1/5/17 – Remember to dress appropriately

Got up and did the usual of going down to breakfast before coming back to do sun creams. We had a mild trauma though when I put my beach bag on my bed and a cockroach ran out and underneath my mattress! Serious eek! I obviously ran next door to get Dad, who pulled out all the sheets and it fell on the floor, where it thankfully met the underside of Dad’s shoe. Finding bugs in the room always sucks, but your bed is definitely the last place you want them. Because of the bug tizzy, it was after eleven by the time we got down to the pool. It was scorching, so we started off on some sunbeds in the shade. Throughout the day, I read half of my next Kinsey Millhone book. It really is good to be able to read in bulk again.

After a while, we decided we wanted to be in the sun, so we moved forward to some spare sunbeds and got the cocktails on the go. The oldies came back from shopping and we all had a dip in the shallow pool, where they have marble sunbeds built into the water. I had a lie on my front for a while to try and tan up my back, since I always end up darker on the front from sitting up and writing, but it wasn’t exactly the most comfortable. We went to lunch and the mash was starting to taste creamier again, still with lumps, only smaller. Looks like it’s on the road to recovery. They also had some tasty pork chops and beef escalopes in amongst the usual stuff.

It was back to the sunbeds afterwards. Started in the shade again for a bit, having collared the two different sunbeds, before moving back into the sun. Broke it all up with more reading, more dips in the pool and certainly more cocktails. Only problem with the pool is that the entirety of it is always in the sun and never in the shade, so it’s never as cool and refreshing as you want it to be and more like getting in a lukewarm-to-warm bath. Still better than just roasting though, obviously. Eventually went back up to the room to shower and rather than trying to get more pages in, I got some Clannad in instead. I like having this freedom to mix things up more.

Had to be ready a little earlier today, because we’d made reservations at the steak house, which is down on the beach, so we had to get the bus down. Dear God, I thought the mini bus to Chichen Itza was bumpy. This was like being on a rollercoaster. Didn’t help that my sear was clearly broken and I was stuck in the recline position practically over this nice Canadian woman’s lap. Let’s just say we were glad to reach the restaurant. First restaurant we’d had all holiday where everything is served at your table. The starters were a choice of shrimp cocktail and mozzarella sticks. I opted for the latter, because I don’t like shrimp cold and I freaking love mozzarella sticks. Sadly, the mozzarella wasn’t overly tasty and was overpowered by the breadcrumbs. Still nice, but not as good as I was expecting. I have high expectations of mozzarella sticks from fast food places on nights out.

Before the rest came, Mom then decided she wanted us all to go down onto the beach to take some photos. I wish I’d known that before I’d put on heels and a very short dress that meant I couldn’t bend down to take the heels off, even whilst sitting. So I had to hobble across the sand whilst tugging my dress down all the while. I’m sure I looked like a right Essex girl. Back to the table please. The main meal I chose was a tasty steak with potato wedges, a giant onion ring and a lovely garlic and parsley chimichurri sauce, then my pudding was an apple strudel with ice cream. Could have been a bit bigger, but then maybe I’ve been far too generous with my own portions at the buffet.

We made it back to the hotel bar just in time for the entertainment. Tonight’s was a Michael Jackson show. Holy hell, was it good. I mean, I could watch good MJ impersonators dance all day long, but this guy really was excellent. He even had all the mannerisms and the voice down, as well as the moves and especially that moon walk. They had other dancers on stage too, but even though they were all good, I don’t think anyone was watching them. Sorry other dancers, but MJ always rules the stage. My only disappointment was that he didn’t do the lean in Smooth Criminal, like they had at Coco Bongos, which I think raised the bar for me a little. Nobody had anything on his moon walk though.

Back to the rooms after the show to read and watch some more Clannad before bed. First day without writing a single word! It was nice to have the little break after having to keep it up so hardcore, but I’ll probably get back on it, because I really do feel like something’s missing from my day if I haven’t written anything. We watched a bit of James Corden and had some serious British enjoyment that no American would understand over a little girl pretending to knight Nigel Farage and then telling him “my mommy says you hate foreigners”. I hate kids, but this is one kid even I can get behind. Pure gold.

