.  I selected the item I thought she’d like and use most.  Then we returned upstairs to finish packing.

I felt like I was playing some sort of game, as usual.  Our big suitcase can hold an amazing amount of stuff, but if I filled it up, we’d need a crane to move it and we couldn’t afford the surcharge the airline would levy for overweight items.  On this trip, American allowed us each a carry-on.  So, I juggled our stuff, hoping to balance just the right amount of clothing and shoes with the toiletries to put the big bag under 50 pounds.  Then I had to make everything else fit into carry-ons.  I couldn’t use exactly the same formula as I had on the way to Cancun, because all of our swimming gear was still damp and couldn’t be packed in the big bag.  Eventually I was ready to go.

We’re almost through, except for the thoughts I’d been mulling over since the visit to Chichen Itza.  if you come back next week, I’ll try to make my meditations coherent.

Accommodations, DESTINATIONS, International, Restaurants & Bars, Road Trips, TRAVEL

The Big Ben Blues

Medium Rare Prime Rib?

TRAVEL THERE: DINNER AT THE SEADUST STEAKHOUSE

In the three days we were at the Seadust Cancun Family Resort, we didn’t have the opportunity to visit all the restaurants, but that’s OK.  You can tell us about them if you go.  Here’s what happened at the steakhouse.

Getting a Table Before the Show

I had finally discovered a spot in the lobby where a monitor showed the activities of the day.  Too bad I didn’t find it until our stay was almost over.  I learned the evening’s entertainment would be at 8:30 in the theater we’d discovered on the first day – a theater with no information anywhere about when it opened or what was playing.

That night’s show was a Broadway Revue, which could be bad or good.  The Broadway-themed show on the Vision of the Seas had been pretty awful.  Still, we didn’t want to miss it, so we went down fairly early to catch dinner before the show.

Bill suggested the Maison d’ Michelle, which might have been a better choice, but I wanted to try something new.  The Mexican food and the Sushi at the Buffet indicated those wouldn’t be the best options, so we gave the Big Ben Steakhouse a try.  According to the information I had been able to locate, it was supposed to be even more popular than the French Restaurant.

The restaurant was full when we arrived, so we put our names on the list.  Almost immediately a crowd of other patrons showed up to also get on the list.  Maybe this was going to be OK.  As the crowds grew, Bill began showing signs of antsy-ness.  Thankfully, called our name before he wandered off.

Here We Go

We were welcomed into the restaurant, shown a table in the center of the room and handed a couple of menus.  Tonight the only white wine available was a Chardonnay, so I opted for a Margarita. Foul ball!  Bill was thrilled to discover he could have a Cabernet Savignon.  When the waiter returned with the bottle, Bill encouraged him to go ahead and fill it up a little more.  Then he took his first sip.  Strike One!

If there were appetizers, I don’t remember them.  I ordered a cut of medium rare prime rib.  Bill chose bbq ribs.  Bill loves ribs.  He usually orders them when they are on the menu, even when steak is another option.  I would not have ordered ribs in an English-themed restaurant in Cancun, Mexico. 

Dinner was served.  Strike Two!  Did you see what they were calling a medium rare cut of prime rib.  It was more like an overcooked round steak.  I admit, I started giggling.  I would have preferred the duck chunks or the mediocre fried seafood, but I didn’t say a word.  I didn’t want to set Bill off on his catalog of disappointments.

Bill attacked his ribs and claimed they were pretty good.  He just didn’t like the sauce.  I thought it was funny that there was a sauce at all.  Sauces, gravy and condiments seemed to be in short supply.  The fact they’d prepared a sauce was amazing.  We’ll just call this a foul ball.

Dessert was paraded by in a glass-enclosed cart and I was disappointed to discover the coconut pie, which had been listed on the menu, was not among the available selections.  However, there was chocolate and I like chocolate.  The dessert was delivered.  I liked it well enough, but Bill called it a strike and wanted to go to the buffet to check out the selections there.

At the dreaded buffet Bill scored some acceptable dessert bites and once he’d topped off his meal with them,  we headed off for the theater.  Come back next week and enjoy the show.

