Thursday, April 5, 2012

I left my heart in Cancun

* Disclaimer: Pictures found on this blog is a compilation of photos taken from the entire 6 pack, it was a group effort to capture the entire Cancun Experience.

Forget the saying I left my heart in San Francisco, I left a large part of mine in Cancun.  I have said several times since last November I don't feel as if I fully returned from our amazing trip.  Greg and I celebrated our 20 year wedding anniversary this past year and to celebrate in a big way we decided to travel to an all inclusive resort in Cancun for a week.  We traveled with 2 other couples who are dear friends of ours, Mark and Amy Henkel and John and Debbie Kroeker.  They too were also celebrating THEIR 20 year wedding anniversaries.  Us 3 girls were also celebrating our 40th birthday so what better place to celebrate than on an adult only, all inclusive vacation.

Our experience began long before we ever left the states.  Lots of talk over dinners, emails, facebook messages about where to go and which resort.  Finally we said we needed to get SOMETHING on the calendar or it was never going to happen.  All 6 of us met at a McDonald's in Vandalia.  We arrived with lap tops, ipads, Iphones and credit cards ready to plan the trip of our dreams.  I think the employees of McDonald's thought we were crazy because we had power cords going every which way because we were there way too long for all of our batteries to hold out.  We surfed, ate, surfed some more, laughed and laughed and finally called the resort and booked our trip online with airfare and insurance included.  It was done.... we were going to CANCUN BABY!!!!!

From that moment on it was all we could talk about when we all got together.  What to pack, what excursions to take etc.  Greg said all he needed to take was his banana hammock ( thong speedo) which he doesn't own.  When discussing suitcases he said all he would need is a baggy for his banana hammock.... it didn't end.  We made lists on napkins when together over what activities we could do each day we were there.  Most of which we did, and the rest will take place on our next trip. :)

Greg and I have been on a cruise with our kids a few years ago and it was beyond amazing.  We had an incredible time and honestly we didn't think it could get any better.  Then we took this trip.  I have never laughed so hard, ate so much, napped so often, loved so much or relaxed so deeply as I did on this trip.  It took Greg and I back 20 years in our relationship.  It is amazing how much life can get in the way of being husband and wife.  Taking an entire week to just be Greg the husband, and Rachael the wife was something we wished we had done years ago.  Why we waited 20 years we will never know, but we are so thankful we did.

We woke early in the morning the day after Thanksgiving to drive to the airport.  I hardly slept a wink because I was so very excited.  We made matching shirts with the logo John came up with "Eat, Drink and be Married".

 We looked super cute and received many comments on our shirts.

We parked our cars at the Kroeker's house in Vandalia and all piled in one car to head to the airport.  The adrenaline and excitement was palpable on the ride over.  The laughter had already begun and my cheeks hurt before we even got on the plane.

Thankful for the rest of the passengers we all sat relatively close to one another.  We yelled things back and forth, took pictures of one another, photo bombed as often as we could and had a great time.

  Mid way through the flight I looked back and saw joy and excitement in my friends eyes... a look that grew as we got closer to our destination.

FINALLY we had landed and were on our way.  We stood in line to get through security while people commented on our shirts; lots of stuff to look at in the duty free shops too.

We then headed out to catch our personal taxi which would take us to our resort.  There was a little confusion because EVERYONE wanted us to ride with them.  We reserved transportation and had  already paid so we didn't want to jump in any car.  We waited  a while and finally found our guy.

  He was very friendly and was happy to talk about Cancun and what to see while we were there.  We rode in a van while he told us all about the Mayan culture.  Greg asked him about the Mayan calendar and the end of the world (of course.. Mr. History Channel), some listened to our guide and some enjoyed the scenery, the van ride was enjoyed by all.

Once we arrived at the resort there was a man there to hand us a warm wash cloth to wash all the yuck of traveling off our face and hands.

 As we walked in they handed us a glass of champagne and welcomed us to Excellence Riviera Cancun.  We were giddy with excitement.  We checked in, but our rooms were not ready yet because we arrived early.  We were happy to walk around and take in the sights.... it was so beautiful.

 Next 2 pictures courtesy of our good friend Amy

We lost the Kroekers nearly seconds after arriving, I think they were standing in the water before we had finished signing our names for check in.  Greg and Mark kept watch over our luggage while Amy and I walked around and took pictures.

We ate lunch in the Barcelona Cafe.  The food was amazing..It was in that moment that I realized I loved Sushi.  I have had it before, but I had not tried the smoked salmon sushi.  From that day forward I had sushi and guacamole with almost every meal.  We said a little prayer thanking God for safe traveling and for giving us this incredible experience with one another.  It was going to be a great week!

Once our rooms were ready we all separated and went to our individual rooms to check it out.  We were very pleased with our room.

After a small nap and a change of clothes we were ready for lounging around the pool/beach.  Everyone there was so nice and so helpful.  We never did without anything.  They would greet us at our chair and continue to check in on us during our time at the beach or pool... we never went thirsty or had a want for anything.

Our first night there I believe was my favorite for many reasons.  1. It was our first night and I knew we had many more to come. 2. I had no expectations and I was in awe of everything. 3. We were all slap happy from a day of traveling and because we were so excited to be there.

The first night they had a Mexican Party.  We had the largest Mexican buffet I have ever seen.  We sampled food we had never had before and ate tons of our favorites as well.  There was a live Mexican band who played for us and they were really good.

Next several  pictures are courtesy of Amy.

We made friends from Britain and learned about their cultures and explained to them what Thanksgiving is in our country.  Apparently the resort offered a traditional thanksgiving dinner on Thanksgiving day and they were curious as to what it was all about.

We walked the beach after dinner, took fun pictures on the pier,

  Climbed up and sat in a life guard stand to take in the view. Amy was carrying her HUGE back pack with all of her very expensive lens' in it, Mark gently asked her to not climb the life guard stand with all of her gear... we laughed.   I think Greg said "Honey badger don't care" 100 times that night

The night continued with live music and a show in the outdoor theater.  We were exhausted from our day of traveling and  laughter through out the day... we laughed so hard and couldn't wait to see what day 2 would hold because it just couldn't top day 1.  Or could it?

We woke and leisurely made our way out of our rooms.  Greg and I grabbed some towels and threw them down on some chairs on the beach to reserve our spots for later.  We ate breakfast at the Barcelona Cafe, Greg and I sat on the patio listening to the waves and watching an iguana in the bushes.  I truly felt we were in paradise.   The food again was incredible.

After breakfast it was time for a nap either on the beach or by the pool.  It was so quiet and relaxing.  There were pool beds along side the pool and many afternoons Greg and I would take a nap in the shade... amazing.

I think my favorite spot was an area just across from our room.  

 There was a smoothie bar with tranquil music playing and the pool beds I mentioned above. 

There was an awesome bridge where we could walk from our room to this peaceful paradise... we loved it and enjoyed this bridge immensely.


I will add more of day 2 tomorrow when I have more time... stay tuned for water diapers, brown bubbles, and Mexican lunch on the beach. :)

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