A rare occurrence took place earlier this year: Em, Cur, Lil, and I all had free time in our schedules for a trip! Cur worked hard to get us the cheapest possible vacation package to Los Cabos, Me-hee-co, and even after buying the tickets, would revisit Expedia again and again, just to make sure that the price didn't go up. She would also e-mail us periodic updates regarding the price and gloat when the price went up. The end result was that on March 22, we left our homes at 5 AM to catch our early morning flight to fun in the sun.
"Comida" = "Food"
Although we were very groggy from waking up so early, we didn't get that much sleep on the plane. I reprimanded Lil when she pulled out her discman before the flight attendant said it was ok, and she very nicely complied. When we finally got to the airport we were harassed by the "hotel mafia," who were responsible for herding all the tourists to their hotels and forcing them to shell out big bucks for transportation. We tried haggling, but to no avail. We finally arrived at our hotel, tired and hungry, in the afternoon. The part-hotel/part-time-share was very nice. It was not in the center of town but at a more secluded portion of the beach on the Pacific side of Baja California. It had very beautiful pools (with aquabars, a very important detail) and was just huge. All the visitors were transported via golf carts because of the size of the resort and the maze-like paths. We were given a short tour of the premises and then we settled down in our room.
After much discussion about where to eat and what to do, we finally decided to catch the free shuttle from our hotel (Pueblo Bonito Sunset Beach) to its sister hotel downtown (Pueblo Bonito Rose). After we arrived downtown, we walked around PB Rose. It was more "French Riviera" in feel and had this huge pool where two pairs of swans were drifting. As we marveled at the swans, we started noticing the odd behavior of two black swans. They were doing something that is best done in private, if you know what I mean. Em managed to get a picture of the naughty birds, and I've very kindly reproduced the picture for you in our little picture gallery. We headed past the swan pool, past the swimming pool, down the stairs, and there we were, right on the beach! We talked to Luis, who was offering parasailing, water runners, boat rides, etc. Lil used her espanol skills in an attempt to get a lower price. This went on for a while, but after a while we told Luis we'd get back to him because we were so ravenous and needed to find food immediately. It was almost 3 PM, and we hadn't eaten since 7 AM. We started walking from the hotel towards the center of town when we walked past a firehouse. Lil asked the firemen ("bomberos") outside for directions with her mind-blowing Spanish. This put them at ease, and then she asked them the big question: "Where can we get some good food?" They directed us to a place called Mazatlan. The food was good, the portions were big, and the pico de gallo was hot. Lil just could not get enough of the pico de gallo...she kept asking for more. Like good little tourists, we ate the food and did everything in "Mexico time," slowly and leisurely. We sat in the restaurant for 3 whole hours. That's right. No more hustle and bustle for us. Nice and slow.
"Lil" = "Pit Bull"
After eating, we walked along the beach, and Lil lost a Radeon cap that her friend had given her. She was very sad and became determined to either find the hat or buy a new one before we left Cabo. We finally went back to PB Rose, where Lil chased down Luis and haggled with him some more with her excellent Spanish. The way she hunted him down earned her the title of "Pit Bull," given to her by Cur, appropriately enough. Luis, in turn, dubbed the four of us "las muchachas muy duras" because we were so intent on getting as cheap a price as possible. We can't help it that we're all Taiwanese...it's not in our nature to pay more when we can get it for less! After deciding on an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) package, we paid our deposit and headed back to our hotel. Once we got there, we headed to the tabaqueria/deli/gift shop for some snacks and water. We wanted to swim, but the pools closed at 8 PM, so we had to settle for sitting in the dark on the poolside lounge chairs, joyfully eating our Haagen-Dazs/Ben and Jerry's ice cream bars. After heading back to our hotel room, we got ready for bed. Cur and I had made a pact before the trip that we would let Em sleep with Lil, since I had already had that privilege when we went to Wales. Like elementary-school-age pranksters, we didn't tell Em why we had arranged the sleeping arrangements just so. She would learn soon enough.
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The Best Part of Waking Up Is Tequila in Your Cup!
