You know… going back to college a second time around as an adult was pretty hard…but I did it and I apparently was so proud of myself when I got my degree I thought “Let’s keep going!” Then 5 words entered my head and these 5 words have done nothing but get me into trouble my entire life…. “How hard can it be?” Ugh
So Master’s degree here I come.
Mark has repeatedly reminded me I haven’t shared the story of our Anniversary this past year. He’s right. I've been busy… and it was painful! Sometimes it takes me a little while to find the humor in our crazy adventures.
So just to recap for the newbies… For our 15 year anniversary he planned a very romantic surprise trip. Called my boss. Got me off work. Packed our suitcases. Took me to a very expensive dinner and hotel to tell me we were flying out the next day. I then proceeded to trip over my own suitcase in the hotel room and break my shoulder. We spent our Anniversary in the hospital and he then had to spend the next 3 months taking care of me.
16 year anniversary I refused to leave the house.
So here we were at 17 years and Mark says I REALLY want us to do something nice. I felt bad I ruined his big plans so I agreed and we started going through options. I didn’t have the time to take off from work for a cruise so he suggests an All Inclusive. Lots of people seem to LOVE them. I agreed to give it a try and called my friend and fellow travel agent… the AI Queen… to help me plan. Mark wanted a hotel room where we could open the door and walk out onto the beach. Period. He didn’t care about anything else. We decided to go with The Royal Playa del Carmen.
While we are on the plane and flying into Mexico they pass out these forms for everyone to fill out. I don't know what they say because they are IN SPANISH. This is just fantastic. The one time we leave Trenton at home we need a translator before we even get off the plane. The airline said they didn't have any English versions and finally found someone on the plane to get on the PA system and tell us what each line said.
We land and make it through customs and immigration. We had paid extra for private transportation to and from the airport through Lomas Travel. We were able to find them easily, but we weren't able to get into the transportation. Apparently they are not allowed to let you get into their vans/cars unless they are in a parking spot. They had all their vans for non private transportation in the parking spots and told us we would have to wait until one of them filled up and left before we could go. So we are just standing on the sidewalk with our luggage. In the sun. No seats. No shade. NO OTHER passengers around. After several minutes Mark said "Hey buddy... I think we are going to have to find a Plan B here." They finally allowed us to get into the van that was waiting (not in a parking spot) and we were off.
The drive from Cancun airport to The Royal was around 40 minutes. No too bad. The resort was beautiful when we pulled up and walked in. We were greeted right away and asked to take a seat. I had read lots of stuff online how they brought you drinks as soon as you arrived and little wet towels to help you cool off.... those people must have been on break. After almost 20 minutes I stopped a girl and said can we please have some water... and what are we waiting for? A few minutes later we were escorted to a desk to check in and then escorted to our room.
It was beautiful!!
They had the room all decorated and left a bottle of champagne with a note that said Happy Anniversary.
Here's the deal with the rooms. We booked the Junior Swim Up Ocean Front Beach Walk Out Suite.... that's a mouthful. This resort has 10 of these rooms. 4 on the left side of the hotel are perfect.
These are the pictures you see when you are planning your trip. They are perfect. Your own private little pool. Leads right out onto the beach. I was so excited to sit in those little chairs and read while having my coffee in the mornings. Enjoying our balcony on the hammock in the evenings. BUT the other 6 of these room on the right hand side are a little different. Your "swim up" pool is the volleyball pool for the entire complex. Oh. How. Romantic.
This was the view from our room.
Was it beautiful. YES! What we had planned on... not so much. There was no sitting on the balcony and drinking coffee in the mornings because our patio furniture was taken every night and we had to go retrieve it each day. We decided to make the most of it anyway. The good thing about The Royal is you can also eat dinner at the neighboring resort so we headed across the street to try out the Brazilian restaurant for our first dinner. It was a nice, open air restaurant that overlooked their pool. Food was pretty good and service was phenomenal. We came back to our room and decided to go sit in the pool. It was getting late. We thought we would get a couple glasses of wine and just enjoy the evening. Being the volleyball pool there were no little chairs to sit in inside the pool that the previous picture had, but there were little round tables at the back so we had a place to put our (plastic) glasses. We probably had not been out there 10 minutes when the balcony door of the room beside us opens up and a grown ass man comes running out and cannon balls into the pool... right. beside. us.
I am not sure if he realized we were there mid flight... or under water when he was swimming up beside our legs... or when he came up to the surface and saw us staring at our glasses now full of pool water...
He did profusely apologize and offer to "buy us a beer" at this all inclusive establishment. We politely declined and attempted to move out of the way of his balcony room run, but he was so intoxicated he kept forgetting we were out there, so after the third time we just decided to go inside and forego the romantic pool evening.