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This little guy decided to join us for a cheeky bevvie. (They will have your drinks if you don’t watch them!)

30/4/17 – When in Mexico…

Had a bit of a rude awakening when Mom came knocking on the door at seven, as they were going don for breakfast. Turned out my alarm hadn’t gone off because my old BlackBerry had died a death in the night, so we were suddenly up and rushing to get ready, knowing we’d just have to skip breakfast ourselves. Got all sun creamed and since we’d be wearing normal day clothes this time, I got to wear my new pineapple shorts. We didn’t have any drink left in the room, as it was refill day, so I ran down to the breakfast hall to fill up an empty bottle with the fakey pineapple juice, whilst the others went to the pick-up point.

We got on our own private mini bus, heading for Chichen Itza. Turned out the oldies had grabbed us some chocolate and orange muffins to-go from breakfast, aww. We had a quick stop at a shop before joining the highway. I had a giant Red Bull – first I’d had in six days. Not that I was counting or anything. Once we got onto the highway, it was just under a two-hour drive to Chichen Itza. I used the time to drink my Red Bull and attempt to catch up on writing, since it was the last day of Camp NaNoWriMo. This was made a lot harder by how goddamn bumpy the mini bus was (not to mention our driver was a bit of a maniac). I’m not sure my writing will even be legible when I get to typing it all up.

The Chichen Itza site was huge. We saw the giant step pyramid, which is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, the thousands of columns left standing, various ruins, the sacrificial stone mounds, one of the cenotes and hilariously, a huge open ground with stone rings built into the walls on either side, just like in the Road to El Dorado. Between that and the pyramid, we were sure this must be where it was based on. There were merchant stalls everywhere. I quite wanted to get a Day of the Dead skull for Kay, but whenever I found ones that weren’t tacky, the merchants just started haggling ridiculously. I get that’s what they do, but when they try ripping me off from the start, I don’t feel so keen to give them my business. I also don’t like having them bothering you when you’re just trying to look.

Chichen Itza generally takes between two to four hours to cover the whole site. We don’t fanny about and it was sweltering, so we did it in less than two. We went back to our mini bus and were taken to a buffet restaurant. Nachos, rice, spag bol and some lovely chicken on the bone. They had puddings too, so I had fresh watermelon and orange and then a melon jelly. So much more refreshing. It was then back in the mini bus and off to the cenote. As super pretty as the cenote was, the novelty wore off quickly for me. Maybe because it was butterfly central (they even had a butterfly as part of their logo, so I’m not just exaggerating) and I was on edge the whole time. Or maybe because it was still boiling hot, I’d gone down a hundred steps and only got one foot in the cenote before seeing all the catfish and quickly getting back up the ladder. So I couldn’t even cool off. Mom didn’t like it either, so we just had to wait around whilst Kel and Dad had a swim. Give me a proper swimming pool any day.

I felt ready to die by the time we were leaving. It was thirty-nine degrees by this point. I had a gross ice lolly that said it was lemon, but was mostly creamy, so I chucked that. Had a drink too, but it really didn’t seem to help. We returned to our mini bus and headed out to a town called Valladolid. However, we did one quick tour around the little square and were only there for all of five minutes, before we were going back to the mini bus once again. It was just too hot, with nowhere in the shade and nowhere to go inside. This time, we just started back towards the hotel. I desperately continued with my writing, even though it was sprawling across the entire page from all the bumps. Next time, I’m bringing my laptop.

