Wednesday, June 22, 2005

The Cozumel Diaries - Day #3 - Monday

As mentioned previously, you’ll have to scroll down for the posts from Days 1 and 2….


We left off with me swearing off taquitos for the rest of my life…


When I got up Monday, my tummy still felt a little less than cheerful.  As we had a 9:30 am date with a boat, we ate a light breakfast.  I was trying not to think about what it would be like to have an accident in my wetsuit.  As Sunshine pointed out, fish poo all the time in the water…Uh, no thanks, I’ve barely mastered peeing while diving.


Our boat picks us up…Time for more diving 101.  Our dive shop (Deep Blue) has small fast boats that take no more than 8 divers at a time, with 2 dive masters “DMs”.  Deep Blue has four full time DMs:

Gabriel: The shop’s most experienced DM.  So incredibley nice.  Knows where all the good stuff is to look at….

Hector:  Been on a boat with him, but never dove with him.  Extremely good looking.  And muscular. 

Sandro: Dove with him last year.  He remembered us.  He also helped us dingdongs turn on the lights of the Jeep.   More later.

Timothy: British import, looks to be of Thai descent.  LOVE THE ACCENT.  Extremely cool guy, great DM.   


On a boat dive, you generally do two dives with a surface interval in between to allow you to vent excess nitrogen.  The first dive is typically the deeper of the two (80’-95’) and the second dive is generally 60’-75’.  The typical dive profile has you down for 700 psi (a full tank has about 3300 psi) or 45 minutes.  If there are two groups, the boat drops one group off first.  You enter the water by a backwards roll into the water…it really is the easier way to do it.  The captain makes sure you ok on entry, the DM gives the signal to go down, you start letting the air out of your BC and you descend. 


The DMs on our boat that morning were Timothy and Javier.  Who’s Javier, you might say, he wasn’t mentioned above.  That’s because, unfortunately for us, the shop was overbooked and hired out a freelance DM.  He reminded me of a used car salesman.


I should point out that Sunshine likes to dive.  However, it makes her anxious.  I suppose she feels like she’s out of control and doesn’t that feeling…that and I think she worries about everything that could go wrong.  Which is a lot, but most of what could go wrong has to do with divers being careless.  So what happens next couldn’t have happened at a worse time….


We enter the water, Javier gives the diver down signal (basically thumbs down) and we start our descent.  At least some of us do.  Sunshine is historically slow to clear her ears, so I hang back with her.  It becomes apparent she needs help going down (insert pervy comments here).  I attempt to help, but I don’t have enough weight to pull her down and me down too.  I go get the DM.  By this time, her mask is flooding and she can’t clear it (panic does amazing things to you).  He sends her to the boat.  By herself.  This is not standard procedure.  Granted me and the other two divers in his group were drifting, but he didn’t do anything to help her.  So I spend a while contemplating where Sunshine went and what she’s doing…then the fat Ecuadorian guy that’s diving with us almost kicks me in the face…I reach out to block him and end with a cut on my hand from the coral.  I spend the rest of the dive trying to conceal the blood and worrying that I got into fire coral or some other type of stinging coral. b/c it hurts like a beeeyotch. 


When we get out of the water, I see Sunshine and she does not look happy.  Her jaw is set, her eyes are wide and glassy.   It’s clear that she’s already made up her mind to not ever dive again.  All I could think of was that she needed some Xanax.  I was concerned as was Javier.  Others on the boat were sympathetic as well.  But it was clear she still had no interest in getting back in the water.  I knew if we didn’t get her back in on the second dive, she would probably never go again.  We weren’t diving on Tuesday, so she would have had all day Tuesday to continue snowballing her fear and anxiety and by Wednesday, she’d been done.  I know I was walking a fine line between being supportive and pissing her off.  I tried the tough love approach…you know, you shouldn’t do it if it’s not enjoyable to you…I tried to appeal to her comfort zone with horses…it’s like when you get bucked off, you have to get back on…and I finally went for the jugular…maybe you’re just not able to master the skills.  I think that one did it.  Sunshine is an overachiever and has probably never failed at anything in her life.  Javier finally came through and took her out in the surf on her surface interval to work on her mask clearing, which seems to be her big fear.  She finally agreed to go on the second dive when Javier promised we’d go no deeper than 40 feet.  She made the dive and Javier lied…we went more like 65 feet.  Javier also literally physically held her hand the entire dive.  Neither one of us really liked him.  He followed different protocols and did things differently.  That’s one thing about diving with the same dive shop, you expect consistency.  Especially when you’re like us and only dive once or twice a year.


