Monthly Archives: July 2012

So Can We Say I Do?

Hola,

Hope all you fantastic people worldwide are having a splendid summer (unless of course it’s not summer in your country then substitute summer for the appropriate season)! As you may have already read, I was in Mehico for a week to visit family in Cancun and attend a wedding in the Mayan Riviera. I already documented my adventures in Cancun here. I am now going to share with you a completely different experience in another part of Mexico. Ready jelly belly?

So, after a 2 hour drive we arrived at a set of gates that led to a resort, which could be easily mistaken for a jungle. Everything that you pictured about Riu is the exact opposite of this resort, which is called Grand Palladium. The whole reception area was outdoors, the entrance to restaurants was outdoors, the pools were outdoors (obvi), the room complexes were outdoors, all bars were outdoors…and trust me when I say it was HOT…it wasn’t only because I was there…

I was instantly struck with bad luck after leaning on the reception counter and having a piece of chewed gum attach to my arm. Who chews gums and sticks it on the table at a 4-star resort? Classy..real classy.

Another weird thing about this resort was how ridiculously big it was. There was a shuttle system that transported you around the resort from building to building. Let’s just say it wasn’t exactly easy access. When we got to our room we weren’t blown away. There was nothing wrong with the room…there just wasn’t anything special about it either…I would describe it as blah. Upon our arrival to the resort, I instantly noticed the multitude of insects everywhere; however, I assumed that the rooms would be clean-swept and insect-free. WRONG. After just 5 minutes we heard a huge ruckus outside our room and soon came to realize my grandparents were trying to get a lizard out of their room (LOL!). I mean being immersed in nature is one thing but my family is not exactly into being one with naturesque elements. This was just the first set of lizards, cockroaches, spiders, ants, and other mysterious creatures that were going to get the opportunity to share the 4-star experience with us.

Any who, after our lengthy freak out was complete we decided to get ready to go for dinner. We got all dazzled up and tried to go to a restaurant…unfortunately for us…all 14 of them were filled up. Therefore, we ended up going to 1 of the 4 buffets. 5 inch heels, flapper skirt, silk shirt, buffet…choose the one that doesn’t fit.

Following dinner we got lost in the jungles for 45 minutes before finally arriving at some mysterious beach party. It was weird. Following the party we hit up the resort’s nightclub where we took shots on shots on shots…don’t worry they weren’t tequila. Instead, some were blue and others were lemon’y’. Exciting night meeting a few people, and most importantly the younger individuals in the families of the bride and groom. I was also blessed with flourishing love from a large dose of mosquitoes that left me with more than 1 souvenir to remember them by…I think of it as their way to seal the deal.

The next day had a ‘sit lazily on you butt by the pool’ kind of vibe. Due to extreme pain and swelling from my seducers (mosquitoes), I decided to skip the pool and instead wander around the ENTIRE resort and see what it had to offer. Regardless of it’s lack of comfortable sleeping arrangements, there was no denying how beautiful the scenery surrounding the Grand Palladium really was. I walked along the beach and ended up at some of the other lobby’s and their according pools.

I also ended up somewhere that was referred to as a ‘Sports Centre’ fully equipped with baseball, soccer, football, and volleyball fields, as well as golf, archery, and curling courts. I eventually decided to take a break by grabbing some iced water (my signature drink) and sitting in one of the lobbies. Here, I met a young staff member that shocked me with news that she had previously come to Canada on a one year exchange where she stayed in the exact small city that I currently do. Her and I were “OMG”ing for a good 30 minutes!

That night was a very very special night. It was the night before the wedding, which meant it was time for the bachelor and bachelorette parties. It was funny because as soon as the boys heard there was a bachelor party they completely ran away; however, in the end they ended up crashing the girl’s bachelorette party just in time to sip on some champagne. We danced the night away sans the bride who disappeared somewhere between her 7th drink and the pouring of the champagne. The groom, on the other hand, was under watchful eye as we had to ensure he’d be able to wake up the next morning in time for his wedding. We decided to head towards the beach to get some food where we were bombarded by raccoon’s due to idiotos stupidly feeding them.

Wedding day time! I began the day by taking a dip in the pool..finally! Such nice water. However, the issue was that I returned to the room with only an hour to go before the wedding and my sister (who takes approximately 4 hours to get ready for every single event) was occupying the bathroom. I just needed to take a darn shower for heaven’s sake. I had to go to someone else’s room to take a shower only to discover that there were no towels. By the time the towels arrived, I had only 30 minutes to shower and get ready for the wedding…SUCH A DISASTER…and yes I am talking about my hair. Not only was my hair an absolute mess, it also began pouring rain and we had to walk to the wedding site. On the bright side, the bride looked absolutely STUNNING.

