Entries Tagged as 'beach'

Feliz Cumpleaños, Kristin!

February 21st, 2015 · 1 Comment

Over Valentines/President’s Day weekend I went to the BlueBay Grand Esmeralda in Mexico with Kristin, Jen, and Allison to celebrate Kristin’s birthday. It was a big one! 21 is big, right? I can’t tell you we did much, as far as activities go, but I had a great time relaxing and soaking in the tropical sun rays. I experienced Montezuma’s Revenge for much of the trip, but still had a good time. I don’t think I’ve gone on a girls trip….. ever? And it was so good to see Allison, who we miss so much and haven’t seen for a couple years!

My first drink in Mexico: Margarita. And much deserved after a looooong travel day! My cab had arrived in the morning at 3 a.m.! Also, we get really spoiled in Chicago with direct flights everywhere. I had to stop over in Miami, which had no complications, but did add several hours on to my travel time. When I arrived in Cancun, I waited for Jen and Kristin to arrive and then we had to find our driver and then we had to go 45 minutes south, and then we had to check in and then go the kilometer from our lobby to our room (literally a kilometer away!) and then …… yeh…. finally…. a drink and a rest.

Next up? A rest by the pool. The main pool area was a very short walk from our rooms and was actually two pools. There was one other pool up by the lobby. .. but it was literally a kilometer away. Speaking of which… this was the biggest resort as far as real estate that I’ve ever stayed on. Very big and spread out. To get over it they had a bunch of golf carts that did circuits around the property. You could jump on any cart and it would take you wherever you needed to go. There were designated spots to wait, like bus stops, and you just catch the next one that comes by. Very efficient. Or .. you could walk. If you’re into that. We were trying to minimize any form of exercise!

As far as food goes, everything as included. And all the drinks too. Anything you wanted! For breakfast and lunch, there were certain restaurants on the property that had buffets set up. For dinner there was an “International Buffet” that did not require a reservation, but all of the other restaurants did. You reserved a day in advance and could pick from many options – Seafood, Steak, “Oriental,” French, Mexican (of course), etc. On the first day, we arrived in the afternoon and there weren’t many dinner options left so they talked us into this dinner show. The food was actually really good, as it was every night of our stay, and though we thought we were not going to be interested in the show at all, when it came on we could not look away. So much energetic and non-stop traditional Mexican music and dancing, with crazy costumes to match.

This mysterious creature is a coati. Coatis, plural for more than one. I saw some on the first day of the trip and every day after that. At first I called them “those weird lemur things” but thanks Drunk Girl #1 for looking that shit up on Wikipedia and letting everyone know that they’re called Coatis. Not coitus, but coatis.

On our first full day at the resort we had appointment for morning massages. This was probably the best massage I ever had in my whole life. So nice. And then we got to stay in the spa area with their private pool and hang out all day, which was fantastic because there were not very many people in there and it was very tranquil.

Jen visited an all-inclusive resort last year and so she was the experienced one who turned us on to The Bubba. The drinks at the pool and the beach and really all over the resort were all included. With the exception of dinner, where you’d get a proper wine glass or whatver, the drinks were all served in small plastic glasses. Enter: The Bubba. For one, it’s a larger serving. Everyone on the resort was more than happy to fill that whole dang thing full of pina colada or beer or our new favorite drink: Mango Tango. And by the way, the booze options were endless, but if you wanted beer, there was just one choice: Beer. I have no idea what it was, but it was not good. The only good thing about the beer is that there’s no water or ice in it (and my tummy was not good for some of the time!). Another good thing about The Bubba is that it keeps your drink cold. Whenever I got a drink in the plastic cup it would melt very quickly. Finally, The Bubba keeps the sand out of your drink, which was very important one day when we were on the beach and it was really windy. Regarding the name: The Bubba. That’s what it literally says on the cup. I don’t know where this brand came from or why it’s popular on the Mexican all-inclusive resorts.

Some days we switched it up and laid out on the beach instead of the pool. CRAY-ZAY!!!!

There was a bar near the beach that had swings instead of barstools.

One day it was really windy on the beach so Allison and I ditched it and headed into Playa del Carmen, which was about a 20 minute cab ride away. We walked around Quinta Avineda, a cute street with lots of foot traffic, but no car traffic. There were a ton of shops and bars and restaurants. We stopped in one called Las Delicias to sit for a bit, have a drink and a snack. Cute place. One weird thing was that when we were first seated a guy took a photo of us and then when we were paying the bill he brought out a bottle of tequila with our photo pasted on it and tried to sell it to us as a souvenir. WEIRD! And, yes, I did get Makai a Mexican wrestling mask!

This was the “Oriental Restaurant.” We had to call it that. I don’t think they know what “Asian Restaurant” meant! The restaurant was situated poolside and was all open air. As you can see, it was gorgeous.

We were away for Valentine’s Day. Allison and I were splitting a room and somehow got upgraded to a suite. It was nice and one of us took the bed and one the pullout. They made the bed really romantic on Valentine’s day, complete with fresh rose petals. Maybe they thought we were a couple. I was missing my Valentine, so I sat on this guy’s lap and told him he was my Valentine.