It was gone five by the time we got back, so it was time to shower and try and get those last few pages done in between. Amazingly, I did it with ease and even got carried away and went 440 words over the 50K I needed. Now my only problem will be validating it online. Since I hand write my first drafts, I have to use a random text generator to create enough text to match my word count. That’s a lot of text to copy and paste – I don’t know if my phone will be able to hack it. Once we were ready, we went down to the bar for a quick margarita and then moved onto food. Most of the usual once again. Mash was still lumpy. They did have the beef tostadas from the Mexican restaurant though, as well as some glorious grouper marinated in salsa verdi. I’m very picky with fish, but I knew I could trust Mom’s recommendation on it, because she’s equally as picky when it comes to seafood.

Back to the bar again, so I jumped onto the WiFi to try and validate my novel. Had a few mishaps with the copy and paste not working properly, but eventually managed to do it. Woooo! Best total I’ve had from a NaNoWriMo month yet and this was the one where I really thought I’d fall too far behind to manage. I happily celebrated with some more margaritas and mango daiquiris. The entertainment tonight was a mix of various cultural, more choreographed dances. Pop culture obviously appeals much more to us, but they did manage to successfully catch mine and Kel’s attention when they did one dance to the Circle of Life. We’re always on the ball when we hear that little African introduction.

Came back to the apartment after and flicked through the various talk shows. We were talking about Jimmy Kimmel and I discovered Kel had never seen the “I’m fucking Ben Affleck” skit; only the Matt Damon one. Of course I had to put it on to show her, since I have random shit like that on my iPod. Also finished my Anita Blake book off. God, it feels good to be able to do whatever I want. I love writing, but having to worry constantly about word counts on holiday makes it feel like homework, which nobody wants on holiday.

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Consider me wonderstruck…

29/4/17 – Today I don’t feel like doing anything

Horrifyingly, after our late night, we still woke up at nine. Safe to say, we both made sure we went back to sleep. I woke up again around half eleven, which was a far more acceptable amount of sleep. I wrote three pages before conceding it was time to wake Kel up. We’d certainly missed breakfast this time, so we got fully sun creamed up and ready and went down to lunch instead. The usual kinds of food again. No hangovers this time, but food was still much needed after that level of tequila. Though I was very upset that the usually creamy, whipped mash had lots of chunks in it. Half a job! Daria came to find us in the lunch hall for a chat, saying the others had gone to the beach, before she retired back to the pool.

We picked up our towels from the booth and then caught the bus down to the beach ourselves. It was crazy windy, so there were no concerns of it being too hot. If anything, I was almost cold at one point; it was really that blowy. My face and chest ended up covered in a thin layer of grit from the sand all blowing around. Still, I kept up with both the writing and the margaritas and broke only to watch some wedding photos that were being taken on the beach. Kind of an odd set-up. The guys were all wearing the exact same set of plain clothes, whereas the girls were allowed to be as colourful as they liked. A beach would make for some pretty photos, but you just know it would be a real pain in the ass. Sand is seriously annoying as hell. Not what you want in your Sunday best.

We got the bus back to the hotel around six for well needed showers, with more writing in between, of course. We then went down for tea and also to see the oldies for the first time since last night. Food tonight was mildly more Asian themed. I had my usual rice, the stupid chunky mash and sauteed potatoes, along with a spring roll, a weird breaded thing filled with refried beans, a fish and prawn tostada and Thai green chicken curry. The curry was really nice, but very spicy. I washed it down with some more ice cream and strawberry sauce, before moving over to the bar for a Cosmo.

We had another show tonight. This one concentrated less on the funny and more on the real dancing. We were treated to dances to medleys of various artists like Bruno Mars, LMFAO and Beyoncé. The choreography was superb, especially for just a hotel show. We got the full-on whistly version of the Lazy Song by Bruno Mars, only without the monkeys, though we did get Katy Perry complete with out of time left shark. I can definitely appreciate those sorts of pop culture references.

We came back to the room after the show, since we needed something of an early night before our early start tomorrow for Chichen Itza. I picked my notebook back up to do a few more pages before bed, but got thoroughly distracted when Kel put on the telly to find out that Rush Hour 2 was on. The best of a fantastic trilogy and easily one of my most favourite movies to quote. Look at that rat! Eventually, we had to turn it off if we wanted to get at least six hours of sleep. Despite the distraction, I was still clocking out with three thousand words for the day. Not too shabby at all for my lazy day.

