chilling in the Baja then back to NZ
19.04.2006 - 27.04.2006 -17 °C
At LA Duncan collected us from the airport and took us back to theirs for the night. It was great to finally meet them and we had a very nice, if rather short evening chatting. Unfortunately the next morning we had to leave for the airport again at 7.30 am so didn’t really have much of a visit. We stopped at the bagelery for breakfast, which had more varieties of bagel than I’ve ever seen in my life. We had a garlic one with jalapeno cream cheese and a cranberry with strawberry cream cheese which were both really tasty. the flight was no hassle and only 2 hours but the Mexican immigration at the other end was like being back on the Costa del Sol in Spain. We waited in line for an hour and a half and were fully expecting that by the time we also waited in line for shuttles etc it’d be pretty late by the time we got settled. We were pleasantly surprised and were at the resort and settled by 5.00. The drive down was really pretty and the landscape here very different to the Yucatan. Even from the plane it was pretty cool to see the huge areas of nearly flat desert then all of a sudden we were in mountains but still really dry and covered in huge cacti. The coast is actually a lot like the Costa del Sol too including all the posh resorts that are gloriously green and lush amid this arid desert. Our resort is on the pacific coast and we were a bit disappointed to learn you couldn’t even paddle in the ocean but when we went for a walk down there we realised why. The beach right at the ocean is really steep (above that there’s a huge wide flat area of beach) and the rip was very strong and the seventh wave would easily knock your feet out from under you and drag you in – so I was happy not to go in the ocean. There are plenty of swimming pools and they are gloriously warm so I don’t even really feel I’m missing out by not swimming in the ocean. The pools are also very very beautiful and have swim up bars and several levels and Jacuzzis and fountains and lots of loungers. Our room is very nice with 2 extremely comfortable double beds and there is even a pillow menu in case the one you have doesn’t suit!! The bathroom is pretty big with a very nice shower and we have a deck with a view of the ocean so we’re pretty comfortable really. Unfortunately Sunset beach actually doesn’t get really good sunsets because they are slightly behind the hill so we don’t need to be somewhere every night to watch the sunset again. We had dinner at the bistro, which was much better than we were expecting although rather overpriced. We just had a pizza and a fish fillet and both were very nice. After dinner we finished off unpacking and then went for a Jacuzzi, which was fabulously warm, and it was really nice in the dark looking at the stars. The pool was also all lit up and looked gorgeous so we had a wee swim after our Jacuzzi then went to bed.
We managed to haul ourselves out of bed by 8.00 on Friday to do yoga down on the beach. It was quite odd to be looking at the Pacific ocean and knowing that all we have left to do is cross that wee ocean then we can have a go a settling for a while. I’m actually starting to look forward to it. We went to the timeshare presentation for free breakfast and a look around all the posh places here and ended up as timeshare owners. Seems like a pretty sound financial investment to Steve’s financial brain. Although we don’t intend to come back here in the next 10 or so years the rent we get will actually pay for what its cost us. I went to a cooking class at lunchtime which was a bit disappointing because we made spaghetti and tomato sauce but I got free lunch anyway and a couple of decent tips. By the tie we both got back to the room and rested for a bit and got organised it was time to be down at the main pool for me to do a towel folding class and steve to swim and sunbathe. The towel folding was cool – we made baskets, shirts, an elephant, swan, crab and turtle and I won a free drink for making the best towel in the test at the end! Then it was time for water volleyball, which we both played. It was good fun but got serious after a while when they were playing for free drinks so I quit on the basis that I was preventing the rest of my team having a chance at the free drinks because I was only there for fun and am pretty useless. So I sat on a lounger and watched the rest of the game, admiring my thin fit and tanned husband and chatting with one of the other volleyball wives – a hard life really. A carnival cruise ship went by so we sat in the Jacuzzi watching it and got told there were some whales out there too. I saw a big splash from a whale and a couple of spouts but not actually a whale but its nice to know they’re there and we can just keep and eye out all the time. We had a fairly early dinner – again pizza but this time with sushi – and again very nice. They seated us at a private outdoor table and it was lovely and romantic and we could watch for whales. Its quite remarkable in a resort this size that we actually feel special – all the staff smile and go out of their way for you, the golf carts run around and will take you anywhere and the guys seem just delighted to be able to take you somewhere. The whole place really is very impressive – and our standards of luxury have gone back up to at least where they were before the mexico trip, especially after seeing the really posh timeshare houses they have on the hill up here! After dinner we did a bit of grocery shopping then sat on our deck with homemade cocktails and watched the world go by as it got dark. There were even bats flying around so it was pretty neat and felt very luxurious. We had another soak in the Jacuzzi before bed.
Saturday morning was an equally slow start with yoga on the beach again then breakfast on our deck. It was a fairly busy but slow day with beach volleyball which we both played. I was lousy of course and just played for a little while but steve played quite a lot and his team won the tournament. Then we had relax by the pool and had lunch on our deck. Steve went and played water volleyball again and won a free drink while I went up to the lobby and did some internet stuff. We had a short Spanish lesson then had more pool time and tortillas and beans with guacamole on our deck for dinner and cocktails while we watched the sunset. We had another Jacuzzi and a wee swim before bed.
