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Karen (my BFF) and I have gone to Iberostar Paraiso Grand the last two years for our annual girlfriend’s getaway at the end of January. In the past we have stayed for 4 nights. Last year we decided we needed to stay for a week this year. Our schedules ultimately gave us 6 nights.
6 nights in paradise. Sun, talking, fun, talking, rum, talking, champagne, talking. Did I mention talking?
As a bonus, Steve and Janelle from New York were going to be there as well for part of the time. Zung and I met Steve and Janelle on our very first trip to the Grand and had spent time with them when we were there this last August. They are genuinely nice people that we really enjoyed being with. I was really looking forward to seeing them again.
In the weeks before the trip I was getting ready to close on the condo that our kids had been living in while going to school. The were many hours spent scrubbing and cleaning and getting it ready to close. The closing took place on Friday, January 18. That was a huge relief to get that behind me.
I was leaving for Mexico on Sunday, January 20th. I worked late on Friday. For those of you who are new to my blog, I’m a lactation consultant and I coordinate the program for the hospital where I work. I had to get everything ready for my 9 day absence. I don’t usually have the day before I leave off, but this time it just worked out that way.
That Saturday ended up being busy. I went to yoga in the morning (I love my yoga). I got a pedicure. Zung and I had lunch. And I packed, packed, packed. The day flew by.
When Karen and I have done our 4 day trips, I have managed to pack everything into a carry-on. I knew I would need to pack a real bag for a 6 day trip, but somehow, 2 extra days turned into 2 bags. I first packed the large bag, affectionately known as the beast (that’s the red one).
My bag was 55#, so I got out another bag. My trusty carry-on that Karen had sent me several years before. I would check it also, but it was the right size for the overflow.
I was bringing a laptop computer for Daniel, my favorite bartender at the Grand, but it didn’t weigh THAT much. I had, of course, two additional pairs of shoes. They didn’t weigh THAT much either. But everything combined, apparently, did weigh THAT much.
Bags packed, I went to sleep. I set my alarm for 6 am. I always say, it always takes longer than you think it will to get ready the day of departure. I am always right. Always.
I had picked out a new dress I got at H&M to wear for my travel day. Finding a bra that works takes forever because they all show and I’m one of those people who has not embraced the showing of under garments (that’s why they have “under” in their name – duh!). I finally put on a strapless. Although it made us leave later than we had planned, Zung made good time.
He took my picture and we said our goodbyes. Our deal is, I go to Mexico for a week with Karen (aka “without” him) and he races his car during the summer (a very pricey hobby). That includes a week-long trip to either Ohio or Utah for “Nationals” that costs a few nickels and dimes, so I call my Mexico girlfriends trip “My Nationals.” Payback and all that. I will say, I sold stuff on eBay, and at the consignment store, and got our cable bill lowered, and worked to help fund this trip. So, while I am lucky to get to go on this trip, part of my luck was made by me.
While we were driving to the airport, it occurred to me that since Zung was not accompanying me, I would not be able to go in the Ascent Frequent Flyer, Line Jumper lane. I would have to stand in the long, regular people lane.
Unless…I checked in online…and then I could go in the bag drop lane. I whipped out my iPhone and did just that. I tucked away that experience to share with Steve, who does not have a smart phone, and for some unfathomable reason, does not want one. This was a perfect reason why it’s great to have one. I love my iPhone.
Hint: if you didn’t check in online, either at home, or in the car, and arrive to the airport and a long line, just whip out your smart phone and check in right there, and then sidle up to the bag drop line and smirk at those poor suckers in the long check in line. Or be gracious and just kind of shrug your shoulders at them, and just smile slightly as you look away.
We arrived at Passenger drop-off and took the picture (see above), said our good-byes and off I went, for my excellent adventure.
I check my bags (no charge because I booked the Frontier Classic fare, which has all kinds of extras, or at least two or three).
I go through security. My watch sets of the alarms. I take off my watch and bracelet and am good to go. I can not get into my shoes fast enough. I am a germaphobe and hate those moments when I have to expose my feet to everyone and their brother’s foot cooties. Yuck.
Next stop is Chef Jimmy’s, where vacation officially begins.