Back in May I spent 63 hours in Mexico. It sounds like a bad headline you’d see in a newspaper, but it was far from that. I mentioned the trip briefly in my race recap of this year’s Pittsburgh Marathon. The reason I did that is because about 3 hours after I ran across the finish line, I was at the airport and on my way to Mexico.
My good friend Dave was marrying his fiancée Kim, who is also a good friend, down in Riviera Maya. I actually had originally decided not to go because of expenses and well, logistically craziness, but another friend basically talked me into going. I was thankful for that actually. I knew I would have kicked myself more for missing it than for dealing with the cost and logistics. So, I think with just weeks to go, I decided to pull the trigger and book this trip.
They planned the wedding for Tuesday night and most people had traveled down the Saturday before to stay for a week. They chose the all inclusive resort, Barcelo Maya Palace Deluxe. This was going to be my first time at an inclusive and I was determined to get my money’s worth in just my short time. Since I was running the Pittsburgh Marathon on Sunday, May 1st, my flight options were limited. I could rush and make a 3pm flight on Sunday after the race or wait until Monday morning to fly down and have even less time. Well, knowing that I love an adventure, I chose the 3pm Sunday flight.
As worried as I was about making my flight after the race, in the end I didn’t have to really worry that much as I made it on time and with time to spare even. It meant missing basically all finish line festivities after the marathon, but the thought of fruity drinks, sun and sand made that slightly okay. I had a connection in PHL, so it was a quick skip there from Pittsburgh.
Our flight out of PHL, which I had been upgraded on, was slightly delayed. While we were delayed at the terminal, I happened to be chatting with our flight attendants and explained I had run the marathon that morning. Our flight class flight attendant was also a runner, so she got the runger that was happening at about 30,000 ft up and was giving me bowl of warm nuts after bowl of warm nuts. Oh, and wine. I wasn’t complaining.
Upon landing, since it was so late at night, I got through customs in no time and quickly found my way to the resort shuttle. Since I booked with the group, my airport shuttle was included. Otherwise it was going to be an extra cost. As soon as I checked in, one of the shuttle guys asked me about my medal (yes, of course I was wearing it!) and I explained I ran a marathon that morning in Pittsburgh. Well, sure enough he has family in Pittsburgh and couldn’t believe I would willingly run a marathon. They asked if I wanted a drink and pointed to this bar close by the airport doors but said no, I’d wait until I got to the resort. Well, then the guy came over with a Modelo. I mean, what was a girl to do. Open it and drink it of course.
The shuttle ride to the resort was about an hour long. Upon arrival, I was so tired (it was 11pm Cancun time) and just wanted my bed. I will admit my check in did not go that smoothly so I was extra annoyed. I also just wanted a drink and they also just neglected to tell me the only bar open at the resort by then was the bar in the lobby. I didn’t get this information until I was back at the room. Oh well. At least I had my arrival beverage while I got checked in.
I had no complaints about my room. It was a good size and consisted of a king bed and another space with 2 sofas. Certainly plenty of room for 1 person. The bathroom was also great! Sadly with such my short stay, I never really got to enjoy the jacuzzi tub in the bathroom. Oh well.
Monday, my truly only full day at the resort, I was up pretty early to get outside. I am not a big beach/ocean person, but I didn’t mind sitting under a pergola by the pool. I somehow ended up by a group of women and we got to talking. I don’t even know how it was brought up but all of a sudden one yelled at me, “OMG, you’re the crazy marathon runner!” Okay, well I found the wedding party I was with. It happened to be Kim’s family and they were great! I knew a few people down there for the wedding, but I will admit, going to an inclusive resort by yourself is slightly lonely. Okay, very lonely.