I woke up earlier than the others and went to the bathroom to brush my teeth. When I came out, Em was awake and pointed out that she was covered by a tiny corner of blanket while Lil was swathed in comforter-goodness. I could only smile, knowing that Em was now inducted into the special group of people who have shared a bed with Lil, a group that knows that Lil is a BLANKET HOG! Anyway, I decided to work out and went to the hotel's gym. As I ran on the treadmill, I could get a nice view of the beachfront and also get caught up on all the "War on Iraq" news. When I was done, I went back to the room, and those sleepyhead companions of mine were still snoring away!
When they finally got up, we got suited up (Cur, Lil, and I in our swimsuits; Em in a hot pink bikini!) and went to the large swimming pool. Our minds were on one thing: food. We ordered our breakfast and headed to the aquabar. The aquabar was awesome. It's actually in the pool, so you are immersed at least waist-deep in water as you sit on stools. As we waited for our food, we redeemed our free drinks coupons on some daiquiris and margaritas. Mmmm. Nothing better than starting the day with some alcohol on an empty stomach. Yum. Em, Cur, and I chowed down on tacos (fish and shrimp, I believe), while Lil had some buffalo wings. Not content with her pico de gallo experience the day before, she asked the waiter for some more. When the taco-eaters were done, Lil still had three buffalo wings and some pico de gallo left. She insisted on leaving it at the aquabar, asking them to save it for her later. We then explored the huge pool and finally found the pot of gold under the rainbow: the jacuzzi! We sat in it and saw a really cute Mexican girl. She was around two-years old and because she couldn't swim, her older brother would carry her around. How sweet! Lil chatted with the Mexican girl's mom and tricked her into thinking that we were harmless girls. Little did they know that we were evil. When the bubbles stopped, we tried turning them back on but turned on all the hydrojets in the pool instead. We then started panicking over how to turn them off (the instructions were not very clear). I'm sure they were a little annoyed towards the end, but oh well. After getting a nice hydro-massage, we left the jacuzzi to do some sunbathing. While Em, Cur, and I decided to sit in the sun and get a little color (no worries, we all had SPF30 sunblock on), Lil instead settled down in the shade with her remaining buffalo wings and pico de gallo. After she had finished it off, she then dissed the three of us and lay down in another lounge chair away from us, bundling herself up in a towel and "resting."
Going to Extremes
After a nice, relaxing afternoon, we then headed back to Cabo San Lucas to start our ATV adventure. We went to a place called Amigo's, where they first taught us how to ride an ATV. Let me tell you, it is hard! Steering was difficult, not only because you were controlling two wheels in the front instead of one, but also because I think my vehicle's alignment was all messed up. At first, it looked like we would be the only ones heading that way, but then a huge group of Stanford people all decked out in all sorts of Stanford paraphernalia also signed up. Even though three people out of our foursome are Stanford students/alumni, they chose to remain anonymous...I wonder why? Our destination was a "sand dunes" park near the local lighthouse. We had to drive through street traffic and then dirt roads in order to get to the park. I was having a lot of trouble steering and came close to damaging some cars a couple of times. I started to lag behind but managed to catch up with the rest of the group just as I though I had lost them forever. Lil, on the other hand, was weaving in and out of the road against orders, trying to see how close she could get to a car before swerving out of its way. Em, who had laid down her credit card in case of damages to the vehicle, was probably not too pleased. After taking a short rest, Em and Cur switched positions so that we were in this order, from front to back: Lil, Em, Cur, and me. Cur and I were going along ok until we got to this really bumpy section of dirt road. It was so bumpy I could feel every part of my body jiggling. Even those of us who were not well-endowed were saying how what little they had was jiggling. My arms were so tired from holding on to the handlebars as the bumps (dubbed "moguls" by Lil) tossed me up and down. At this point, Cur started to have problems driving her ATV. At one point she almost drove into a ravine. She didn't know how to reverse, so she had to hop off the ATV and wheel it away from the edge and reposition it so that she could continue going. Just as we were about to head to our second "rest stop," Cur got separated from the group. When the guide motioned her towards us, she revved her engine, headed towards us, and then all of sudden flipped off the ATV, landed on the ground, and then got run over by the rear wheel of her ATV. I was about to hop off my ATV to see if she was ok, but the tour guide's assistant kept saying, "She's ok," while gesturing for us to stay on our vehicles. Probably afraid of a lawsuit, that's what I'm thinking. Miraculously, Cur got up and was very brave as she once again mounted the vehicle. The guide then told us that we had around an hour and a half to explore the different trails at the park. Cur and I, who had had enough of driving the ATVs, decided to head straight for the beach, while Em and Lil would hit some trails. I was following the other three towards the beach when I got stuck in a sand trap. Some junior-higher tried to help me out but had to enlist his dad's aid. Finally, they got me going, and I rejoined the others. Cur and I took some artsy-fartsy pictures on the beach while we waited for Lil and Em to return. In the meantime, Lil was enjoying herself on the many trails, but not without mishap. She fell off her ATV a couple of times, once almost colliding with a cactus/tree, and another time practically doing the splits as she fell. Lil finally came back and was surprised to learn that Em hadn't come back yet. She was supposed to have met us on the beach earlier. We headed back to the group's meeting point and sat there, waiting for Em to return. We were starting to get very worried when Em finally came back. It turns out that Em had a near Castaway experience. She had gone farther than she had thought on a trail and fell into a sand trap. No one was around, so she took the keys out of her ATV and started hiking back towards the meeting place. However, it seemed like she would be hiking for days since she was so far away. Luckily, another couple on our tour had also gotten trapped, so she was rescued and did not have to spend the rest of her days on the sand dunes with a coconut named Wilson (there were no volleyballs around).