Accommodations, Attractions, DESTINATIONS, International, Restaurants & Bars, Road Trips, TRAVEL

Acting Like Adults

TRAVEL THERE: ADULTS ONLY AT THE SEADUST

So, the food wasn’t great, but we were having a pretty good day at the Seadust Cancun Family Resort thanks to our friends at CTC Travel, especially Sandra Rubio.  Hanging out on our balcony, going to the gym, enjoying the beach and playing in the pool.  What’s not to like?  I could have happily gotten another margarita and stayed at the Main Pool, but I feel like I have a responsibility to my readers.  I couldn’t just leave the Seadust without reporting on the Adult Only Pools.  So off we went.

First You Have to Find It

If there is a map of the Seadust property, it’s not posted anywhere, there’s not one in the room and no one gave me one.  We were able to follow our noses and discover most of the attractions around the resort, but some we had to ask about and as for the casino, we didn’t care enough to bother asking.

We could see the Adult Only Pools, the ball courts and a tip of the Water Park from our room.  We found the Water Park our first night.  The pool and the courts we had to ask about.  With a little perseverance, we found the pools earlier in the day, but they were abandoned and we didn’t have on our swimwear.  After our kite and Main Pool adventures, we were properly dressed and interested in what we would find.

The adults only pools are actually one pool and two huge hot tubs.  One of those sit-in-the-water bars graces one end of the pool.  There is a sizable kiosk in the center of the section, which seems as if it would be a great place for a snack bar and grill or a place to sell excursions, but it was empty.  They had some of those double bed-like chaise lounges we enjoyed at Punta Cana, but there was no awning over them.

Then You Have to Overcome Your Inhibitions

Not to worry!  You don’t have to take off your clothes to enjoy the hot tubs, but if you have any germ phobias you might have a problem.  The first thing I noticed was a ring around the hot tub.  It didn’t look like it had been there since the last Ice Age or anything, but it did show a certain level of neglect on the part of the resort. 

When we arrived in the Adult area, the bartender was absent and a couple was trying to pour themselves a beer.  Bill was ready for a beer so he went over to help them.  I went ahead to test the waters and found them to be a very comfortable temperature.  As I went down the steps the bathtub ring caught my eye, but I decided to overlook it.  While I sat there, the bartender returned and caught Bill in the act.  How much trouble can you get for pouring yourself a drink at an all-inclusive hotel?  Apparently not much, because soon Bill and the couple returned.

As we enjoyed the hot tub we shared some conversation with the other couple.  They were Russian, but lived in America.  The woman had started her American residency in Oklahoma, but had moved further north when she married.  I don’t remember what state.

Along with a lot of stuff about their business, we discovered they were in their second week of vacation at the Seadust.  They were having a great time.  They thought the food was fine. They loved their room. They had kids, so they loved being able to abandon the young ones to the kids clubs and have some private vacation time. We told them how beautiful the beach was, how much we loved our balcony and pretty much smiled through their happy description of their time at the resort.  No use tarnishing their vacation with our culinary and architectural complaints.

So like beauty, enjoyment means different things to different people.  The other couple had to go get their kids and the sun was going down, so we headed back to the room to get cleaned up for dinner.  Yes, there are a couple of more meals before our time at the Seadust is over.  Come back next week and we’ll go try out the Big Ben Steakhouse.

Accommodations, Attractions, DESTINATIONS, International, Road Trips, TRAVEL

Aw, Go Fly a Kite!

TRAVEL THERE: SAND, WATER AND A BRIGHT BLUE SKY

So, pretty much anytime Bill and I head to a destination with a beach, I say, “Bill, don’t forget to pack your kite.”  His kite is a Windsurf Trainer he picked up when we lived in Pismo Beach, CA.  Flying kites was a popular pastime in Pismo and after destroying a more conventional kite, Bill graduated to the large training kite.  On some trips the wind is too strong or not strong enough or there’s really not enough room to fly the kite, but in Cancun, we flew our kite.

A Two Person Job

If the wind is forceful enough to fly the huge kite, then the flier is going to need someone to help them get it into the air.  When we flew the kite almost weekly in Pismo,  we had the logistics down pat and could get the kite up in a very short period of time.