Well, once I met them, I definitely didn’t feel alone. It also didn’t help that I was definitely getting my money’s worth in booze at this point and possibly drunk by 10am. I was on vacation and for the first time in along time, I was enjoying every second of it! One of the guys in the group had mentioned he was snorkeling a day before and there were sea turtles all around. Again, I hate the ocean and hate the beach, but SEA TURTLES?!! So, somehow he got me to agree to go into the ocean to look for sea turtles. Sure enough, not long after we were there, there were a few coming up. At one point I remember yelling, “I TOUCHED THE TURTLE!!!” I was probably more freaked out than it was since it kept coming back. I think they thought we were going to feed them. That was my only time in the ocean. But hey, I went in, right?
Tuesday was the wedding, so by early afternoon I was getting ready to head to the big event. You could certainly tell everyone was taking it easy on Tuesday during the day. I was okay with that as well as I know I was hurting from the day before. Between the alcohol and then the alcohol induced sunburn, I was not the best of conditions.
Dave and Kim had decided not to a traditional ceremony while down there. They chose to do a Mayan Ceremony which as Dave described it to me was certainly going to be an interesting event. Early evening, we all met in the lobby bar and were then shuttled to the far side of the resort to a more private beach area. There were still people on the beach, but for the most part it was just the wedding. The set up and view was just amazing. One that certainly made for a great wedding backdrop.
The Mayan ceremony was well, interesting. There were 4 people in very little clothing with crazy head dresses. The idea was that you connect with Mother Earth through 4 steps: Mutual Acceptance, Purification, Offering & Union and Benediction of the Couple. It wasn’t a long ceremony and not a lot of talking, so you mainly just watched the men and women going through their actions.
Well, soon enough through, Dave and Kim were announced husband and wife. We all walked maybe about 20 feet to where the cocktail hour was and enjoyed a great Mariachi band, some cocktails and appetizers. Once the resort staff had the dinner area finalized, we were all invited and escorted to our tables. It was all in the same area, so there was very little moving around and all night long we had that amazing ocean view.
Now, I’ve been to plenty of weddings, but Dave and Kim had one of the best music playlists ever. That is not surprising since they are both Rock Boaters. They had an amazing dinner hour music playlist and great dance music all night long. I actually spent a lot of time on the dance floor sweating my butt off and trying to out do this one 8 year old there. Sadly, he ended up winning the crowds that night, but that’s okay, I had my consolation prize of more booze. Sorry kid, I actually won that night.
As the wedding concluded, we all headed back on the shuttle to the lobby bar. There we kept drinking and had some midnight snacks. For maybe only knowing 6 total people at the wedding (besides the Bride and Groom), I felt that for the first time at a wedding, we were all just one group and we all knew each other. It was such a low key, low stress (okay, Kim might disagree with me here) event, that allowed it to just be so much fun!
I actually called it a pretty early night as I had a semi early flight the next morning. I had to catch the 9am shuttle back to the airport. Boo. My 63 hours in Mexico were already coming to an end and I was kicking myself that I couldn’t stay longer.
There was so much that I had learned that I was missing regarding the resort. The resort actually had 3-4 properties within that larger property and you could travel back and forth. There was a sports bar, dance club, shopping mall, Dolphin show and lots of restaurants. I wish I could have enjoyed more of those. For the most part, while I was there I ate the buffet. It was easy for me and less kick in the gut that I was eating by myself most of the time. Monday night I did join 3 others for dinner at the Brasserie Restaurant. It was wonderful French food and I was happy to get out for dinner that one evening with others.
As I waited for the airport shuttle, I enjoyed one last mimosa and took in the last of the sunshine and beauty of the area. It was an easy ride back to the airport and pretty easy to get through security again. I was again upgraded to first class and was very happy to see it was that first class was the pod seats. I wasn’t actually going home as I had to fly directly to Philadelphia for work. The fact that I could literally lay back and sleep pretty comfortably made that a littler more bearable.
It was sad that my 63 hours in Mexico had come to an end. It was a wonderful time and definitely a great introduction to all inclusives, which is something I’ll certainly do again. However, it was amazing to be there to see Dave and Kim’s wedding and very thankful to have been a part of that great moment.