Last Day

This is the sad, going home day. No matter how good a trip is, the day I go home, I am sad.

I sleep well until 5 am when I wake up not feeling great. I worry about having to travel if I am sick. I fall back to sleep and wake up a couple of hours later, hungry. The only cure for that is to go eat.

It is a little cloudy. The sun wins out later.

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For breakfast we forget to take pictures. I had a fried egg, and I have had bacon every single day. The diet starts tomorrow, right? The mangoes have been really good this time.

When we get back to the room I pack quickly and Zung packs slowly. I want to get in more beach time, but he doesn’t want to go out. I go by myself. Ironically, it is the best drink service of the whole trip and I don’t feel like drinking anything.

I walk to the part of the ocean where it is nice to go in. The waves are rough, even though the flag is yellow. I am alone and afraid I would get into trouble if I tried to go in by myself, so I just go in up to my ankles. I’m a real risk taker.

Soon it is time for me to go in and shower and finish packing.

We are ready by noon, which is when we asked the bellboys to come get our luggage. No one shows up. I check to make sure the Do Not Disturb sign is not up. It is not. I call at 12:20 and Roberto tells me I am on the list for a late check-out at 2. I say no, we said noon. Then he sees that it was copied from the original sheet wrong and we are supposed to have someone there at noon. He says someone will be here in eight minutes. Not five and not ten. Eight, which is definitely better than “some” minutes (you have to read the heart attack trip to get the significance of that.

Someone arrives and he takes our bags and we go to lunch.

We enjoy our last lunch.

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But I am still sad.

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Raul is our waiter.

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He’s been a really great waiter.

We have a great last lunch, and I drink some wine.

We both have the shrimp fajitas.

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The fries are really good today. The Grand has the best fries. And if you think it’s weird that I eat shrimp fajitas and french fries, then you need to expand your horizons.

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We have coconut ice cream for dessert.

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We say good-bye to Luis.

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We say good-bye to Mariana. She’s always so cheerful, with her big smile and her dimples.

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We walk the sad walk to the lobby.We pass the new putting green by the pool.

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We get to the lobby and I check us out. Raul comes out to say good-bye. Or maybe it was Fanny. I can’t remember. One of them did.

We sit in the lobby bar and I get a Havana and coke and Zung gets a Margarita.

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Cancun Valet arrives, always a little early. It is a quick drive to the airport. We get checked in and through security.

I buy some Mexican vanilla. We decide not to get anything at the Duty Free shop. Next time I will though. Our president just normalized relations with Cuba, so I will be a rum smuggler no more!

We get something to eat at Bubba Gumps. I get clam chowder. That is my comfort food when we are leaving.

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I have comfort drink too.

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The clam chowder is good. The drink, not so much. It’s too sweet.

We board and are happily surprised to see Dave, our favorite Frontier flight attendant. I give him a big hug and we catch up during the flight back.

It was an awesome trip, despite the cloudy days. It was great to meet Heidi and Ricky. We were treated very well and it was an anniversary to remember.

If you are thinking about going to the Grand for a vacation, DO IT! Just book it. You won’t regret it.

I took a lot of trips this last year and have several I want to blog. It’s been a good travel year for me. I just returned two weeks ago from my 14th trip to the Grand, and that was definitely a memorable trip. In a good way. It is however a few days before Christmas, so I may take a break from blogging over the next couple weeks. Or, I may not!

Have a great and safe holiday season!

And, thanks for reading!

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Finishing off our 35th

We go to the Lobby Bar to finish our anniversary celebration. I start with a chocolate cake shot.

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These things just go down way too easy.

Next up is a cucumber martini. Daniel shows me the new size they have. It’s a little bigger than the regular size.

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I believe in drinking in moderation, so I choose the regular size.

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We talk to Steve and Dawn and Eduardo about the difference between cookies and biscuits. Biscuits is the name Brits have for what I would call a cookie. Eduardo says cookies are on the internet.

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It was lovely meeting Steve and Dawn.

We also talk about Eduardo’s love life, which, at the time, was very complicated. He has straightened it all out. He is now (December 2014) expecting a baby with his lady. He has also moved over to the Maya, so I won’t get to see his smiling face anymore.

I have another shot, followed by a chocolate martini, and finish off with a final shot.

I chat with Gabriel, the assistant GM, for quite a while.

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We talk about the hotel, leadership styles of the different GM’s, his work history and his girlfriend. It was a lovely conversation. Getting to know the people who work at the Grand and make it such an amazing place is what makes these vacations so awesome. When I come back, it’s like visiting family and friends.

We stagger back to our room at about quarter to midnight. The maid has decorated our bed and drawn a bubble bath for us.

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There is a plate with a chocolate sculpture and tuxedo strawberries. There is also a bottle of extra nice champagne. Zung took a picture of the strawberries, but not the champagne.

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We did not drink the champagne. We’d had enough to drink. We took it home. We didn’t get in the bath either. It was pretty cool, and we were really too tired anyway. Staying up this late is pushing our limits.

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It had really been a lovely day and the Grand had made it a memorable 35th anniversary.

