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Hector (aka an awesome bell boy) drives us from the lobby to Building 71. We get out of the golf cart and see it. The seaweed. Actually, it’s algae and called sargassum.
We also smell it. It does not smell good. In fact, it smells kind of putrid.
I knew there was a “seaweed” problem before we came. I had been monitoring it the last few weeks. Okay, I’d been stressing over it. There! I admitted it.
I know it is the kind of thing that can change from day to day. I have been here before when the sargassum was bad. When you could see big clumps of it coming in from out in the ocean.
I have never seen it this bad.
But, it is what it is. Just like the weather, you can’t change it.
The concierge greets us with glasses of champagne. Why, yes please, I will have another.
We went up to our room. There was a meat and cheese plate and a bottle of wine. There is no fruit basket which is fine. I once told the GM that I would prefer no fruit basket because we just don’t eat it and I hate to waste food. But he said it’s standard.
No fruit basket was actually a good thing.
Disappointingly there were no flowers. There have been flowers in our room upon arrival all but once in the past few years.
I love fresh flowers and it is one thing I really enjoy having in our room.
I do appreciate the meat and cheese plate because we are usually pretty famished when we arrive. It has been hours since we ate our breakfast sandwiches.
There are the glasses of champagne that we drink. We need something to balance out the alcohol. Sometimes we make rum and cokes too. That doesn’t happen today though.
Marco, our butler comes to the room and has us sign our check-in papers and gives us our wristbands. He asks what requests we have.
I ask for two down pillows and Zung asks for one foam pillow. Those foam pillows weigh a ton. You could hurt someone with one of those!
I ask for some Atlantico Reserva. Yes, it has replaced Havana Siete as my favorite. I know that will come as a shock to some. When they changed the shape of the Havana Siete bottle the taste seemed to change as well and I just don’t like it as much anymore.
Marco asked if I wanted the white or the dark and I said the dark.
I did the Ceremonial Removal of the Watch (CROW)
Zung put on his robe.
NOW it is vacation!
There was a knock at the door. It was room service…with a bottle of white Atlantico rum. I explained that I had asked for the dark Reserva. He asked to come in and he called his boss and then said they would send what I had asked for. What made this so weird was that Marco and I had actually talked about the white vs the dark. Whatever.
We unpacked. Marco brought our pillows and I told him about the mix-up with the rum. I understand that this definitely classifies as a first world problem. And an insignificant one at that. It was just combined with not being able to get the room we usually get and no flowers…Well, let’s just say there have been better starts to our stay.
It was soon time to get dressed for dinner.
I wear my fun Betsy Johnson shoes that I got from Nordstrom Rack.
We ask for a golf cart, but after waiting a couple of minutes I decide that it’s not a long walk and these are comfortable heels, so we walk it. It is a lovely walk.
It is 7 o’clock and I am always still amazed that there are still people in the pool. I think they do kick any remaining straggles out by 8 at the latest.
We arrive at Toni’s and are asked to wait.
They seat us very quickly, right by the window which is our favorite location.
Our waiter asks if we want something to drink and I ask for the wine list. The sommelier brings it over. He is new. His name is Yamil and he he very nice and helpful!
He asks what we like. We end up choosing a Chianti.
We recently found this wine at home and bought it. It was $10. We have a number of wines in our cooler that are on the expensive side. Not stupid expensive. Well, I guess that depends on your definition of stupid expensive. But on a regular day we usually drink wines that are $20 or less.
If we could afford to drink more expensive wines on a daily basis we would, because you CAN taste the difference. But we are not in that tax bracket. So we are grateful when we find a decent wine that is in our budget for everyday drinking. This definitely qualifies.
I have heard people say they drank expensive wines that didn’t taste good. Once we went to dinner at our “wine friends” who always pull out amazing wines for us from their cellar. They opened a bottle that was about $250 and it was corked. Which means it tasted like wet newspaper.
Remember that the next time you drink an expensive wine and think it tastes terrible. it may be corked.
Dinner was mostly good.
When we ordered the same sides he said he would bring enough for two, but it was a little skimpy.
I ordered the cold seafood app. it was not amazing. Part of the problem was it was on a bed of rock salt. I think this must be the trendiest thing because I see it everywhere.
The problem was that the salt got on the edible parts of the food and made it too salty.
And the shrimp had their eyeballs and antenna on them. I can’t even look at shrimp like that much less eat them. Zung has no problem with it though and he gobbled them up.
Along with his salad.
I got the ribeye, which was perfectly cooked and delicious.
For sides we shared mashed potatoes and asparagus.
Yea, we didn’t think it was quite enough for two either. I’m sure they would have brought more, but I also know that this is how much they would have served for one. And those mashed potatoes are damn good. I could eat ten times that much. I showed restraint though.
I let Zung have his half. Well, maybe it was his 1/3.
Neither one of us left hungry.
After dinner we went to the Lobby Bar to see our third son, our sweet Daniel.
I had him make me a drink that I hadn’t had in a while. And we got to meet some peeps from the Facebook Iberostar Grand Paraiso Fan Group, which you should totally join if you haven’t already.
To find out what the drink was and see more pictures of Daniel you will just have to read my next installment.