Karen and I made our way to the Lobby bar, stopped at the ATM (it’s in the room where the travel reps hang, which is between the lobby and the Italian restaurant). I needed more cash for tips since I had given all my cash to the jewelry store dude. The ATM machine charges an outrageous fee and it becomes more outrageous when you get home. I took out $100 (it gives you US$). It says on the screen that the fee is $6, but when it showed up on my bank statement it had increased to $117 PLUS a foreign transaction fee of $3.50. That’s a $20 transaction fee. WTF?
After getting my very expensive money we went to the Lobby bar. I cozied up to Bar Stool and made myself comfortable. I was going to be there awhile. It was our last evening with Daniel as the next day (Saturday) is his day off. (My four inch Fabulous Fendis made me tower over him).
I’m holding a cucumber mojito (I had three that night, but still managed to keep my wits about me, as you will read). Daniel takes good care of me and didn’t want me to go without cucumber mojitos while he was off. He introduced me to Juan, the behind the scenes bartender, and told me he taught Juan how to make cucumber mojitos. Daniel had explained that he makes drinks for the people sitting at the bar and there is a bartender (Juan) in the back who makes the drinks that the waitresses take the orders for. I also know that for some of the drinks, the waitresses bring the liquor out to your table and pour it in front of you.
Karen and I had been looking at my pictures (on my trusty iPad) from my October trip and she liked the looks of the Appletini that was in one of the pictures. My Grand friend, Gina, was drinking it. (I don’t like “-tinis” of any kind.) It was a fancy presentation. Karen ordered one and then went to the ladies room. I told Daniel she wanted one the fancy way. He fills a bowl with ice, adds some coloring and then sets the martini glass in that.
She liked it, but she liked Havana Club Siete on ice better and after being adventurous and trying the Appletini, she went back to that. I just stick with my cucumber mojitos. I generally don’t eat enough veggies on vacation and so I make up for it by drinking lots of cucumber mojitos.
At one point there was a flurry of activity behind the bar. A dude in a black tuxedo like suit was back there getting drinks and took them away, but then he brought them back shortly after that. I asked Daniel, “Did someone not like their drinks?” He told me the owner’s daughter (as in the owner of the Iberostar chain) had just arrived, but she was straight off to dinner at Tony’s. Daniel’s manager was the one taking the drinks out to her. Daniel introduced him to us (I want to say his name is Moises, but I’m not 100% sure) and we told him how awesome Daniel was.
We talked to a lot of people that night. At one point this guy sits down next to Karen and they started talking. Karen is super friendly and talks to everyone like they are the most interesting person in the world. She always chats up our taxi drivers back in the US. This guys name was Mike. Before we knew it he was pulling out his phone and showing us pictures of his three daughters. You could tell he was a proud dad, and his girls were beautiful. He was very friendly too, recently divorced and at the Grand with a large group from his work. (I think he was from Texas). He belonged to that large group of men we’d seen earlier. I knew that because before I knew it they had swarmed around Karen and I. There was at least six of them. They wanted Karen and I to go dancing with them at the disco.
Hmmm. Let me think about this. Two women, 6 or 7 guys, a lot of alcohol consumed. Yea, I think that’s a really bad idea.
Nope, we don’t dance. Thanks anyway. (Actually, I wasn’t that nice about it, I just said, “We don’t dance” and looked the other way, which is woman speak for “go away”). They weren’t taking no for an answer. I made eye contact with Daniel and kept making the universal “cut it off” motion. The guys were saying how happy they were to see single women since the Grand was all couples.
Uh, yea. Not single. Been married for 31 years. Not looking either. Not enjoying this attention. Not going dancing with you all, not going to the disco to people watch with you all. Not leaving the safety of the Lobby bar.
Mike finally told his posse to go sit down and leave us alone, so they did. (Sigh of relief breathed). He stayed a while and talked to us. Now, if you’ve read my blog for a while, you know I’m a lactation consultant. When Mike asked me what I did he smiled and asked if I’d ever heard of a company called Medela. His ex-wife had worked for them. They make breastpumps. Since that’s a pretty small niche it was definitely a small world moment.
I remember there was conversation about shoes and Mike did have a woman in his group and at one point he brought me one of her shoes so I could see who made them. He had noticed my shoes. But then again, everyone does. (I’ll be modest about other things, but never my shoes.)
At some point Mike left. There was a band playing (as there often is) and at one point this couple got up and started dancing to the music. They were so awesome. Everyone stopped and watched and applauded when they finished.
You have to cut and paste to see it, but they were fantastic and said it was okay if I posted it on the internet. Sorry about it being sideways. That is how I held the camera.
After Mike left (I assume he and his posse went over to the disco), a couple came up and sat next to Karen and we started chatting with them. They said this was their 7th visit. I don’t meet too many people who have been more frequently than us and was impressed (and envious).
Can’t remember their names. Many cucumber mojitos consumed by this point. They were very interesting and nice. They were there with her mother.
It seemed like no time at all had passed when I noticed Daniel, Juan and the waitresses cleaning up behind the bar. I said, (shocked), “Are you getting ready to close?” Yes, indeed, it was time to close. It was 1 am! We had shut down the bar! I was so proud. I have never, not ever in my life, closed down a bar.
When we got back to the room I took a picture of the time on the VCR to prove it.
We’d had nice weather, good food, better drinks and a new experience (shutting down the bar). It had been a good day. AND (!) we had a whole ‘nother day of vacation before us.