Guys. It’s the wino’s birthday eve. Plan accordingly.
But first, travel the world without even leaving your desk! AHHH, the wonders of the internet.
Pretty sure we would never be able to do this… In the Water with Whale Sharks – Cancun, Mexico
Bahaha. The word “Mugunghwa” is a funny one. The Ways In Which I’ve Travelled
A SLOTH BEAR? IS THIS REAL LIFE? The Sloth Bear In Our Nation’s Capitol
It is that time of year! 10 MORE of the World’s Most Fascinating Cemeteries
More DC leaf-peeping from the romantic’s weekend in the district:
Doesn’t it just make you want to follow us on Instagram?!
@_theromantic & @_thewino
the romantic & the wino
We always think of ghost towns as exclusive to the US midwest! Cook – An Australian Ghost Town – Photo Essay
…and Canadian cowboys? What is happening?! 100 Years of the Calgary Stampede – Calgary, Canada
Ok, well if you let your kids hug the obviously fake Elmos floating around Times Square, then your whole family will get bed bugs. Fact. Seven summer travel scams to avoid
We really love that everyone else loves door photos, too. DOORS
See? No need to be nervous about starting your kids off early as little travelers! Tips for Students on a Trip
Like we weren’t already missing the beach enough today:
the romantic & the wino
When we told most people that we were going to Mexico, their first reaction wasn’t “that’s amazing, have so much fun!” It was usually more along the lines of “don’t leave the resort, you’ll die!” and “don’t get beheaded!”
Though the news does report these things (and I think maybe moreso in Texas where K is from because he got the most warnings), we weren’t too concerned. For one, we weren’t planning to leave the resort during this quick trip, and for another, there are tons of articles refuting that ALL of Mexico is unsafe.
Still, we found that there were very real dangers in the resort itself.
Aggressive Lizards - We were pretty excited everytime we saw a lizard hanging out sunning him/herself, until we met a couple in the pool (who had been to the resort before so they knew Important Things) warned us that these are tail whippers and if you get too close, they will swing their tiny tails at you and leave a welt. There was fear in his eyes when the husband whispered, “just like gettin’ whipped by a bath towel.”
Repeat Offenders - I mentioned this briefly before, but the real danger at Excellence Playa Mujeres wasn’t the tap water or the threat of being beheaded: it was anyone who had been to the resort before and wanted to share their knowledge. It was from a Repeat Offender that we heard, “You should go to Spice. Their Thai food is SOOO GOOD.” Guys. Thai food at a Mexican All Inclusive Resort: not good.
Night Swimming - Another word of wisdom from a Repeat Offender? “Oh, you can swim after 8 PM! They say you can’t, but as long as you’re quiet and ain’t hurtin’ nobody, you’re fiiiiiiine.” Fast forward to us swimming around (quietly!) at 9 PM when 5 machete-wielding guards threatened to cut off our hands if we didn’t get back to our rooms and lock the doors. Luckily, we are a group of smooth talking con artists and they totally believed our “Whaaaat? We thought the pools closed at 10 PM! They don’t? Are you sure? 10 PM!” as we Aladdin-ed ourselves out of there.
Swingers - Worse than repeat offenders? Couples who are splitting their time between two resorts and the second is Desire (<– ummmmm, NOT SAFE FOR WORK, PS. I found out the hard way, so you are welcome). I’m not saying that all couples at Desire are swingers, but the couple we experienced felt more like cult recruiters trying to lead us to salvation.
Poison - Do you even KNOW how many ways there are to get poisoned in Mexico? Forget about getting beheaded, getting poisoned is where we all need to be concerned. Food poisoning, sun poisoning, alcohol poisoning: all of these things are lurking around every corner, and I am pretty sure we ended up with 2/3.
Fiestas = Hidden Dangers
All in all, I came away feeling like maybe–just maybe–this whole MEXICO IS THE MOST DANGEROUS PLACE IN ALL THE LAND campaign is a little exaggerated. Of course there are parts of the country that tourists should avoid, and obviously you should run away from any situations that can put you in danger (especially drug related: be smart)… but isn’t that the case with all travel?
For now: beware of tail whippers and bath towels, travelers.
How is it May and how are we already back from Mexico?
There were rooms with a view.
As soon as we walked into the lobby, we were pretty overwhelmed and in love all at once. They handed us cool washcloths and there were four glasses of champagne waiting for us while we checked in, the entire lobby smelled like lemons, and as Carlos (our new BFF for the weekend) took us on our tour, the bartender at the Martini Bar in the main lobby waved us over for a drink to take up to our rooms. Done and done.
There were toes in the sand.
Though we had one billion pools and lazy rivers to choose from, the resort sat right on the beach, which meant white sand & turquoise waves & our only activity of the weekend: a self-guided catamaran ride that did not result in our deaths, as expected!
There were palm trees. Lots and lots of palm trees.