La Langosta Loca
We survived the trip from the dunes to downtown Cabo San Lucas, where we were determined to eat at "Mi Casa," which supposedly has authentic food. However, it also had an authentic wait (around 45 minutes), so our hunger drove us to look elsewhere for sustenance. Although Em was craving some posole, we ended up eating at the Crazy Lobster, where we chowed down on lots of tortilla chips, lots of pico de gallo, lots of meat, and of course, some lobster. The food wasn't bad, but the atmosphere was great. The waiters were very good-humored when we told them that we were in a hurry to get back to PB Rose (we needed to catch the last shuttle) and joked around with each other about getting our flan and our check to us on time. Of course, all of this food was accompanied by some more alcohol. After eating our fill, we headed back to our hotel. As were walking towards the hotel, a Mexican guy came up to Lil and told her she was very beautiful in Spanish...I'm telling you, Lil was just charming the pants off of everyone! Em learned her lesson from the night before and wisely ordered extra blankets. Meanwhile, Cur was feeling thirsty. Cur had bought one of those 2-liter Coke bottles, which by now was lukewarm. Since Coke is pretty nasty when it's warm, we decided to get some ice. Lil called the front desk and made them bring ice to our room. They brought a bag of ice, and Lil placed the Coke in the bag of ice. Cur was planning on putting the ice in a cup and pouring the Coke in the cup. Correction: Cur was planning on ordering Em or Lil to put ice and Coke in a cup and bring the cup to her as she reclined on the bed. When Lil forbade her to put ice in her cup (in case it was contaminated), Cur was not pleased. She was further displeased to discover that neither Em, Lil, or I had any intention of serving her. However, fatigue won out over thirst, and we all went to bed.
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"Rum" = "Breakfast"
We all awoke with various aches and pains. Most of us were sore all over from the strenuous ATV riding, but Cur also had to deal with a gynormous bruise over the majority of her leg since that's where the ATV ran her over. We packed our bags and took a taxi (they wouldn't let us on the shuttle with luggage) to PB Rose, where we headed to Tabasco's, an eatery/water sports center, where we had yummy eggs, beans, and rice for breakfast. We all had different types of eggs (huevos rancheros, huevos tabasco, etc.) and of course, started off with some daiquiris.
After polishing off our breakfast, we booked a water taxi to Playa del Amor, otherwise known as Lovers' Beach. Getting on the water taxi was way more difficult than expected. I had this vision of the water taxi dude steering the boat towards the shore and then pulling the boat so that it rested on the shore. We would then hop in the boat. He would then push us off, and away we would go. This was not how it went down. First of all, the sides of the boat were really high, and I, being on the petite side, could not get in. It took quite a bit of pushing and shoving to hoist me into the boat. Then, when we arrived at Playa del Amor and had to disembark, Lil jumped off first. It looked very graceful until she somehow turned and landed ass-first in water. Em was able to get off the boat without too much trouble until Cur, who had lost her balance, grabbed at the first thing available, which was Em's camera bag strap, yanking Em backwards. I was about to get off, which I figured had to be easier than getting on, when just as I hopped, the tide came in and made the boat rise. Instead of being a couple of inches off the floor, I was now at least a foot above the shore. A guy grabbed me from behind, and I, totally at a loss as to what I ought to do, just hung onto the boat for dear life. Slowly, my brain started to understand Lil's shouting, "Let go! Let go!" and I let go. When I let go, I slid down, but my skirt did not slide down with me. Instead it was now hiked up all the way to my waist and my underwear was on display for the whole beach to see. After I got my feet back on solid ground (if wet sand can be called solid ground), the guy who had grabbed me wanted us to pay him a tip for helping us disembark. I thought the sight of my derriere should have been payment enough, but apparently, he wanted more. We paid him and walked away, clutching our tattered dignity in our hands. Lil did not help by commenting on my "white cotton panties."
