Morning Routine

Thursday morning we wake up at 8 o’clock, which is very late for us. It is still cloudy. No sunrise pictures today. No Zungrise pictures either, in view of the fact that the sun rose an hour and a half ago.

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We go to breaky at Bella Vista, just like we do every day. We see Heidi and her crew. There is a large group. I know it is a group because they all are wearing red shirts. I see Raphael and I ask him about the group. It is a Mexican company. He reassures me they should not impact the rest of us because they will be in meetings all day and they have a private dinner tonight. I think it would be torture to be at a place like the Grand and not be able to go to the beach or pool. If I have to be in meetings all day, send me to Cleveland.

I tell Raphael how much we enjoyed the new Mexican restaurant, and it is nice for people like us who have been here so many times to have somewhere new to eat dinner. He tells me about some of the other changes/improvements. They have more cabanas at the pool. He also says they have more “umbrellas” at the beach, but I honestly can’t say I have noticed this. Perhaps this is in the future.

Zung has an Olivia omelette.

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I will spare you the picture of my half eaten breakfast.

After breakfast we go back to our room and proceed with our morning routine. Zung stays in the room to work and I go out to the beach to not work.

I settle in to chairs and then some people sit nearby. It is a group of people and they are noisy. I consider moving. Then they start smoking and I am out of there. I move down the beach a little, but still stay in the section that is in front of my building, on the south side.

It is still mostly cloudy but it is brighter today and there are brief periods of actual sun. I don’t think they are frequent enough to qualify as an actual, bona fide sunny day. The weather does seem to be improving though.

I go in the water. I walk down to where Heidi is camped out, which is in front of her building on the north side. We chat for a while. Humberto comes by and we chat for a bit. He tells me he did a week of night shift at the Lobby Bar and it was so boring because no one came in until 6 am. I wonder if they are going to keep the 24 hour bar thing going?

I go back to my chair and Zung is there with a Margarita. I guess his work day is OVER!

 

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Afternoon Activities and the new Mexican restaurant

We are looking forward to the wine tasting and cooking class. It takes me so long to get Zung that when we come back to the pool Ricky and Heidi have gone in the pool and gone to the pool bar and gotten drinks and are back waiting for the cooking class to start.

Alejandra is doing the cooking class today. She has a Star Friend  helper (and I use that term loosely). She does a couple of variations of guacamole.

 

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Luis the sommelier (not to be confused with Luis, Heidi’s husband) does the wine tasting. We taste a few wines and then go in to Las Brisa to eat lunch.

I failed to take pictures because we were having such a good time. Ricky and I got the Tournedos and I know Zung got the shrimp fajitas. Even if I hadn’t put that in my notes, it would have been a pretty good guess to say he did, since he does about 95% of the time.

We return to the beach for more drinks and talking. It is soon time for Ricky to think about leaving. He has been here since 8 am and had breakfast, and drinks, and lunch and drinks and then, for good measure, some more drinks. There is one more drink he has to have before he leaves. And it is in the Lobby Bar. We take him through the spa on the way to the lobby.

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At the Lobby Bar, Daniel makes us all Cucumber Mojitos.

DSCN3267We “horse” around on the way back to the beach.

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We walk Ricky back to the beach and declare that this has been a truly awesome day! It was so great to hang out with Heidi and Ricky. We chat in a group all the time on Facebook (we missed you – Suzanne (aka Meemaw), Jill, Craig and Janette). However, hanging out in person is something else all together. Look out Playa del Carmen, if we ALL ever manage to get together.

We say goodbye to Ricky, and Zung and I go back to the room and order chips and guac and salsa. There are t-shirts in our room. There is a new surprise in our room every day!

We get ready for dinner.

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We go down to see the concierge to make dinner reservations for Monday, which is our anniversary. She is busy and Victor, the head butler, is there. He tells us he will take care of it so that we don’t have to wait.

Dinner tonight is at the new Mexican restaurant. It is in Las Brisa, so it is just a short walk. We have really been looking forward to eating here. Our waiter is named Humberto. He is one of the happiest people I have ever met. He smiles the whole time and sings and dances. He is a delight.

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For apps we both have soup. Zung has the pumpkin soup.

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I have the Lima soup, which Humberto tells me is, “what we eat when we have had too much tequila.” I am safe from having too much tequila, since I don’t like tequila.

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There is a roving mariachi band. It is nice to have some music.

I have the tacos el pastor and they are SO good!

