Did anybody see the Operation Condor movies? Jackie Chan put out a movie called Operation Condor part II, with no part I. It worked out so well that he continued the story in part I later. Since I am doing this bit of blog in a weird time-warpy place, this'll be like that. I'll post part I first, then this one (part II), but just keep reading in reverse chronology like the last few (or next few... man this is confusing).
So, we've done the drive up to Michigan and the first few days here. Time to step back to the honeymoon. I promise that this post will be g-rated. The raunchy details can be found at Kate's blog (probably). I can also promise that it will be fun and no too lovey-dovey. I'm no Kyrie, after all.
Warning: this post will be really, really long.
After the Daingerfield reception (more details on that in the next post, which I haven't written yet), we drove to Dallas to stay at the Red Roof Inn (I know, I know, I'm the classiest guy around. You don't have to tell me). In my defense, it was close to the airport so we wouldn't have to get up too early the next morning.
The next day (Thursday), we went to the airport to fly to Cancun. When we got there, we had some trouble checking in at the kiosks, so somebody had to help us. Kate checked in with no problems and was in boarding group 2. When they figured out my stuff, I was in group 3 or 4. Then they noticed that we weren't sitting next to each other, and changed both of our tickets to get us together. Then we looked at our new tickets: we were both in boarding group 5. I don't know how, but I always end up in group 5 (the last group to board the plane). Somehow, the Airline Gods decided that if anybody's carryon gets checked, it should be mine.
Anyway, we were there and through security with plenty of time to spare (thanks for the genes, Dad!), so we had breakfast at the airport and sat around talking about the Wheel of Time. Yeah, we're that nerdy. The time came to board, and we watched as group one boarded, and group two, and so on. As they all got on, the group standing around got smaller and smaller. Group four boarded, and there was a long pause with only me and Kate still there before they called for group 5. We were the only people in group 5. I seriously don't know how this always happens to me.
The flight was good and pretty uneventful. It was empty enough that the seat next to Kate was empty, so she got to lie down and put her head in my lap for a head scratch. When we landed in Cancun, customs was quick (I guess nobody tries to smuggle stuff into Mexico from the US), and we found a taxi to Puerto Morelos where we were staying. The taxi driver had no idea where Rancho Sak-Ol was, but said to trust him and he would figure it out. He got directions from another driver (in Spanish) and the exchange went something like this:
"You know where this place is?"
"Not really. Just go to Puerto Morelos and ask somebody there."
These two kept looking at us the whole conversation, trying to decide if we understood them. I did, and I think Kate had an idea, if not all the details. So, Gustavo drove us to Puerto Morelos and casually asked somebody there where our hotel was. Partway through the drive I realized that he was using his hazard lights instead of turn signals. It did not inspire confidence.
We eventually got to Rancho Sak-Ol (which I will just call "the hotel" or "Rancho" because I'm too lazy to keep typing Sak-Ol). It was beautiful, and exactly as advertised (which is not always the way these things work). We went to our room and the towels were folded on the bed in the shape of a swan.
That's right. A swan.
So, it was really, really pretty. It was right on the beach, and the people there were super nice. After walking around on the beach, we decided it was about time to head to town to find some food. It was getting dark, and we wanted to get to town and eat and get back before it was too late.
We asked some people at the hotel how to get to town, and they said it was super easy. Just walk along the beach for a bit, turn off the beach onto a road. Take the first right from that road and follow it straight into town. Simple. We walked along the beach to the road, and saw our first right. It was a kind of scary, dark alley. A few yards past it was another right, that looked like the entrance to a construction site. We decided that they really meant the first right and took the alley.
We walked that alley for a few hundred yards, not super far, and walked right into a restaurant we had seen from the beach earlier. We told them we didn't have any cash, and they told us they didn't accept credit cards. I gave the guy a kind of weak "well, we'll find our way into town and get cash at the ATM and maybe come back tomorrow night." He went to get another guy who spoke English (Latins have a strange disease that causes them to hear all white people speaking English even when some of us speak Spanish just fine). That guy was Carlos.
Carlos was possibly the friendliest person I have ever met. He heard we were newlyweds and gave me a hug and kept congratulating me. Super-nice. He told us to just sit down and eat, and that he could give us directions to the ATM after dinner so we could pick up cash to pay him. He clearly was just happy to have customers, as the whole restaurant was empty.
The restaurant had a very interesting layout. There was no real theme or central organizing factor. The kitchen had a little bar-type window, with a couple fancy-looking couches and a weird-shaped coffee table. Like a classy coffee shop or something. Next to those was a little pergola with a table in the middle and a reclining bench looking out over the beach. Down half a dozen stairs on the beach was another similar pergola. There was a hot tub, and 4 or 5 more tables that didn't match. But with all this random stuff, it didn't seem messy or weird. It felt more like an eclectic collection of settings.
We sat down at the pergola and Carlos started telling us about the restaurant. He had a chef who used to be a famous Mexican movie star, and following his career in movies, he traveled to Tibet to learn how to "cook with the weather," which means tailor the menu to what the body needs depending on the heat, humidity, etc. Apparently you need more protein on dry days or something like that.
Carlos brought us some chips and salsa (which was made from 3 different peppers and 2 herbs harvested from the jungle), and offered us the local drink called Mayan Secret, which is booze with some sort of aphrodisiac properties. We politely declined and asked for some Pina Coladas sans alcohol.
As the night went on, the stories got more and more ridiculous. The mole took two days to cook, the seafood had been cooked underground in a clay pot, etc. He brought us a new salsa (this one was made with 2 peppers and 3 herbs, all of which were harvested fresh in the jungle). I'll have to come back some time to tell all the tall tales Carlos told, but I think you get the idea. The point is we really enjoyed our time there. He was chatty and fun, but left us alone enough that we didn't feel smothered.
At the end, he brought us some home made bread, on the house. Like everything else, it was fantastic. Remember, dear readers, that we had not paid at this point, and had no idea how much this evening was going to cost us (there were no menus, just the two dishes the famous cook made for us). Carlos had a little golf cart, and his wife was headed into town to take their son to a park, so he suggested that we hitch a ride with her, drive around town a bit, then just bring the cart back whenever we were ready to pay.
And that we did. We rode into town with his wife, whose name I can't remember right now, and she was charming to talk to. She pointed out the swamp right next to the road and said "sometimes crocodiles come out of there" as if she were saying "and here we have a tree with green leaves." No big deal. Just crocodiles.
We got to town, got cash, drove back, paid Carlos, and went back to the hotel. All in all, we had spent probably 3 hours at Carlos' place, just enjoying the company.
And now, this post is way too long, so I am going to break it into two.