3/4/17 – Joya Mexico

Got woken up to go down to breakfast again. Usual rigmarole of food and then sun creaming. However, for a change of pace, we then got on the bus and got off at the stop before the beach to visit some shops in search of tourist tat. I got a sombrero magnet for Sar for hamster-sitting Wilson for me and a key ring for Lisa, because she loves key rings. I searched high and low for a good Day of the Dead skull for Kay, but just couldn’t find one that didn’t look tacky or cartoony. I did manage to get a Red Bull, a giant bag of Funyuns and a pineapple cocktail stirrer for me though. I had to get at least something pineapple!

It was really hot again, unsurprisingly, so we soon got bored of shopping and started heading back. The people in the shops were all super annoying, standing in the doorways and shouting after you and trying to collar you as you walked past. The new one they started using was asking if we remembered them from the Riu Lupita, then promising they could give us good discounts. They clearly knew what hotel we were staying at from the wristbands we all have to wear for the all inclusive. Yeah, nice try, guys. I wasn’t born yesterday.

Got the bus back, dropped the shopping off in the room and then hit the poolside. Did more reading and firmly sat right way up at all times to protect my burn, even though it hurt every time I moved. Stupid factor fifteen. We all grabbed some drinks and got in the pool. I love that we can do that here. They even have little tables built into the water in the shallow end, so they clearly encourage it. Daria came down with a drink of her own to join us, so we were all chatting to her for a while, then Danielle and Gelisa joined us too. Had to eventually get out to dry off so we could go for lunch. Usual stuffs (mmm, mash) plus I tried their bolognese pasta. Pretty good!

We only had an hour or so left by the pool before we had to start getting ready in order to grab some food as late as possible from the snack bar, since the main restaurant wouldn’t be open by the time we had to get our taxi to the Cirque du Soleil show we had booked. Did some more reading and sunbathing before conceding to going back to shower and get ready. Watched some more Clannad and had my Red Bull whilst Kel was getting ready and then felt all emotional. Damn show gets me every time. We came down to the snack bar and I had what felt like a big kid’s lunch – fries, a hot dog sausage, a burger patty and two kinds of pizza. We still had some time to kill before our taxi, so we had some margaritas whilst we waited.

The taxi was a little rammoed for the four of us on a half hour drive. Thank god for air con. Cirque du Soleil was Dad’s early birthday surprise, which he figured out as we saw more and more signs for it en route. The show was called Joya and it’s a permanent show at the venue. The place alone was really lovely. To get to the venue hall itself, you had to follow boardwalks across mini lakes, where they had a bar area, a live band playing, all the trees were lit up with subtle fairy lights that looked like green fireflies and they even had people dressed in African wear go along the water in a canoe, carrying flaming torches. Really good atmosphere and a fantastic place to sit and have a drink, which we happily did before our show. I had a French martini, which was Grey Goose vodka (my fave), pineapple juice, Chambord and triple sec. Nicest cocktail I’ve had all holiday and I’ve already been a big fan of the cocktails here.

The inside of the venue was really nice too. Each row had plenty of leg room, with little tables with lamps and ice buckets on them in between every two seats. A waiter came down with menus to take our drink orders and then brought the drinks to our seats. Now that’s the service you want for a show. The show itself was just incredible – exactly what you’d expect from a Cirque du Soleil show. We’ve seen one before and both times, they pull out acrobatics, aerial acts, trampoline acts, even acts you’d think they can’t do much with, like juggling and skipping ropes, and they just do things with them that should simply defy physics, yet they make it look effortless. It’s impossible to describe. The trampolining was my favourite once again; it’s just mind boggling to watch. They had a really great storyline behind it on an eccentric scholar and his clumsy apprentice, who active a meteor that they’ve found and all the books start coming to life. Very The Pagemaster meets Spirited Away. I don’t have to explain how awesome that is. They always include a lot of humour too. At one point, the scholar pulled someone up out of the audience called Robert and purposely called him Carlos instead. Then he made him swap seats in the audience with someone else and was like, “What’s your name? Yusuke? Come on, Carlos.” Very amusing.