When we get back to the hotel, Miss Sunshine decides wisely that she would like to do a shore dive in front of the hotel the next morning as we took Tuesday off from the diving schedule.   Mostly she just wants to sit somewhere underwater and just breathe.  And occasionally practice clearing her mask.  We end up hanging out at the hotel on this day, laying out, taking it easy.


That night we went into town and went to use the internet.  Tim, the other DM on the boat happened to be in the same place and asked Sunshine what happened with her dives….he pretty much thought old Javier was worthless and told us so.  Suggested we go talk to Deborah, the owner of the dive shop.  So we did.  I think she was concerned, but she was very calm and talked Sunshine through what happened.  Sunshine decided she wanted a private DM for the rest of the trip.  If it makes it enjoyable for her, more power to her.  We had dinner at Prima’s and then went on to Carlos and Charlies to burn off the consumed calories .  Shakin ass is a hella good workout.  I was absolutely soaked (with sweat, that is) by time we left.  I will say there were a TON of freshly graduated high school kids there that night.  It was a little weird.  Actually more like a LOT weird.   




Wednesday, June 15, 2005

The Cozumel Diaries - Day #2 - Sunday

So if you’re just tuning into my blog, scroll down for the first three days of my vacation (2 in Fort Worth and Day #1 in Cozumel….


We left off with me and Sunshine enjoying the fact that we were in Coz, I had my fly zipped, and that we were having great food at Casa Denis….

Sunday morning we got up bright and early, had a quick breakfast, and headed into town for our refresher course with Luis.  We arrive bright and early at the dive shop and Luis asks us to come into the equipment room.  I have to pee so bad I can’t wait any longer and ask to use their restroom.  Next time, I think I’d rather piss myself.  It was that bad.  I was mortified and shocked.  The shop is really, really nice otherwise.  Just don’t ask to use their facilities.  Ew.  Sunshine says she has to go and I’m trying to send her sign language for “don’t do it” but our ESP hadn’t kicked in at that point.  She was less than impressed as well.  Luis gets our equipment picked out for us and loads it in the truck and says he is driving us to Villablanca reef.  Needless to say, I’m short, so I get to sit bitch between my instructor and Sunshine.  It was great.  Luis was very interesting to talk to and has been on the island for a long time.  He’s definitely a good instructor.  Even though the dive masters and boat captains set up your gear for you, part of the refreshed was setting up your own gear, which we did.  I put my regulator on bassakwards to begin with and Sunshine lost the ability to tell her right hand from her left when it came to the weightbelts.  Before putting on our Personal Solar Ovens (aka wetsuits), Luis gives us our dive profile…giant stride entry (Sunshine’s eyes get big), followed by a short swim to a sandy bottom where the three of us will descend to approximately 22 feet, then clearing the regulator, retrieving the regulator, and mask clearing skills assessments.  At this point, Luis gives us an example of how to do each skill as there are two variations for each…I really feel for Luis on this one…Sunshine was looking a bit um, anxious.  She really doesn’t like giant stride entries or mask clearing.   At all.  Luis starts on the regulator clearing skills (sidebar: Diving 101 – You take the regulator (what you’re breathing from) out of your mouth, it gets water in it.  How do you clear the water? 1) Put the reg in your mouth and use some of your air left in your lungs to “pop” the water out…or 2) return the regulator to your mouth and tap the purge button on the reg.  When you do this, you use your tongue to deflect the air and water to some extent.)  Luis tries to make a joke at this point about French kissing the regulator.  Sunshine is less than amused.  I think Luis was catching on and continued with his joke that if she closed her eyes when used the purge button, then he knew what she was thinking about…Sunshine DID NOT find this amusing whatsoever.  I did though.  The rest of the course went well and Luis said we did GREAT.  Tried to talk us into the afternoon dives, but we already had other things in mind for the afternoon. 

