The art of doing nothing

Saturday morning brings sun that is trying desperately to peek through the clouds. I think it can, I think it can!


We go to Bella Vista for breakfast and see Heidi and Luis. We say good-bye to them again. It has been really nice getting to meet them and spend some time with them. Hopefully, we’ll get to do it again some time.

Breakfast is pretty much the same as it has been the previous days.



I certainly enjoy having someone cook breakfast for me every morning. I love eating bacon every morning. My true guilty pleasure though, is having black tea, fully caffeinated, with milk and sugar. I don’t allow myself caffeinated tea at home. It is one of my very favorite parts of vacation.


We are hoping for a sunny day. However, the clouds won the battle and it is overcast by the time we get out to the beach.

I go way to the south end of the beach, in the hopes of it being quiet. Zung wants to go for a walk right away, convinced that if our butts hit the lounge chairs, they will never get up. He is probably right.

I insist that this time we walk down past the Lindo and Maya. There are many small, noisy creatures. I think they call them children. They are not allowed at the Grand. The Grand sometimes has large, noisy creatures. They are called drunk adults.

When we get back to our nice, quiet chairs, we settle our butts on them and read and drink and nap.

We listen to the songs of the sea.


We take an intermission from our reading, drinking and napping to go eat lunch. We both have the shrimp fajitas again. They were definitely worth revisiting.



And, of course…

DSCN3391…fresh, hot and crispy…well, that’s what I ordered. These fries are none of those. Boo! I don’t send them back. That would just be obnoxious. My attitude is that if this particular meal isn’t that good, there will be another one, very soon.

We see Dawn and Steve. They are quite fried. Ouch!

We return to the beach, where they are setting up for a wedding. There was a wedding yesterday. I wonder why they don’t just leave it up overnight when they are back to back like that. They do not though.


I try to take a picture of my toes in the sand. It doesn’t come out the way I wanted, but it’s kind of a cool picture.






I settle in for an afternoon of reading, drinking and of course napping.



Posted in Food/Menu Items, The Grand | 3 Comments

Friday night dinner and hanging out at the bar

Dinner tonight is at Toni’s! Toni’s is a favorite for a lot of people. It is the surf and turf. Most of the time the food is really good. There have been a few misses, but most of the time it is really good. The rib eye is my favorite. It is a very thin rib eye, but very tasty. I haven’t been into eating a huge slab of steak since I was in my 20’s anyway.

I wear a dress I got from Express. My daughter and I decided to share it. I wore it tonight and when I got home I gave it to her. I am way too old to be wearing a dress this short. For tonight, it would have to do. The shoes are Kate Spade and I bought them just about a year ago when I was in San Francisco for my birthday and visiting Nicholas. The necklace is from BCBG and I got it on sale years ago. There are not a lot of dresses or tops I can wear it with.



Appetizers are the seafood selection for me — a favorite, but be warned, it is served cold — and Zung has the lobster soup.

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Zung has the classic surf and turf and I have the arrachera.

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Zung has the apple custard for dessert. I will have my dessert at the lobby bar.



We see Raphael and Gabriel (general manager and assistant GM) while we are at dinner. It seems they are everywhere, all the . time. They are extremely conscientious about their jobs.

We head to the Lobby Bar. We see Heidi and Luis. It is their last evening. We say good-bye. We see Brian and Chad and asked them how Playa was. They enjoyed it. They are leaving tomorrow also. We say good-bye to them. I want to say again how nice these guys were.




The single guy we saw last night is there again. I ask him if he is there alone and how he likes the hotel. He is there with his parents. He is 23 and his name is Ben. he says it is okay. He hasn’t found a good crowd to hang with. He went over to the Maya/Lindo and there were too many screaming kids. He went to the disco and there was a group of graduating seniors, and they were too young. We chat with his mom for a while.

The question pops up often in the forums, people asking if their younger adult kids will have a good time. The time we brought our kids here they really enjoyed it. It depends on your kids, and it depends on the crowd that is not only at the Grand but at the neighboring hotels. It’s going to be hard to find an adults only hotel with a young crowd. It really varies. The one downside (I actually consider it an upside) is the proximity of the hotel to Playa. If you’re at a hotel that is closer, they can go to Playa to look for some action. Like I said, I considered this distance a plus when I was here with my kids. The boys wanted to go to Playa, however, they wanted me to pay for their transportation, and probably for their drinks. I nipped this in the bud when I said I wasn’t going to pay for anything and itemized how much it would cost them. They lost interest in that idea quickly.

