Sunday, February 22, 2009

Where's the camera?

Thursday in Mexico (it was almost a month ago, but it feels like last week, so just indulge me...) had quite the lack of photos for documentation. Oopsie. But I've learned my lesson before and don't take expensive electronic gadgets kayaking with me anymore.

Sean and I went in to Cabo San Lucas and rented some kayaks with Dustin, Liz, and Ryan. We paddled over from Medano Beach to Lover's Beach by the Cabo Arches at Land's End. It was so cool--the rocks, the beaches--that we decided that we'd need to get the boys over to Lover's Beach (and Divorce Beach) before the trip was over. Since we were leaving Saturday, we incorporated it into a fabulous Friday...more on that later. With pictures, even!
Thursday night, we went in to San José del Cabo to the weekly Art Walk. Very cool! So much more culture to San José del Cabo than Cabo San Lucas (or maybe it all depends on the type of culture you want). Sean and I talked Guyan into coming along to appreciate the Mexican art.

A very tired Guyan wasn't too interested in the outing, until an ice cream from Uncle Dustin at the plaza fountain came to the rescue.

Deke's Birthday Party

Wednesday night was time to celebrate Deke's birthday. Mom stuffed the adults' piñata with gift cards to stores back home, paying careful attention not to get any cards to Circuit City, Linens & Things, or any others that may be out of business before our return. Dustin prepared a feast for us all with some of the fish we'd caught Tuesday--YUM!!--and some non-fish option for the non-fish lovers in the group--Dad, Guyan, Owen...party poopers.

When it came time for the piñata, we found the right place (a palm tree), the right holder (Guyan), and the right "blindfold" (a Mexican wrestling mask). Go figure.
Debby takes a whack at it...

Then Liz....

After the pinatas, Deke, Debby, Dustin, Liz and Ryan ventured down to Cabo San Lucas to take in the nightlife...I'd venture to say they had fun. Sean and I are an old married couple, and we were tired... The party animals did learn a couple lessons, though--like always ask how much the drinks are before you order them. It's about a $10 per drink difference...
I think Ryan may have had the most fun. He was chosen (or more likely, volunteered) to participate in some "competition" with this nice hot thang. A highlight of his trip. :-) I've heard there's video of this competition out there somewhere. I should really get to know how to navigate YouTube.

Then again, maybe Debby had the most fun. She was wearing the sombrero, after all.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Piñatas y cucarachas

Wednesday morning, Sean and I listened to a time share presentation. Lovely, but no thanks. Yes, it's beautiful, but no thank you. Yes, we love vacations, but really, no. Yes, we're cheap people with no timeshare in our financial plan right now, so can we please please please go and take our kids to Cabo San Lucas? Please??? Thank you. And yes I'll take my pesos and restaurant gift certificate. Muchas gracias.

So our family and my mom and dad all got on the bus for our adventure down into Cabo San Lucas. Sean had gone down on Monday for the wave runners (sorry, no pictures), but it was mine and the kids' first time. Owen fell asleep on the bus right before we got off. But I couldn't resist getting this picture of my Love Bug. A few weeks before we left for Mexico, he asked how you say Love Bug in Spanish...La Cucaracha was the best I could do.


Another tourist attraction...Lord Black's Showgirls. My maiden name is Black, and my dad is the President of the Street Deacons Car Club. They're a pretty devout group (to their cars and the other Higher Power), so I found the "Lord Black" juxtaposed with the "Showgirls" quite funny. The piñata in the picture adds a special touch, don't you think? And I don't even think I had had anything to drink yet that day.

The boys also bought one of their big souvenirs on this trip. These are wrestling masks, or something like that. Kinda creepy in my opinion, but the boys loved them. They wore them almost all the way back to the hotel on the bus.

And of course, one of our main purposes of this jaunt to Cabo San Lucas was to find piñatas for the birthday celebrations--Deke and Guyan--later in the week. Guyan got the big one, and Deke got the small one. We were set for celebrations!

Before I Forget....

Life has been so busy here. So much is happening, but I refuse to blog about it until I get all my Mexico memories documented. So I should continue...

Tuesday night, after the fishing trip, we went to the Fiesta at the hotel. Buffet, entertainment, the whole deal.



They also invited up guest couples to compete for prizes--Liz & Dustin, Deke & Debby, and Sean & I were all up there. It was a blast--one of the competitions was "show us the most passionate, meaningful kiss." Liz & Dustin, being private folk, pecked each other on the cheek. Deke & Debby, being improv comedy veterans, gave a very "dramatic," very funny rendition. Sean & I couldn't compete...we just went with a re-enactment of our first kiss. Sweet, but didn't require advanced dramatic training :-)

Unfortunately, those pictures are on the camera of a silbling who hasn't yet sent me a CD (those in glass houses shouldn't throw stones, as I haven't sent out my 400+ pictures yet, either).

