#26 – Trying to surprise Daniel

I feel like I have been neglecting Iberostarrocks.

I have been neglecting Iberostarrocks.

I have had a CRAZY busy summer.

I was sick for three weeks in June.

We traveled to Mexico for my 27th visit to the Grand for Zung’s 71st birthday. We figured it out and it’s his 20th visit.

We got home on July 4th and on July 8th we went to look at a house, “just for fun” and fell in love. Less than eight weeks later we had moved in.

Before all the craziness began, I made a short solo trip in May. I got to visit with Dave and Tessa Brown.

I unintentionally booked my trip to fly out MOTHER”S DAY! It wasn’t until after it was booked that I realized this. I’m not sure my family will ever let me live it down.


They went and celebrated at brunch without me.

I arrived before 5, on a rare Sunday when Daniel was working.


I had not told him I was coming because I wanted to try to surprise him with my arrival.

Unfortunately, I had mentioned that I was going to do that and someone who knew of my approximate dates told him that I was going to surprise him. How lame is that?

I waited and waited for him. He was late and then decidedly not surprised. But he did seem happy to see me.


The bellboy comes to take me to my room. He says we are going to Building 70.

Wait. What?

They always put me in 71. For as long as I can remember. Seriously. I can’t remember the last time I wasn’t in 71.

He asks if I’d rather be in 71. I think for a minute. Although it feels high maintenance, I say yes.

What if I drank too much and tried to get into the wrong room and the wrong building?

Okay, I don’t drink THAT much, especially when I’m traveling solo. But it could happen. Best to not take any chances.

He has to go ask the front desk manager to find me a room in 70. I won’t go into the details. They had put me in 70 because they were just trying to give me a room on the third floor, but I said the second floor in 71 would be fine.

Once in my room, I had the bellboy take a picture of the CROTW. (Ceremonial Removal of the Watch, for any newbies).


I met and had dinner with Dave and Tessa and their crew. We started out with chocolate cake shots.


Wait! I just noticed that Dave Dawson didn’t do one. What’s up with that, Dave Dawson?

We had dinner at Toni’s.


Afterward, we went back to the lobby bar and Daniel made me a fancy looking cucumber mojito.


Which was followed by a cucumber martini.


Ken was there too.


It had been a long travel day.

I went back to my room and poured myself some Havana Siete. I took a sip and said, “What is this?” It did not taste good, or what H7 usually tastes like.

I finished it but doubted I would be drinking it neat again.

I went to sleep, dreaming of my beach day tomorrow.


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Going Home Day, It’s Always Sad

I sleep late and am up at 8. It is cloudy again. It always makes me feel better to leave when it is cloudy.

Off to breakfast. I have my favorite, chillaquilles.


I have some fruit.


I have some oranges and grapes. They were crushed. A Mimosa, I had a Mimosa, which are crushed grapes and oranges.

I’m not feeling it this morning so I don’t drink much.


Then it’s back to my room.

I have a little visitor.


This guy is tiny.

I am mostly packed so I get ready for beach. I call the front desk to ask for a 12:30 check out. He tells me there is a $10 charge for a late check out.  Uhhh, I tell him that they don’t usually charge me. He checks and comes back and says, Oh, you’re right, there won’t be any charge. Don’t you know who I am?! That was tongue in cheek, in case you thought I was serious.

I go out to the beach.


I think this bikini is really cute, but that thing around the neck is not comfortable at all, which is why I brought it to wear today. I will only have it on for a short period of time.

It had been so quiet on the beach. Order a mimosa and mineral water.


Try to go into water. There is a lot of seaweed to negotiate and the water is really too cool. I just enjoy the beach, listening, staring. Just feeding my soul.

I go up at 11:45. I am fighting back tears. It really is hard for me when I leave. I know I will be back, but this place and these people are my home and family.

Back at my room I drink more of the good wine. Damn, it is good.


I shower and am ready at 12:30.

The flowers that Angel gave me still look great and I ask the concierge to make sure that they go to Mayvany.


I am fighting tears again.

I go to lunch. It is only 12:45 but Azael is ready. He usually doesn’t start until 1.

I have grilled fish and very hot fries. Very hot. He always asks me to check them as soon as he gives them to me. Both are very nicely presented.


He brings coconut ice cream. I asked for just a little and he brings 4 scoops. Of one three managers actually brings it. I say it’s a lot and he offers to help me. I tell him to sit down. He comes back with a spoon. Everyone’s a comedian.