We also spoke to a guy who said he was celebrating his divorce. I would have applauded this lemonade out of lemons attitude, except, he had tears in his eyes when he said it. I gathered this trip had been originally planned as a couples trip with his wife. Sad.

Daniel makes me a cucumber martini. I miss Daniel.

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Zung has a margarita. Zung misses Daniel’s margaritas.



A large group of people come in and come up to the bar. They are loud, so we go back to the room.

It has been a nice day. Tomorrow should be better. It is Saturday and Zung will not be going to work. Yay!

I have to tell you, I had a few moments of panic while I was writing this. I took copious notes on my iPad notes app when I was on this trip . I had my iPad open to them when I was writing this and one of our cats came over and stepped on it and deleted the notes. I said some bad words and then googled “retrieving deleted iPad notes” and found them in my mail. So, if this ever happens to you, you’ll know where to find them. (Stupid cat).

Posted in Awesome Staff, Bars, Drinks, Food/Menu Items, Restaurant, Shoes, The Grand | Leave a comment


It’s Friday! It starts out like every other day, overcast.


We have ordered room service for breakfast. We requested delivery for 8-8:30. They usually deliver at the earlier part of the widow, so we expected it at 8. It did not arrive until 8:30. I ordered 2 eggs over medium and they have delivered 2 hard-boiled eggs. At least they peeled them. I have ordered a Mimosa and they have delivered this.


After breakfast I go out to the beach and just keep going back to the room for more Mimosas. If Zung had gone out with me I would have just taken everything out to the beach with me. By the time I have had enough, I have drunk half of the bottle of champagne. I call that a good start to the day.

Heidi comes by and we chat. I am really glad that she is here because it makes it more enjoyable to be spending half of the day without Zung.

At 12:30 I go up to our room. Zung is on a conference call with his partners. I tell them that I am taking him on vacation for the weekend. They laugh and say okay. In reality, he has another conference call in the afternoon.

We go to Las Brisa for lunch. Zung almost always get the shrimp fajitas, and he does today. I have never had them and I decide it is time I give them a try. They are good!


I also ask for an order of fresh, hot and crispy fries. They are perfect! I am pretty sure the waiters turn away after I order and roll their eyes. I have, however, learned through trial and error that this is the way I have to order them to get them the way I like them.


I check out the desserts and there is no coconut ice cream. I ask our waiter for some and he brings a big bowl. Yum. We eat it all.


Luis, the sommelier, comes by and we talk about wine for our anniversary dinner.

After lunch, Zung returns to the room for his conference call and I return to the beach. I have fed my body and now I need to feed my soul.

Heidi comes by again. We chat. It has really been fun hanging out with her.


Zung finally comes out.

They are setting up for a wedding (you can see it in the background of the picture with Heidi).

We don’t have the most pleasant of neighbors. There are chatty people who smoke on one side. On the other side is a loud guy who seems to enjoy screwing with the vendors. He offers them ridiculous prices and doesn’t seem to have any intention to buy anything. That is just obnoxious. The vendors walk up and down the beach all day long in the hot sun. They don’t bother you if you don’t indicate any interest. They are just trying to make a living. There is no reason to be a jerk with them. I can’t stand mean-spirited people and this guy is grating on my nerves with his behavior. Instead of creating a scene by telling this guy what a jerk he is, we just go back to the room. In spite of the smokers and jerk on the beach, it has been a pleasant day.

Posted in Drinks, Food/Menu Items, The Grand | 5 Comments

Dinner at Haiku

We get ready for dinner at Haiku, the Asian restaurant. I got this dress from White House Black Market. I get a lot of my dresses there.



I know we got appetizers because we always do, but obviously my photographer was slacking.

Zung got the salmon. He liked it.



I got the beef filet dish, which I like a lot. We both got the fried rice, like we always do.


