Hola from Home

Mexico was beautiful.

I don’t know where to start.

I came home from work Friday night to all my Craigs chilling in the living room as expected, since we had to leave for the airport at 3 a.m. Marion had eaten all my leftover cheesecake dip, also as expected and sort of as desired, but I would’ve liked to have had some, too. I’ve only been here a month and my food usually isn’t targeted by visitors, but this whole “come to the haus, drink all the beer, and eat all the food” thing is getting old.

Anyway.

I get home from work at 11:30. What’s the point in sleeping for a few hours? I stayed up. Everyone else intended to, but the only ones of us that actually did were me, Marissa, and Meri. Meri might’ve caught a nap somewhere. I’m not sure.

I used the time to finish packing. The bane of liking make-up and toiletries is that almost none of those items can be packed until after they’ve been used immediately prior to leaving. I also gave myself Mexico-ready nails: yellow polish with bright pink crackle on top.

Meri wanted to use what was left of the eggs, so she made the three of us omelets. Then we had the arduous task of waking everyone up. I missed Marion’s excited reaction to waking up knowing we had to leave for a week-long vacation in Mexico. I heard the laughter from my room below.

We tried to cram eight people and eleven pieces of luggage into Nolan’s Volvo. We failed and had to take two cars.

I haven’t flown since I was 17. Security still makes me nervous, and it’s still all a hassle. At least I know I’m relatively safe on the plane.

The flight went well–short and uneventful. I read.

Then came the five-hour Atlanta layover.

Emily and Erio booked their flight at a different time and ended up with a different and faster connection, so they were spared. Nolan and Brett got fast food while us girls got a real lunch at a Friday’s. That’s when I felt myself crashing. I was going on about 26 hours without sleeping.

We spent some time reading and napping while we took advantage of the charging stations for our phones and iPads. We also played our favorite game–count the stares while Meri and Marion jokingly hold hands in public or lie on each other to nap, as female platonic friends sometimes do. The number and intensity of some of these stares is astounding and disgusting. Interestingly, women look more than men.

I slept on the flight to Mexico. The cost, however, was the most hideous pictures of me in existence thanks to Marion. I have no neck.

Immigration was terrible. I’m pretty sure hell is an airport and the final level is an immigration line in Mexico with multiple recent flights crowding in. Getting through everything took us two hours. As Erio and Emily waited for us, he thought that the plane must’ve gone down.

Immigration was hot and stuffy. My bags were heavy. A cranky British man wouldn’t let us stick together when we got split up, although Brett probably shouldn’t have cut the line. The British man’s bag ended up getting searched. Airport karma.

At the end, we were given free beer by our car service, I believe Best Day Tours. I’m not a beer drinker, but I was hot, tired, and cranky from TWO HOURS OF IMMIGRATION. I MEAN, REALLY, so I was not about to turn down an ice-cold Corona.

Speaking of that Corona, Mexico has a certain degree of lawlessness, which meshes with the fears of basically everyone in my life when I said, “Hey, I’m going to Mexico!” For spring breakers, this means not getting carded and just being handed beer and not even being questioned when you climb out of a large van with said Corona.

Our resort, The Mayan Palace, was gorgeous. So gorgeous that my first thought when taking it in was, “This is too nice for spring break. This is a honeymoon resort.” And it truly was. I honestly never thought I’d go somewhere that nice until my honeymoon.

The lobby smelled like flowers. The staff was all friendly and spoke English, which was a funny reminder of the American sentiment of learning the language of the country you’re in. We had to sign in and get wristbands, which, regardless of the resort’s reasons, actually made me feel safe and like they were keeping track of their guests in a non-creepy way.

We decided to forego the shuttle and walk to our building, the farthest one on the property. Despite the heat–which we weren’t used to–and our bags, the walk was pleasant. The walking path is full of palm trees and flowers so that it resembles a jungle.

The buildings, for the most part, are open. Later in the week, this meant seeing large insects and lizards hanging out on the walls, but we only had one spider come uninvited into the room. The halls echo and do cause some noise, but the building was never crowded enough to warrant real complaints. We got shushed one morning, but the volume wasn’t entirely our fault.

The room was lovely. We had a kitchenette with a mini fridge, some appliances and dishes, and a small stove. The living area had two large, soft couches with pull-out cots, but Emily and Marion opted to just sleep on the couches, which they found to be more comfortable and the maids eventually made up as beds. We had a nice, large marble table, a TV, and a safe to stash money and passports, though we greatly trusted the staff. We had two bathrooms plus a third sink outside of one. The toilet and shower are behind separate doors, so one person can use the bathroom while another uses the toilet. We had one large bedroom with a king-size bed and another room with two fulls, where I slept with Erio, Meri, and Marissa. Each had its own dresser, TV, and balcony, plus the living area’s balcony. We all had chocolates on our beds.

Initially, we decided against room service, but when we saw the prices were much more reasonable than expected, we sprung for some pizzas. We got some almost every night. They were amazing–thin, charcoal-cooked, and almost completely free of grease.

Other than food, our only order of business for the day was to go to the pool, which is the largest in Central America. No photos can capture its size, and there was even a separate smaller pool we never even went to. We climbed over walls and waterfalls and enjoyed margaritas at the swim-up bar.

My love affair with Mexico and the Mayan Palace began.

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