Sunday was a start of pure luxury after yoga, a Jacuzzi, and a bit of laundry. We had champagne brunch at the nice restaurant down by the pool and our table was outdoors with a beautiful view of the pool and the beach. We felt like we were in an advert. The waiters were great and just kept filling up our glasses with champagne (actually a Mexican methode champenoise which was excellent) and looked after us really well. The food was a buffet of cruise ship proportions and all excellent. We took just over 3 hours for our brunch in which time all the tables around us had changed twice but we just wanted to linger and eat little bits very slowly rather than stuffing ourselves in a short time. We probably ate about the same as most people but enjoyed it a lot more. We started with a seafood appetiser including lovely big fresh prawns, smoked salmon, sushi, calamari and ceviche. Then we had a nice fresh plate of tropical fruit and a main course which was hot things like Mexican omelet, fish, and all the regular breakfast stuff like bacon, waffles, sausages. We indulged a bit and had 2 desserts because we’d been looking at their cakes in the deli and they all look really nice, so we tried tiny little bits of 10 cakes altogether between us! We had a short siesta then got organised and got the free transefer bus into the sister resort in the town. From there we walked a short distance along the beach to rent kayaks and had 2 hours paddling out to El Arco and around the bay. It was simply glorious with really stunning scenery, mostly quite fun water and we got to spend 20 minutes playing with some seals in the water. They were just followi9ng us around and popping up and down checking us out. The down side was the amount of water traffic and it was really like running a gauntlet to get across the bay with water taxis, shuttles and lots of speeding jetskis. Jetski riders are the snowboarders of the sea and a menace to the human race – far too many of them are just real arses. One actually tried to tip us out of the kayaks and sped straight at us and turned at the last second just about 2 feet from me which got us thoroughly wet and rather nervous about him coming back again. After we ran the gauntlet back again we had a stroll around the town which is pretty touristy but they’ve done a really nice upmarket job of the mall and its very nicely landscaped. We achieved our goal of finding some reasonably priced shrimp tacos which were as good as we’d been told and enough of a snack after our huge brunch. Then we had a look around the other two pueblo bonito resorts and felt rather smug that were are at by far the nicest one. We go the shuttle back again and went down to the pool to take some pictures in the sunset light then went back to the room for cocktails and relaxation.
Monday was a pure relaxation day with no activities on and we spent the whole day either relaxing by the pool, on our deck, in the Jacuzzi or in the pool. We had take out pizza on the deck for dinner – it’s a great pizza they call ‘a la Lerry’ and is shrimp, goats cheese and artichoke. We got a little sunburnt which puzzled us a little because we hadn’t the day before despite spending much longer in the sun and also the parts of us that got most burnt were the most tanned parts not the very white parts. The Jacuzzi thermometer had bust and it was above safe temperature so few missed our bedtime Jacuzzi and just had more cocktails instead.
Tuesday morning we had to leave so it was a bit sad but we woke early and went for a walk along the beach for sunrise then had breakfast on the deck and up to the pool for a swim and Jacuzzi. We got all packed up and checked out at 10am and the rest of the day was just sitting around waiting for flightrs and connections. The shuttle to the airport was late, the flight was late but we were still in LA with plenty of time and sat around for a bit longer yet for the flight to NZ. It actually feels quite good to be getting on an NZ flight and almost belonging somewhere. It’s a very long time since we’ve belonged anywhere so perhaps it will be ok. Lots of the people in the airport and on the plane talk real funny! The flight was really comfortable and its one of those airlines that still does things properly (although probably only on long haul flights) – we got free meals and drinks including wine, free blankets, pillows and headphones and movies and sweeties when we came in to land. We didn’t get very much sleep though because we were both a bit stressed and starting to wonder what we’ve done. Any sense of belonging fled when the flight landed and we went into duty free and I discovered I don’t understand the money at all and had to convert everything to pounds to understand it. The people look different as well as talking funny although I can’t quite explain how – they just don’t look like Scottish people. We had another 3 hours sitting in the airport for the flight to Palmerston after clearing customs and giving them the half a Belizean beach form our tent and using their shoe cleaning service(!).
Over the last week or so we’ve been starting to panic a bit about the return to NZ and have been changing plans a bit. Last Thursdays plan was to settle in NZ and build the new house, Fridays plan was to move to Barrow in northern Alaska (I found a lead on a job there on Alaska airlines), Saturday it was to move to Vancouver then back to Scotland, Sunday was to just keep travelling and moving across the world every couple of years, Monday was to settle in the house in Petone, Tuesday was to just go straight back to Scotland, Wednesday was undecided (we slept for most of its 3 hours across the pacific) and Thursday was just very confused. Poor Steve had a hard time keeping up but was feeling as confused about what we’re doing so just went along with the plan of the minute although he wasn’t quite so keen on the Alaska one!