i have not been entirely honest with you. though it is true that we are on a caribbean vacation, and though it is true that we are in a tropical paradise, it is decidedly not true that we are sunning ourselves silly. in fact, we have barely seen the sun since we arrived last wednesday. wednesday was a hot day. i know that because wednesday is the day we arrived, first in toronto, bleary from the red-eye, and finally in cancun, where it took 100 minutes to retrieve our luggage. after an hour-long drive to playa del carmen, our cabbie dropped us at a cobblestone maze with a vague "alli" and a toss of his head to indicate where the ferry terminal might be. at least, we hoped that's what he was indicating.
we bumped our suitcases over cobblestone cuartos looking hopefully past the senor frog'ses and the carlos'n'charlie'ses and by and by we found the terminal. around that time, so did an entire cruise ship. they filed by us in approximately 15 groups of approximately 24 passengers who were approximately inebriated, until the pier was chockablock with human beings. we looked at each other in dismay, but what to do? once the wind was in our faces and the sun - still up at 5pm - was in our eyes, we lost all sense of tribulation.
however, we found it again, forcibly, on the san miguel side, where we schlepped our bags several more blocks to the hotel. gentle reader, though it pains me to reveal my unworldliness, let me admit that the charms of cozumel were initially hard to discern through the rivers of sweat and the sleep-deprived shakes.
this is the context for the relief we felt at thursday's cloudiness. "we couldn't ask for better weather for acclimatizing," said brian. "no," agreed mo, "and it means my sun allergy isn't acting up either."
on friday's drab we putzed around town, shopping and eating. saturday we moved from the hotel to the villa and spent the rest of the day marveling. sunday we gave in and just moped. (you're wondering just how deep my dishonesty goes: the ray, you're thinking, didn't you see a manta ray yesterday? yes, gentle reader. from the car.)
today we summoned all of our canadian can-do and soldiered to the beach in spite of the wind and drizzle. you know those guys who break out the shorts on the first day in march that the temperature goes above minus 10? today, we were those guys. we packed snorkel gear, rashguards, fins, books and sunglasses and headed for chankanaab national park.
it was not the most auspicious outing. first, mom slipped on the weedy steps and fell ass over tea kettle into the drink. i sprinted over as fast as i could, knocking japanese tourists heedlessly out of my way and diving straight in, without a thought, to rescue brand new fin #2. (oh, and mother, of course.) hence we both started the day out cold. with great care, the four of us selected the single windiest palapa in all of chankanaab, where we shivered for a while, making a show of reading our books. but we were really there for the fish so we headed in.
i got immediately swept into a sea of plastic garbage and swallowed a pint of dirty seawater.
dad's equipment didn't work (again). neither did the backup equipment.
mo got separated from the herd and headed back to shore, getting well bashed on the way.
we broke for lunch, which we ate shivering under sun shirts and sarongs, and then we gamely headed back in for a somewhat shorter dip. how cold was it?: the frigid outdoor shower was a positive relief. we huddled back under the palapa to debate our next move - the botanical gardens? a little browsing in the tourist stands, perhaps? - when i looked up to the godless black heavens and said, "uh oh."
we barely made it to our little chevy four-banger when the deluge began. and by deluge, i mean hurricane-force rains and a cold brisk wind. storm sewers regurgitated. cyclists were up to their bottom pedal in it. shopkeepers had gone home for the day.
and speaking of home: when we arrived at our lovely villa, we discovered that the roof leaks. and the lanai doors leak. and the air conditioning units leak, sending water coursing down the kitchen walls. the pool has overflowed into the yard. as i key these words, we have 21 bath towels and 3 bathmats pressed into service - we soak 'em, wring 'em, put 'em back down - and still the water is trickling past my feet.
so this post is for those of you who have been thinking of me malevolently this week. edmonton, i'm lookin' at you. you too, new york/philadelphia, with your five-foot blizzard. and don't try to look innocent, ottawa, you know you've been muttering under your breath.
oh yeah: here's a taste of what we saw.
kinda makes you wonder what it's like in the sunshine.