Don't be fooled by Terri's smile. Soon after this picture we discovered that some problem in the computer forced us to stand in a very long line in order to clear it up. Because of the delay we nearly missed our flight, needing a sprint to the gate to secure our spots. Even then we were nearly bumped because our tickets were not printed out correctly. An inauspicious start to an adventurous honeymoon to say the least.
Five hours later we were on the ground of a humid Cancun.
We had the honeymoon suite with towel swans and rose petals.
The first of many shots from our sweet balcony.
Our first dinner at a fancy Mexican restaurant.
My first of many piņa coladas (virgin, of course).
A Mexican gecko inside our room.
Time to enjoy our Jacuzzi hot tub on our terrace. That's right, one of only eight in the entire hotel.
My beautiful wife joined me.
The next morning we enjoyed room service breakfast on the terrace, overlooking the ocean.
Then we headed down to the shore.
And took a leisurely stroll along the water.
We then decided to find a place to snorkel at the marina on the other side of the hotel.
Nope, not here.
Although we did find plenty of big-ass lizards.
We took a shortcut through another resort and I paused to enjoy the art. If you look closely you will see a sculpture of a naked diving woman.
Terri spent quite a bit of time by the pool.
I occasionally joined her.
Back in the room.
Relaxing in the hot tub.
Then back to the beach.
Some advice from Cancun: Pay attention to the waves.
Mexican seawater is much saltier than the American stuff.
Out and about.
We caught a Cirque Du Soleil show, Mexican style.
A morning balcony shot.
Then an afternoon one.
Terri's ball of fury.
Dinner (well, actually dessert).
Time to hit the streets of Cancun.
But first we had to visit the lizards.
On the bus.
A Cancun high school (I assume).
With lots of foliage.
This seemed to be a YMCA-like recreation center.
Back at the hotel.
Then came the signs that all was not well. We had heard the night before (Saturday) that Hurricane Dean was on its way, and was expected to hit land Monday night. There was a family of three that was scheduled to fly out Monday night but was told the airport would be closed by Noon on Monday. They had tried to get a flight out early but everything was booked. They had spent hours both on the phone to the airport and online but came up empty. They figured they would have to find a shelter and ride out the storm.
Since we weren't scheduled to leave until Wednesday we had a bit of a buffer, but then we heard stories of how Hurricane Wilma, a category four storm, sat over Cancun for three days in 2005 and devastated the region. We were told that the airport was closed for a week after Wilma. After considering that Dean was expected to be a category five by the time it hit the Yucatan, and not wanting to be stuck here for an undetermined amount of time we tried our own luck trying to get a flight out but also came up empty. Although no one from the resort mentioned a hurricane, they began to put up metal shutters around the hotel.
Other than that all seemed normal.
What, us worry?
On the elevator I spied a note on the floor.
Dig the maraca.
Suddenly carpe diem comes to mind.
This calls for another trip to the hot tub.
Why is this man smiling?
Monday morning and all seems well.
Approaching clouds and windy conditions are not the only hurricane indicators....
All of the trees in the resort are held in place by an intricate system of ropes.
The winds threaten to blow Terri off the bridge.
The thatched umbrellas are still on the beach.
And we are still by the pool.
And in the pool.
By noon the clouds become more ominous.
And Terri becomes more nervous.
That is not a real smile on her face.
But she grins and bears it.
After some discussion we decide to head back inside and assess the situation.
There are reminders of the impending storm everywhere. After talking to some people we hit up the hotel Internet room and try to get a flight out of this place. It turned out that the hurricane was a few hours behind schedule so the airlines had added some extra flights that morning. Unfortunately, by the time we found this out we could only find one seat available on all the planes to Los Angeles, a first class flight departing at 5:45 p.m. It was about 2:30 at this point and we realized that if Terri was going to get out now was the time. After some discussion about the fact that someone needed to get home to take care of business we booked the flight. After frantically packing up as much stuff as possible, leaving me the bare necessities, we got Terri a taxi to the airport. With a quick goodbye (and some tears) she was off.
With Terri out of harm's way I returned to the sweetest view on the Peninsula.
The front desk soon called and told me I would have to move to a room that was not facing the ocean, asking me to come down to pick up the room key. They said I needed to be out of my room between Midnight and 7 a.m. Then they wanted to put up the storm guards in my room so I wandered.
The hotel employee on the left is standing on my terrace.
It was getting very windy.
I don't know what kind of bird this is, but there were a bunch of these mini-pterodactyls flying around.
After being told it was "very important" that I kept the storms shutters locked I naturally opened them up and stepped out onto the terrace to get a view. I closed them behind me so that no one would see them opened.
This is about 4:30 p.m. and the hurricane was expected to hit land in about 12 hours.
My very own hurricane footage.
After watching TV (all three channels that were in English) and being generally bored I went down and ate dinner. Then I watched more TV. Finally I was inspired: I went back down and filled up a cup with ice cream to go, headed back to the room and hit the hot tub with the jacuzzi jets full blast. It turned out to be one of the coolest and most surreal experiences of my life. While sitting out on the terrace the sky was lit up continuously by huge flashes of lightning, with no more than two seconds between each bolt. When I say continuous I mean for the entire half hour or so that I was out there. I tried to take some pictures and video but the air was so humid it fogged up the camera lens so I have no real documentation. Finally the wind was too damn crazy and the rain was starting to hurt when it hit me so I headed in for the duration.
I was left to watch storm coverage on CNN.
I learned that the last category 5 to hit land was Hurricane Andrew in 1992, a storm that devastated Florida.
That's "greater than 155 mph"...
And "about the size of Texas"!
This picture reminds of The Day After Tomorrow.
The next morning I came back to the room around 5:30 a.m.
I ventured outside to make another quick video.
A little later I came back to survey the damage.
A little here.
A little there.
Not bad, all things considered.
This was my room for the night.
Here is the ocean view.
And the other view.
We were not allowed outside all day Tuesday.
On Wednesday, my last day, I headed down to the beach but it was closed. The storm had washed the sand away, revealing rock.
This is where the thatched umbrellas were earlier. After swimming in the pool for a while I had lunch then headed to the airport and flew home. It was truly an adventure.