Part 1 of the wedding included a traditional church ceremony followed by a Persian ceremony outdoors in honour of the Groom’s family. Due to the fact that I am classified as a ‘young, single girl’ I was asked to be a part of the ceremony by holding a curtain, pouring sugar on the bride and groom, embarrassingly dancing and doing some other baffling stuff. Even though I had basically just met the bride and groom a few days before, I still got a wee bit teary eyed…but no worries they were partially tears of joy and partially tears of pain from my swollen, bitten foot.

Following part 1 I was famished so I made a quick dash for the buffet, being sure to ditch my stilletos first this time. Everyone changed outfits between part 1 and part 2 of the wedding, so luckily I had enough time to salvage my hair. I decided to go for a green ensemble for the evening portion of the wedding primarily because I was green with envy of how beautiful the bride looked. Of course the evening reception was also outdoors. I was overjoyed that my uncle and cousins from Mexico drove up to join us for the wedding. My little cousin is a champ at shuffling. The most exciting part of the celebration for me was the heart-shaped breads…revolutionary! One of the boys, however, made me believe that there was a fortune inside the bread so it ended up looking like a broken heart. 😦 After a few tequila shots, the group danced and ate the night away. The wittiest advice I can think of for the bride and groom is: May you share everything with your husband, including the housework (romantic, i know).

The following day was our final day at the Grand Palladium. I enjoyed a quick Snorkling session that was disrupted by my dad continuously tugging on my life jacket every time I would even drift 3 cm away from him. I also went for a dip with the kiddos where we took underwater pictures and did some ridiculous jumps in not so deep waters. These kids are true troublemakers. They kept begging me to get them mango daiquiris… If you walked along the beach you also came across multiple protected turtle nests…so reminiscent of ‘The Last Song’. I also played with some (air)guns just for giggles.

That night we finally got to eat at the Mediterranean restaurant we so desperately wanted to try. I was so excited that I even themed my wardrobe and hair for the night. Unfortunately, however, the only thing vegetarian was pasta. Wow…pasta…how Greek. The presentation of dessert was impeccable…I sadly can’t say the same for the taste. In fact, all dessert that I had in Mexico was very unsatisfactory. The chocolate desserts especially were never velvety and rich, instead they tasted like low fat chocolate jello mousse. Then again, I’m very picky when it comes to sweets.

We made the most out of our final night in Mexico by heading towards the beach to have some beers and listen to music. The clock ticked to 2 am, then 3 am, then 4 am, and finally 5 am. We somehow ended up spending the whole night by the beach and were able to experience the beautiful sunrise in the horizon…ahh breathtaking. Talk about the absolute perfect way to end a summer getaway.

So there you have it. I leave you with this image to remind you what will happen if you spend too many hours in the sun sans sunscreen…you’ve been warned.

Be Healthy, Be Happy, Be Chic.

xx Neda xx

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Categories: Mexico | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Buena Mexicana

Hola,

Yes I am back to the ‘Hola’ greeting as my recent adventures had me back in a Spanish-speaking nation. As I previously mentioned, I headed to Mexico for a family visit and a wedding (the two were unrelated). Therefore, I stayed 3 days in Cancun, and 4 days in the Mayan Riviera. Due to the overwhelming differences between the two, I will be creating two separate posts. So let us begin with a review of Cancun…

Upon arriving at the airport, I instantly felt a giant heatwave hit my face. It felt like I was taking slow, long strides in the Saharan dessert, accompanied by a stunning camel (okay maybe it wasn’t so extreme). I was travelling in a group of 10 people so we had previously arranged for my uncle, that lives in Mexico, to pick us up. Driving through the Hotel Zone brought back so many flashbacks from 4 years ago; however, it all looked the same with the addition of one or two or 10 more hotels…but who’s counting?

We rolled up to the Riu Palace, which is an acclaimed, all-inclusive, 5-star resort. The Riu brand has 3 hotels just in Cancun and multiple other hotels around Mexico. It was super big but very modern and simple at the same time. It wasn’t like a very naturesque, jungle-style, resort (stay tuned for post #2), but rather sleek and sophisticated. We were greeted with a lovely lady serving us virgin pineapple drinks. I know what you’re thinking, why start the experience with a virgin…but good things come to those that wait and trust me my family took full advantage of the booze shortly after.

