Monday, August 13, 2012

La Vida Buena

Today, we woke up and greeted the day in unusual circumstances for Team WestEnders: a different  country than los Estados Unidos, a separate time zone than good old Eastern, and—best of all--short stroll away from the ocean rather than several hours’ drive. All of these are delightful things…although Derek gave a teensy clue that he might be feeling a bit of Culture Shock. From the moment we stepped off the airplane in Cancun, we’ve been surrounded by Spanish speakers, as expected. I personally have found it vastly entertaining to point out and translate the signage, while also learning words that are new to me. (For example, I knew ‘ceda’ was ‘yield’, but had to figure out that ‘retorno’ was ‘U-turn’. Happy Nerd!) I also quickly became accustomed to using Spanish as the go-to language when asking questions of the Resort Staff; for me, it’s good practice and I certainly appreciate the Crash Refresher Course, what with Derek starting his Foreign Language education in about two short weeks. But today, Derek lamented the fact that “I haven’t understood one word anyone’s said the whole time we’ve been here!” Even when we turned on the TV last night to catch ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball broadcast, of course the commentary was in Spanish. I think that in itself would have been fine…but the ticker that runs along the bottom and updates all the scores…was also in Spanish, stymying Derek’s attempt to decipher the crucial stats. He was temporarily confused...and bummed. Who knows, though, maybe this experience is demonstrating to him in a real-world way that becoming fluent in a second language is a valuable endeavor. Perhaps it’ll motivate him to estudiar more diligently in the Fall (one can hope).

Otherwise, our lunes was all about 2 key things: water…and food. To begin with—just because we could, just because that’s the kind of people we are—we meandered over to the resort’s sister property next door for breakfast. That’s right, we’re wild and crazy, I tell ya. And because it amuses me (and him), I’ll now report what Derek ate for his morning meal:  a plate of pancakes (with sprinkles—because you just can’t do that every day….or EVER),  eggs, bacon, home fries, fresh fruit…and a doughnut (just to fill in the corners). I think his new favorite words in English are “All Inclusive” (or “Todo Incluido”—either way, he’s a full and content boy…until 3 hours later, when the buffet calls his name again. As a matter of fact, “All-Inclusive” is a very special concept to ME too, since I’m not involved in any way in feeding Derek this week, with the exception of pointing him to whatever café is currently willing to serve him…) Oh, the rest of us ate something delicious as well, but it wasn’t nearly as interesting—or gigantic—as Derek’s meal, so I won’t bother to mention it further. Thus fortified, we made our way to the beach. Spectacular sun and surf, yada yada…then when the sand began to cause…ahem…”chafing issues”…the boys voted to change scenery…to the pool. And yes, today we actually did test out the other exciting phrase: “Swim-up Bar”.  Riley and I proudly ordered ourselves un batido de platano (banana milkshake) y un bebida de jugos mixtos (mixed fruit juice drink). Both were yum…o! Eventually it got around to dinner time and we discovered that it was apparently “Seafood Night” at the main restaurant. Now Riley gets his Honorable Foodie Mention: as we took a turn around the dining room to scout out all of the options before filling our plates, he spotted pizza and scoffed, “Pizza? Who needs pizza…with all of these exotic choices?” Ah, my little travelers—always up for adventure, be it sporting or culinary!

And, that pretty much sums up our first full day of Riviera Maya: we came, we ate, we swam…we did it all again. I believe this means we’re commencing our transformation into Mexican Beach Bums!

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