Trip Report 8/20-8/27 part 2

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Posted by scott from ( on viernes, agosto 30, 2002 at 18:57:38 :

Although the room has air conditioning, we never use it at night, preferring to sleep with one of the balcony doors left partially open. Over the night, a small storm front has passed, and the breakers are higher than usual. The surf booming a few hundred yards away sounds like distant thunder and it makes for wonderful dreams.

Today is Wednesday. We rise at 8 and head for the coffee machine. Oops. No regular, only decaf. Not to worry as a simple call downstairs has packets arriving within minutes. As it turns out, the minibar person will never leave regular during the entire vacation except for the time we leave a note on the machine reminding him/her. But we forget to leave additional notes after that, so calls happen each morning. It becomes a daily laugh for us.

Nobody is in much of a hurry to go anywhere so we lounge around, J watching a bit of TV and playing with toys while parents read, drink coffee and generally wake up. Vacations for me mean many books. M jokes that we need a separate suitcase for my books, but in reality, I only brought 4 on this trip. This morning itís 'To the Ends of the Earth', a collection of chapters from Paul Therouxís other books. As I look out from the balcony I can see the staff setting out chairs around the pool and people walking along the beach. Patchy clouds here and there make for what I call a buttermilk sky. Gorgeous.

We finally find our way to the cafť downstairs for breakfast. The Dorado has a great breakfast buffet that most guests who buy the hotelís Mexican package get for free (or at a large discount, Iím not sure). Even if you pay for it, itís well worth the money. But since we donít eat much for breakfast, we choose to order off the menu. Fresh fruit for M, hotcakes for J, huevos rancheros for me. Fresh squeezed orange juice as good as what comes from our own tree back home. J moves between the table and the playground a short distance away, and quickly finds a friend to play with. We note that the hotel has strung up fishing line around the cafťís patio and nearby trees as a way to discourage the birds, but of course, the birds are just too smart for that. They simply land outside the restricted zone and walk in to the tables where they then raid leftover food. Good for them, I say.

After breakfast, itís back to the room for a quick wardrobe change and then down the pool where weíll spend the day. One of the best things about this trip is that itís the first vacation in which J can swim without the need of support flotation. We do bring ďfloatiesĒ for his arms, and he uses them a bit, but quickly throws them to the side and swims on his own. Weíre not entirely surprised by this because heís been taking swim lessons at the YMCA for a few weeks each year, and in June he swam the length of the 25-yard long pool by himself. Nonetheless, itís clear that he is totally comfortable now, slipping down the slide into water that is deeper than he can stand in and swimming easily to the side. Mom and dad are both thrilled and proud. Later in the day, heíll don mask, snorkel, and fins and putt around the pool as well. Iím telling you, as soon as heís old enough for scuba, weíre taking him to Cozumel. Iíve been diving since I was 14, M dives as well, and it will be one of the greatest moments I can imagine when we step off the back of a boat together.

Later in the morning we take another walk down the beach because J wants to look for crocks at the lagoon-like area next to El Faroís cable car. We know there are no crocks there but it also lets us check out the various hotels along the way. All along the beach, black flags fly due to the large surf. When we return, M and J head for lunch at the hotelís palapa restaurant, while I find a comfortable chair in the shade on the beach. The surf is empty except for Mexicoís version of Meatloaf (really, he looks like the guy), who, with his rather large size, has no problems with the 6-foot waves. Me? I can swim with the best of Ďem, but I stay well within the break zone today. Occasionally somebody floats by on a parachute. Looks like fun, but again on this vacation, Iíll never get around to doing it. Conspicuously absent are the tour guides who want to take you fishing or to La Isla. In fact, there are very few people anywhere.

Underneath the lifeguard tower, a few dozen baby turtles chaotically flap and flounder in a large white tub full of water. Theyíre part of the local effort at turtle conservation that the hotels participate in and destined for release in a couple of days. Weíve been lucky enough to be around when the release happens and it is a lot of fun. Everybody lines up above the water line, holding a turtle in their hands. A whistle blows. Turtles are placed on the sand where they immediately make a dash for the water. The first time I saw this I was amazed at how well behaved the people were. Ok, so I was also amazed that we were even allowed to handle the beautiful little creatures in the first place, until I realized just how touched people became during this process. I mean, eyes tear up all around you as dozens of essentially helpless animals three or four inches in size make their way towards what is well known to be a dangerous life. Whoever thought this program up is to be commended as much for the public education aspect as for the direct conservation itself.

After lunch, M and J go to the room for a much needed nap while I hunker down next to the pool and order a beer. Iíve finished Theroux and have moved on to 'Reliquary', a thriller by Preston and Child. The rest of the afternoon is spent alternating between pool and beach, book and beer. Ok, so throw a couple of cubas in there as well. Itís vacation, no? Eventually nap time is over, the family is rejoined and everybody plays in the pool. And itís now that it strikes me exactly why we stay in Ixtapa instead of Zih. Families. Families are everywhere. Fathers in the pool with their kids. Mothers in the pool with their kids. Grandparents sitting on chaises watching their kids play with their grandkids. And for J, who makes friends at the drop of a hat wherever he goes, lots and lots of new friends to swim with.

Dinner tonight is at Rubenís. We love the hamburgers there and M gets a pitcher of fresh watermelon juice to wash them down. But of course, not before we stop at the hotel lounge for happy hour. You have to love a happy hour where ďtwo for oneĒ really means that when you order one, they bring you two. Yipes. But even if they didnít serve drinks there, weíd still go because thatís where Jís novia is. Ah yes, the lovely Juany. She hugs J. She kisses J. She brings him cocktail cherries, which are his favorites. And she nicely needles us as to why we donít have a second child. I keep my wits about me and donít ask if we can adopt her. But I do have one *ahem* shot of Hornitos all the same.

After dinner we get ice cream at a nearby stand and walk to the supermercado for water and misc food. Since yesterday was so long, we make it an early night and head straight for bed. As usual, we return to a room where the bed has been turned down and an animal (this time a pulpo) made from hand towels and flowers sits on the sheets along with a few candies. Do I like the Dorado Pacifico? You betcha.

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