Thursday, February 5, 2009

One Check on the Bucket List

Oh goodness. How am I going to do this in one post??? Honestly--this will be a loooong post.
On Tuesday, my dad took my brother Deke, sister Liz, her husband Dustin, and Sean and I deep sea fishing. Some of the best sportfishing in the world is off the coast of Baja California Sur (like I would know...but I know now). We had the choice of going for marlin on the Pacific side, or dorado (mahi-mahi) and yellowfin tuna on the Sea of Cortez side. Since it was my brother Deke's birthday a couple days later, his vote won--we went for the dorado and tuna.
We left early in the morning from the marina in San José del Cabo. Our boat was called the Cabolero, and our crew was Victor (he helped us with the fish) and another guy who captained the boat....can't remember his name. I could not understand Victor when he was telling us his name--it sounded like Beeeta--so he told us his nickname was Pollo. Wonder if he earned it like Owen did...
As we left the harbor, Sean had visions of BIG FISH in his head. He even wore his dad's "Here Fishy Fishy Fishy" shirt for the occasion. Wayne would have been proud...and a little jealous.

When a fish caught on the line, the reel went crazy. It was obvious something was happening. The first time it happened, I was standing right next to the pole. Sean snapped this picture as I squealed "Ack! whaddoIdo? whaddoIdo?" Unfortunately, the fish got away pretty quickly, right after I had plunked myself down in the chair and Victor was handing me the pole. Probably a good thing, 'cause I don't think I was mentally ready. Later, I was ready.
Liz caught the first fish. It was a dorado, and I think she probably pulled it in faster than any of the rest of us did with our fish. See the blood dripping off the fish? That was only the beginning...

By the time Victor had it photo ready for us, it looked like a massacre. Liz and I had blood spatters all over our pants and shorts, and there was even some on my face. Debby (my brother Deke's partner who used to be a strict vegetarian, and still doesn't like the brutality of carnivorous habits) had opted out of the trip because she gets seasick easily. It's a good thing.

This picture's a little fuzzy, but the excitement of the moment shines through!

Then Dustin caught his fish--it was a Bonito, which is smaller than the dorado or tuna, but good for ceviche. He ended up catching two--the only one of us to catch two keepers.

Deke was next--pretty fish, eh? His (or any of the other fish for that matter) didn't bleed near so much as Liz's.

This next picture is, I'll admit it, one of my favorites from the vacation. Check out those biceps! Thank you, Jazzercise. It was pretty hard work reeling the fish in--sure the fish was strong, but I think 90% of the difficulty came from me not knowing what the h*ll I was doing. I am not a natural.

But I got the fish!

Next was Dad's and Sean's turn. Originally Sean was going to be up next, but we decided he was bad luck, and Dad should go next. You see, Sean caught a bunch of big salmon while fishing with his dad in the year or so before his dad died. Despite numerous attempts since, he hasn't caught anything worth eating or keeping. Even in the Sea of Cortez, I had doubts on whether he'd catch anything. So that's why my dad was moved up in the rotation.

Just after my dad started reeling in his fish, a second fish caught, and so Sean was also reeling in a fish. Since the chair was taken by the Old Guy (hey, it said so on his shirt!), Sean had to stand to reel in his fish. He loved that part.

So Dad's fish? Turned out to be a small fish that we had to throw back. Dad still says Sean took his fish.

When Sean's dorado came out of the water, it was VERY feisty. Feisty doesn't do it justice. It was more like combative. Victor threw it in the hold, and told Sean that he'd come back for it in about ten minutes to get a picture. Unfortunately, Victor forgot, and Sean was too nice to remind him. So Sean didn't get a picture with his dorado (I do think it was the largest of the catch), but we did get this great photo.

And we got this video. Near the end, you can see the fish struggling, but alas, I didn't keep rolling until it came in.

video

Dad soon got another chance though--and he redeemed himself by catching our only yellowfin tuna of the day. That thing was heavy, and STRONG! Solid. Cool fish. I could go on, but instead just watch the video (please excuse the turn of the camera--I was excited).

video

And into the hold with the other fish.

After Dad's tuna, we were all satiated. Time to have a beer and Cheetos. I am my father's daughter, after all.

This is a great picture of my dad...amazing how pictures always turn out well when you're carefree on vacation in the Sea of Cortez.

...and Deke...

...and Dustin and Liz...won't they make cute blond, blue-eyed babies?

Chillin'. I swear I only drank two beers. I think I was holding this one for someone...maybe.

Sean just couldn't stop taking photos, apparently.

Don't we look like great fishermen? Awesome. But how did Dustin end up holding Sean's dorado?

