24/4/17 – Hola, Mexico!

It’s been quite a few months, but we’re finally back on the road. Just after five AM get-up to get ready and have a very childish breakfast o the last jelly pot in the fridge and the remainder of an Easter egg. No Izzy to say bye to today – we already dropped her off at the kennels yesterday, as it’s the first time we’re all going away as a family for a while. Had the trademark chatty taxi driver on the way to the airport. We were able to get there a little later, as we’d dropped the cases off last night for the early check-in.

Security was a ball-ache, because it was busy and there were a lot of old people who couldn’t seem to grasp the concept of using every machine available. We purposely started picking queues with less old people to avoid the same problem. No time for my usual Burger King breakfast (childish one will have to do) because our gate number was already on the board. Quickly popped into Boots for some drinks and shock horror, they had no Red Bull. Cue running round to WHSmith instead for a giant Red Bull and some Powerade too. Good WHSmith.

We had a good ten-hour flight ahead of us to get to Mexico, so I was disappointed to learn that Thomson are nowhere near as good with the long haul flights as ones like Delta and Air France. More leg room, sure, but what happened to the special Netflix-like super collection of movies and TV shows? There were probably about fifteen movies and a very small selection of TV shows – a lot of them only having one episode on there. Que le point? There were also many noisy babies and stupid small kids on board. I cry.

However, not long after we’d taken off, I did realise something mildly exciting. Andy West, former newsreader and my favourite from last summer’s Big Brother (the only time I watched religiously) was sat right across the aisle from me. This obviously entailed a lot of sneaky peeks on my part and Mom even sneaking some photos of him. Then it later turned out, when I heard him talk, that it wasn’t him after all. So he has a twin out there and Mom took pictures of some random guy. Hilarious. I read a couple of chapters of my new Anita Blake book, did a bit of writing and watched Keeping Up With the Joneses from the poor selection. Kinda meh movie, but at least yay for Gal Gadot.

I had an orange juice from the trolley people when they came round, then quickly learnt that was a bad move, as I could have had alcohol instead. Stupid orange juice. We then had our main meal a few hours in. Bread roll, cheese and crackers, a portable roast chicken dinner, a little fancy chocolate truffle and a chocolate orange ganache. All very lovely – devoured everything apart from the carrot and broccoli that came with the chicken. I also had some rosé wine with the meal. I don’t like wine, but it was free alcohol. Took me a good long effort to get through it though.

When the drinks trolley came back round, I was all set to have a Magners until a guy opposite had a Red Bull. Obviously I had to take advantage of free Red Bull, because when does that ever happen? (Apart from when we visited Emi in Bulgaria, seeing as she actually works at Red Bull). It didn’t matter that I’d already had a giant one. I at least hadn’t been able to have much of my Powerade, because it had weirdly gone off and tasted well funny. Bad WHSmith. I watched an episode of Psych, read a few more chapters of Anita Blake and started rewatching Clannad for the billionth time, only getting three episodes in, because I mostly wanted to concentrate on writing for the majority of the flight. I’ve never been on holiday during a NaNoWriMo the event before, so this is a new challenge for me to try and make it on time. Not helped by the fact that I’m already over four thousand words behind because of holiday prep and days out to both London and Nottingham this month.

I did manage to get a good nine pages done though. Besides my body reminding me when I got hungry, I’d have said the flight crazily blitzed by. Nobody else seemed to agree with me. However, I did get very stressed when I got hungry, because we were told they’d be bringing a snack round for everyone and the air hostesses started hanging out teeny packets that had legit only twelve jelly beans in them. Thankfully, it turned out this was just a pre-snack and not what they’d been talking about. Phew! The real snack turned out to be a little creamy cheese and onion roll and a fresh scone with jam and clotted cream. Now that is a proper snack!

Thanks to writing, I really didn’t feel it had been all that long. My ears were excruciating when we landed though, so I was still glad to get off the plane. Even more so when all that heat his us, yay. Getting through customs and baggage claim didn’t take too long. They had a bit of a design flaw with the rickety, narrow luggage carousel, which kept tipping random bags off the side when they went round the corner, so that you couldn’t get to them without a bit of climbing involved. I had fun just walking along to our coach. Oh my god, Mexican men. I am in a special kind of heaven. We had about an hour transfer on the coach as we were the first drop-off. The landscape was very Greece meets America. We decided we liked Mexican billboards, which are quite extravagant with big 3D models.

We arrived at the Riu Lupita and were greeted by a Mexican rep, who had four glasses waiting for us of a (sadly) non-alcoholic cocktail called Congo. Very refreshing and well needed after all the travel. We were told about the local coaties that roam around the resort before we were shown to our rooms. Coaties are like lemurs mixed with raccoons, only much cuter. Our rooms are beautiful with a huge walk-in shower, a fully stocked fridge (that gets re-filled every other day) and our own freaking optics of vodka, tequila, rum and gin – all free! We unpacked and spotted a lot of coaties from our balcony. They really are cute and apparently pretty friendly; just regarded as more of a pest, because they’ll eat scraps and they’ll get into your rooms if you leave the balcony doors open.