I have a gass of white wine that I don’t even finish.

Then there is nothing left to do but leave.

I give Cathy a hug. I tell her to take care of Daniel.

There is the sad walk. I check out. My ride is waiting. Jorge is my driver. He is very chatty and plays nice music.

The airport is a madhouse. I am not sue why.

I am still too full to eat more. I find a place to sit. It turns out to be right next to crying kids. Are you kidding me?

We board. I am in A49 position which seems way back, but I luck out and sit next to a couple in Row,3 who are in the middle and window seats. The flight is full. Aren’t all of them anymore?

I fall asleep soon after take off but not for long because a baby starts crying. I want to cry too.

I know a lot of people are sad on their last full day, but I have figured or how to just enjoy that final full day,, but this leaving day is still so sad. 

Just writing about it makes me want to cry again.

But I know I’ll be back so…



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Lunch in Puerto Morelos

It’s all fun and games and good wine until I wake up with a hangover. Ugh.

Hangover picture. Got to keep it real.


It takes awhile to get out of bed. I finally do and go to breakfast. I am hoping some fruit and bread will help settle my stomach. I order a mimosa, thinking about the hair of the dog thing, but end up taking only one sip. The food does help though.

The weather is kind of cloudy but I go out to the beach for a bit.

Meet drone guy and his wife. I call him this because he has a drone that he took pictures with and posted them on the Facebook group. You can just imagine what kind of amazing shots he got. His actual name is Rodrigo. He shows me the thing he carries the drone around in. It is pretty compact, surprisingly.


I just enjoy some time on the beach.

I get a visit from Angel, the waiter who is one of my favorites and who I helped raise money for his mom’s hip surgery. He brought me a pretty freaking beautiful flower arrangement as a thank you.


Daniel and I are meeting today to go have lunch in Puerto Morelos, so after a couple of hours of beach time I go get ready to meet him.

The area right outside the lobby is so pretty, with this fountain and view of the Maya.


It gets complicated with security for Daniel to come on to the property to get me, so I always meet him in front of the whole Paraiso complex, outside of the gated entrance.

I get a golf cart ride there and realize just as the bell boy gets to the entrance that I forgot Daniel’s birthday present. Bummer.

He arrives, we go to Puerto Morelos.

It is kind of a cloudy day.


We walk around a bit and then go to Pelicanos. I order fish. They bring some chips with a few different sauces. I put some green sauce on one, thinking it is salsa verde. Daniel gives me a curious look, but doesn’t say anything.

He watches me as I chew and then my eyes get wide and I start chugging water.

It was habanero sauce. He said, “I was wondering why you were putting so much on your chip.”

A smart aleck like any true son is.


My fish comes. It is simply prepared and fresh.


He is texting with the woman he is dating and she asks if he is still with her mother-in-law. I start laughing and spill my water and it gets all over me, which makes me laugh more. Fortunately, I am wearing a bathing suit with a cover-up. We take a selfie and he sends it to her.


After lunch we go back to hotel. Daniel calls for golf cart. One arrives and I ask him if he’s there for me. Nooo. I wait some more and finally mine arrives. I have him take me to my room and wait while I get Daniel’s gift and then he takes me back and I give Daniel his present, which is a pair of sunglasses. I don’t want the driver to have to wait any longer than necessary, so I go back to my room before he opens it. He sends me a selfie.


I go to beach for a while. I have a vodka and cranberry juice


When it is time I go back to the room. I do the balcony jacuzzi. I fix myself a rum and coke.


The maid decorated my bed. It must have taken her forever to put all those rose petals down so carefully.


I get ready for dinner. This dress looks great and isn’t too tight. As long as I don’t need to breath.


When I arrive at Toni’s I see Mayvany. She has arranged for me to have a special bottle of wine. I can’t drink it all because I am not about to get another hangover for my going home day, tomorrow. I do enjoy some with dinner and send the rest to my room.


Mayvany also gives me bracelet from Cuba, where she is from.


For dinner I start with the pear salad.


I decide to branch out and be adventurous and I order the ribs. I can’t say I was wowed by them.


After dinner I go to the lobby bar. It is nearly empty because everyone is watching some fight in the music bar. I am SO not into fights.

The benefit is that I have Daniel to myself. Elizabeth tells me that she thinks Nicholas, my son, is a hottie.