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Zung orders the fish tacos, but they bring him shrimp tacos. He likes shrimp so much and they are so good that he doesn’t care about the error. We both enjoyed our entrees and our soup immensely.

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Dessert was ordered.

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I can’t remember what we ordered, but I didn’t like mine very much. Zung’s came with coconut ice cream, so I asked the delightful Humberto if I could just have some coconut ice cream. At the Grand, they are happy to accommodate. It was delicious. The strawberry in my bowl looks like an alligator.

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Heidi and Luis and his sister and her friend are eating there too. I am interested to know what they think of the food.

 

After dinner we walked to the Lobby Bar and saw Gabriel, the Assistant General Manager. I tell him how much we enjoyed the new Mexican restaurant. It was good food and it was good to have something new. After 13 trips some variety is nice.

 

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We arrive at the Lobby Bar and I start ordering martinis.

Cucumber martinis.

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Chocolate martinis.

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I wrote in my notes “three martinis per hour”… not quite sure what I meant by that!

We chatted again with Brian, Chad and Sam. I watched everyone that came up to the bar order cucumber mojitos. Okay, not everyone. Two. Two people ordered cucumber mojitos. If you are new to my blog, you need to know, Daniel makes cucumber mojitos because I asked him to a few years ago. Between the two of us, we came up with a good recipe and the drink and Daniel are famous for it. It’s not a drink for everyone. But it’s pretty damn good.

We see Ahleli.

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We go back to our room and after my three martinis per hour, I sleep well.

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Today was a really lovely day. Getting to hang out with Ricky and getting to eat at the new Mexican restaurant made it a really special day. And the good times keep rolling.

 

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Ricky Comes to Hang Out For the Day!

I have set my alarm for 7:30 so that I am presentable by 8 am, when we are meeting Ricky. I am actually surprised that we are still asleep when the alarm goes off. There is no sunrise or Zungrise, so Zung takes a picture of what it is…

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…which is overcast. Again. The sun tries to make an appearance, but it’s not happening. But it is dry and warm. I’ll take it.

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We get dressed and get downstairs at five before eight, and Ricky is waiting. This man is punctual! Thank goodness. I appreciate punctuality. We walk to the lobby to get his day pass. The girl at the lobby desk asks for his name, the room number. She looks in the book. She seems perplexed. I finally tell her that I had emailed Fanny from PR about it. Oh!, she says. She goes in the back and when she comes back out, she has it all figured out.

A day pass is normally $120 and gets you in from 8am until 6pm. The hotel very graciously extended a loyalty discount because he is a friend of mine, so it was only $90. They give him a bracelet and ask for his passport and say they will keep it. I had been wondering how they make sure you leave.

We head back and Heidi finds us. We see Dawn and Steve and they are REALLY sunburned from our walk yesterday. We go to Bella Vista for breakfast. We all get Mimosas!

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Luis has mango. I didn’t see mango! I go back and ask for some mango. They bring me a big plate of mango. At the Grand, just ask!

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I see Olivia and give her a hug and tell her happy birthday.

After breakfast we go to the beach.

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Luis comes and naps. Heidi, Ricky and I talk and talk and talk! We go in the water and talk. We come back to our chairs and talk some more. We order drinks in between talking.

When we get tired of talking, we go in search of the wine tasting. We have arrived early, so I go in search of Zung. The work day is over!

 

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Dinner, the bar and my new OMG drink

We are hungry when we get back to the room, so we call room service (I love that little room service button on the phone, wish I could find a phone at home that has that) and order chips, guac, and salsa. Yummm!

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We do NOT eat it all. I should remember to say it is just for one person. That would be plenty for the both of us.

We shower and dress for dinner. I got this dress from H&M. I love it. Both H&M and the dress.

 

 

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We are eating at Venecia, the Italian. We get a ride from one of the butlers. Everytime they give us a ride, they always ask if everything is ok, is there anything we need. One of these times I am going to think of something really outrageous to ask for, just to see what happens.

We see Raphael again, outside of Venecia. We say hello and he asks how everything is. We say everything is wonderful. Except for the weather. Where is the good weather I ordered?!

We are seated. We order wine. We order food. We have this routine down. I work hard at getting food and wine ordering perfected.

Zung has the calamari for his app.

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I have the salmon carpaccio.

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They bring us this platter before they brought the apps, it was accompanied by foccacia. The foccacia is very soft, not in a great way either.

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I have the lamb. The lamb itself was well cooked, but I can’t say I loved the sauce.