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This is the kind of lazy view you want when you still have X levels of alcohol in your system.

27/4/17 – Just a few mishaps

Latest get-up yet, at just after nine. Had to hurry a little to get ready as breakfast finishes at ten. At least that was the plan. The oldies had already gone down to eat, so we were still catching up. On the way over, we found a giant bearded dragon type lizard on the rocks in front of the lobby – had honestly thought he was a statue when we saw the shape of him the other day – so I stopped to take pictures of him. Just as I was walking away, I tripped up the kerb a little. Kel was busy laughing at me and then full on fell in a hole in the grass and twisted her ankle. Now that was definitely Jesus at work. I ran down to the breakfast hall to let the oldies know about the hold up. Dad took Kel a makeshift ice pack and then we helped her down to breakfast before it closed.

Dad came round with me when I was getting food and I had to pick out things that Kel would want for him to put on a plate. I got a cheese quesadilla, sauteed potatoes, bacon, frankfurtas and nachos for myself, followed by a pancake with strawberry syrup and a waffle quarter with Nutella. After breakfast, I helped Kel to find some sunbeds, then went back to the room to sun cream up, pack both our beach bags and take them down to the pool. Kel did her sun cream in the toilets.

Even though it was cloudy most of the day, it was still over thirty degrees and very humid. The sun would come out for brief spurts throughout the day and when it did, it was scorching hot. Had to have quite a few dips in the pool (and even more margaritas and strawberry daiquiris) to cope. I was finding it difficult to concentrate on writing in the heat, so I read more instead. Took great amusement in watching the aqua gym in the pool, mostly because of two young American guys who were getting far too into it, particularly when they had to do races of carrying each other bridal style. Very amusing.

We broke for lunch and I had the usual suspects. Mm nearly died when I accidentally flicked my fork across the table and thew lots of rice at Kel in the process. Oops. This kind of stuff happens to me, alright? Back out to the sun for more reading and attempts at writing. I fold my notebook in half when I’m writing, so I didn’t really want to rest it on my sweaty legs. Managed to get some pages done though. A bit later on, after more cocktails, me and Kel decided we wanted to try out the snack bar – probably because it was right behind us. Had some fries and some nachos with cheese sauce, mmm. Sadly, couldn’t sit by the pool with it, so had to rejoin the oldies after we’d eaten.

Came back up to the room after to shower and furiously write some more pages in between getting ready. I also tried to do myself a vodka and lemonade from the optics, but it was so strong that I barely drank any of it. In the fridge for later, methinks! Tea was pretty much the usual routine, followed by joining the bar area afterwards for some drinks and entertainment. Unfortunately, the entertainment was a bit tragic. It was a mariachi band, who didn’t look at all happy to be there and just kept going on and on. They’d announce the last song, then they’d just keep playing. They did it three times before we decided to give up and go back to the rooms.

Me and Kel were much happier fending for ourselves in the room and watched a bunch of Improv-a-Ganza clips on my iPod, particularly New Choice ones. God, I miss this show. Kel then watched some of James Corden’s show, whilst I half watched and half wrote before bed. It’s still weird that he’s so big over here. He’ll always be Smithy to us, but sadly, Americans would never get the pure comic genius of Gavin and Stacey.

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Big fat lizards are otherwise known as omens of falling over.

26/4/17 – Living in the shadows

Woke up at a much more acceptable eight o”clock today. Got ready to go down to breakfast. Sausage, bacon, cheese quesadilla, nachos with habanero sauce and a ham and cheese mini burrito. Followed it up with a pancake and waffle quarter, both covered in Nutella, mmm. And a glass of pineapple juice, of course. We popped back up to the room to get sun creamed up and I discovered just how badly I’d sunburnt yesterday. Shoulders, chest, legs, belly and feet. Ow. That was on double the factor I’d usually use too. There’s clearly something deadly about Mexican sun.