Tomorrow is the sad, going home day.

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35th Anniversary Romantic Dinner

We go into La Brisa and are greeted by a hostess and we walk through La Brisa and go outside to where our table is set up. We are greeted by Fanny, from PR. She gives me a red rose and there is another one on my plate and a couple in a vase. The table was lovely, and the view even more so.

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It is breezy. They are still setting up the lights along the path. During the dinner the lights sparked and smoked and had to be turned off. Yikes!

The hotel photographer is there and takes several pictures and tells us we can come look at them tomorrow. We take a few of our own.

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My hair is getting blown all over the place.

Luis, the sommelier, arrives with our wine and opens it. It is the perfect temperature and it tastes so good.

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The food begins to arrive. I have ordered the vegetarian option. I am not vegetarian, but I was up for something different. It turns out to be my favorite of the three options. My first course is grilled asparagus with tomato vinaigrette. It is very good.

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Zung has the ratatouille.

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Next is the fettuccine for me. It is really good, but it is a huge portion.

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Zung’s course has salmon with hollandaise. He likes it.

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His tournedos is cooked perfectly.

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My entree is good, but a little odd for the entree. It is mashed potatoes covered by spinach. It is good, but just seems like an odd choice as an entree.

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We have a visitor. But I tell him, sorry dude, we are not sharing.

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The sky is beautiful as the sun sets.

DSCN3542 DSCN3543Dessert comes. Our waiter has brought the food at a really nice pace.

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DSCN3547It has been a lovely dinner. It has been a lovely day. And it is still not over yet. It’s our last evening. I’ve got some shots I need to do at the Lobby Bar!

 

 

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Anniversary Lunch

We go to Las Brisa for lunch and ask to sit by the windows. Raul is our waiter. Excellent! He takes our drink order. I order white wine and Zung orders a Victoria. Raul brings our drinks and then he comes back with a bottle of champagne “for your anniversary.” I don’t know how he knew it was our anniversary, or who arranged this, but it was a lovely surprise.

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Zung has the shrimp fajitas. (Wow, now there’s a surprise).

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I have fries and the tournedos. The tournedos is good. The fries are hot, but not crispy. WTH?

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There is no coconut ice cream, so I ask for some. No problem!

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We see them setting up for our beach dinner tonight.

We return to the beach and read, sun and nap.

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Making sure I don’t get half-baked.

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Five o’clock rolls around and we go inside to get ready for our romantic anniversary dinner on the beach.

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We go downstairs just before our 6:30 reservation time. The butler asks if we are ready for our dinner. Yes! Yes, we are. He asks if we want a ride and we say no, it is a close walk. He says, “Well, they told me that I have to give you a ride.” So we get in the gold cart and he drives us all around the resort to get there. It was pretty funny. When we arrived he tells us to wait there while he checks if they are ready. He comes back and takes us into Las Brisa.

Finally!

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35

Anniversary day! It is sunny and bright. When we got married 35 years ago it rained for three weeks straight. The day of our wedding it was sunny and dry, like today. Except there was no beach.

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We have breakfast at Bella Vista.

Zung stayed with his tried and true and never to be varied breakfast of an omelette.Nothing different here. Move along please.DSCN3491

I like to order the lobster blinis at least once, well, actually I never order it more than once. It is so rich. Once a vacation is about all I can handle. A normal order comes with three blinis but that is more than I can eat, so I order two. One of the nice and, let’s admit it, decadent things about the Grand is that you can eat lobster for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

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After breakfast we head to the beach. There are plenty of lounge chairs at both the pool and the beach, but the hotel is clearly not enforcing the no-chair saving rule they claim to have. When we arrive at the beach almost all of the front row chairs are being saved. At the pool there were plenty of cabanas as they have added more and this morning very few were being saved.

We find chairs and settle in for the day.

My happy place.

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Now this is a gorgeous picture. I should print it out and frame it.

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On a beautiful, sunny day like today, I am happy to just watch the boats float by.

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I would like a drink though, and no one comes by for a long time. I see Marcelino when I go back to the room at one point, but he is working the other side today. He says he will take my drink order though. When I get back to our chairs Zung says Reyes came by and he ordered our drinks. We did not end up with double drinks though. That’s okay. I’m really fine with just one drink at a time.

We make an appointment for our couples massage at the massage hut for noon.

We go for a walk. Zung says we need to do it right away or inertia will set in, I can’t argue with that. He wants to walk the way we always do but I insist we walk the other way, towards the Lindo and Maya. There are lots of short and noisy creatures, often referred to as children. The chairs seem so packed in. I’ve stayed at the Lindo and the Maya. It seems fine when you are there. But when you stay at the Grand where there is lots of space between palaces and only two chairs per palapa, it seems really packed in over at the Lindo and Maya.

We make our way back to the Grand rather quickly. Zung sits in the shade and I lay out in the sun. It is HOT.

We get our massages. We were very graciously given a 50 minute couples massage certificate when we checked in. The Grand has really made our 35th anniversary trip special. There are more treats to come.

 

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