What stood out more than anything else to Chris and I was the level of virtue we observed among the average residents. Folks we met in local, not just touristy spots, seemed friendly, even when they were not trying to sell us something. All the areas were visited looked clean and felt safe, even places where some level of poverty was evident. In one instance, we went out on a pier and watched several people who were fishing. They left no trash on the ground, were not cussing, drinking or smoking pot. It was a compliment to the area, and a contrast to Hawaii where plenty of locals give us stink eye even though we've lived here and contributed to the community for years, pakalolo (pot) is regularly smoked openly in public areas, and there is plenty of litter that was not thrown out by visitors.
Highlights of the trip included boogie boarding with the kids, forming a giant flotilla of 24 family members in the resort's lazy river, and just getting out of the resort to see more local areas. We stayed at the Grand Mayan, a gorgeous, upscale resort. It was a treat to be there, but since we live in Hawaii, we have seen an ocean resort or two. Sitting in a pool all day and swimming up to the bar for another $12 margarita will never be our type of vacation, and I am happy we spent a lot of time away from the hotel.
One day the entire family took a boat tour to a snorkel spot, then to a remote village that is inaccessible by car, where we had lunch on the beach. There were tons or tourists taking a hike up to a waterfall, but seeing the young, local kids rent horses for the trail, and people selling coconut and pineapple and boys playing super old video games in a small arcade gave us a glimpse of this genuine, Mexican town. We also had a blast swimming by the waterfall where Johnny climbed up a cliff and hucked it. This was a great day.
|We spotted a crocodile sleeping in a drainage ditch just outside the resort.|
|Dinner with 22 people is an exciting and chaotic affair.|
|Several family members pose for a photo after zip lining.|
|Johnny hucks it off a cliff.|
|Too bad we couldn't translate the labels on all the containers. This fascinating store sold in bull grain, dried goods, tree bark and who knows what else. It was really fun to look at.|
|This booth at the market sold da kine: kitchen utensils, tools, blank video tapes. It was very random.|