I only drink water so I can have some more wine back in my room. I don’t stay late. Back in my room are strawberries and champagne and new decorations on my bed. I feel like the treats are wasted on me.


I eat one and a half strawberries, have some wine and go to sleep.

I had tried to find someone to work for me on Monday so that I could stay another day, but no-one can. So it’s home for me tomorrow.

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The Making of a Hangover

I am awake at 8 and go to breakfast.

I am happy to see Azael is working. He bring me a mimosa and chillaquilles.


Then I have some fruit and a piece of bacon.  The fruit zeros out the bacon.


This is how I get my weather report.


It is pretty yucky even though it just looks like it is a little cloudy.

When the weather gets yucky the tough book a hot stone massage and take advantage of the  80 minute special.

I ask for same awesome therapist that I had last time, in January, Erika. I can remember her name because it’s the same as my best friend.

The massage is really amazing.

It rained while I was in the spa, but it is sunny when I come out.

I go back to the grand and have them take me to La Brisa so I can have lunch with Azael. I order lobster and fries. and of course some white wine.


I am looking at my phone and another waiter comes up and says, I need a phone, I need to call my mommy. It seems like an odd request, but I go ahead and start to open my phone so he can use it, but he says he can open it, he had magic fingers. Since my phone only opens with my fingerprint or my code, I am confused, but give it to him.

And then he takes a picture of me. Then a selfie.


Azael brings me coconut ice cream without me asking.


After lunch I go to room and change for beach.


Hmmm, that picture looks like I took some wine to go, doesn’t it?

I have a few hours of beach time and then go back to room and use the balcony Jacuzzi.

I live dangerously again and take a couple selfies.




After some jacuzzi time I go get ready for dinner.

Tonight is at the Asian. Raul is my server. We laugh again about the exotic Caribbean fruit. You have to read my trip report from June 2017 to see what that is referring to.


I have the seared tuna app, which is really good.


My lobster entree is good too.


I take the rest of my wine and go to bar. Daniel and I make plans to have lunch tomorrow.

Lander stops by to chat. Rafael comes by to chat.

I know that I will drink some wine back at my room, so I only have a cucumber martini.

I go back to room where another bubble bath is waiting fo me. I skip it tonight.


They do a very nice towel sculpture, but it’s pretty funny since this is a solo trip.


To ensure a hangover tomorrow I drink rest of Masia Ribot red and then go to sleep. 

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Some Special Rum



I go back to my room and take a shower. I sleep for an hour and then feel fine when I wake up. But then I have a sleep hangover. If it’s not one hangover, it’s another.

I get ready for dinner, and drink another glass of the wine from lunch.

Dinner is at Toni’s. It is so good.



The mashed potatoes are to die for. Can I just have a big plate of these? My waiter sees me with my camera and offers to take picture. We go outside.


After dinner the restaurant and bar manager starts to walk me to lobby bar. I see Patricio and he takes me the rest of the way. He goes to let Lander know I’m there.

I chat with Daniel. The lobby bar is super quiet again.

Lander comes out and I give him the Zaya that I brought him.

Daniel pours us a couple of glasses but first Lander pours some from from the bottle “To the dead.”


We talk about rum. He tells me about the best rum he ever bought. Then he gets some of it from his office, and we have some of that. That is too nice of rum to pour any to the dead.


Aziz, the entertainment manager of Mexico, and a good friend of Tessa and Dave Brown, comes by. I met him when I visited with them about a year ago. The three of us chat.

Four glasses of rum later I say I’m going back to my room to call my husband. Aziz asks why I’m going back and I say that part of safe traveling when you are a woman traveling solo is knowing when you’ve had enough to drink, and I was definitely at that point.

Lander makes sure I get in the golf cart ok. A couple of days later Daniel will let me know I wasn’t exactly walking in a straight line.

I do make it back to the room. The butler has left me a bubble bath, and rose petals.


He did forget a letter in my name, but it’s the thought that counts.

The bubbles when Jacuzzi is on, are enormous. It’s pretty comical.

If they made a movie of this it would be called The bubbles that ate the Grand guest.


It was no small accomplishment taking those selfies without dropping my phone into the bath. Especially after four glasses of rum.

Because of how many bubbles those baths create when the jacuzzi is on, the baths never last long.

I get into bed and read and then go to sleep

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