Trip Start Jan 01, 2009
Trip End Jan 08, 2009

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Flag of Mexico  , Yucatan Peninsula,
Thursday, January 1, 2009

From -30C, bone-chilling, snot-freezing coldness, onto a plane, then plunged into deliciously warm breezes and on soft powdery white beaches. However did we get so lucky?

Leaving the house this morning was NOT fun, and really, the only thing that kept me going was the fact that I would be shedding my outer layers like a snake by mid-afternoon. We made it to Dorval in record time, but I think no one in their right mind should be leaving the comfort of their bed this morning! So cold...It's the same thing at the airport - besides our flight to Cancun, there are pretty much no flights leaving the city, just because it is a slow day.

Our flight was uneventful. We had individual TV screens, which was a welcome perk, and I proceeded to waste away my 5 hours watching chick flicks that I don;t otherwise get to see at home (ehem-). Sadly, I got cut off just at the crucial moment in "Mamma Mia", as Meryl Streep's character is about to divulge the identity of her daughter's father. BOO. Mario spent his time trying to guess the languages spoken by the European family sitting behind us. He was up to 5 by the end of the flight.

Nothing to declare, customs was a breeze, as usual, and our luggage was already touring the carousel. In less than 30 minutes, we were out in the balmy air of Cancun, boarding a minibus to Akumal Beach Resort.

The ride was entertaining - of course, I watched as the world passed by, drinking in the sites of the Yucatan Peninsula, and the plethora of resorts that we zoomed passed. The 307, the highway we traveled on, is the main road running parallel to the ocean, so it is packed with resorts. As we went further, the entrances got bigger and more spectacular. I would almost call them compounds or gated communities, since that's certainly the impression they give. Some were giant cement obelisks, hiding all traces of life inside. Maybe there isn't even a resort back there. Maybe it's just a facade, to make you think there's a fabulous resort, when what really happened is that the owner blew all his money on that big structure, and was forced to set up a few tents inside! That would be great!

The highways themselves are interesting, too. I guess Mexicans have a tendency to speed, because every few kilometers there is a speed bump in the middle of the road. A SPEED BUMP! ON THE HIGHWAY! And because some people slow down for the speed bumps, and others don't, they cause accidents, with the speeders rear-ending the slowpokes! We actually one happen, right in front of us, as we were dropping of people at another resort!

An hour later, we pull into the ultra-kitsch entrance to the Akumal Beach Resort, complete with plywood cutouts of snowmen and Christmas trees, covered in sparkly lights. It was exactly what I was expecting from this 3-star, hole-in-the-wall resort.

We got the full tour of the facilities as our bellhop / tour guide walked us and our luggage to our room, in the furthest building of the resort, Tikal. Everything here is spread along a long stretch of white sand, so you are never more than a short walk away from the bliss of the ocean. At 4 in the afternoon, most of the beach is occupied, but far from being full. There were some activities being run by the animation team next to the pool, which was full, and the staff was preparing the buffet restaurant for the evening's meal. And surrounding us was the warm ocean breeze and the smell of the salt water.

First things first - we dumped out stuff in our room, shed our layers of travel clothes and donned our bathing suits. When you arrive at a beach destination, what else could you possibly want to do first? We walked along the beach front, watching the sun set of the resort behind us. Sadly, it is still winter, even here, so the sun does set relatively early. About 5:30 pm. Once it got too dark to enjoy the beach, we showered and changed, and made our way to the buffet for dinner.

I have to say, I am really impressed with the all-you-can-eat buffet. It could turn into a true all-you-can-eat experience, but if you pick and choose you meal, and don't return for thirds(or fourths), it can be a rather classy experience. There was a nice selection of salads, vegetables, meats, pastas, and desserts, so the combinations are endless! We even had the house, albeit more grape juice than wine, but still, it had the alcohol in it. It was a pretty good meal, altogether.

Afterward, Mario and I made our way to the bar, where we discovered the delicious Mayan coffee. Picture a lovely concoction of espresso, coffee liqueur, something similar to anise liqueur(Xtabentun), frothy milk, all served in a sugar-rimmed glass. Perfection - and available every night!

We wanted to go see the evening show tonight, we really did...except that we got up at 6 am for our flight, and we had traveled most of the day, and, well, we decided to take a little nap before the show. When the alarm went off at 9:45 pm, we decided that the bed was just so much better. And back to sleep we went.
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