Attack of the Iguanas
We wandered about Playa del Amor taking pictures while Cur sat on some rocks, drying out her pants. Lil clambered onto some rocks and wanted Em to take a picture of her on the rocks. However, Em couldn't see well enough through the camera's viewfinder, so she had me be on the lookout for a nice, big wave for the photo. As I was looking, this dude with two iguanas stuck one on my hand. He then stuck another one on my shoulder. He then pulled another one out of his pocket and put it on my other shoulder. Then he pulled out yet another one and stuck it on my head. At this time, a huge wave came in and we had to run for it. I was supposed to be watching Lil's stuff, but with my hands full, literally, I couldn't pick up her bag. The iguana man picked up her bag for her and flung it towards drier shore. He then wanted us to pay him $6 or something for a photo, and I started yelling at Em, "Just take the picture...get them off me!" After we got rid of him, Lil inspected her stuff, which had indeed gotten wet. While she dried out her stuff with Cur, Em and I walked around the beach and took some photos. We then boarded the water taxi again (this time I jumped with all my might and was able to get in the boat on the first try), and the water taxi driver took us to see El Arco, a naturally-occurring arch that is the gateway between the Pacific Ocean and the Bay of Cortes. It's the only geographic point of interest in Los Cabos. After snapping as many pictures as possible of El Arco, we went back to the main beach.
The time had not yet come for us to board the taxi we had reserved with the hotel, so Lil, Em, and I headed for a quick jaunt into town, even though we were a little short on time. Lil was determined to buy a hat to replace her lost Radeon one, and Em and I were determined to get some ice cream. As we walked, we saw a taxi on the side of the street. We asked them how much it would cost to take us to the airport, and their price was $10 cheaper than the hotels', so we asked them to wait for us while we continued searching for hats and Mexican ice cream. Unfortunately, neither the hat shop nor the ice cream shop was as close as we had remembered. So Em and I went into a supermarket and bought some Magnums, which were good too. On our way back, we realized that there was no way we could get back to the hotel in time, so we had the taxi drive us to the hotel and pick Cur up. We got into trouble because we had already reserved a taxi through the hotel, and the hotel people were trying to make the cab driver charge $10 more (of course, that $10 was going to go to the hotel), so we just high-tailed it out of there like bats out of hell. Imagine Lil as a general, commanding her troops (the rest of us), yelling "Move! Move!" and gesturing us onto the taxi, and you'll get a visual picture of what we looked like.
Never Stop Eating!
At the airport, we got checked in and Cur went to an ATM to withdraw some money. She wanted $150, so she punched that number in, but got 150 pesos ($15) instead. Ever ebullient, she treated us to some ice cream and bought some souvenirs with her money. I got hungry (the Magnum ice cream bar just wasn't sufficient for lunch) and bought a "queso y chile" flavored bag of Cheetos. It had an odd taste, but Lil and Em both gobbled a lot of it. Em described the Cheetos as "disgusting, yet strangely addictive." After we got on the plane, Em and Lil both had a case of the munchies and started a little contest, seeing who could consume the most pretzels. It was disgusting, yet strangely amusing. After we arrived at LAX, WenDiva greeted us. WenDiva, Em, Lil, and I headed off to an HK cafe for dinner while Cur, the jetsetter, ran off to another terminal to catch her flight to NYC.
I was very tired from our trip and fell asleep at work the next day. When I woke up, I had zipper face (imprint of my jacket zipper on my face) and had to wait until it went away before I could poke my head out of the office.
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