We came out after and Mom insisted on having photos by the Cirque du Soleil stone sign. Worst part about going away with family – all the goddamn photos. We got our taxi back, which was a big people carrier this time. Wasn’t so grateful for the air con anymore. It was on so high, it was practically cold! I had to close all the shutters. When we got back to the resort, we went to have a peek inside the on-site night club, which we’d forgotten about. Clearly for good reason too. Although it looked nice inside, there were only two people in there. At half eleven. Not exactly raving. We went back to the bar to say hi to the girls and then have some cocktails instead.

Back to the room afterwards for the usual JC and Clannad. I even followed it up by some bits of Final Fantasy: Advent Children, just to mix it up a bit. Ready for an early start tomorrow to make the most of our last full day.

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Some places just know how to create an atmosphere.

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28/4/17 – All the Canadians

For some reason, the oldies decided not to knock on for us for breakfast, so we ended up going down by ourselves and catching them just as they were leaving. Had the usual quesadilla, bacon, sausage, sauteed potatoes and nachos. I do love their nachos. We took up some prime positions by the pool – still in the shade, because it really is blistering hot here; I know, I’m ashamed of myself too – and I got my writing game on. Bust out three pages before getting highly distracted watching three girls playing Marco Polo in the pool with some little kids. We’ve only ever seen this game played in American movies, so it was highly entertaining to us.

One of the girls then expertly saved her drink whilst rolling out of the pool, so I told her it’s always a success as long as you haven’t spilt the drink. We then got talking to them, which lasted all afternoon. They were friends from Canada called Danielle, Daria and Gelisa. They were very funny and apparently very happy to have made new friends, as they posted on Snapchat. We got so carried away chatting that we missed the lunch slot entirely. Inconceivable! We hit the snack bar instead and I had some pulled chicken, chicken nuggets and chips. Very sophisticated, of course.

We opted out of more drinks for the afternoon, because we knew we had a heavy night ahead of us. The girls all sat in the pool for a while, so I sat on the edge with them with my notebook so that I could half write and half chat, which ended up being mostly chatting. Managed to get a little more done on the sunbeds before me and Kel conceded we should go back to the room to start showering, as we had to have an early tea before Coco Bongos. Said goodbye to the girls and went back to the room. Did the usual of squeezing in some writing between getting ready, so that I was only a page behind where I wanted to be.

We went back to the Mexican restaurant this time, since it only had scheduled sittings and going down earlier meant we were right on time for the first one. I had some oddly multi coloured nachos with their hot sauce, taco rolls, refried beans and beef tostadas. Still need to try their tortilla soul at some point, but I kept filling up on everything else. I had chicken fajitas for my main. Super yummy! We had a look at the pudding buffet, but weren’t too enamoured by it, so we decided to go over to the other restaurant and look at theirs. We spotted the oldies in there, so we sat with them whilst we had ice cream with strawberry sauce. Much better.

Kel had left her phone on charge and I didn’t want to take my phone out with my, so we went back to the room for a little bit before our bus was due so that we could switch. I also squeezed in that last page I wanted before we had to go down. I am never going on holiday during a NaNoWriMo event again. It makes it feel so much more like a chore to get the pages done, when sometimes I just want to read or sunbathe or watch Clannad instead. We got on the most air conditioned bus ever. In my tiny, pineapple playsuit, it was bloody freezing. We also had to sit on there for ages in the hotel drive, because there was a faff with a mother and daughter pair who had bought their tickets, but the daughter wasn’t old enough. Expensive tickets to not get refunded, but what did they really expect from a club? You need ID. That’s just how it works.

The first stop on our special little bar crawl was Senor Frog’s – one that amused me, as it had been on Impractical Jokers. Really nice, fun little bar with a live band playing and everything froggy themed. It was beach side too. Just a shame it was so damn windy – I spent the entire time having to push my hair out of my face. We got free cocktails and free shots there, as it was all-inclusive with our tickets. No idea what either of them were, but they were both drinkable. We then had some odd margarita/mojito mash-ups and made friends with a Canadian couple called Andrew and Alisha. Seriously, there are so many Canadians here. They tried out the oxygen bar where they plug tubes up your nose, so the oxygen helps the alcohol into your blood stream faster and gives you a natural high; plus it’s meant to make your hangover a lot better the next day. Safe to say, me and Kel were happy to just tackle all that the old fashioned way. Shoving anything up my nose didn’t sound like much fun. One of our rep people then had us standing up on our chairs to a very fast forwarded version of Macarena and then some House of Pain (what a tune). I’m all for dancing on chairs and tables, but it’s a little more terrifying in heels.

