Sunday, June 16, 2013


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
becomes me, and 
I became quite an expert at doing nothing during this vacation. This is the seventh summer we've spent a week at a Club Med with part of our family during the grandkids' school break.  For Bruce and me, it is one of the few times we fly out of the country to relax and simply hang out.



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.    

 Every morning I asked the chef if he would make a special scramble with   tomato and a little cheese.  Along with some fresh papaya and mango, I had a delicious and healthy breakfast.  Afterwards I would slather myself with sunscreen and go looking for beach chairs far enough away, so I didn't have to hear the kids at the pool yell Marco Polo back and forth ad nauseum.  Although I worked out in the well-equiped gym and took a few long walks on the beach,  most of my days were spent in the lounge chair trying to even out the tan line created by my bike shorts.     In my tote bag,  I carried last week's crossword puzzle from the New York Times,  my Kindle loaded with enough best sellers for a month's worth of good reading,  sun screen,  beach towels and swim goggles, just in case.  

Californians are not used to Mexico's high temperatures and wicked humidity, so the tropical breezes on the beach felt good.  My lounge chair was about twenty feet from the water's edge, so perfect for cooling off.  Nothing feels better than jumping into the turquoise blue ocean and getting wet when you are hot and sticky.

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.    

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.



I did the math and figured the executive chef and his staff prepared approximately 1500 meals a day.  
Despite all the fattening temptations,  I was able to stick to eating healthy, except I blew it on my last night with a special Club Med treat.   It began with a piece of delicious white chocolate bread, for which Club Med is famous.   Then I topped that with a large scoop of vanilla ice cream and smothered it with hot fudge.  The next day's sugar spike was intense, but the splurge was worth it. 

  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
considered extending our Oman trip last March and flying to the Maldives Club,  but the air routing was complicated and too expensive.  The resorts on the coast of Turkey and the one in Phuket, Thailand look awesome too.  Some times we go by ourselves,  although last year we had a great time in the Bahamas at Columbus Isle with a group of nine adult friends.    

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.     


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!  


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.  

I  had my ten minutes of fame in a magic show when I was  selected from a crowd of about a hundred to be the stooge on stage.  I'm not sure it was an Academy Award performance, but I sure got a lot of laughs.   And then there was the Fourth of July parade, beach party, and stupendous fireworks after dark.   




I always enjoy meeting and talking with the G.O.s, an acronym for gentile organisateur.   These are the young employees who run the place.  They  manage the front desk, organize and oversee all the sports, choreograph and perform in the fabulous evening shows, and serve as counselors for the kids at the mini-club.   They also manage the business operations, like HR, house keeping, reservations, and accounting.   I'd say they range in age from roughly 19 to 35.  

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.  

This summer we were very fortunate to already know one of the G.O..s,  whom we met last summer when we were at the Club in Ixtapa.  Born in Israel, Josh, who is the Chief of Land Sports at Cancun,  speaks four languages and has boundless energy in everything he does.  He told us his mother spent her entire professional life in corporate administration, and she and he lived at Club Meds all over the world.   

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.


My granddaughter Catie and her sidekick Haley loved to model in their matching bathing suits and sundresses. While Connor excels in sports, Catie is fearless on stage.   Whenever there was an opportunity to perform in a Club Med evening show, she was one of the first to sign up. 

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.  


I went to the gym almost every day because I knew if I didn't,  I would pay for it when I got home and biked with my girlfriends.   Late each afternoon,  I would head over to the exercise room that had a beautiful lagoon view, so my workouts were very scenic.  

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. 



  1. Sounds like a fabulous week to me, Pam. I was totally surprised the one time we spent a week at a resort in Puerto Vallarta that I could actually spend that much time doing nothing. Apparently I was exhausted. It's good to relax and unwind once in a while. What a great way to spend time with your family.

  2. Oh, I am so jealous. What a great week you had. I love the Cancun turquoise sea. I'd go back in a minute. Great post and pictures. The last one of you and Bruce is a keeper.