Sundays in Coz are a bit different than other days.  There are rarely any cruise ships in and many of the islanders have the day off.  After class, Sunshine and I head to Chankanab Parque.  This is a great spot to hang out.  The snorkeling is good, the food is good, and Sundays are the best day to go as there are no cruise ship passengers bombarding the place.  We’re both starving (diving is hard work!) by time we get there so we head to the giant palapa where the restaurant is located.  We start out with a beer each and a order of nachos.  The nachos and beer were so good, we had to have a repeat.  Yes, folks, we ate to plates of nachos and they were good.  The beer made me sleepy, so we head out to the beach and claim a palapa.  I crashed for about an hour.  When I woke up, I really, really had to pee.  And this is going to sound horrible, the banos are a long long ways from where we were and diving gives you a whole new perspective on peeing in the ocean.  Believe me, if you can pee in a wetsuit, you can pee when you’re not wearing it.

Our first dive teacher (in 2004) told us there are two types of divers: those who admit they pee in their wetsuits and those who lie about it.  When he first told me and Sunshine that I think we both had about the same reaction: “Uhuh, I’m not ever peeing in my wetsuit.”  You would be surprised.  A month later, I christened my wetsuit on a surface interval with about 10 people watching.  It’s pretty obvious when you wander into some stirred up water about waist deep.  Of course, Sunshine and I did it together, because you know, sharing embarrassment makes it easier.  And of course some smart ass on the pier starts in with “we know what you’re doing.”  FU, buddy, FU....

So back to this year’s trip, like I said, I had to GO and I was hot, so I wandered down to the steps and into the water.   The thing is I have a really shy bladder and this little lifeguard guy comes over and starts chatting with me.  I just wanted him to go away.  Immediately if not sooner.  As I pointed out in my original blog, Mexican men are very very friendly and not afraid to let you know if they find you attractive.  They all want to be your Mexican boyfriend for the night and they tell you straight up.  Anyway, I finally get him to go away by telling him he can indeed show me the giant barracuda.  But other people swim up about that time and I’m still miserable.  I give up, go get my snorkel gear and wake Sunshine up.

Me: This guy wants to show us a giant barracuda.

Sunshine: What?

Me: This guys wants to show us a gian---

Sunshine: I bet…(rolling over and closing her eyes)…What a perv….

Me: No really, there’s a giant barracuda and…

Sunshine: You’re really not kidding and there really is an actual fish to look at?

Me: Seriously. Ok, who’s the perv now?

Unfortunately, we never saw the giant barracuda.  We did get a personal tour of the marine park and saw some pretty cool things.  And I finally got to go, it just took me a while, with the shy bladder thing in all.  Then we slept on the beach some more. 

Around 5:30, we head back to the resort, clean up and go for dinner.  There’s nothing I like on the buffet.  Sunshine gets something that still has eyes.  Ew.  She also point out there are some taquitos being put out.  I perk up.  Taquitos, did you say?  I like taquitos.  I eat a salad consisting of lettuce and three taquitos for dinner.  As we’re walking back to the room, my stomach kind of flipflops.  I walk faster.  I’m now almost running.  Let’s just say I had some serious gastrointestinal issues that night.  It was great, let me tell you.  We had planned to go down to the pool bar that night and play some yatzee, but I ended up getting in bed and reading.  I wasn’t too sure I wanted to be too far away from a potty.  Sunshine advised me to not take anything like Immodium as any bugs in there (that’s a great thought in itself) need to be flushed out.  By the way, I’m pretty sure I won’t have another taquito again.  EVER.         






Applebees, Rangers, and the Prom....

Yes, this is out of order.  I know I’m supposed to be posting the R-rated version of my Coz trip.  However, I’ve had this as a draft in Outlook for weeks now and thought I’d better post it sometime. 


So Friday was my big five year anniversary…yep, that’s right, five years of wedded bliss or something like that anyway.

My dear husband and I decided to go to Fort Worth for the weekend and stay at a nice hotel and take in a Rangers game.  We left town around 6 pm on Friday.  I knew my husband would get hungry so I asked if maybe we could eat at Mary’s (they have the best chicken fried steak in the world) and he’s like, no, it’s not very good.  Whatever.  We’re heading to Sundance Square where they have some great places to eat.  You wanna know where we ate for our anniversary?  Stinking Applebees.  I’m not hatin’ on Applebees, I’m just saying on our five year anniversary, I can think of about a million other places I’d rather eat.  But I have decided to be nicer, so I went along with it, thinking we’d eat somewhere good/interesting like PF Chang’s or the Brazilian place (love me some Brazilian food) on Saturday night.  Sounded good in theory anyway.