So deadly, in fact, that when we got down to the pool, we immediately picked out sunbeds in the shade. Never have I ever taken to the shade on just the second day of a holiday before. But even in the shade, it was just so hot. Kel had burnt even worse than me, so she stayed with me in the shade and we stayed there all day, bar moving to other sunbeds that were even more in the shade. It really was one of those days.

Started the day off with margaritas once the bar opened at ten. A tour guide called Enzo was chatting and joking with us for a while. Some of his trips sounded really interesting – like swimming with manatees and whale sharks! – but his leaflets were very heavy with photos and sparse with any information, so that wasn’t too handy. Not to mention we hadn’t actually brought many pesos with us, what with the whole all-inclusive thing, so we had to be a bit sparing with them. Did some writing and reading, then the next rep person to come round was called Joshua and was taking reservations for Coco Bongos. As this was something we’d already wanted to do, we happily signed up for the higher tier package, which is basically an all-inclusive, glorified bar crawl. Score.

After more writing, as well as a Mai Tai and a strawberry daiquiri, we had a little dip in the pool to cool off. It was only somewhat refreshing, as absolutely no part of the pool was in the shade, so it wasn’t as cool as we would have liked. The oldies came back from their shopping, so we went for lunch in the main buffet restaurant. Mash, spicy potato wedges, more nachos with some cheese sauce, cheese and onion pizza and of course, rice. The rice I’d picked turned out to not be the spesh rice that I like, so I went back up to get the proper rice and had more mash and potato wedges whilst I was at it, mmm.

After lunch, it was back to holing up in the shade, but not before grabbing another margarita. Cue the usual more writing and more reading. One of the guys who was collecting empty glasses came round and I told him he couldn’t have my full one, so later on when my half full glass was the only one on the table, he purposely came and asked if he could take it. Not happening; take anything but my drink! We also had one of the rep girls come round and tell us to catch the show on the entertainment stage tonight, which she would only describe as ‘crazy’. Sounds intriguing.

We went back up to the apartment around five to shower. Thanks to my stupid lack of straighteners, I had to attempt to dry my hair as straight as possible. It didn’t work too great, mostly due to the fact of my fringe drying so that it looked like a helmet. Since my straighteners had been working for a few minutes before cutting out yesterday, I decided to try using them to at least do my fringe before they started beeping at me. Semi happy. Did a little more writing in the room before going for food. Usual kind of rice, mash and potato mixes, as well as stewed chickpeas and a very rich pulled lamb stew.

We moved to the bar afterwards, where I had a tequila sunrise. We were then treated to the ‘crazy’ show that we’d been told about. Oh my god, they weren’t kidding. It started off just playing Nature Boy from Moulin Rouge, which had me and Kel all giddy. It then went into Lady Marmalade and four men came out dressed to the nines as Pink, Christina Aguilera, Missy Elliot and Lil Kim, lip syncing and getting very into their dancing to it. Freaking hilarious! It then basically turned into lip sync extreme. Dozens of short ‘sketches’ of the different entertainment guys lip syncing and dancing to different songs whilst dressed as the relevant performer. Some were hilarious and some actually had seriously good choreography; not to mention all the crazy fast costume changes it entailed between songs. Clearly so much time and effort went into it and it was so worth it. Brilliant show. Highlights included four different looks of Bruno Mars doing Uptown Funk together, the Blues Brothers and one of the guys wearing tights on his head to look like Pitbull. The star performer was easily  chunky guy who dressed as all the women, like Cher, Nicole Kidman and Gloria Gaynor.

We had another drink afterwards – I had a mango daiquiri, mmm – and hen we came back to the rooms. We put some music on and I did more writing before bed. Gotta be a good little writer if I’m so determined to get my word counts done before the end of the month!

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Diamonds are a man’s best friend, apparently!