We just returned from Puerto Vallarta. It was an amazing vacation with the whole family. Luckily there are not too many catastrophes to report. I was amazed that we all managed to get on the plane (at 5:30 am!) uninhibited by crisis. Our flight from Boston to Detroit was relatively peaceful, save for Ella’s initial discontent over having to wear a seat belt. I found this interesting seeing as the airplane seat belts are much less restricting than carseat seat belts. Our flight from Detroit was delayed, then delayed again, then un-delayed. I think they took a look at the ten of us and went and found a plane real fast so they could get us out of their city. We flew Delta and they were so apologetic about the delay-un-delay situation that we even got free drinks. Not the kids though. That’s against the rules, even in the sky.
Our room was a special room for families with kids. It came with bunk beds but unfortunately they were even more dangerous than American bunk beds. Somehow in the middle of the night, Harrison managed to slice his lip open on the ladder. I didn’t bother to turn on the lights but I put him in bed with me and he eventually stopped crying. It wasn’t until I woke up and realized there was blood all over both of us and the bed that I realized how bad his cut was. It swelled up pretty bad, and unfortunately, that wasn’t the end of Harrison’s misery.
The next night the poor kid was attacked by some kind of bug that bites. He got bit once on his eyebrow and once right below his eye. On the same side of the face. By the early afternoon, his eye had swelled shut. Between that and the lip cut, he was a sight for sore eyes (get it?! because his eye was sore?! ok. moving on…) Any time that Harrison gets hurt (stubbed toe, paper cut, etc) he demands an ice pack. It can’t be just a bag of ice; it has to be one of those fancy blue ones with the gel inside. He wanted an ice pack for his eye which we thought might actually be a good idea because it was pretty swollen. We found the safety person walking around the pool and asked for an ice pack. He explained that we’d need to get that from first aid, and implied that HE was going to get the first aid guy. Mind you, we’re at a huge all-inclusive resort, and it’s Mexico, so it’s hot, but for some reason, neither the first aid guy (I’m still surprised there was only one) nor ice could be found.
Somehow the language barrier resulted in us ending up in the infirmary. I didn’t really think we needed to see a doctor over some bug bites, but if this was the path we had to take to get that kid an ice pack, I was ready to take it. An hour later, we had two prescriptions and a bag of ice with a hole in it that Harrison refused to let touch his face. This is how we knew he was going to be alright.
I had to go back later in the day to fill out some paperwork .After I gave the doctor the information he needed, I asked, “So how worried should I be about the Zika virus?”
“Oh, not very worried,” he said. “Our bugs are friendly bugs here in Puerto Vallarta.”
“Well,” I countered, “they can’t be that friendly if they attacked my kid’s face in his sleep.”
<Awkward chuckle> “The bugs here usually don’t carry viruses. I’ve only seen two cases of viruses from bugs in three years! You’d have to have really bad luck to be one of those cases!”
And that, my friends, was supposed to make me feel better.
The kind doctor went on to explain that it was probably a mosquito or a spider, but nothing worse.
“I mean, it could be bed bugs. But usually bed bugs lead to a lot of bites and not just two. You probably don’t have bed bugs in your room. You might, however want to switch rooms. But it’s not likely that there are bed bugs.” It seemed at this point that he suddenly remembered he wasn’t supposed to tell resort guests about the probability of bed bugs, because he told me there would be no charge for Harrison’s visit and said I could pay for the prescriptions any time I wanted to, and then quickly shuffled me out of the office.
If you have the pleasure of knowing me in real life, you know that my athletic ability is close to non-existent. This fact was exemplified in the presence of my family over vacation. The first day we were there, Justin convinced me I should play beach volleyball. I glared at him and asked if he even reads my blog. Apparently he doesn’t because he did not recall the post about how varsity volleyball scarred me for life in the areas of personal confidence and athleticism. So much for being my biggest fan, Justin. I reluctantly agreed to play, but only because I didn’t want everyone to think I was lame and boring, although it WAS vacation, and I was dying to be lame and boring.
Anyway, we played against my sister in law, McKayla and her boyfriend, Zack. I think Zack mentioned something about playing college level baseball, so we were at an unfair disadvantage from the get go. I know baseball and volleyball have like nothing in common, but if you’re good enough to play anything in college, you kind of have an advantage over the person who wasn’t even allowed to play sports in high school. The game didn’t last too long, but I still had the opportunity to embarrass myself several times.