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Zung has the ravioli. He is not wowed by it.

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He has the fresh fruit for dessert. He likes this ALOT!

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I have the panna cotta. It is just okay. I don’t finish it. I try not to consume calories if they are not awesome.

DSCN3230When we are eating, Alejandra, the PR chef comes over to ask how everything is. I suddenly remember that today is Olivia’s birthday and I forgot to wish her a happy birthday when I saw her earlier. I ask Alejandra to tell her Happy Birthday for me.

They bring us a survey. I fill it out, but even with reading glasses, the print is SO tiny. It is really hard to read it.

I had LASIK in July 2013. I had the mono vision procedure, which means one eye was corrected for distance and the other eye was corrected for close up. My distance vision has been good, but my close up, not so much. They did another procedure in November and told me that was as good as it was going to get. I got reading glasses, but after several months decided it really wasn’t good enough and called up and said, this is not acceptable, (this was at the end of June). They said they could fix it some more. They did, and it is SO much better. Moral of the story? Be a squeaky wheel. After this procedure, I was able to ditch the reading glasses.

Oops! I have digressed again, as I am want to do.

We muddle through the survey.

A gentleman comes over and says his wife reads my blog. She comes over. She seems a little embarrassed. She had actually PM’ed me on Trip Advisor with a couple of questions. They are on their honeymoon. I had noticed her when they came in because she has on really great shoes and a really pretty dress. I ask if they will be in the bar later because I want to get their picture. They say yes, but I never saw them and never did get their picture. They were very nice and very well dressed and really cute.

After dinner, we go to the bar.

We see Jessica and Erik and chat with them for a while. They are leaving early tomorrow morning.

Charly comes by to say hi. Charly is, the best butler ever!

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Daniel makes me a cucumber mojito Then he makes me a chocolate martini.

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Zung has his favorite, a margarita or two. He says Daniel makes the best margaritas!

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I tell Daniel I want to try something new. I declare I want to try something new every day. Daniel suggests a cucumber martini. OMG! So good! I drink three.

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I don’t usually like martinis (except for chocolate ones) because the alcohol taste is too strong. But these are so delicious. It might be my new favorite drink.

A lady from Holland comes over to say hi. She reads my blog, she is here with her daughter and daughter’s boyfriend. Her name is Alyona. Such a pretty name.

I am such a freaking rock star!

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There was another couple that Daniel introduced me to, but I didn’t write down their names. They are Grand frequent fliers as well.

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Then there were these characters (and I mean that in the nicest way), Brian, Sam and Chad. We saw them most nights at the bar. Super nice guys.

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We eventually make our way back to our room, where there is a bubble bath waiting.

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Hmm, looks like it is time to call it a day and go to sleep.

Tomorrow Ricky is coming to hang with us here at the Grand!

 

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Lunch and Libations

Zung and I get ready for lunch. He signs off of work. I change my swimsuit because the one I have on is wet from my swim in the ocean. We eat at Las Brisa. This is a truly terrible picture of me, but I think it demonstrates my confidence that I am willing to post such an awful picture.

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Take a good, long look at Havana. She didn’t get out much this trip. She started showing her high maintenance side and she got left in the room.

I ordered some Sauvignon Blanc, my lunch drink of choice. Zung ordered Victoria beer, his lunch drink of choice.

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Havana doesn’t drink. She doesn’t have a mouth, duh!

But, as usual, she thinks it’s all about her.

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I order 2 lobsters and fries (fresh, hot and crispy – okay, I may be a little high maintenance too, and if you don’t know that, then you haven’t been paying attention). They brought the lobster on two plates. That leads me to think that they thought I was sharing with Zung.

As if.

Either way, both of them were cool. Pretty mediocre today.

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Zung gets what he always gets, shrimp fajitas. He says they are delicious, as usual.

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It seems like there are a lot of new faces at breakfast and lunch (server-wise). I miss Alex. Alex was an awesome server, but he has been gone for a while. We haven’t bonded with anyone like we did with Alex.

After lunch we return to the beach. We nap. It is cloudy, but bright and warm. And the view is ah-mazing.

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The afternoon involved a Coco Loco…

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…and a visit to the spa to enjoy the warm water pool and hot tubs.

We returned to the room to get ready for dinner. They had brought another beautiful flower arrangement and put one in the bathroom as well.

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The maid also made a cute little place for Zung’s soap to reside for the week.

Our room was looking spiffy for the week ahead. Even if the weather was not.

 

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