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Old 06-15-2009   #1 (permalink)
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Feral Cats, Tail-less Rats, Poker Chips, and Natasha's T**ts : PDC Trip Report 6/09

Well, we are back in Fort Fun after nine great days in Mexico. This was Big Don and I's third trip to Playa in five years, AND we were celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary!
We REALLY needed this trip. 2009 has been a year of ups and downs for us. The good: my husband earned a big promotion, his company made an acquistion and he will be spending most of his time at home now! For the last six years, he has had to maintain a separate residence and travel home ever other weekend to see me and our children. We are excited about the prospect of having a "normal" family life again. Also, Don's oldest daughter, Alicia, got engaged over the holidays and her wedding is October 24th. Alicia and I are having a ball planning her wedding, and Big Don has been a pretty good sport about opening up his wallet, thus far !
The sad: My dad. As some of you know, he was diagnosed with a grade four brain tumor in February and passed away May 18th. It has been the most difficult time of my life. I traveled back and forth to Florida during his illness to help with his care and was able to be there and love him and pray with my family when he passed. I miss him.
AND.....
Right before we left, Don's youngest daughter, Melissa, announced she is pregnant. At age 19. By an older guy. Who already has a daughter. Whom he does not support. We are still getting used to the idea.

So with all that, needless to say, a week on the beach with peeps and drinks was a welcome diversion!

I have 217 photos to upload on Photobucket, and I have to go to Florida in three days to clean out my dad's house, but fear not dear readers, I will endevour to do my best to get my TR posted in a timely manner!

Stay tuned: Day One will be posted shortly, I promise!
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Old 06-15-2009   #2 (permalink)
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2009 has been a tough year all around, looking forward to your TR
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Old 06-15-2009   #3 (permalink)
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You Have Had a lot going on this year. Many changes, adjustments, losses and now some additions to the family (via birth & marriage). You guys deserved a great vacation!

It was wonderful meeting you and Don and cant wait for the report!
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Old 06-15-2009   #4 (permalink)
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What a tough year, Jamey! I am sorry about your father's passing.
Playa is the best remedy after dealing with rough times. I know all about that.

I cannot wait to read your trip report. The title is intriguing!
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Old 06-15-2009   #5 (permalink)
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Jamey...so glad you enjoyed your recent trip...Been thinking of you. Big congrtulations to Don on the promotion! You all really deserve some family time! Can't wait to read your report! You go girl!
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Old 06-15-2009   #6 (permalink)
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Looking forward to this report, Jamey.

It sure sounds like you deserved a great vacation after the year you have had!
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Old 06-15-2009   #7 (permalink)
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WOW! You guys did deserve this trip!!! Can't wait for your report!!!
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Old 06-15-2009   #8 (permalink)
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Sure sounds like you needed this vacation! Sorry to hear about your father.
Looking forward to reading your report.
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Old 06-15-2009   #9 (permalink)
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Well Jamey, one of my very good friends always says when she hears that kind of announcement " well there's worse things than babies"


I'm so looking forward to your report, you really deserved a great trip!

Sharon
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Old 06-15-2009   #10 (permalink)
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Day One: June 6, 2009

For once, we are not leaving at o' dark:thirty! We nabbed a direct, yes I said direct, flight from Indianapolis to Cancun. So after a full morning of last minute errands, taking dog to kennel, and dropping son off at a friend's house, we were off! After a short 2 hour drive to the airport (which I snoozed through), we arrived in plenty of time for our 3:05pm departure.
Indianapolis has a brand new airport. I discovered this a few months ago when I drove to the old airport, drove to the long-term parking lot, and wondered why it was empty! The new terminal is very George Jetson-looking, clean, bright and open.
On this day, there is no problem getting through airport security.....