We finally get to the hotel at 10 and do the self-park (remember this point as it becomes key later) because I was feeling cheap (after all, I’m heading to Cozumel in just a few days) and I didn’t want to pay $15/day for valet parking.  I head to the lobby desk for check in and I’m happy to be there…It’s a beautiful hotel, great location, and I had requested a king bed.  The little guy at the desk says we have reservations for two nights (check) with double beds (WTF!?!?!?!).  I kindly tell him I had called and specifically requested a king bed as it is OUR ANNIVERSARY.  No luck.  We get the two double beds, which are apparently smaller than full size beds.  The room is very nice and the beds are comfortable.  I quit with the details for the remainder of the evening at this point and leave you to your imagination…. 


Saturday morning I get up earlier than J (as usual), take a shower and start to head out the door to the nearest Starbucks.  J wakes up and wants to go as well.  I’m not sure why, he hates all things coffee, but since I’m trying to be nicer, I wait an extra 20 minutes for my latte.  We head to lobby and inquire as to where the closest Starbuck might be located, which is just around the corner a ½ block.  It’s a nice morning, but it’s already scorching.  I order my latte and J is just floored that they don’t have soft drinks at Starbucks.    So we stroll around Sundance Square, sipping our drinks (he got some water, oh the horror of having to drink something non-carbonated and sugar/caffeine free).  After about 15 minutes in the already sweltering heat while drinking a rather warm latte, I suggest heading to World Market and the Omni Theater. 


World Market is the greatest store.  I got a really cute Eastern looking metal elephant that holds a votive candle.  You literally insert the candle through his butt. J was amused by that.    He really is cute though.  And I bought a ton of incense.  J is sweet and offers to stop at Ann Taylor.  I decline, making a strategic decision that I’d rather keep him out of the store and away from the price tags for future shopping preservation. 


So we head to the Omni and J immediately starts jonesing to see the fighter pilot Omni thing (what are those? Movies? Documentaries?) and of course I want to see the Aliens of the Deep or the Living Sea.  It turns out neither of us got our way as none were showing on Saturday…silly things like Mystery of the Nile and something else were playing.  So I drag J to the Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame…I think we both actually had a good time there…it really is worth the $6 admission price.  By this time we’re both starving, so we head over the Purple Cow Diner (great place, you should try it sometime) and grab some food and head towards Arlington (aka Hell). 


I have to admit, when I bought tickets to the game, I never even considered how hot a 3 pm game would be.  Arlington set a record that day at 99 degrees.  I’m sure all the metal and concrete of the stadium (aka the baseball oven) was about 50 degrees above that.  I have to say it was miserably hot, but I was not going to be a weenie like the other females in my section.  By God, I’m tough and I’ll have a heat stroke to prove it.  The game was great, the Rangers smacked the Astros and I heard one of the funniest things I have ever heard in my life…it was quite obvious the three guys behind us had gotten suckered into taking their kids to the game.  From time to time they’d slip and like forget the kids were there…the best example of this happened when one of the Rangers hit two homeruns:

Dad #1:Man, his old lady ought to take her teeth out for him tonight.

Dad #2: You know it….

5 year old daughter: Dad, who’s going to take their teeth out tonight?  Grandma? Grandma’s going to take her teeth out?  How come? 

Dad #1: Uh.  Uh.  No one.  No one’s taking their teeth out…

Daughter: But, but you said…

Dad #1: Hey, you want some ice cream?

It was pretty freaking funny. 


After leaving the game, J calls some friends (we’ll call them the Nascar family for our purposes) of ours as they wanted us to swing by.  Keep in mind I wanted to say hi, but I also had other things I wanted to do.  J calls Daddy Nascar and he’s like we’re not home yet, can you wait two hours to come by?  My response would have been NO, I HAVE TO TAKE MY WIFE TO DINNER AT PF CHANGS TONIGHT.  I PROMISED.  What does he say in reality?  Sure, we’ll see you then.  So by time we visit and leave it’s 9 pm, I’m sweaty, tired, and dehydrated.  I had given up on decent food for the evening and just wanted a cold shower and a gallon of water to drink.  Of course nothing in life is that simple. 