We then walked round to our next coach stop, chatting to Andrew and Alisha on the way. They rent a property with forty-one acres of land and apparently get deer and porcupines in their back yard, wow! Though apparently not so wow for their pitbull that just wants to eat everything. The coach took us to the next place, Salsanero. I was given a vile cocktail upon going in – tasted like soda water and a lot of alcohol. I quickly ditched that and got us some better margaritas instead. The music in here was a lot more Spanish. As the name suggests, clearly somewhere where you learn the proper dances, rather than just going to a club. We took our own entertainment in watching a guy in pink shorts, who was dancing around all goofily and totally looked like Murr from the back.

We didn’t seem to be in there long before being moved onto Coco Bongos, which was just across the road. We were given more cocktails as we went in. These ones tasted quite medicine-y, but were at least better than the weird soda water one. They suddenly became a lot more drinkable when we were given shots to down on the go as we were directed through, which turned out to be pure tequila. My gag reflex was certainly strong with that one and I had to glug a fair bit of my weird cocktail to recover. Those of us on the specific Coco Bongo tour had our own level, which the reps were trying very hard to lead us all too. Difficult when there’s so many of you in the group and the club is completely rammed, especially when I managed to lose sight of the guy in front. Thankfully, whilst I was looking all lost, one guy turned round and asked if I was on the tour too. When I said yes, he just grabbed my hand and dragged us both through all the people, right up until we got to our designated level. Bless. It was more hilarious when I spotted the pink shorts and realised it was non-Murr.

All of the little balconies overlooked the main stage and dance floor, with step-like levels so that more people could fit and still be able to see over everyone else. We couldn’t get onto one of the steps straight away, so we couldn’t really see anything, but then they suddenly released lots of sausage balloons and me and Kel entertained ourselves with those for a while, like the children that we are. Whilst Kel was then getting up on one of the steps that had become free, I was watching her and didn’t realise I was hitting non-Murr on the head with the end of my balloon. Thankfully, he found it funny and just gave it a shake.

Once we were on the steps, we decided to launch our balloons off the balcony like javelins. Well, Kel did. I tried to do the same and managed to hit one of the overhead speakers, so that it bounced back and landed in some guy’s face, who was clearly like ‘where the fuck did this just come from?’ He tried to javelin it too and hilariously, also bounced it off the speaker and it came right back to me, so I got another shot at it. On my second try, I finally managed to launch it off the balcony and into the crowd. The whole time, we had reps going round asking for our drink orders and delivering them right to us. We chose to stick to the margaritas all night.

Our visibility of the stage had been pretty limited until that point, but as the crowd started to thin out, we finally got to see what was going on. The crowd was huge – looked like what I imagine New Year’s Eve to be at a hugely televised American event. It was basically like being in a night club that stages a pop culture themed Cirque du Soleil. They had full dance performances of medleys from artists like Bruno Mars, LMFAO and Pitbull. Real choreographed dances too. Then they had staged fights and aerial acts between Jack Sparrow and Barbossa, Spiderman and Green Goblin, The Mask, and the guys from Tron. Tron acts always look so good because of the light-up suits, but their aerial work was something else. Serious highlight for us was when Satine came out n her trapeze to Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend, going into a whole little Moulin Rouge segment. Far too much love for that movie.

Our reps started directing us back outside before the club closed at three, so we headed back to a congregation point where we were all directed towards the right coaches. We got stuck with an insanely noisy group of Colombian girls. Now I’m all for appreciating Colombians, because they hella pretty, but these were just damn annoying. Two of them were from our hotel and trying to ask us what our room number was. Dodgy or what? Safe to say, we didn’t tell them anything. I was prepared to make up a fake number if we had to.

There was no question that we weren’t doing anything when we got back, other than going to bed. Personally, I was just glad to get rid of the heels, because it had been a very standing-only kind of night. Maybe next time, I’ll just stick to flats.

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This is not your average night club.

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