So, that was Christmas Eve. I promise that the rest of these will be shorter. Heck, why am I apologizing? If you're bored, go somewhere else.
The snow of Christmas morn fell like...wait a minute, we were on the beach. Scratch the snow thing.
We went to a nearby underground lake called a Cenote (which, I think is "sinkhole" in Spanish). We got a ride (since we didn't have a car there) with a couple of gay French tourists. I don't say gay just because they were French. George and Pascal were traveling in Mexico and were staying at our hotel. We went out to the Cenote and swam around for a while. It was really nice. The water was clear down as far as you could see, which was pretty far. It was kind of creepy, if you let it be. George and Pascal were very nice and very fun to be with. We swam around the Cenote for the better part of an hour.
From there we went to a different hotel. The parent company that owned Rancho was opening up another hotel in the middle of the jungle, and as a sort of publicity thing they took everybody who was staying at Rancho out there for a lunch and a tour. The hotel was very nice. Only 8 rooms, one of which was occupied by the staff. There was no internet, no cell reception, and no access to the land line except for staff use. It was very quiet (and intentionally so). They didn't even allow children to stay there.
Kate and I, being weird, thought the place would be the ideal setting for a slasher film. I mean, honestly, it's a small hotel in the middle of the jungle with only one road leading there, you can't use phones, and they lock you in at night (because it's in the middle of the jungle and it's not safe to go out). So we started sketching out a scary story filled with the people we had met set at that hotel. Maybe one day we'll get around to filling in more details and Kate will write it.
When we got back to our hotel, it was close to dinner time, so we wandered into town and went to a seafood restaurant. The waiter was really nice and attentive, mostly because it was raining and it was Christmas, so he didn't have much else to do. He (like everybody else in this place) talked lots about Mayans and all that. When he came out with Kate's Coke, he walked it out on top of his head. Dude must have been to finishing school.
The next day, Kate and I woke up early to watch the sunrise. Yes, I know it's lame. We get to do at least one lame romanticy thing on our honeymoon. Anyway, it was beautiful. Sunrise on the water is very nice.
After that, Kate went back to bed for a bit. I went down to the common room to grab something, and when I left, the door slammed on my foot and broke my pinky toe. I didn't go to the hospital or anything, because there's not much they can do, but I did go to bed to complain to my wife.
Later that day we went into town, walking slowly because of my foot. I guess I haven't even talked about the town much so this is as good a place as any to do that. It was a simple little place with a main square and not much else. In the square was a nice little park for the kids. There was a fountain in one corner that looked like a Mayan pyramid. The square was right next to the beach, so you could see the water. There were lots of restaurants and shops all over, as well as hawkers standing outside the stores trying to get the white people to come in and give them money.
We realized that we hadn't bought any cheap touristy crap, and that's kind of a must when you go on vacation. We wandered around looking, but didn't really see much. It was kind of interesting to see that in all the shops on the main street they sold the same crap (as is to be expected), but then later we found a little way off the main street the actual workshops that made the crap and sold it way cheaper. Weird, that.
In one store, Kate was looking at jewelry. One of the guys there held up an amber necklace and said "real pearls, real pearls!" trying to get Kate to buy it. Clearly, not the brightest. The other guy in the shop said (in Spanish), "dude, that's amber..." to which the first guy replied, "ah, it's all the same to them." Then he saw me snickering and remembered that I had talked to him in Spanish when we walked in. With a guilty look, he said "You speak Spanish, don't you?" Silly kids.
We went into town to a Chinese place called Hello Asia. Before you judge our choice, let me say this: I wanted to see if Mexican Chinese food was the same as American Chinese food, because I know that German Chinese food is different. We were curious. Turns out, it is the same. Good, but the same.
My foot was aching in a way that even ice cream couldn't cure (not that we didn't try), so we decided to head back to the hotel and spend the rest of the day in hammocks on the beach.
The next day was our last in Mexico. We could have spent the morning snorkeling, or touring the town, or any of a number of things, but we just wanted to sit in hammocks and enjoy the last hours of vacation. Right after lunch, our taxi came to take us to the airport. We got there over 2 hours early, and there were huge lines to check in. The bad weather in the Northeast US was making everybody's day miserable. Kate and I accidentally got into the (unlabeled) "people trying to fly to the Northeast whose flights got screwed up and will take forever to help" line, but we eventually got to the right place. It took an hour and a half to get us checked in.
We ran through security (which was slowed by a bag check where we were informed that chocolate is a liquid and cannot be taken through), and made it to our flight. Somehow we managed to get in the last boarding group again and not to be sitting together again. The nice folks next to us let us switch seats, and all ended well. On the plane my toe was hurting pretty bad, so I asked the flight attendant for a plastic bag full of ice, thinking I would get a small zip-lock size bag. She came back with a huge, shopping-tote sized bag full of ice. I was very thankful, as it lasted till I got to Huntsville.
Customs in America took like an hour (I don't remember how long). We just stood in the line, moving our two bags and huge bag of ice (which I kept on my foot most of the time- nobody told me that it is only beneficial for 10 minutes at a time). Eventually we got through, and out of the airport. The Hotel shuttle (we parked at the hotel) took forever as well, because the driver didn't want to leave anyone out in the cold. He packed 15 people into a 12 person van (with 12 seatbelts...) and we got back to the truck, and on the road.
We stopped at Whataburger because, let's be honest, we'll miss it while we're here in Michigan, then headed to Huntsville.