Not much else to really say about this one. I’m just a sucker for palm trees. Can someone tell me which palm trees grow coconuts and which do not? I’m aware that I could google this but whatever, I just got back from vacation. Cut a girl some slack and just give me the answer.
There were drinks (…lots and lots of drinks).
There were Coronas of all sizes and Icebergs and frozen Mojitos and every one’s newest obsession: seltzer & Absolut Mandarin (or Citron) (or Mandarin and Citron). I’m so sunburned that there very well could be a jaundice situation happening that I will not be surprised about in the slightest once this top layer of crisp wears off.
There were walks on the beach.
They may or may not be the #1 thing I’m missing right now. Certainly not missing the overdose of Icebergs.
There was humidity so heavy that even my camera frizzed up.
This was the main reason my hair was in a bun by the end of each day–but it makes it look like a dream, no?
There were mostly sunsets, but there was a sunrise, too
(at least one that we saw).
And now that the beach porn is done with, my official stance on all-inclusives?
Not for me.
I KNOW, the pictures say otherwise, right? Yes, the resort was beautiful–it was clean and comfortable, and just because I’m officially declaring myself team DIY vacations doesn’t mean we didn’t have a ridiculously fun time.
BUT (come on, you knew it was coming)–here comes the bad:
1. Everything we loved about the resort when we first arrived ended up feeling like our own little America in the middle of Mexico after Day 1. Even that lemon fresh scent in the main lobby turned into the overwhelming smell of Lemon Pledge by Day 3. We unfortunately weren’t there long enough to warrant a full day excursion out of the resort, and since Mexico wasn’t high up on our First Time Visit list, it’s not really on our Repeat Customers list. Not saying we won’t make it back some day, and I’m positive that when we do, we’ll do it very differently, but the complete lack of Mexican culture on-site at the resort was a little confusing. And no, the Mexican theme night and Mexican restaurant (Agave) does not count.
2. I’m leery to say that the food was bad because we read so many reviews saying that Excellence has the best restaurants… but, we laughed through almost all of our meals. Our best experience? A random taco stand that was set up on the beach on Saturday. Unfortunately, it was replaced by an American themed stand on Sunday, complete with a lot of poorly painted photos of Elvis and oblong cheeseburgers.
3. The people. My GOD, the people. I’m not talking about the staff–I’m talking the guests who exclusively vacation at the exact same resort year after year after year. We’re well acquainted with these people because a pair of them latched onto us for dinner one night and would not let go. The husband kept snapping at the waiter to “BRING MORE GUAC” while the wife told us repeatedly that she “just doesn’t drink!” as we downed more Coronas.
We also managed to run into a woman no less than 35 times who was getting married, wanted us to be the only guests at her wedding, and then grabbed her husband to moon us with their matching underwear saying “I LOVE GRETA” and “I LOVE SPUNKY.” Names have been (minorly) changed to protect the innocent. By innocent, I mean straight up crazies. They also may or may not have been nudists and aggressively tried to coax us back to their hotel room on multiple occasions.
Still, after three days of sun and sand, I can’t really complain, right?
I mean, come on:
Now a Friday tradition (we can call it that, right??), today’s FriFotos theme is paradise. i.e. Pretty much all the romantic has been able to think about as the countdown to Mexico gets closer and closer.
This photo may be overused around here, but seriously? 14 more days:
the romantic & the wino
As K informed us this morning, we are officially three short weeks from our romantic Mexican getaway for four, and I am not exaggerating when I say that I am bursting at the seams.
Bursting, I say!
First of all, we very clearly booked ourselves into a couples-only resort for a long weekend, so we’re assuming we’ll make or break at LEAST one couple’s honeymoon.
Second of all, I am craving summer, my friends. It is bad. I splurged on three pairs of new sandals last week, I painted my toes neon pink this weekend, and on Monday, the hubs and I went to Cascabel Tacqueria and enjoyed three different types of tacos and sangria. It was a date night for the ages, really.
All while dreaming of this (plus two more chairs, duh):
The one thing I’m not thrilled about? We’re flying Spirit Airlines and apparently, they have some attitude problems: Spirit Air to charge up to $100 for carry-on bags.
This increase doesn’t start until November, but in the mean time, there are still all sorts of stupid baggage fees involved. And you know what I say? It’s NONSENSE. We’ve never actually flown Spirit before, but I’m already holding a grudge. If we want to check a bag, we’d have to pay a fee for that, too. Basically, Spirit is asking me to pay to not be naked for four days and I won’t stand for it.
I mean, I will, because I have to. But I have a feeling this will be our first and last time on Spirit Air. Unless anyone has a few shining bright spots to discuss with me? Or am I being unreasonable and this fee absurdity is actually ok? Tell me. (Except be warned that I don’t really like when people tell me I’m being unreasonable. Ask the hubs).