After immediately hitting the buffet, we ran up to our purple and pink rooms that were fully equipped with a bathtub and every type of liquor you can imagine hanging upside down with a fountain attached…trouble…that’s all I have to say. Can we please just take a moment to really appreciate the view? From our balcony we had clear sight of all 4 pools and the turquoise waters filling in the ocean.

After waiting for the mothers to wear ridiculous matchy matchy outfits from head to toe, we headed out for an evening swim. The pool water, as well as the beach water, was sizzling hot. I was especially excited for the cabanas and the hammocks. If only we had such awesome chill spots in Toronto… Imagine after school coming home stressed out and treating yourself to a hammock ride beach-side. Besides swimming and frolicking around, I also ran into multiple Iguanas/lizards/ mysterious reptiles that kept diving into random holes in the rocks when you got too close…thank goodness because i was stupid enough to get too close.

That night ended with a simple, yet very wise decision, to go to the buffet and call it a night (following one or two more glasses of champagne of course). We were exhausted after all, and I really wanted to get some quality time in the room with the tv playing Spanish soap operas (my guilty pleasure).

The next day started off with…you guessed it…the buffet. We then headed out to one of my favorite outdoor malls, La Isla Cancun. It’s fully equipped with an aquarium and trampolines centered in the middle of the mall. I was especially excited to finally be able to visit one of my favorite stores ‘Pull and Bear’, which I have only tracked down in Mexico and Europe. Shopping time 🙂 Me and some of the kiddos also literally jumped on a boat, which seemed like a good idea at the time, but was actually really dumb considering how hard it was to get off when the boat started drifting! -_-

Next, we went back to Riu where we pranced around the pools again, played a competitive game of volleyball with some locals (my team won!), watched a belly-flop competition and made one more trip to the buffet…obvi.

During the evening we definitely did something a tad more exhilarating than watching Spanish soap operas. My uncle picked us up and drove us 1 hour away to Playa Del Carmen, which is a stunning city equipped with restaurants, shops, and hotels. We were two men down though due to the aftermath of too much excitement surrounding all inclusive drinks. In Playa Del Carmen we ate some Mexican food (fajitas in particular), and got bit by the first series of bugs we were going to encounter. My bug bite count by the end of the night was approximately 15…this may sound bad but wait till you read part 2. On the drive home pretty much everyone slept except for my uncle (the driver) and I, who cracked jokes for the whole 1 hour (very typical of us two troublemakers).

The next day was a big day! It was the Euro Cup 2012 Finals with my team Espana playing Italy. I was so beyond excited, but I was sad that I would have to watch the game sans my friends and fellow Spain fans. My family decided to go to one of the other Riu resorts in Cancun (you’re allowed to visit any Riu resort if you’re staying at one of them). With my flag in hand everywhere I went, I managed to remind all beach-side loungers what day it was. I watched the finals in a theatre with a projector, which wasn’t too bad. There were probably 30 people there, some Spain fans, some Italy fans. Not surprisingly, Spain won 4-0, but celebrations were pretty dull around the hotel minus my jumping and momentary yelling. My sister also made me a sugary Spain-inspired daiquiri!

I finished off my final night in Cancun sipping on some wine and taking some stunning nighttime shots of the resort that I can’t wait for y’all to see. Oh and of course there was one more trip made to the buffet…

The next morning, we made one last and final visit to the buffet, and waited for my uncle’s friend to come pick us up. The ride to Mayan Riviera is about 2 hours long. Unfortunately, as soon as we set off (aka 10 minutes later), the car decided to break down. So we had to make a detour to my uncle’s house and wait there for him to come home from work with another car. What we thought was going to be a 30 minute set-back, turned out to be 4 hours of bonding time with my cousins. They’ve grown up so much. One thing that my older cousin (13 years old) and I have always had in common is our love for tae kwon do. Back in 2008, he was still a Green belt learning the basic kicks. Since then, he has gone on to become the Junior champion of all of Mexico with more than a dozen medals to prove it. I couldn’t be prouder! I also took this time to get some inside gossip on how he’s been doing with the ladies…hey don’t judge me I am a gossip queen after all…

Eventually, my uncle showed up and we were off on our way. I wasn’t too sad to be leaving my family in Cancun because they were going to join us at the wedding in Mayan Riviera later in the week. We were so excited to meet up with about 50 others in Mayan Riviera! Little did we know what Mayan Riviera had in store for us…Here’s a sneak peek.

Be Healthy, Be Happy, Be Chic.

xx Neda xx

Categories: Mexico | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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