October 2011 Mexico Birthday Vacation

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Trip details: My husband Zung and I were going to the Iberostar Paraiso Grand hotel for my 51st birthday for one week. It was our buzzillionth time to the Rivivera Maya (RM). I have been one more time than Zung, as last January I went on a girlfriend’s trip. It was my 17th Mexico trip, my 10th time to Iberostar Parasio and my 7th time to the Grand. It was our second time going in October.

The first time we considered going for my birthday (we decided not to go that year), Hurricane Wilma unleashed her fury on the area. Last year we almost cancelled because Hurrican Paula was headed for the area at the same time we were. She ended up taking an Easterly turn and we ended up having pretty good weather. This year we narrowly missed the bad weather. The week before we arrived it had been raining relentlessly in the area, and as we left to return home, Hurricane Rina is threatening the area.

May have to rethink this birthday in Mexico idea.

October 18th – Awake at 5 am. Alarm set to go off at 5:30, but I am too excited to go back to sleep. The day you leave for a vacation is always a mix of anticipation and stress. We were more than ready for this vacation.

The last two weeks had been exceptionally stressful. Zung’s 88-year-old father passed away two weeks before we left. He was a good man who led an incredibly interesting life. Zung immediately went back to Washington DC to be with his mother and make arrangements. That weekend the kids and I joined him for the memorial service. He returned to Colorado with us, but a few days later returned to DC for a trip that had been planned previously to visit his parents and for business. The business was on Monday, October 17th. He returned to Denver that night, just over 12 hours before our plane would leave for Cancun.

Zung still had to pack for Mexico. Fortunately, practice makes perfect and he accomplished that quickly.  We went to sleep, ready for a week of doing as little as possible. The challenge is always making doing as little as possible sound entertaining enough to write about it here at Iberostarrocks.

Tuesday morning. Up, showered, finish packing. Weigh the suitcase. It is too close to 50# for Zung’s comfort. I transfer some shoes and books to the snorkel gear bag. It’s not like we will actually GO snorkeling. But taking it maintains the illusion that we might. So, Zung always brings our snorkel gear. S’okay, it helps accommodate extra shoes.

Zung pulls out his trusty pre-trip checklist. Blah, blah, blah, check, check, check. Blah, passports, blah. Wait! Passports? We don’t have our freakin’ passports. We get the passports and I am thankful for his checklist.

We get in the car and he asks about the vouchers for the flight and hotel. We purchased a package through Apple and it included chartered air and Zung had been unable to find our seats in the system. Tami, our travel agent said that was normal. They don’t assign seats until you get to the airport. This made him nervous, so he wanted some kind of printed proof that we had reservations.

Yes, I assure him. I have them right here. I pull out what I THOUGHT were the vouchers, but were in fact papers for our trip insurance and Tami’s itinerary for us. What? Where are our docs from Apple? They are not here. I call Tami (she answers, she always answers). She says I should have gotten them, but it’s no problem because she can email them to me. As she is emailing them, Zung finds the docs that she did in fact send. They were in his office and he had never given them back to me. I’m the keeper of the vacation papers. Obviously, I was slacking this time since I didn’t notice he hadn’t given them back.

We are all good to go now. Off we go. Wait. Did you put down the garage door? Normally I wouldn’t worry about it, but we’d left the door to the house unlocked and anyone could walk in and take our worldly possessions or the dog (not likely) or the cats (you never know). So we make a u-turn and drive back and the garage door is in fact down.

Off we go, again. It is a smooth trip to the airport. We find a parking space. The long-term parking is always so full. Who are all these people and where are they all going?

It is freakin’ cold as we wait for the shuttle.


We arrive at the Frontier check-in and I run my driver’s license through the self check in thingy and it says it has no record of our reservation. Moment of panic. Oh Frontier lady! We need your help! She takes our passports and types in a million characters and asks about our names and what not and then she is taking our bags (mine had 4 1/2 # to spare, thank you very much) and saying, “Have a good trip.”

Security goes smoothly. We have plenty of time for breakfast at Chef Jimmy’s.

Breakfast at Chef Jimmy’s is pretty much the official start to vacation. I don’t care how excited you are, the drive to the airport, checking in and security just are not ever fun.

For the very first time ever, Zung orders a Mimosa. They are full!

Slurp, slurp!

I order two Royal Mimosa’s. It was 5 o’clock five hours ago!

We buy some waters and candy and head to our gate.

Our seats are waaaaay back in  Row 23. Zung is a Summit member, so we are usually in the first four rows. It’s that damn charter package thing. But wait! When the boarding lady takes Zung’s Summit card with his boarding pass she asks if we want to sit in Row 1. Ummm, let me think about it. YES!

We head on to the plane, and I can’t believe what I see. There is Dave, our favorite flight attendant. I am so happy.

Big hugs!

He tells me he saw his picture on my blog because a couple weeks ago another passenger told him she’d seen his picture on the internet on my blog. Yes! Everyone reads my blog!

Dave is the very best flight attendant ever!

This was just the start. There were many more good things to come.


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