My big fat fabulous 50th birthday trip. About a year ago I started telling Zung I was traumatized about turning 50 and only a week in Mexico would get me through it. That, AND a pair of shoes. Nice shoes. Shoes that come with a little bag to store them in between outings. I acquired those a couple weeks before the trip. Christian Dior. Black patent leather cage shoes with 4 inch heels. They would be joining us in Mexico.
I booked our air in July. I entertained the idea of going to somewhere other than the Iberostar Grand. Every other resort considered fell short somehow and we had such a good time on our family trip in August that we decided there was really no other place that we wanted to go. At the end of August we booked the Grand.
Forces conspired to reconsider going, twice. The first was a family issue and we ultimately decided we should still go. We were scheduled to leave October 13th on Frontier. There had been a lot of hurricane activity in the last couple months so I checked Weather Underground for any activity the Friday before we were due to leave.
There was “something” going on in the southern part of the Caribbean Sea and I told Zung I thought we should keep an eye on it. I watched it through the weekend and it was hanging out down near Honduras and Nicaragua, not moving a whole lot. By Monday it was clear it was organizing itself. It was still being referred to as Invest 98. People were talking about it on the forums and they would call it “Paula” if it made it to Tropical Depression status.
Okay, I started freaking out by Monday night because the computer models had it arriving in Cancun at the same time Wednesday that we were supposed to. I emailed Tami, my travel agent (Tami with Trip Surfer – travel agent goddess). She called me and talked me off the ledge — for the moment.
I have an iPad and I keep it on my night stand (pathetic, I know). I stared at the computer images and went to sleep thinking it was looking okay. I woke up Tuesday morning and before I even turned on the light I picked up my iPad and checked Weather Underground and it wasn’t looking so good. It was looking pretty bad in fact. Cancun had a hurricane warning in effect. Frontier started allowing flight changes. Schools in Cancun were closed. They even stopped liquor sales that evening at 6 pm.
I went to work and Zung and I agreed we would watch it through the day and see what happened. As the day progressed I was very discouraged. It got to Hurricane Level 2 status. There were frantic phone calls back and forth. Should we go? It doesn’t look good. Maybe we can go Thursday? No, if it hits they will be cleaning up on Thursday and I didn’t want to go for less than 6 nights and I had to be back to work the following Thursday. We decided we should postpone the trip for about a month. I would call Zung with the dates so he could call Frontier and change our flights.
I was so sad. I had taken the week off of work and couldn’t really afford a substitute trip. My favorite restaurant was closed for renovations, so I couldn’t even have dinner there on my birthday. I wanted to cry. I really did.
Then I looked at the computer models again. It seemed like Paula was turning to the east. I called Zung and said, “I think we should go.” I really didn’t care what the weather was when we got there. I just really, really wanted to celebrate my birthday in Mexico. We decided if Frontier was flying, we were too. Paula be damned!
The kids all came over for dinner and Nicholas was going to stay to take care of the pets. We got up Wednesday morning, packed our bags into the car and headed off to the airport. The weather in Colorado has been on the warm side, so I just threw a coat in the car and shivered a bit at the shuttle stop.
The check in lady was a bit cranky. We were in the Ascent/Summit line (aka “ridiculous amount of miles flown” line). We stepped up and handed her our passports.
“Did you check in online?” (Cranky Frontier Clerk)
“Well, you were in the online check-in line.” (CFC)
“I thought we were in the Ascent/Summit line.” (Me)
“Well, that may be.” (CFC)
My bag was a tad (1#) over the weight limit. She let it go (probably felt guilty for harassing about which line I was in since I had been right and she had been cranky) but warned me I needed to get it to 50# for the return flight or they would charge me in Cancun. I assured her I would probably use at least a pound of sunscreen.
Security. Time for breakfast at Chef Jimmy’s.
I ordered a Sunrise Mimosa and I kid you not, the waitress asked for my ID. I burst out laughing and thought, “Now this is how you should start a 50th birthday trip.”
We shared our row with a woman who was with a wedding party of 20 and their flight with American had been cancelled because of the hurricane. We figured a lot of people must have cancelled on Frontier for them to have that many seats because she said Froniter got all 20 of them on.
As we flew in to Cancun we could see there were clouds, but the hotels in the Hotel Zone were easily visible.
Immigration was super quick, bag arrival was the fastest ever and customs was quick with a green light. We charged through the gauntlet (no eye contact, acknowledge no one trying to get your attention – they are sharks, give them the opportunity and they will eat you alive). We found the guy with my name on a sign. He called for our van and we chatted as best we could while we waited. Then we were in the van and on our way to the Grand.