While waiting for our luggage in the rainy, gloomy, cold Boston Sunday night, we compiled our lists of "top 5" best and worst experiences from this 9 day paradisiacal vacation.
The 5 best things about our vacation:
- The beach - no question, the best beach I've been to. That's no mean feat - I've been to some of the best ones in the world, from the Mediterranean, through many Caribbean islands and Atlantic US beaches, to California and Hawaii. The Cancun beach was just perfect - crystal clear turquoise sea, blue sunny skies, clean white-sand beaches, with not a pebble or seashell in sight. Plus, miles and miles (20 miles, to be exact) of beach to walk, with no dividers or hotel barriers. The endless variety of on-coming waves, in addition to the welcomingly warm Caribbean water. And, despite all that, relatively few people on the beach - we always had a choice of sun-umbrellas at our hotel's section of the beach and at least 100 square meters of personal space. But don't trust me - go, check it out for yourselves!
- Swimming with dolphins at Xcaret - the once-in-a-lifetime experience. Kissing, hugging, petting, learning all about them. We can now tell males from females and know how they breathe and hear. Then, having a group of dolphins swim under and then jump over us, to our collective "aaaaaaaaaahhs". Finally, the famous "dolphin foot push" - having 2 dolphins push our feet, zipping through the dolphin-pool as if on water-skis. Amazing.
- Climbing to the top of the pyramid at Chichen-Itza and imagining myself as the Mayan high-priestess circa 1300 AD, silently performing ritual sacrifices to the acoustically amplified sounds of tens of the best Mayan drummers, looking down at the thousands of awe-struck Mayans below and miles and miles of the green jungle canopy beyond. This one deserves a separate story, which I hope to write.
- Clubbing at Coco Bongo - definitely the best club I've ever been to. Here, my comparative field is not as extensive as with beaches, but Coco Bongo comes closest to Stage 54 in Las Vegas, except that there are many more live acts, better (IMHO) music selection, and a more relaxed atmosphere. As an added bonus, they have open bar for only $15 (in addition to the $15 cover), which I decided to pass on, allowing me to see my esteemed boyfriend more drunk than myself, for the first in my life. Turned out to be quite fun and definitely worth my own temporary sobriety, actually - he was dancing better, talking funnier, and moving freer; is that what I do when get drinky-drunky?
- Together, just the two of us - sleeping, eating, swimming, reading, relaxing, not doing much, and not feeling guilty about it.
The 5 worst experiences about our vacation:
- Coming back to rainy, gloomy, cold Boston - a sobering effect, indeed.
- Sunburn - yep, that ever-present sign of a beach vacation. It takes being lazy just once, and one of my legs is still the color of a Mexican tomato.
- All-inclusive food - surprisingly, our all-inclusive resort turned out to be a condominium complex instead, with very little food choices, especially for a vegetarian. I guess, on the plus side, I did not gain any weight during the trip.
- Mayan children asking for handouts during one of the stops on the Chichen-Itza trip. The standard of living in Mexico seems to be much higher than in most Caribbean banana republics, and so we were not struck by the poverty of the natives most of the time. The one exception was a visit to a poor Mayan village, where 6 to 10 year old children were trying to get the tourists to give them some cash by selling photographs, pleading, or jumping into the cenotes.
- Realizing that we live in the rainy, gloomy, cold Boston, where life stops at 2am. Did I mention that I hate the cold? and the rain? and the gray skies? and my pale skin here? And, no, the fact that Moscow, where I grew up, is even colder does not help me like this place.