Happy 71st birthday Zung

Rise and shine sunshine! There was plenty of sunshine this morning.


We headed off to Bella Vista for the birthday breakfast. It was only fitting to start the day with mimosas.


I ordered chillaquilles with chicken, no onion and no crema.


Bella Vista usually has a very good selection of fruit.


After my chillaquilles I had some fruit and bacon. I needed that bacon to balance the healthy effects of the fruit, especially because I was having uber-healthy green juice.


If yo0u’ve been reading my blog for any length of time then you know that Zung is fairly predictable with his breakfast and lunch choices. At breakfast it’s an omelet.


Steve and Janelle came in and came over to say hello.


After we finished with breakfast we followed our usual routine and went to the beach. I welcomed our first day on the beach with a Havana Siete and coke.


There are always lots of parasailers.



Someone we met a few years ago and have seen a few times at the Grand, had left Zung a birthday present when he and his wife had been here a few weeks ago.

Erik has a sense of humor because he buried the present and then sent me a map. It was buried by the flag that tells you the water conditions. That was yellow by the way.

We asked some of the Star Friends if they had a shovel. They did not but they brought a ping pong paddle.

Zung set to work.

Once he dug it out we went back to our palapa and he opened it.

After all that exhausting work in the heat, we decided it was time for lunch.

We ran into Steve and Janelle on our way to lunch.


Zung is just as predictable for lunch as he is for breakfast. He has a Victoria beer and shrimp fajitas.


I always have white wine, Masia Ribot Catalunya. This was the wine they had been out of when I was here in May and that Margerito had tried to give me last night. I do drink it at lunch. Quite a lot actually.

I had lobster and french fries. Fresh, hot and crispy.


I was still hungry after the lobster so I went and got a piece of cheese and made a little sandwich.


I told Zung that he needed to do a shot. Azael brought him a tequila boom boom, which was enhanced with some chocolate syrup on the bottom.


And we finished off the meal with some coconut ice cream. That didn’t taste as coconutty as usual. It was more sweet.

Boo. Their coconut ice cream was one of my favorite Grand things.


Then it was back to the beach for reading and naps.


We went to the quiet pool where José, the pool concierge, asked us if everything was ok. I mentioned it was Zung’s birthday and he came back with a special towel sculpture.


We also saw Mar and chatted with her a bit.

Everyone knew that it was Zung’s birthday and wished him a happy one.

We chatted with a woman from Germany who knew me from the Facebook group. She was there for four weeks!!!

We went back to the room where Mauro, our butler had made a birthday surprise for Zung.


The maid had left him a birthday surprise also.


As we got ready for dinner I wondered if there were going to be any more birthday surprises.


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Birthday Surprise

We got to the end of the hall and the bellboy turned to the room next to the presidential suite and said, “Here is your room.” I said, “Ok.”

Then he grinned and said, “I’m only kidding, this is your room” and he turned to the presidential suite.


He opened the door and we walked in. The first thing you come into is an entryway room.


You go through the door and there is a huge dining table.

It had lots of goodies for us.


The living room is huge with two big, deep, comfy couches.


There is a small kitchen right off the dining room.


One time when we had a beach dinner scheduled they moved it to the balcony of this room because it was too windy. Now seeing this kitchen impressed me because they cooked the dinner in here. The stove is just two burners.

The fridge was stocked with all the things that are in the mini fridge in the regular rooms, just more of everything. There was lots and lots of water.

The bedroom was large.


I didn’t take a picture but there was a chest with a doll sitting on it that looked like a creepy clown. I would be able to see it from bed. I asked the butler to take it out of the room because that thing would have given me nightmares.

The bellboy was giving us a tour and the next room was the bathroom. It was my favorite part of the suite.


I saw the bathtub and said it was like a swimming pool.


In case you are wondering, the shower still had the issue with the water getting suddenly hot or cold.


There were lots and lots of towels.

I turned to the bellboy and said, “Do we get to stay here the whole ten days?” I was thinking they might only let us stay in here for a few days and I was not excited about the thought of possibly having to pack up and move.

However, he had this big grin on his face and confirmed that yes, it was our room for the whole stay.

I could tell that he really enjoyed surprising people like this.

We were enjoying the surprise too.

The butler came and finished checking us in and gave us our wristbands and got us our pillows. We always get pillows from the pillow menu. I get a couple of down pillows and Zung gets what is called the anatomical pillow which is a firm foam.