The first time, I went to serve and I hit some people sunbathing about fifty feet away. There were bushes obscuring their view of the court so I don’t think they knew it was me.
The second time, I went to dive for the ball, except everybody thought I was just showing off because the ball was actually three feet over my head and I didn’t need to dive. I am pretty sure, though, that I looked pretty cool doing it.
One time it was my turn to go retrieve the ball, and before I got to it, a cute little girl picked it up and toddled away with it. So there I was, having to wrestle the ball away from a small child, and I am sure that looked great. I had no way to ask for it back because the girl and her family didn’t speak English. Her parents were saying something to her but I couldn’t tell if it was “Give that lady her ball back” or “Kick that lady in the shins and run!”
At one point in the game, Justin said, “Are you serious right now?” And I looked at him and asked if he was going to ask me to play any more sports during our trip. I can’t tell if he really thought I was that terrible of a volleyball player or I was pretending just so I didn’t have to participate in any more activities. I was totally not pretending though.
We spent most of our time in the pool, and although I love swimming, I hate getting my face wet, so I made it all the way to the last day without going under. It was at this point that I was playing around with one of those small floating tubes. I realized that if I hooked my feet into it, I could do sort of a boat pose in the water, and it was actually a really great ab workout. When my sister in law got in the water, I was eager to show her my new exercise move. She happens to be a fitness instructor and health & wellness blogger, so I knew she’d be impressed. Except, she wasn’t because, instead of the graceful water yoga demonstration I had planned, I got my foot stuck, flipped backwards, flailed around, and ended up completely under water with my mouth wide open while inhaling. I came up splashing and sputtering like an idiot, which was harder than it seems because one foot was still stuck in the tube. And that, my friends, is why I never joined the swim team.
Harrison and Ella did not leave their antics back in America. They must have snuck them in the suitcase when I wasn’t looking because they were on full force all week. At each and every meal, Harrison sang, in his outdoor voice, “You Are My Sunshine”. He chose a different person to sing it to each night, and most nights he chose my sisters-in laws’ boyfriends, who just smiled awkwardly at him throughout both verses.
Ella found an iguana that she was obsessed with, and which she looked for the entire trip. The thing was about three feet long and it didn’t look very friendly, but Ella wanted to be sure it was getting enough food and rest. I had to restrain her from petting it on several occasions.
There was no shortage of temper tantrums, but my favorite was the time Harrison broke down in the marina. If I recall correctly, he was upset about not getting a souvenir in one of the 15,427 gift shops we visited. We dragged him out of the store, and all the while he was yelling “Taco! Taco! Taco!” I assure you that, even in Mexico, that kid has never had a taco in his life.
Of all the plentiful fauna we saw, Harrison was fascinated by the pigeons that were everywhere. He thought that the same ones were following him every place we went, and he’d announce happily that “his friends had come to find him”. I was kind of happy at that point that we didn’t speak the native language.
I have this friend, Ivy, with whom I’ve worked in the past at various places. Somewhere along the way, we had this mascot named Porky who happens to be a plastic horse. I’m not sure exactly how he came to be, but we don’t question it. So there I was, in a gift shop in the airport and I saw this tiny sombrero that would be perfect for Porky. Nevermind the fact that I bought no souvenirs whatsoever for any living beings, but I felt the need to purchase one for Porky. So, I went up to the counter and prepared to pay for this sombrero. I was even going to pay in pesos. The woman behind the counter said, “I’ll need to see your passport.”
“But I’m just buying a sombrero.”
“You still need a passport.”
“But it’s for a plastic horse.”
(Imagine her facial expression here-it was priceless) “Umm, you still need a passport.”
Well, some of you might be asking why I didn’t have my passport with me since I was, after all, in the airport. And the answer to that is that Justin does not find me responsible enough to have those kinds of things on my person. In fact, the entire trip, I was not allowed to hold my passport, money, boarding passes, or room keys. He would like you all to know that I also lost my sunglasses 4,359 times during the week we were gone. I don’t know what that has to do with anything.
So anyway, I didn’t have my passport, which in turn, meant that I could not buy Porky a sombrero. When I found Justin, I asked if he knew that you need a passport to buy a sombrero for a plastic horse and he seemed incredibly relieved that he’d made the decision to confiscate it from me.
We are now safe and sound back in Maine (by the way, most foreigners do NOT know where Maine is) and I am completely exhausted. I can’t wait til Harrison sees some pigeons here though, because his mind will be blown that “his friends” made it all the way here from Mexico.