So here’s how I ended up attending prom during on my fifth anniversary.  We return to the hotel, go to the parking garage (remember, I’m too cheap to valet) and it’s closed.  What?!?!  So we go to the hotel entrance.  There is a limo in front of us.  A kid with a top hat and a pimp stick steps out.  He’s in purple.  Not kidding.  If I hadn’t been so tired I would have laughed hysterically.  Anyway, there’s a prom at the hotel, but the valet says to follow him around and he’ll let us in the garage.  Seriously, I will so pay $15/day to valet from now on. 


This gets better…as we enter the hotel from the garage, I start seeing lots and lots of formal wear.  BTW, apparently pimp sticks are the accessory of choice among high school boys.   Keep in mind, I’m in a white mini, orange tank top, and I’m sure I smelled horribley.  You know it’s bad when you can smell yourself.  Anyway, to get from where we parked to the elevators we had to walk straight through these kids’ prom.  Not around, but dead center.  I was dying.  Then we had to cross a roped off section.  Chaperones started freaking out…one chased us down and wanted to know where we came from….it was great. I hope to never repeat that incident EVER EVER again. 


All in all, we had a nice weekend.  I’m still a little hacked we didn’t get to eat at PF Changs…guess I can use that as a good excuse to go back. 







Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Vacation - Part 1 (Thursday - Saturday) Rated R

Yes, yes, I know, sorry to disappoint, but just nothing on the trip occured to warrant a rating of X....

Those of you who have read my other Coz blog (ie. the PG rated version - I said ass a few times or else it could have been a G rating) may find some repitition here, but I assure you, some of the experiences will be much more explained and I won't be sitting in an internet cafe in Coz hurrying.

Also be warned that this could be a really L O N G post. As a matter of fact, multiple posts might be in order here.

Thursday, May 26...I happily sprint out the door of the bank, speed race home and finish packing what will affectionately be know as the Grossly Distended Suitcase From Hell. J happens to be home and I'm thinking how sweet, he took the afternoon off since he won't be seeing me for a week. What an idiot I am...He seriously never got up from the nap he was taking on the couch. Seriously. Whatever. So I manage to load the GDSFH by myself (I think I did it on sheer adrenaline alone)and head over to pick up my mamacita (my grasp of the Spanish language never ceases to amaze me). After indulging my slight OCD issues (yes, I pulled over in a parking lot 3x (and fight the urge several more times) to make sure I packed various items such as BCP, glasses, and dive mask). Get to Ft. W, check in, eat the last beef I'll have for almost two weeks, and go to Old Navy. Yes, b/c my I was truly trying to break the zipper on my suitcase I decided I needed more clothing to take. We head back to the hotel and my mom, God bless her, repacks my suitcase. Yes, my suitcase had a makeover, no longer could it be called the GDSFH, but just a normal suitcase, no expanders unzipped, no unsightly bulges. As Diva said "Momma M has some mad packin' skills." Yes, she does.

Friday, May 27...Mom and I had decided the Ft. W zoo would be nice, so we head to Starbucks for breakfast. I am so hooked on iced caramel macs right now. So we're sitting there minding our business and two birds literally fall off the awning and onto mom. I'm not sure if the birds were fight or making up, but I think mom was just happy that didn't poo on her. She has some bad mojo when it comes to that. We arrive at the zoo just on time for the 10 am opening and seriously make the fastest trip anybody has ever made through the zoo and still manage to see it all.

We're at lunch at my cousin Sandy's house when the phone calls begin.
Me: Hello?!
Sunshine: OMG! I don't know how or what to pack!
Me: UR leaving in 2 hours, u better get w/it....
Sunshine: How many bags are you checking?
Me: One.
Sunshine: Oh, thank god....Click.
Seriously. Then 2 minutes later....
Me: He....
Sunshine: OMG! Howmuchcanmybagweigh?HOwmanyswimsuitsareyoutaking?Didyoupackanalarmclock?blahblahblahblah...................
Me: Uh.
Sunshine: Ok, talk to you later....Click.

