Entries Tagged as 'pool'

Feliz Cumpleaños, Kristin!

February 21st, 2015 · No Comments

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.

[Read more →]

Tags:··························

Hawaii Day 11: Kamehameha Schools Class of ’94 Reunion

June 15th, 2014 · No Comments

20140617-220747-79667732.jpg
View from our condo’s balcony

In the morning Dallas went golfing with Billy, Keoni and BJ. His parents got breakfast and then when they came back they watched Makai while I took a walk around Waikiki and did a little shopping.

20140617-220749-79669414.jpg
The most popular udon spot in Honolulu: Marukame. I like udon but I’m not spending my vacation standing in line!

20140617-220748-79668672.jpg

I was trying to hunt down a specific pair of slippers and I also bought a small LeSportSac bag in a print that is only available at a handful of stores in Hawaii and Guam. I grabbed lunch really quick at Surf n’ Turf Tacos on Kuhio and then headed back out to get a manicure and pedicure.

20140617-220751-79671340.jpg

I’d gotten the “no chip” before I left, but it was clearly chipping. And even peeled completely off one of my fingernails. In the morning I had looked online and made an appointment at ai nail salon, which was just a couple blocks from the condo on Lewers. ai nail salon is a bit hard to find. It’s located on the second floor of a building that doesn’t look like the right place! Once inside, it’s very small, quiet and relaxing. I spent a bit more than I would have liked to, but it was worth it for a short, luxurious getaway. All of the women who work there are Japanese. Even their web site and a lot of the in-store signage is in Japanese, but they do speak English too. The ladies asked me to see a photo of Makai and oohed and aaahed when I showed them.. and especially when I said he was part Japanese.

20140617-220753-79673182.jpg

It was nice to have that bit of relaxation because when I got back to the condo it got a bit crazed. And for the whole rest of the night too! Aunty Lauren came over with Scott and Vivian (her kids). Vivian brought her kids Seth (10), Maile (6) and David (3). They came to visit with us, but especially because the kids wanted to swim!

20140617-220746-79666006.jpg

When I came home I got Makai ready and took him in the pool too. He loved the water. Way more than the ocean. He kicked and kicked and splashed. He did not particularly like the float I bought for him, but liked to just be held while he splashed. The hot tub wasn’t that hot, and wasn’t turned on, so we went in there too and he really liked that!

20140617-220746-79666469.jpg

Dallas and I had to get ready for his Kamehameha Schools Class of ’94 (20 years) reunion. Dallas’s dad was also attending his Class of ’64 (50 years) reunion that night. Uncle Mel and Aunty Wendie came over to meet Makai and to help Dallas’s mom babysit that night. While we were getting ready, Hoku stopped by for an early beer then left to meet up with some others. Then Dallas and I headed over to a condo where Talbert, his girlfriend Dina, and another classmate Malia were staying. And Hoku was there too. (Condo balcony view above. The condo was on the beachwalk in Waikiki, a short walking distance away.) Dina, Malia and Talbert are all from the Big Island. Hoku is from Oahu’s North Shore and, of course, we’re from the mainland. So, it was great to get together! Hoku, Dallas and Talbert were great friends in school and we see Hoku every time we go back to Oahu, but Talbert I haven’t even met before. Everyone was so happy just to be together!

20140618-084727-31647798.jpg20140618-084729-31649139.jpg20140618-084728-31648707.jpg20140618-084728-31648277.jpg20140618-084729-31649566.jpg

We ordered an Uber car to pick us up and take us to the party, which was at Corner Kitchen, and Uber sent a guy with a Jaguar! Nice ride.

At Corner Kitchen there are SO many people packed in there! When I walked in I immediately recognized a ton of people. And they were all so warm and welcoming! Some friends we see every time we come back to Hawaii, but some I had not seen since the 15-year reunion! And a few hugged me and said how cute my baby is and I wasn’t even sure who they were! It was so warm and welcoming. Well, more than warm. HOT!!! Like I said, there were a ton of people packed in there! And Billy and Ging, who we’d stayed with earlier, were there too. Yay. Lots of fun!

At the end, Dallas walked back to the condo to get our car. Meanwhile a ton of ’94 people went to the Zippy’s nearby. Dallas met us over there. I had chili rice and he had katsu. After Zippy’s a lot of people went up the Kamehameha dorms for after party. We went, and brought some people with us, but we ended up not even staying for a full drink. So tired! I think Zippy’s was our undoing. It seemed like a great idea at the time, but with full bellies and so late at night, we just wanted to sleep.

[Read more →]

Tags:········································

Lakeshore East Glass Dome

January 6th, 2013 · No Comments

I guess there’s a swimming pool under that dome? And in the 60s, when the building the pool belongs to was built, it was a pretty big deal. The world’s largest apartment building and the only residential building east of Michigan Avenue and the only high-rise east of One Prudential Plaza. (Source.)

[Read more →]

Tags:··