Sunday, April 2, 2017

Those Magic Moments


I've been away from Bikecopblog for nearly three weeks, busy with things. We are putting together a web page, which is a lot more work than I thought it would be. Then again, it's probably going to be a lot better than I could have made it, struggling alone. It's something like writing for publication - a demanding, detail-oriented editor always pushes the writer to do better than they could manage on their own. It isn't fun. It works.

We will soon be on vacation, one where we intend to unplug, unwind and unlimber. Vacation...

The best thing about vacation is - everything.

Initial planning, the decision to actually go! For this one we talked at great length before deciding on a windjammer cruise. There were some complications, but they were solved by a simple expedient... American Express.

Packing is an introvert's way of previewing the experience. With each article rolled up and tucked into a cube, one's mind envisions where it will be worn. A "Hawaiian Shirt" for the relaxed dinner (with cocktails). The sun shirt perfect under the bright tropical sun. Flip flops easily shed for the beach. Even the frantic last-minute trip down the checklist only means departure is at hand. Oh - I can explain leaving the unique battery pack in the box on the bed at home. Really.

Departure day is stressful - I won't lie. Weather worries, dogs to their respective caretakers... Once, we got halfway to their destinations when we turned to each other - "Did you put the dog food in the car?" 

Modern commercial aviation is a pain, but they mostly get us where we are going close to right on time. Mostly.

We had booked a week at the Occidental Royal Hideaway, a five-star all-inclusive resort in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. We had planned no excursions - beach, bar and books (we both ended up reading six or seven). It snowed the morning we boarded the flight, but hell. It snows in Denver. However, the pilots apparently were based in Miami and had little experience navigating the deicing lines. We waited for our turn. We waited some more. We waited for 90 minutes, which was just long enough to miss our connection. So, instead of upscale accommodations, margaritas on the beach and my lovely wife wearing a fabulous summer dress, it was The Bayfield Inn and Suites.  Houston, in the pouring rain.

Suites - ha! We had Sonic, mini bottles of Sutter Home chardonnay and a miserable night's sleep. Honest, the toothbrush they provided had about six bristles.

But... The next day we flew first class to Cancun. Arriving at the resort - isn't it always the best day, checking in at the beginning of a week away? So much possibility, everything fresh and new. One of the staff handed us flutes of excellent champagne, the bell guys left with our luggage and we got through the paperwork in short order. Except - no cheesy plastic bracelet. I inquired.

"Oh, senor," the woman said with a chuckle. "We know who you are."

It was that kind of place. We were greeted by name, taken care of with graciousness and treated to (now) six days of the finest food and wine we could ever imagine. One night, after an extraordinary meal, we decided to follow a piano player as he made his rounds. Formal dining room to lounge area to night-life bar... As the drinks accumulated we unsteadily trailed the fellow, who was dressed in white formal attire - tails, in fact. Only, he appeared to be drunker than we were becoming. No worries, we weren't driving. He played beautifully, the waiters were attentive (Grand Marnier for me, chocolate martinis for her) and finally, we decided to call it a night. Except - "Which one of these eight identical buildings is ours?"

Departure day is sort of a bummer, but it sure is nice to see the dogs and cat. 

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