As we sat on our canopy bed along the beach, sleeping under our straw hats and dark sunglasses, two thin figures stepped into our sun. They were young, maybe 20, with tan skin and spiky jersey shore hair and hands full of glossy flyers.
Heyyyyy you wanna go to Coco Bongo?
I’m sorry what?
I don’t know what that means.
It’s a club, you know, like dance?
Oh! You wanna go now?
It’s only open at night.
So like 7 or something?
Nahhh lady. It opens at 11, it’s $55 a person-
I’m sorry did you say eleven o’clock at night? Sweetie, I’m 32 years old in Mexico with no children. I’m in my bed with the air conditioning on eating flan at that hour. Do you have flan there?
Uhhhh no, no flan.
Well, flan is kinda the deal breaker.
They walked past my feet every afternoon, stopping for a moment only to trip over my cane and remember I’m the lady who hates fun and eats flan all day.
Two weeks ago, 7 days in Mexico was a great idea. We needed it. We saved and planned and packed and counted the days.
Turns out, 7 days in Mexico is long ass time in Mexico.
I talk a mean game, but it gets increasingly difficult for me to turn off the whole mom and work thing when I travel. Which is ironically why we felt we needed to take this trip, but they are just two huge parts of me, so I had to focus really hard on being present and having fun, but the truth is, I cried into my pillow each night looking up early return flights on my phone.
I guess it’s part of the curse. You can go away, but you’re secretly going to feel like a selfish empty asshole the whole entire time.
However, we were with our best friends and had access to food and lobster, so we managed a good time just fine, here’s what we learned…
The blessing and the curse of all-inclusive resorts. We stayed with two of our favorite couples at Hacienda Tres Rios, which is a gorgeous all-inclusive resort on a the Riviera Maya. Seriously stunning, and going off season meant we had the place largely to ourselves.
I’ve never actually stayed at an all inclusive before, but it was something I was really interested in because I drink and eat a lot and I would really love to make that a more affordable aspect of my personality. When we first got there, waking up to endless food and drink made every day like Christmas morning.
Also, Coca Cola Light? Why the fuck have you guys been hiding this from America?! Diet Coke tastes like carbonated bong water, Coke Light tastes like Coke plus Jesus tears.
But after a few days, being at an all inclusive resort was starting to feel like being on a cruise ship. Or what I would imagine a cruise ship to feel like. So like, a docked cruise ship no one is allowed to get off of. We started to get a little stir crazy. I wanted to explore and shop and more importantly, I wanted to eat different food. Because that’s how I travel; I travel to eat. So we actually ended up escaping to Playa del Carmen a few times.
Pro tip: Many restaurants are locally owned, and they are in it for the love of the game. If you eat somewhere amazing, ask to talk to the manager or owner. Tell them how brilliant their food is and how gorgeous their place is, and you’ll not only meet really awesome people, you might even end up with plates and plates of complimentary treats to taste. I didn’t have a single meal in Playa del Carmen that didn’t last 3 hours and consist of a table full of new friends, endless booze and fucking amazing local delicacies. Shout out to the folks at Mi Pueblo and Kampai Sushi, I will never go to Mexico again and NOT eat at your place.
Own your body in Mexico. When I travel, I am always worried about fitting in fashion wise. New York and L.A. have vastly different style trends, and I am always googling to find out if I need to swing my packing more toward Sarah Jessica Parker or Nancy Botwin. I leave for Seattle in two weeks, and I’ve already resigned myself to the wardrobe of Bella Swan. But, I had no fucking idea what to pack for Mexico, especially since hot weather clothes are not my favorite. So I tossed tons of sun dresses, maxi skirts bathing suits and flip flops in a bag. No jeans. No heels.
This is what Day 5 in Mexico looks like: I ran out of clean clothes, so I just started making shit up. My husband’s undershirt, a turquoise necklace and a royal blue maxi skirt I rolled once so it didn’t cut into my skin too tight and pulled up above my stomach pooch. No one was the wiser.
Here’s the thing about Mexico, nobody fucking cares. Back fat, stretch marks, cellulite, so what. I was on a beach drinking cocktails next to the hot guy I just had sex with in the ocean. I’ve never felt more gorgeous. In fact, I packed three bathing suits; two one-pieces and a bikini. The one pieces never made it out of the suitcase. Mexico loves curves.
You’ll shit your brains out. I don’t think there is a bigger cliche than “don’t drink the water.” But the truth is, most of the water, at least at the resort, was either bottled or filtered. The first few days I was totally fine, and then it hit me. It could have been the ice in my drink or some questionably rinsed produce, whatever it was, it was pouring out of my ass for two straight days. Being sick in Mexico makes you homesick for your soundproof bathroom and access to Imodium, but then you remember the only way to get home is to take an airplane, and it only takes three seconds of imaging yourself holding poop inside you for 4 hours to accept your fate, light a match, and lay down on the floor next to the toilet.
Mexico is cheaper than therapy. Our resort offered tons of excursions and activities. In fact, every time our liaison Shakira said the word “activities,” Shauna and I reenacted this scene.
Ask every adult we were with, it basically never got old.
Boating, jet skis, mountain biking, cave exploring, segway tours, loads of options. Our group decided to try kayaking through this gorgeous river of mandrakes, which I was originally dubious about, because I’ve seen Harry Potter, and mandrakes are no bueno… unless someone has been petrified. This was apparently a different kind of mandrake. The trip was an hour long, and you couldn’t see how deep the river was, which was scary. Andy had never canoed before, and if this was a metaphor for our relationship style, I would categorize our relationship style as NOT CANOE. Before long, everyone had sorta left us behind, and shit got straight Blair Witch. I was crying and freaking out and a spider fell on my arm and we almost got legally separated four times.
By the time we got back to the boathouse, I was soaked from our boat taking in so much water while I was standing up screaming and trying to beat the spider to death with my oar. Andy looked at me and was like, we are never speaking of this again.
So nobody tell him I told you.