Helloooo, we’ve been saying we want to go to Bhutan for like, months. We’re such trendsetters. Wanderlust Travel Awards 2012
This ought to get the romantic and hubs excited for their upcoming trip to Mexico. Spectacular Towns in Mexico
Number 4 is the reason enough for us! 10 Reasons to Love Copenhagen
Uhhh how did we not know about this before??? This just jumped to the top of our travel must-sees! Going Beyond Harry Potter– Inside the Still Inhabited Alnwick Castle
Fried beer?! We’re going to Texas. America’s Wackiest Fair Foods
the romantic & the wino
Am I pumped to leave for Paris in just two days? Le duh. This doesn’t mean, however, that I’m not already plotting our next move. As soon as our flight touches down on Monday, you can bet that I’ll be counting down the seconds to what’s next.
Though our next big trip won’t be happening until late summer (and details on that to come), we have a few scheduled weekend getaways to hold us over.
Here’s what we’ve got on the books:
After the hubs
pummeled me to the ground and clubbed my knee with his ski pole tripped me getting off the ski lift, I believe I declared that I would never ski again. It was all very traumatic, but what would 2012 be without Mount Sunapee and Three Tomatoes and lots of red wine? Though this has yet to be officially scheduled, I’m crossing my fingers that February will wrap up with lots of layers and one too many hot toddies. (Never you mind that I’ve never actually had a hot toddy).
Why YES, I will be spending my birthday weekend at a 55+ community. Why? Free accommodations, quality time with the hubs’s grandparents, and HARRY POTTER. I’m unabashedly excited for this, as I haven’t been to Orlando since my 8th birthday when I was scarred for life by the horror that is the Haunted Mansion. I’m kind of a wimp, what can I say?
The wino and I ended 2011 as roomies, co-workers, and friends that finished each other’s sentences and just generally made everyone else feel a little creeped out and uncomfortable. When someone referred to us as sister wives, that’s when we knew it was getting unhealthy. But now! It’s been over a month since I’ve seen her shining face, so a trip to her new abode–plus wine and cheese and chain crying to sappy TV–is necessary.
Guess what! Any guilt I felt over caving to the all-inclusive has been washed away, travelers. Washed away by windy morning commutes and jamming myself into a subway car full of puffy jackets and seeing one too many girls wearing dress pants with Uggs. Give me sun and sand and little umbrellas in my drinks. Cure my SAD, Mexico! No but seriously… cure my SAD. Someone. Do it.
You know what? I feel better already about the dread and doom I’m sure to face Tuesday morning when I wake up NOT in Paris.
Hubs and I have never been attracted to the idea of all-inclusive resorts. They’re on par with cruises in our minds: might be great when we’re older and have kids and really do want to just sit by a pool or a beach on our one vacation of the year… but for now? Not for us.
SO we booked one last night!
I know. But about a month ago, we were reminiscing with B&K about our weekend in St. Thomas. We obviously concluded that another tropical vacation was necessary, and thus began the research. Adventurers at heart, we looked at everything from a treehouse in Belize to a mountainside resort in Nicaragua to renting a beachfront bungalow in Barbados.
All options looked amazing, but everything we found presented at least one issue–travel time (we’re only going for a long weekend), price, or general logistics made the trip seem like it was going to be more trouble than it was worth.
Until, the heavens opened up and shined their light upon the Excellence Resort Playa Mujeres.
Why yes, it IS right near Cancun!
Booked, confirmed, five short months away, and I’m feeling the teensiest bit guilty. The wino and I have made it our goal to proudly reclaim “lazy.” To us, it means that we venture to far off places and take the culture in stride, getting the most out of our time with a bottle of local wine and a view. Around here, lazy is a good thing: it means we don’t torture ourselves with a jam-packed itinerary and group tours of boring places…
But an all-inclusive resort feels like it’s the real lazy, you know?
So maybe we’re selling out, but I also figure this: if the main goal of traveling is to experience things all over the world, then we owe it to ourselves to take a weekend next to one of five pools, wave over a waiter for another drink, and see if this really is the life, right?
WELL hello, little travelers. We’re still trying to get back into the swing of things after our weekend on hurricane lockdown. And by “swing of things,” we mean socializing, sunlight, fresh air, and not continuously shoving our face with cheese, wine, and Fairway baguette. We shouldn’t complain, but the biggest damage Irene did was definitely to our waistlines.
Lucky for us, these are exactly the photos we want to look at after a rainy weekend with our frenemy Irene (we’re really not THAT mad that she gave us the excuse to eat and eat and eat). La Paz, Mexico: A Photo Essay
Isn’t this everything they were screaming at us not to do this weekend? Surfing Hurricane Irene
It’s not a mistake that France is on here three times. Best European Views
The romantic & hubs can vouch for the SPG Amex—the cash & points option is especially amazing if you can afford a hotel stay at a serious discount but don’t have enough points to cash in for 100% free. 5 credit cards every traveler should consider
the romantic & the wino