We decided to have lunch at Harry and Izzy's, which is a restaurant that is owned by the same people who own the world famous St Elmo's Steakhouse in downtown Indy. St Elmo's is known for it's shrimp cocktail. If you ever need to clean out your sinuses, St Elmo's shrimp cocktail sauce should do the trick for you! It contains a LOT of horseradish, but as John Cougar Mellancamp sings, it hurts so good! YUM



The flight from Indy to Cancun lasted a little over three hours. The folks at Northwest Airlines did upgrade us to 1st class, but I did not eat the meal because I was so full from eating at Harry and Izzy's (that is not to say that I did not enjoy some wine on the flight down ) . I think that it was some type of turkey sandwich with fruit and a pasta salad. I would say that the plane was about 40% full. There was a family in front of us in 1st class, and they really trashed out their row, there were Good n Plenty candies all over the seats and floor!

First glimpse of Cancun



The last time I went to PDC in July, 2007, this is what the passport control line was like:



Not so much this time:





According to the USA Today Mexican Caribbean Edition, occupany in Cancun was about 49%, and Rivera Maya was at just under 30%. It is estimated that about 30,000 people in the area lost their jobs due to the swine flu "scare." It did appear that things started to pick up as the week progressed, so hopefully tourism in the area will recover as the media coverage of the "pandemic" diminishes.
Once you clear passport control, your temperature is taken



Baggage customs screening was different this time. Once you collect your bags, you place them on a conveyor belt, collect them, then push a button for the "red" or "green" light. The light illuminates on a screen, the old stoplights are gone. The screening conveyor belt is short and moves VERY SLLLOOOWWLLYY. This causes quite a backlog:



And did I mention that it is about 200 degrees in the baggage claim area??
A funny little story about the "green" light. Big Don gave me my bags and said "Go press the button." I said, "No, we can go through together." He said, "I filled out two forms, and I do not want want to fill out another." So I went through by myself, and we both got the green light. Three tips to PDC, three green lights! Well, later on that night, I found out why he wanted me to push the button separately. He was hoping that I would get a red light, for he had placed something in my bag that would have mortified me if a screener had discovered it and held it up for examination. I will leave what that object was up to your imagination, but let's just say that it really shocked me when I discovered it in my bag later on that evening. Paybacks, Big Don, paybacks.
After getting green lights, we darted through the time share shark frenzy, found our driver, and were on our way! Even with the backlog at the conveyor belt, we were in the van approximately 45 minutes after we had landed in Cancun. An all-time record!
We stayed in a villa in Playacar Phase I. Playacar is located just south of the Paseo del Carmen outdoor shopping mall at the south end of 5th Avenue. After changing, we headed immediately for 5th Avenue. As we passed the chapel on 5th, I noticed a religious ceremony being conducted in the church:


I do not think it was a wedding, because the girl had on a hot pink dress and I did not see a groom. Is this a quinceanera celebration? The church was decorated with lovely flowers and everyone was dressed up.
We went to the very first restaurant that we ever dined at in PDC 5 years ago, and the one we always go to first:


First margaritas of the trip:





La Palapa Hemingway's is known for its guacamole made fresh tableside. Our waiter, Pablo, preparing our guacamole:



YUMMY!


Big Don had fish tacos (not on menu, just ask for it):



I had shrimp tacos



The shrimp were lightly breaded just enough to be crispy, very tasty.
Girls, I have a pea-sized bladder, which enables me to include a review of the bathroom at every spot we visited on this trip. The ladies' room at La Palapa Hemingways has two stalls. The one on the left has no toilet seat, the one on the right does. Use that one. A toilet seat comes in handy after drinking, say four or five margaritas. After the long day of traveling and drinking, we were spent, so we walked back to Playacar. Here was the view of the ruins on the way home:



A great start to a great vacay in PDC!!!!
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Old 06-15-2009   #11 (permalink)
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EExcellent start Jamey! You and Don look great! Keep it coming, sistah!
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Old 06-16-2009   #12 (permalink)
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Nice layout very easy to read and great pics...........................
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Old 06-16-2009   #13 (permalink)
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Great start! Looking forward to the rest!!
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Old 06-16-2009   #14 (permalink)
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Great trip report so far. Love the food pictures. Sorry about your rough year. Nothing like Playa to erase the stress for a week or so.
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Old 06-16-2009   #15 (permalink)
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Since my travel plans were smached to pieces by work and a family member getting married on a whim, I have to live vicariously through these reports, So PLEASE keep them coming.

And so sorry to hear of your loss - Peace be with you.
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