Day 2 we had breakfast at the buffet and thought we would walk into town. It was only a few blocks away. This area was hands down the worst of all the places we have ever traveled on being hassled. No one was inside their shops. They were all out in the street and would yell at you trying to get you to come into their store. They tried to hand you items, drape bracelets on your arm. If that didn't work they would say that they were your waiter last night and didn't you remember them? How could you be so mean to them today? They would follow you down the street. It was awful. I actually did want to purchase some souvenirs, but they were pestering you so bad we just kept walking and ended up shopping in the gift shop at the resort. We spent the rest of the day by the pool with the drunken madness because we couldn't find anything else to do.
Dinner time we ate at Maria Marie which was really good! Hands down best food of the trip and beautiful romantic décor.
We finished dinner around 7:30 and went looking for something to do. Unfortunately, their nightly show did not start until 9pm so we just went back to our room. When 9:00 came we decided we were tired and didn't feel like going back out. About 9:20 we heard a noise and it was someone unlocking the door to our room and a lady just walked on in. She was clearly shocked to see us there, rushed back out and shut the door. When you checked in you had to select your time for the maid to clean your room and we had already had our turn down service, so it was a little shocking to see someone just enter with no apparent purpose.
The next day was our Anniversary so we decided to book an excursion. We went down to Lomas travel that was located in the lobby and paid. We were taken to 3 different cenotes and were able to swim/snorkel in them. The first one was really cool. We snorkeled quite a ways on a guided tour. The second stop was a cenote you could jump and swim in. Problem was... it was infested with mosquitos. Within seconds of stepping outside the van we were swarmed with mosquitos. Before we even got down to the water, Mark counted over 40 bites I had on my back. It was insane. Mark and I and 2 other guys ended up walking down the road and buying some mosquito spray in which we used the ENTIRE bottle... just to survive. I was certain we contracted malaria, the zika virus and west nile all in one sitting.
After that I just wanted to get out of there. I didn't care if I never saw another cenote in my life... lol
When we checked in on the first day at the resort we were told we had a concierge assigned to us and to let them know and they would make any dinner reservations we needed. Nothing that they had to be made days in advance. So upon arrival back to the resort we found the concierge and went to make dinner arrangements for our Anniversary. We were told that wasn't possible and if we wanted a reservation it had to be made when we arrived. Hmmm... ok. So we then said what are our options for dinner tonight and they informed us they had a very nice buffet. So yeah, our Anniversary dinner was at the buffet. Cheers babe.
The next day we were going home so we laughed at our anniversary dinner, had a good time all by ourselves and headed back to the room. We packed up and went to bed. Somewhere around 12:30 am someone started knocking on our door. I originally thought "atleast they are knocking tonight". We didn't answer and unfortunately, this was not information for them to go away. The knocking just got louder and louder until someone was physically yelling and banging on our door. I said "Babe... seriously, I think we have to answer the door. I think the resort is on fire! Something is really wrong" so Mark gets up, throws open the door and nope... no fire. Just drunk workers who took one look at Mark and said "sorry, wrong room." OMG
So I would love to tell you this was the end of the dysfunctionality, but no.... we still haven't made it out of Mexico.
The next morning we get up, eat breakfast (at the buffet) and check out of the hotel. We go back to Lomas travel to check in with them and see if our private transport is ready. They said Yes, it was. We hop in the van and speed off towards the airport. Somewhere between Playa del Carmen and Cancun the driver leaves the road, literally on 2 wheels he is going so fast and goes to pull into another resort. We start questioning him and he held up this list with probably 10 names on it and says he has other people to pick up. We tried explaining that we had paid for private transport and he called us loco gringos and kept going. I was on the phone trying to find someone at their company who spoke English and Mark was telling him to call his dispatcher. He did call someone and I thought he was listening to us because he turned around and got back on the road. A couple of miles down the road, he suddenly pulls off the road again. I thought he was going to another resort so I was going to try to go inside and talk to a Lomas representative and get it straightened out. I did have a very nice gentleman on the phone who confirmed we were supposed to be on a private transport. The van stops, I get out to go inside. Mark gets out behind me. The driver gets out. I am thinking this is all going to be sorted out. No worries. When the driver suddenly opens the back of the van, pitches our luggage onto the street, jumps back in the van and takes off.
Yep. We aren't at a resort. We are on the side of the road in Mexico.... and our driver is GONE.
I'll shorten the story to say we finally found a taxi and paid our own way to the airport... again. Only to find out I had thrown away some form we had to have to get out of Mexico. Damn it. Good news was for $100 they would give us another piece of paper to fill out and we could leave. We did make our plane, my awesome TA friend got our transfer money refunded and we finally made it back home and now have the story to tell that we were left on the side of the road in Mexico! Happy Anniversary Babe!
This girl is going back to cruising!