I know you haven't heard from me in a while, but riding my bike and spending time outside is more appealing in the summer months than dealing with writer's block at my computer. Another reason for the hiatus is because we have been on vacation. No special shots or visas were required this time, but we did need a passport.
It makes me laugh to say this out loud, but occasionally laziness
|PAM, BRUCE, LAURIE, CONNOR & TOM. WHERE'S CATIE?|
I worked on my tan, took naps on the beach and fantasized about my next meal. You can burn thousands of calories if you want to sail, snorkel, water ski, play tennis or beach volleyball. If you are really athletic, limber and a risk taker, there is always the trapeze, but at our age that activity is definitely out of the question. We look at it this way. The additional calories are part of the total entertainment package, so we don't worry about it--but I put off weighing myself for at least a week after I get home.
Every day we set up our tanning spot on the beach, where we could watch women of various shapes and sizes parade around in their tiny bikinis and uncomfortable-looking thongs. Not all body types are made for this type of apparel, but why some men don't get that their skimpy Speedo suit is no longer in style really surprises me.
Kids had a ball on the beach, laughing and playing, burying each other in the sand, and building castles that would crumble in a few hours after the tide came in. At night giant turtles came ashore and laid hundreds of eggs on the same beach where the sand castles stood only hours before. Cancun has a turtle release program, so the eggs were gathered quickly by rangers and transferred to a protected nursery until they hatched, weeks later. Then the baby turtles were safely released back into the sea. Having watched this amazing process in a remote area of Borneo a few years ago, I was surprised to see a repeat of the natural phenomenon on a heavily touristed beach in Mexico.
A big crowd gathered around a beach volleyball game, and I spotted my athletic son-in-law spike the ball over the net. From the cheers I heard, it was obvious he was on the winning team.
|CONNOR PERFORMING THE BIRDS NEST|
My grandson hung out (pardon the pun) at the trapeze center every morning, where he learned to perfect the aerial routines he'd been learning since he started coming to Club Med at the age of five. Last summer at the Club in Ixtapa, Mexico he was old enough to do "the catch," which he successfully performed in the trapeze show.
Club Med did not pay me to write a promotional piece, but I have only positive things to say about this all-inclusive resort, part of a unique international chain based in France. The food here is terrific. At lunch there were a variety of healthy salads, sandwiches on homemade bread, Mexican specialties, vegetables and local fish from the grill, roast chicken, and for the kids, macaroni and cheese, pizza, pasta and hamburgers with fries. Dinners were more elaborate with a different culinary theme every night: beef wellington and roast duck on French night, fettucini alfredo and veal scallopini when it was Italian. I had second and third helpings on the night they had giant prawns.
|AN ABUNDANCE OF PRAWNS|
I did the math and figured the executive chef and his staff prepared approximately 1500 meals a day.
|WHITE CHOCOLATE BREAD|
We have had many one week vacations at various Club Meds, mainly in the Northern Hemisphere, although Bruce went to both Morrea and Bora Bora in Tahiti before we met. We also
|WHAT ACTIVITY WILL WE DO NEXT?|
Other times there has been a cohort of just our immediate family, but this summer our group expanded, and we were with several families, who were also friends with our kids.
|THE GANG OF NINETEEN, CANCUN, 2013|
Back in the old days, Club Med was pretty much geared to serving adults, but the company was smart when they saw the changing demographics and decided to focus on families, not simply adults. Having said this, think twice before you book at a kids club, unless you are part of a family group, because kids rule!
|MINI CLUB PARTICIPANTS|
I went to my first Club Med in Hawaii in the mid seventies. Still in my early thirties, I wanted to do every sport the Club offered and dance at the disco until really, really late. I was the Energizer bunny in those days. My how things have changed. Now we are too tired from doing nothing, so we head for our room around ten and leave behind the younger set, who sing Hands Up and dance Crazy Signs, both of which are hallmarks of the Club Med experience.
The evening shows this year were terrific, the best Club Med entertainment we've seen.
|"WHICH HAND? RIGHT OR LEFT?" I NEVER PICKED THE RIGHT HAND.|
|FOURTH OF JULY PARADE IN MEXICO|
|MEXICAN BEACH PARTY ON THE FOURTH OF JULY|
|FOURTH OF JULY FIREWORKS|
|TWO G.O.S AT THE BEACH PARTY|
When we arrived at the Club, there were a couple of G.O.s to greet us with a refreshing cold towel and a welcoming drink. They often sat with us at meals, where we heard their stories about what it's like being a G.O. and learned more about where they are from. We also offered to get them drinks at the main bar, which for us were free, but not for them. It takes a very special person to be a G.O. since they have very little time off and the pay is not that great, but most of the G.O.s we talked to still love their job. They work hard six days a week from 9:00 AM until early hours of the next morning, smiling all the time and making sure that the guests are having fun and all their needs are met. Introverts need not apply. For a long time, I figured there were a bunch of MBA suits running things behind the scenes, but the only suits we saw were bathing suits worn by people who were on vacation. The guy in charge, also a G.O., is called the Chef de Village, a prestigious position that takes many years to earn by climbing the corporate G.O. ladder.
|Five Beautiful G.O.s dressed like American GI chicks on the Fourth of July|
At Cancun the GOs represented many countries from around the world -- Mauritius, Morocco, Brazil, France, Israel, Tunisia, South Africa, Australia, United States, Sri Lanka, Mexico, and Canada
Since the Club is owned by a French company, many of the guests are from France and the French-speaking regions of Canada, but there are a lot of American families too. French is the predominant spoken language, although most G.O.s speak English, and in Mexico, there are many who also know Spanish. All the classes and evening entertainment shows are bi-lingual, which can be a little confusing at first, but you get used to it.
After lunch my lazy girl beach chair always called out to me. Time to apply more sunscreen and ask Senor Beach Boy to bring me a glass of club soda with a splash of cranberry, a refreshing drink that has become an all time Club Med favorite.
I was just getting settled when Bruce suggested a walk on the beach before playing bocce ball with Connor. They were going to practice for the tournament later in the week, since they have won medals in previous years and wanted to preserve their record. Bruce hoped to see some topless on our walk, but I reminded him that this was a kids' club and not the French Riviera.
|CONNOR SCORES IN POOL BASKETBALL|
|CATIE AND HALEY|
She was a big hit in Cancun when she sang an Adele song on stage, but no one was able to capture it on video, so if you will permit me some bragging rights, click on the word link and you will see the same performance but at her school's variety show last month. I love the mike grab. She's so darn cute.
|A GREAT EXERCISE FACILITY|
Doing nothing for a week is definitely out of character for Bruce and me, but we really enjoyed spending time with our family and friends this year at Club Med, Cancun.
|PAM AND BRUCE AT CLUB MED CANCUN|