We made some rum and cokes and napped for a bit on the sofas.


Zung showered and had his “I’m on vacation” moment when he put on the robe.


I got dressed and realized in all the excitement  I had forgotten to do the CROTW – ceremonial removal of the watch.

I rectified that.




We headed off to dinner at Vencia.

The manager/captain (I’m never sure what their titles are) came and introduced himself to us. His name was Margerito and he said they had my favorite wine, Masia Ribot white.

This was the white wine that they didn’t have in May that had everyone thinking I was so unhappy with the wine.

I told him that I usually drink red at dinner.

He looked so disappointed.

He was exceptionally attentive throughout the meal.

Zung had the calamari.


I had the grilled baby vegetables.


I had the roasted lamb loin, which was pretty delicious.


Zung had the glazed lobster with mustard sauce.


After dinner Margerito asked if we wanted dessert and we asked if we could have something sent to our room. We thought dessert sounded nice but we were really tired and the thought of eating it back at the room sounded even nicer.

He asked if we’d like some port with our dessert because they had some that was very nice. We said sure, even though we are not big dessert wine drinkers.

We also asked that the rest of our wine be sent to the room as well.

When we got back to the room another surpris awaited us.


We poured some rum and enjoyed the bath.


Afterwards when we went to get something on the dining table we saw that they had brought our dessert.


I can’t say we were fans of the port.

We took some night pictures of the room and the pool area. There are windows in the bathroom that look out over the pool.

All the orange decor gives the room an orange glow at night.


There had been turn down service.


In the past we haven’t always gotten turn down service. I started putting out the “Make Up Room” sign on the door when we’d go to dinner and now we always get it.

They prepare the bed, give you new towels and take away the used towels, and leave water at the bedside.

There may or may not have been another glass of wine.

There may or may not have been a hangover the next morning.

It had been a long travel day with a wonderful birthday surprise. We were looking forward to the actual birthday tomorrow.

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New Trip to the Grand – Zung’s 71st

This trip has been planned for a while.

June has been rough though. I got a garden variety cold at the beginning of the month. It knocked me on my butt Friday afternoon. I went to bed for the weekend, thinking this would knock it out.

It did not.

I would feel like I was getting better, then feel worse again. It progressed to a sinus infection so I went to the doctor.

I usually only go to the doctor if I am pretty sure what is wrong with me and what I want her to do for me.

I left with my antibiotics, feeling like my mission was accomplished. When I felt much better the next day I believed that I had been right.

The next day I felt like crap again.

Back and forth, back and forth. I went back to see the doctor the following week. I was on an upswing that day, but I’d been to this rodeo before, only to get thrown off my horse again.

She did some lab work and discovered I had low sodium levels. Very low. She said if they were much lower she’d be sending me to the ER.

Her instructions were to drink less water and eat more salt.

I went out and got two bags of potato chips. Doctor’s orders!

Two days later I had another level drawn and waited nervously for the results. Both she and I had decided going to Mexico made us nervous if my levels didn’t improve significantly.

Fortunately, they did. So I picked out shoes and got a pedicure.

On June 24th we got our early start and arrived in time to have breakfast, which meant Mimosas.


I wore cute shoes that I have had for a very long time.


The flight was not memorable.

We found our transfer. Before we knew it we were on our way to the Grand.


And then we were there.


It was a Sunday so Daniel was not there. His son, Matthew, was graduating from 5th grade. We had been invited to the dinner that they were having that night. However, the graduation ran really late and he said dinner would be very late.

I hadn’t slept well and I was so tired that I felt like I was going to fall over. I told him I didn’t think we’d make it. We said we’d have dinner together the following week.

We were at the bar and Laura and Phillip, the asst GM’s came over to say hello. They wished Zung a happy birthday and asked if we knew what Lander’s surprise was for Zung’s birthday.

We didn’t know, so they said they wouldn’t tell us. I thought maybe it would be something at dinner on his birthday which was the next day.

I exchanged some money and they helped us make dinner reservations for that night at the Italian restaurant.

The bellboy took us to Building 71. We were greeted with champagne and Steve was there. He caught me red-handed double fisting my champagne.



Then the bellboy took us upstairs to the third floor.

We got off the elevator and he made a left. We usually stay in the corner suite, but to get to that room we would have made a right. I thought it must not have been available.