Then again, about 5 minutes later....
Me: Girl, you...
Sunshine: I'm taking two suitcases and a carry on.
Me: Ok
Sunshine: See you later. Click.
Me: Uh, ok.

The phone rings again...I'm thinking OMG, Sunshine, get it together! But it's not Sunshine, it's J. Delivering some bad news.
J: My stereo got stolen from the garage.
Me: (I'm thinking wtf am I supposed to do about it, but I say) Oh.
J: Someone wearing TENNIS SHOES took it. And they have big feet.
Me: (Trying not to laugh)Really? Did you have the garage locked?
J: No.
Me: Then lock the garage or they'll take other stuff next time.
J: Is that all you have to say? Don't you think it might be related to the vodka that walked out of the house last weekend.
Me: (the light is coming on). Oh shit. I'll get mom to get the key back from my sister. (who dog/house sat for us the weekend before. She's 19 and like most 19 year olds, you know, has not much of a brain. And says she doesn't know what happened to the vodka or the champagne. Interestingly enough, they left the cheap ass tequila sitting in plain sight. Me, I'd have just taken it all, I wasn't picky when I was 19).

Fast forward to the Hyatt at DFW. I'm hanging out, chatting on the phone when Sunshine calls, I tell her to use the phone bank to ring the hotel for a shuttle. Like 2 minutes later, she was there. It was freaky. We immediately head to the bar because we need beverages. Turns out they were having two conferences at the hotel, one related to gaming and the other related to mind body spirit wellness. The hotel was completely taken over by a large group of Asian young adults. And the girls did not like me or Sunshine. And they were rude. I was thinking for mind body wellness people they were sure hostile. For example, I was standing in line at the restaurant, speaking with the hostess and three girls were standing so on top of me, I could literally not turn around. And when I tried to the nice Excuse me, it's like they were deaf or some shit. Elbows do come in handy sometimes.

We actually made it to bed at decent hour. And I actually got up before the alarm went off! We were running ahead of schedule and went on to the airport. It's a good thing, because the checkin line was forever...people were trying to cut...they'd leave and come back and go well, I was here. I wanted to go "bitch, was is the key word." Thankfully, no one tried to cut in front of me. After standing in the longest line in the world, we finally get to check our bags, except since I'm there, they decide our bags need searching. Yes, I'm two for two on being pulled aside and searched. Last time they couldn't figure out why the wand kept going off on my chest...I was like underwire, asshole, wanna see?

Anyway, I finally get some coffee (I was in need of an IV that day) and eventually board the plane to paradise. Except that the plane didn't go anywhere for like two hours. And we all had to stay in our seats. And it was hot. Because the workers would have gotten blasted by 150 degree air if they turned the A/C on...wah wah wah. Then a kid two rows back starts in with the talking book. Over and over and over and over again. I turn around, all annoyed, which doesn't do much as I can't even see over the seat. Sunshine starts turning around and the lady behind us starts bitching about the kid and before long, there's a bounty on the book AND the kid. The mom finally got a clue and was like sweetie, that's going to bother people...Excuse me, that's GOING to bother people? Then what the hell has it been doing for the past 30 minutes?

Anyway, we finally make it to Coz. Our bags all arrive, we make it through customs with no stops and go to the hotel. Yay!! Instead of immediately changing into swimwear, we put on shorts and get some housekeeping items out of the way...Kickass jeep rental for the week? Check. Check in with the dive shop for our course? Check. Dinner at Casa Denis? Check. Marilyn forgetting to zip her fly? Check. Yes, I forgot to zip the fly of my shorts. Had no idea. Until we walk by one of the awful time share sales guys. You're supposed to just smile and keep walking, paying them no attention. Well, I tried and the guy gets in my face and starts going "can I tell you something?" Sure, don't let me stop you..."Zip it up." I was mortified as the next words out of his mouth were "cause I can see your twat." Yes, he said it. I was DYING. First, I don't like the word. Second, NO HE COULDN'T. He may have thought he could, but guess what? I had on black undies. Who's the joke on now, asshole? Third, as I was walking away, I was wondering exactly how long my undies had been hanging out. Mortified. See why I couldn't put that in the PG blog. I think my mom would have died if she had read that. That or asked me what a twat is....

Stay tuned for the further adventures of Mare and Sunshine in paradise....

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