In Cancun, we were rusty, so it took a little longer than usual for us to get the kite into the air.  We had one false start and then fumbled around so much, a hotel employee pitched in to help.  Bill was very frustrated with our efforts until he realized while we’d been fumbling around, the wind had changed direction.  We hadn’t been helping him wrong, we were just in the wrong place once the wind changed.

Bill was almost too frustrated to continue, but as we folded up our gear, a breath of wind teased the kite.  Bill speculated that just a little further down the beach might provide a better wind, because instead of tall hotels, the beach was lined with two-story condos.

Up in the Air

We trudged further down the beach and fairly soon the kite was in the air.  I’m so glad we gave it one more try.  Bill loves flying the kite, but not as much as I enjoy him doing one of the few truly carefree things he likes to do.  Bill has many things he enjoys.  Golf, for instance, but he’s serious about his game, so he’s not carefree.  When his kite goes up, Bill is transformed into this joyful boy I especially adore.  Oh how I wish he enjoyed more things with such gusto and abandon.

We kept the kite in the air for quite a long time.  We didn’t get the kind of audiences we usually end up with in American venues, but the hotel employee assigned to beach duty enjoyed our antics, as did a lady who stopped to video us.  She gave me the idea to get a video of Bill as he handled the kite.  I hope you like it!

Coming Back Down

Flying the kite is the fun part.  Getting it in the air and packing it up to go represent the price you pay for fun.  While the kite was in the air, Bill tried, as he has before, to get me to pilot the kite.  Just as in previous attempts, all I did was down the kite.  The fun was over.  It was Margarita time.  We packed up and headed back to the Seadust.

As we climbed the stairs to the resort’s main pool, I stopped by the bar for a Margarita, while Bill found a pair of chaise lounges.  The water was great and we had fun.  Once out, I sipped on my Margarita and Bill opted for a tequila shot with a beer.

We had one more area we wanted to enjoy before the sun was down. so we headed off to adult pool we’d found earlier in the day.  Come back next week and take a dip with us.

Accommodations, DESTINATIONS, International, Restaurants & Bars, Road Trips, TRAVEL

Back to the Seadust Buffet

The Infamous Buffet

TRAVEL THERE: THE RUDEST WOMAN IN MEXICO

As If We Didn’t Already Hate the Buffet

So why did we hate the Seadust buffet?  Well, it had a myriad of choices for every meal, but somehow few of them were anything we were interested in.  What’s more when we finally did pick out something to eat, it was at best mediocre.  The way some people filled up there plates, cleaned them and then went back for more and more and more, we know there were people who like the food, but we didn’t.

We also resented the tiny plastic cups provided for cold beverages – we’re talking juice glasses.  By the time you got a little ice, there was barely room for three good sups of soda.  There was also a tap for beer, but the glass barely held the head of foam, much less providing enough room for a reasonable serving.

Locating a salt shaker was a true challenge and pepper?  HA!  What pepper!

In an effort to be efficient, they whipped up your plate the moment you hesitated in the consumption of your food.  Therefore, one of us had to stay at the table at all times or the food we’d gone to so much trouble to pick out would be picked up.  Since you had to keep going back and forth to get more soda or beer, we didn’t spend much time actually eating together.

How Rude!

The final nail in the buffet coffin was the grill chef at this particular meal.  I decided to try a hamburger, freshly cooked at the grill.  At the grill window, there was a selection of entrees in pans from which to serve yourself, as well as a small refrigerated case with options you could order.

The grill chef was involved with grilling what looked like a couple of large pork loins, so I waited patiently, hoping I could catch her eye.  As I waited, I looked at the small cards defining the offerings in the case, which were in both Spanish and English.  In case you didn’t know, “hamburguesa” is Spanish for “hamburger” and “hot dog” is Spanish for “hot dog.” 

You know how it is when someone is trying to ignore you and hoping you will go away.  I can’t say that I blame the woman.  It’s not like she was the only outlet for food in the room and she was busy flipping the pork.  However, I really wanted that burger.