A lot of people want to know which restaurant is the best. Food is really subjective. My favorite has changed from visit to visit. I tend to feel the Asian, Mexican and Toni’s are lighter and more informal. The Italian and Gourmet are heavier and more formal. I have dishes at all of the restaurants that I like. I recommend trying them all if you are there enough nights. People will also ask what restaurants the other hotels on the complex are worth visiting. The gourmet restaurants at the Lindo and Maya are good and kids under 12 are not allowed. The Cajun at the Lindo is really good, but it does allow children. I personally have never left the Grand for dinner. We also have never stayed longer than 8 nights, so we don’t get bored. If you want a lighter dinner there is always the buffet or the Tacqueria at the shopping center.

We enjoyed our dinner.



We finished it off with the mango dessert.


As we have every night, we head to the Lobby Bar after dinner. Brian is there, getting his wife a cucumber mojito. They are going to go to Playa tonight. I gotta do that one evening. She says she likes the drink and off they go.

Heidi and Luis show up. They tell us that they had reservations at Toni’s, but wanted to eat earlier than the time of their reservations. The concierge told them they would have to wait until a certain time to try to change them. They decided to just swing by the restaurant and see if they could accommodate them. They are able to, and do it with a smile. It has been my experience that if they are able to, they will accommodate you. Obviously they can’t do this all the time, but they will if they can. However, if you just hate reservations, it’s best to find another hotel. Some people have written on forums that they just showed up and asked to be seated. You can imagine the kind of chaos this could cause. I personally have not had any real issues with the reservations system. I prefer having a reservation to waiting and carrying a beeper. That always reminds me of Applebees.

There is a younger guy at the bar and Daniel is talking to him a lot. Charly comes by to say hi. He tells us that tomorrow is his day off. Heidi and Luis leave. Daniel disappears and another bartender comes out. Last year his name tag said “Juan” but this time it says something different. We joke that they probably have a pile of name tags and if someone forgets theirs, they just pick one from the pile.

We call it a night and go back to the room. Zung realizes he has forgotten his camera and phone. The bar has these little places underneath where he tucked them and forgot them. He goes back to get them and I go up to the room.

It was another great day. And we are only halfway through our vacation. There are more good times to be had.



Posted in Food/Menu Items, Restaurant, The Grand | 2 Comments

Naps, naps, walks and more naps

It is lunchtime! They are grilling lamb chops and steaks outside of Bella Vista. There is also made to order ceviche. Lamb and ceviche sound like the perfect lunch to me, and it is. Zung has a steak.

People are feeding a cat and a coati. Another lady is not at all happy when the coati climbs on her table. Which is probably the reason why they ask you NOT to feed the coatis. At the end of the day, they are wild animals. We will have an encounter later in our trip with a pushy coati.

When we finish lunch we return to the beach. We really are beach people. We almost never go in the outside pools. We do like to go in the pool at the spa. The beach and pool tend to have very different vibes. Especially the activity pool, there is, well, a lot of activity going on.  There is loud thumping music. There are often games going on. There are people at the pool bar. If this is the type of vacation you are looking for, don’t be fooled by my reports of lazy days at the beach. Both kinds of vacation can be had at the Grand.

We did what we usually do after lunch, we took a nap. The chairs I had moved to earlier had a lounge chair and a bed. I napped on the bed because I wanted to be in the shade and Zung doesn’t like the beds.


This was Lounge Chair before we moved him into the shade. He was a little miffed that I wasn’t staying with him for the afternoon.  He really can be high maintenance.


The surf was calm today.



After our naps we go on a walk so I can show Zung the rock sculptures.

Travel tip: always take water with you when you go for a walk.

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We took a lot of rock sculpture pictures and I’ve already posted some. Here are a few more.



Note the very small sculpture in the front of the picture below.



In this picture, you can see some people working on a new addition. Next time I will have to make one.



I guess the people that made this sculpture thought the balancing thing was overrated.




We walked as far as the abandoned development.


We caught a pelican as it landed on the water.



We walked back to the Grand, taking advantage of some picture ops along the way.

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We enjoyed some drinks when we returned.

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Havana complained she couldn’t breath in the beach bag.


She also said she was thirsty.



We go in the water. We nap, AGAIN. We drink. We read. It is a relaxing, leisurely afternoon. There is only one thing that will make it better.

We went back to our room, and…


…ordered coconut ice cream from room service. I love their coconut ice cream.



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