We had our first drinks in the room – vodka and lemonade for me; seriously strong vodka too – and then went for an explore around the complex. It’s huge and so pretty. We found two different swimming pools, the bar and two of the restaurants. There were more coaties just wandering around, but not being a bther. Clearly like how Greece are with dogs and cats. Kel made me get in a hammock for shits and giggles, then we found some capybaras roaming around too. So cute! We went back to fetch the oldies, then had to take them on a little tour round what we’d just found before going to the bar for our first drinks. The drink ingredients weren’t listed in English, so I had fun utilising my GCSE level Spanish (i.e. remembering more than I thought!) I had a Blue Ocean for my first drink. Pineapple-y and nice and strong. They pineapple is seriously juicy too. And we all know how much I love pineapple.

We went to the Mexican restaurant for tea, because it just had to be done. My god, this really is a Toni special kind of heaven. The starters and puddings are all buffet style and you just order your main before you start picking. I was ready to try everything. Chilli con carne, refried beans, vegetable quesadillas, beef taco rolls, mini enchiladas, beef tostadas and nachos with goat’s cheese and their special habanero sauce, which nearly took the inside of my mouth out. Glad I only put a dribble of it on my nachos! For my main, I had marinated steak. The sides were strange – more enchiladas in a weird cinnamon-y sauce and what had to be plantains, which I discovered last year that I definitely don’t like – but the steak itself was freaking perfect. I wouldn’t even let anyone else have a taste.

By the time we’d eaten, the tiredness was really setting in, so we decided to forego more drinks and call it a night. I finished writing the page I’d been working on back in the room, totalled up my word count and was in bed by nine. Seeing as it would have been three in the morning our time and I’d been up for twenty-two hours by this point, I figured it was pretty good going to start us off.

blog

Now this is what I’ve always dreamed of seeing in my hotel room…

20/9/15 – Bouncy bouncy, ooh, such a good time!

Got up around half nine. Thankfully, no ghosties had tried to get me in the night and the worst thing that had happened to me was getting a migraine at about five o’clock. I get those so frequently lately though that I’m practically used to it now. My meds had got rid of it by that point so I was more than happy to get up and shower. Man, it’s a nice shower! Once we were all ready, we got back into the car and headed out to the first thing on our itinerary, which was Sharon Orchard.

It was a small place, but the people were very friendly and the man who gave us the tour even stopped his painting job to show us around. We learnt about how they make cider, apple and cider vinegar, and were also told a little about the processes other companies use for making whiskey and vodka. Then when we went back into the other room, the woman gave us some tasters of three ciders to try – a dry, a medium and a sweet. All for free too! I liked the sweet and the medium, but would have needed blackcurrant with the dry. We knew Dad would like it though, so we got him a bottle. I decided to try a bottle of the traditional lemonade and a small bottle of apple juice too.

From there, we moved round to the wine vineyard next door. It was a little bigger and their actual vineyard was very pretty. Because we turned up at an odd time, we ended up catching the end of one tour and then joining the next one not long after, meaning we got more tasters! Woohoo! If you’ve read more of my blog, you’ll know from the wine tasting tour I did in Napa that I’m really not a wine fan, but I was pleasantly surprised with this. The blackberry, raspberry, plum and elderflower wines were all quite nice, as was the mixed spritzer we got to try. Nothing tasted of vinegar this time. I had the tiniest taste of a blackcurrant liqueur, but couldn’t drink that as it was eighteen percent volume and I was on driving duty today. Again, all for free though! We bought some of the plum wine for Mom to try, as something different.

After that was garlic tasting at the Garlic Farm. This was seriously a day of free tasters i.e. my best kind of day! Dotted around one of the rooms were bowls of crackers and then various garlic based sauces, dips and chutneys to try. There were some very odd ones, but some real nice ones too, like the hoisin sauce and the thai green curry one. Kel bought one of the chutneys from the shop and we then migrated over to the restaurant to try their garlic bread. We had plain and with cheese too, and I had a pineapple juice to go with it. Of course. We came away happy and stinking of garlic, but at least we were all in it together.

I would go back all that way for this garlic bread. It's like Little Brampton and the pie all over again.

I would go back all that way for this garlic bread. It’s like Little Brampton and the pie all over again.

We tried to go to the House of Chilli afterwards, but it was closed by the time we got there. We had a look around a little emporium outside instead, which did some cute steampunk stuff, then went to Tapnell Farm to see some plastic cows that Flick reckoned I’d like, as I like cows. The farm was right up in the hills, so all the scenery around was just beautiful. The cows were cool – they were all decorated a different way, like a tiger one, a patchwork one, a super sparkly one, etc.

We decided to check out the activity barn an found two zip wires in there, so we had a couple of gos on those. But best of all, when we came out we found what they call a jumping pillow, which is like a mix between a bouncy castle floor and a giant trampoline. So obviously we spent a good hour on that, pissing about, trying to take bouncy selfies, falling over and doing stupid races. It takes a lot more energy than I remember. I don’t wanna sound like a bore or Danny Glover (okay, I might wanna sound like Danny Glover), but maybe I am getting too old for this shit.

Sadly, my Flash shirt didn't make me any faster.

Sadly, my Flash shirt didn’t make me any faster.

We came back all tired out and had a laugh at the photos. We had bombay potatoes and rice for tea, followed by a chocolate gateau. I had one of my Red Bulls that I’d moved into the fridge as soon as we got there and we went upstairs to Flick’s space to get Kel finished up on the last few episodes of Chuck season two. Friggin’ love that season finale so hard. We broke out some more Friends after that, before conceding to bedtime. Now I know to beware migraines more than ghosts.