Jen and Kristin taught us how to play this card game called Shithead. We played a lot in the evenings. We played in our suite, on Jen and Kristin’s patio that overlooked the beach, and we played here:

Black and White was the name of the 24-hour sports bar on the resort. It had a huge, creepy black and white cat behind the bar. See you in my nightmares, black and white cat! Also, can you image how sloppy a 24-hour bar at an all-you-can-drink resort gets?

Because all you can eat and drink in the bars and restaurants isn’t enough, each day we had a mini fridge that was filled with soda and a few beers and two very large bottles of water. The beer was called Superior. It was slightly better than the beer served everywhere else on the resort.

Us at the fancy Mexican restaurant.

My new hat!

Mexican Diet Coke = Coca Cola Light

I think these are hurricane evacuation instructions.

Last glimpse of warmth, then off to the airport…..

…. where I had breakfast at the same place where I had breakfast last time I was leaving Cancun.

Back to reality.

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Hawaii Day 10: Back to the City

June 14th, 2014 · No Comments


Hoku was at daycare and Billy and Ging needed to get some things done so Dallas and I watched Damien for a bit. It was no big deal, really. He is pretty independent and mostly just played with Makai. We did take both of the boys to the beach for a while. Dallas and Damien ran around and played a lot. I hung out with Makai, but closer by the water. Not so close that he’d get sprayed in the face again, though! He actually seemed to be warming up to the beach a little bit. .. but also.. he was eating sand by the handfuls if I wasn’t watching him every single second! Damien dug Makai a tidepool that he could sit and splash in. Then it started to rain so we headed back to the house (only a half block away! Billy and Ging are so lucky!).

Ging made us salmon for lunch and we all sat down and ate a nice meal. Then we had to pack up and leave. It was our last day in Waimanalo. We’d see Billy and Ging again on the trip but we wouldn’t see Damien and Hoku so that was kind of sad. All of the kids were having so much fun together.

We rented a condo on Lewers in Waikiki. It was 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms and we were sharing it with Dallas’s parents. We moved over to Honolulu to be closer to the nighttime events taking place for the Kamehameha Schools alumni week. Dallas’s parents were going to babysit and having a place closer to the city would mean much shorter drives home at night.

The condo was very nice and the guy who met us and let us in was great. Our only issue was that we didn’t have anywhere for Makai to sleep, so we ended up building him a makeshift bed/fort with a stack of blankets on the living room rug surrounded by all of the throw pillows from the whole condo. It worked out ok, actually. Not ideal, but it worked.

Dallas’s friends were calling as soon as we arrived. It was the talent show night and while we missed the show, there was an after party up at the dorms. I couldn’t go because Dallas’s parents weren’t on Oahu yet, but Dallas went up and saw everyone. He told me that someone in the class of ’89 was a Heineken rep and got 25 kegs (for 25 years). Crazy. I think it was gone within a couple days, actually!

Dallas’s parent’s flight came in later and they made it to the condo around 11 p.m. Dallas was out much later!

I love Kauai, but where we were staying in Waimea, it is definitely the country. The population in Waimea is about 1,700 people and the family house is down a long driveway and secluded. Waimanalo was really nice too. But again, really small. About 5,000 people live in Waimanalo. And when we spent time on Oahu’s North Shore.. that’s definitely the country. Say what you will about Waikiki, but after having lived in huge cities for the past 12+ years, it felt comfortable to be back in Honolulu. A good way to start to transition back into “real life” as our vacation was starting to come to a close.

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Hawaii Day 9: A Day in Waimanalo

June 14th, 2014 · No Comments


In the morning we went to the beach in Waimanalo. Such a pretty beach! Expansive white sand beach, deep teal water, tall ironwood trees, magnificent pali. Billy, Dallas and Damien did a lot of body surfing and body boarding. I hung back with Makai in a cozy shady spot. I had him by the water, but a wave splashed up in his face and he was kind of cranky after that. I think he had salt water in his sinuses because his nose was running like crazy. He still had fun playing a bit in the sand.


For lunch we went to Keneke’s for plate lunches. I got he pork adobo, which I’d never had before and really liked.


In the late afternoon we went to check out Sea Life Park. I had kind of mixed feelings about this place when I researched it before going (Blackfish guilt), but decided to go anyway because Ging had free passes. We went kind of late in the day and the park had already shut down a bunch of the attractions. Kind of a bummer. And the park is pretty small and kind of run down. Dallas said it’s been around since he was a kid. Luckily we got in for almost free or I might have felt ripped off. Also, to counterbalance some guilt, I was happy to find out that Sea Life Park is involved in conservation efforts, “including the release of adolescent green sea turtles that were hatched and raised at the park, hundreds of which are released into the wild each year.”


My favorites: the honu (green sea turtles). Damien liked these too. There was a guy in the pool to do some clean up and Damien was telling him how he should do things. The guy was very patient but I had to giggle when I overheard him saying “oh yeh? maybe I’ll try it that way next time.” Damien is destined to be a leader. Of something.


Across the street at Makapu’u Beach, we went to check out the tide pools. Damien ran all around looking for crabs and things in the water. Hoku did too, with the help of Ging. I walked around a bit, taking in the scenery, while Dallas stayed back with Makai. The big island across the way and in the Sea Life Park photos is Manana, most commonly referred to as “Rabbit Island.”

For dinner, Billy met up with all of us in Hawaii Kai at Kona Brewing. I think this is the third location we’ve eaten at (also in Kona on the Big Island and in the airport).

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