When she finally gave up and darted a glance at me, I smiled and said, “Hamburger, please?”  A fire flew into her eyes and disgust landed on her pursed lips.  “Espanol,” she demanded with a sneer.  I’m sure I looked a bit gobsmacked as I glanced at the card in the case to remind myself of the syllable which would make my request Spanish rather than English.  I made an effort to wrap my mouth around the Spanish, which she responded to with a snarky correction of my pitiful pronunciation.  She was absolutely gleeful to have the opportunity to do that.

I want you to know this rude lady was the only person who treated me this way throughout the entire trip.  I possess a very pitiful Spanish vocabulary for someone who lives in Texas and passed two semesters of high school Spanish.  I’m pretty good with signage and menus, but conversationally I’m a mess.  Still, I try to communicate in Spanish as much as I can.  I ask for cerveza and mantiquilla, instead of beer and butter.  I say por favor and gracias, instead of your welcome and thank you.  I greet people with hola que tal and if they respond with bueno y tu, then I struggle to come up with a word like magnifico.

This woman thought she was having one up on a stupid Americano.  She didn’t realize I was a blogger with over 2500 followers on various social sites or over 200,000 readers on Trip Advisor.  If you work in the public eye, you don’t know either.  That pain in the neck you’re waiting on might just be a social media maven who can ruin your online reputation.  As it is, I won’t be giving Trip Advisor a glowing report about the Seadust, but I’m also not going pick out this lady and make a big deal about her.  Who knows?  Maybe she was just having a bad day and too many of her other fellow employees worked really hard to make me have a good time.

Besides, I was about to go out to the beach and have a good time.  Come along with me next week.

Accommodations, DESTINATIONS, International, Road Trips, TRAVEL

Saved by the Balcony

Seadust’s Adult Only Pools

TRAVEL THERE: FINALLY, THE SEADUST DOES US RIGHT

After our breakfast, we explored the hotel a little more, discovering a few spots we’d missed before like the adult pool and the ball courts.  After that we returned to the balcony.

Our Favorite Spot

I’ve said it before, but I will say it again.  Our balcony was our very favorite thing about the Seadust.  We stayed out on the balcony for several hours.  I continued to read my book and Bill browsed the internet with his tablet.

I can’t tell you how much we enjoyed our time there, silently sharing some time of relaxation.  Occasionally Bill would show me some nugget the internet had served up.  There would be movement from time to time, shifting our chaise lounges to avoid the direct sun, stepping in the room to get an item or just putting down what we were reading and standing at the railing.

Eventually, our breakfast faded away and it was time to find our lunch – even though that meant going back to the Buffet.  We made a list of the things we wanted to do else where in the resort.

  • visit the gym
  • fly our kite
  • drink margaritas
  • try out the adult pool

A Quick Visit to the Gym

Before we started eating again, Bill wanted to try out the gym.  We’d taken a self-directed tour of the facilities before.  The gym is on a lower floor near the spa.  The entry area is beautiful and serene.  The spa looked quite inviting, but since I can go to a spa at home, I don’t use my vacation dollars there.

The gym was very clean and well-equipped.  A nice attendant welcomed up and offered to help if we needed him.  We went on into the gym and made ourselves at home.

I was wearing flip-flops, but didn’t intend to workout in them.  As I dug in my bag for my closed shoes, the attendant popped by to let me know I was not allowed to workout in flip flops.  Well, duh!  That’s the reason I’m over here in the corner digging in my bag, but thank you for sharing this very obvious information.  I guess they do have people who think wearing flip flops is appropriate for the gym.  I’ve seen people who thought they were appropriate for funerals, too.

Bill was already on the weight machines when I climbed aboard a stationary bike for some cardio.  I was on vacation, so I didn’t dial in a vigorous workout, but after 10 minutes I realized it was a little warm in the gym to workout in comfort.  After another 5 minutes I was off the bike and ran into Bill, who was coming to tell me he was experiencing the same difficulty.

We’d put it off as long as we could.  We were going to have to go back to the buffet.  It was that or the outdoor snack bar at the pool.  We’d watched other people fight off the aggressive gulls and curious pigeons.  So we went to the buffet – again.  This time it was a little more of an adventure than it had been before.  Come back next week and see what I mean.