We walked down the hall.

We were about to find out what Zung’s birthday surprise from Lander was.


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Going Home Day Never Gets Easier


It was a beautiful day. There was breakfast and some beach time.

Okay, I’m not going to lie. Without my notes I honestly can’t remember much at all about this day.

I do know I checked out and I do know I had lunch, but only because I always have lunch.

I had a mimosa with Lander in the Lobby Bar before my transfer came. He didn’t have a mimosa. We had a nice chat.

My ride came. I sat in the van while they waited for someone else they had on their list. I told him this was supposed to be a private transfer, but he still waited.

Ride to the airport, check-in, security, all that went smoothly.

I asked at Duty-Free if they had Atlantico, but they did not. I can’t find it at home either. It is going to be a treat only in Mexico I guess.

I went to a restaurant and ordered some food that I was not really hungry for but by the time I get home it is a long time to go without eating.

I took my sad, going home picture.


I had some kind of cucumbery drink that was too sweet.

The flight was fine.

It was a nice trip. It’s always great to see Dave and Tessa and their crew. It’s always nice to spend time at the Grand.

I would be returning in just 6 weeks to celebrate Zung’s 71st birthday. We would be staying for 10 days, which was a first for the Grand. We had stayed 11 days in Mexico before, but not all at the Grand.

Life would be busy between now and then, so time would go fast and I would be back before I knew it.

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Not An Awesome Beach Day

I suspected today was not going to be awesome as soon as I looked out the window when I woke up.


Apparently whatever I had for breakfast was not picture-worthy.

But this Mimosa clearly was.


Dave and Tessa came by.


Aren’t they just adorable? Nicest people too!

For lunch I had the arrachera steak and French fries


The steak was yum. The French Fries were cold.

So Azael had them make me some more, that were hot.


The afternoon weather in a word, sucked. I spent some time at the spa in the hot tub and pool. Then I went back to the room, took a nap and then read in bed.

I decided to try out the Iberostar app and ordered some fruit and wine by room service. It arrived! The fruit was good. I had requested a glass of wine and they sent me a whole bottle. Unfortunately, it was warm.

For my last dinner, I dined alone at the Caribbean restaurant. I couldn’t remember the waiter’s name from the other night and I didn’t see him so I just sat where they put me.

My waiter was outstanding. The captain who took care of my wine service was also outstanding.

The app I ordered was outstanding.


It was cous cous with crunchy vegetables rolled in avocado with a tamarind sauce. It was creamy and crunchy all at the same time.

My entree was a fail.


It was shrimp risotto with fish on top. The fish was pretty bland. The risotto was delicious. But it was crunchy.

Risotto is not supposed to be crunchy.

Olivia came by and asked how things were and I gave her my feedback.

At her suggestion I got the watermelon dessert and was less than wowed. The watermelon was full of seeds and the sorbet was kind of icy.


Lander came by. He said he’d heard I was unhappy with the wine. The white wine thing at lunch was really not that big a deal, so at first I wasn’t even sure what he was talking about. I told him there had been some things this time that were a little bumpy. We made a date to chat before I left the next day.

I was ready to leave and Rafael was there to say hi and he said he’d heard that I was not happy about the wine. I thought all this attention on my lunch time wine was kind of funny.

I took a gold cart to the lobby bar and as I handed the driver a tip I looked at him and said, “I forgot to tip my waiter!”

I asked if he could take me back. He said, “Sure.”

As he turned around, Daniel was coming out to greet me and he looked rather confused as we drove away.

Back at the restaurant I tracked down my waiter and apologized for forgetting to leave his tip.

My driver took me back to the lobby bar. I explained to Daniel what that was all about.

The lobby bar was empty as it was Wednesday and everyone was at the Stars Under the Stars party by the pool. I had some rum and visited with Daniel until it was time to go meet the Browns and crew at the party.

Tonight was the fire show and it was spectacular. I took some pictures but this was the only one that turned out at all.


After the show I went back to the room.


I packed so if the weather was good I could enjoy the beach before I left tomorrow.

It had been a very enjoyable trip. Although there had been some bumps, it is always nice to see Daniel, Elizabeth, Azael and everyone else. It was especially nice to get to visit with the Browns.

Dave had not been feeling good for a few of the days. But he powers through anyway!




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