it is our last sunrise in mexico. mad birds are screeching as the wind stirs the surf, the palms and my hair. i tuck a sundrenched lock behind my ear and settle into my chair on our balcony. the wind is wild, the sea roaring. yet not a cloud in the sky. a small plane peirces the sunrise horizontal and my tropical sarong billows out from my legs revealing jose cuervo’s revenge, scrapes, cuts, and bruises from a drunk giggling mid-afternoon adventure with rocks in the sea with diana.
it’s been a week in paradise with my family, memories and the stuff of togetherness. from several corners of america, we all flew. adrienne from maryland, diana from arizona, dad and alexis from new jersey, and us from california. tsafi and i flew with diana who had arrived the day before. within a half hour of her landing we’d invented a checkers drinking game. eventually having so many ‘cups of courage” that we went to the apartment downstairs to this jamaican guy we’d met in the elevator. he lived alone with beautiful white leather furniture. diana and i felt like we’d stepped into a 1970’s movie and couldn’t contain rolling belly laughs in the stairwell afterwards.
adi drove us to the airport early the next morning. we arrived 90 minutes before departure and apparently not a moment too soon. we were shuffled from line to line trying to check in. our spirits were high and so we were oblivious to the very real possibility that we might not get on the plane. finally we were called to the counter for check-in on our Mexicana Airlines flight. the employees were talking among themselves and then announced “That’s it. All full.” no one else would be flying to Mexico that day. they had oversold the flight. we looked behind us in glee. “SUCKIZ!”
as we were about to board, i remembered minor things like the fact that i had no cash on me. i ran to an atm. we were quick to take our seats. small skirmishes in disbelief happened as passengers with ticket stubs extended announced dominion over peoples’ seats. “you’re sitting in my seat.” and so on. the result being they’d have to fly the next day. tsafi, di, and i all sat in different seats. tsafi mostly slept. diana played games with these two genius korean kids and i made friends with two middle-aged family friends with their families behind them, ordering screwdrivers and toasting each other in all different languages. one of their wives spoke hebrew so she came to talk to me. the other guy, who was 6 feet, 4 inches tall, stretched out his legs so far that i thought they’d go through the plane walls.
we landed into a bustling spanish wonderland and eventually found the van associated with our travel agency, apple tours. we sat with other americans in a minivan. a few with heavy southern twangs that made tsafi shake his head everytime they spoke. i think they came from alabama. the van made several stops at various resorts along our two-hour journey. we were last. the resorts seemed to bese mystical never-lands carved secretly out of unsuspecting jungle lands and, once inside, landscaped oasis’ and artful lighting and mayan palaces emerged. we were so excited to see what our resort would be like… and we were not disappointed.
the van dropped us at the entrance to the bahia principe tulum resort. the tallest structure of the resort was an imposingly thatched hut with a mayan column in the center surrounded by waterfalls, hanging vines and a large echoing sitting area across from the hotel’s check-in counter. as we unloaded our suitcases, dad,adrienne & alexis appeared like a mirage and came rushing towards us. they’d arrved on earlier flights.
we all settled into our rooms and then met for dinner in the yucatan restaurant, where there was every kind of food imaginable. there were buffets and drinks enough to make you gain ten pounds in one day.
the next day we all met on the beach. white sand beaches, clear green-blue carribean sea. tsafi and i kayacked but we mostly hung around together with everyone on lounge chairs catching up. dad, the gadget king that he is, brought walkie talkies, so we could be in touch when someone slept late or when we got lost. the sun was quite the rage and we were fascinated by huge reptiles. geckos, lizards, gila monsters, all these wise, huge, silent molting things as plentiful as squirrels come in new jersey. the sea was part of the resort. there were all different activities and realities there. it was really an impressive place to be, the bahia principe…
we lived meal to meal that first day. catching up on sleep and with each other and exploring the surroundings. late in the afternoon we had a family pow wow about things we all wanted to do. tsafi and i are used to more adventuristic trips so i was glad when we planned several day trips away from the resort. alexis was obsessed with horseback riding. adrienne and diana went with the flow and i’d brought some background history and spiritual significances of the places we were to visit. the next day we’d left early and instead of using tourist transportation, we settled on a taxi for $15. we went to the tulum archeological site. tsafi took one look at the long line and, before we knew it, we’d entered through the exit and were inside the ruins. it was packed with tourists but we wandered the grounds in curiousity. we’d pulled over into the shade of a tree and i read them some history of the place, a description of the mayan gods adorning the entrances, and how it used to be painted red. there was a small amazing beach there. i managed to get in a cartwheel. many lizards there. the sun was beating down on us so we took another taxi to xel-ha. it was amazing!