As we were leaving our fishing trip, Dustin very graciously said to my dad, "Well, Dad, you've given me something I've always wanted to do..." To which my dad replied, "What, my daughter?" Dustin laughed and thanked him for that, too.

Our first Mexican adventure

Sunday afternoon, our family--just the Cools--decided to take the bus to a nearby beach. The rest of the clan all headed down to Cabo San Lucas to do some shopping. The beach we chose was family friendly, safe for swimming and had snorkeling. Fabulous! Note: In Los Cabos, "family friendly" means a whole lot more than "no riptides." It means no strip teases going on at the nearby outdoor bar, and no (or few) drunken party animals. I learned that useful fact after a trip to Mendano Beach (which is not advertised as family friendly) later in the week.

So we went to Chileno Bay. The bus dropped us off, and we headed down. I took a couple pictures along the way...



Sean gave me a hard time for taking a picture of the cactus alongside the road, but it was really cool! All spirally and stuff. But I didn't take any more cactus pictures the entire trip.

Once at the beach, we just lounged around. Guyan and I lazed in the small waves...


...Owen was drinking plenty of water (gotta keep up the Chicken Man)....



...and Guyan started a coral collection (thank goodness we convinced him to only bring home a handful, and not the full grocery bag he collected).


About a half an hour before we headed back to the hotel, a musician that plays in local bars started practicing right beside us. He was singing Jimmy Buffet type songs, and did a couple songs from Grease ("Oh, Saaaaaaandeee..."). It was great. Felt like we should tip him or something.

El hombre pollo, or "dónde están los baños, por favor?"

Day one...don the swimsuits, jump in the pool, and swim up to the bar. Happy hour was from 2 to 4, and it was the most happenin' time of the day at the pool. Mmmmm....margarita, por favor. (You know what immediately follows happy hour? Grumpy hour, according to the Mexican bartender.)


Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning, we lazed by the pool. Owen must have been drinking the water or something--he had to pee every 30 minutes, at least. He would never admit that he had to go...and I don't think he did it in the pool. Why do I think that? 'Cause he'd do some interesting dancing, with his elbows pulled back, and high step jumping around. He looked like a chicken and earned the name "Chicken Man." Honestly--the first Spanish words out of my mouth during the trip were "dónde están los baños, por favor?" Not sure if the woman understood my Spanish, or the urgency of the chicken dance, but we found los baños quickly.



We also made a trip to the local supermarket, Mega, and bought some rations for the week ahead. Sunglasses (we forgot sunglasses!!!), pastries from the bakery (I bought the ones I didn't recognize), salsa from the salsa bar, liquor (no Triple Sec! Thank goodness my bartender brother Ryan--good to have a personal bartender on vacation--knew what would make a good substitute)... I also bought papaya, since it was so cheap! I love mangoes, but haven't bought papaya in the US before because I'm too cheap. Now I know that I'm not missing anything. Gross.

Another interesting thing we found at Mega...timeshare recruiters. Or better said--they found us. If you are a married couple in a Mexican tourist destination, they will find you and promise you the world...for just 90 minutes of your time, to hear about the fabulous resort, Blah Blah Blah. We signed up for one that Juan Alberto Medina Molina was offering (turned out to be a nice one, but no, we didn't buy). He promised us $2500 pesos (about $180 dollars). Sweet! When he picked us up Monday morning, he showed us our "agreement"--$1500 pesos. No way José (I mean Juan). After much back and forth, we agreed to $1500 pesos, a gift certificate to a "really nice restaurant" in Cabo San Lucas, and another $500 pesos that he would pay us that afternoon. He even gave me his work ID to show he was sincere in promising the $500 pesos. Ummm....sincere Mexican timeshare recruiter? I think not. He was nowhere to be found that afternoon...but I do have his ID. Souvenir and lesson learned. All in one.

Off We Go to Mexico!

I'm a little late in getting to the blogging about Mexico, but "real life" hit us quickly upon our return. But I should be able to pound out a few posts...I figure about six ought to cover it.

The week before our flight, the Bellingham to Seattle 5:40 a.m. leg had been canceled every day. The fog was terrible! Not wanting to chance a cancellation, we rented a minivan with my parents to drive down to Seattle at 3:00 a.m. My mom was worried the boys (Guyan especially) would be difficult to rouse, and it might be hard getting everyone in the van on time.

But this early rise was for vacation, not school or work! All it took was "wake up guys, off we go to Mexico!" and they were up and at 'em. The early wakening also helped with naps on the plane.
This was taken as we were flying into the airport. From close comparisons with Google Earth, I figured out that this picture is of the area between San Jose del Cabo (where we stayed) and Cabo San Lucas. Just a little more to the east, and I could pinpoint our hotel!
And here we are getting off the plane...don't Sean and Guyan look like moles, squinting at the sun? We are from Northwest Washington, after all! Nothing a week in Mexico can't take care of...