Welcome to Day 1 of Janet and Randy's Tulum Adventure 2016
Friday, January 22nd, 2016
Our day actually started the night before. As we had a very early morning flight (6:00am), we decided to stay at the Renaissance Hotel at the Edmonton Airport. But since we had tickets to the symphony, we didn't get out to the airport until after 10:00pm. We were upgraded to a suite, which was a HUGE room. There was a separate living room and small kitchen, a large bathroom and a bedroom area that was at least twice as big as a typical hotel room. It was too bad that we weren't able to really enjoy this room as it was very nice. But we basically just went straight to bed as we had to get up at 4:30am. I dropped off Janet and then dropped the car off at the parking lot.
We got up (way too early to function properly), got ready and checked out of the hotel. The one thing that is a little annoying at this hotel is that they like to blast music in the common areas. When we checked in, the area we pulled our car up into was blasting music. There was live music in the lobby bar, which was right next to the check-in. But I was quite surprised that they had the music cranked up at 5:00am - so loud that we could hardly hear the front desk clerk when checking out.
The hotel is connected to the airport via a pedway, so we walked into the terminal and to the far side to the U.S. Customs area. As we just had check-in luggage, we went straight through security. Apparently the security personnel felt extra vigilant at 5:00am, as Randy's bag was selected for swabbing, as well as my laptop. But other than this, we got through security and customs quickly and then headed to Starbucks to get some beverages.
Not long after that, it was time to board our United flight to Denver. We were in business class, so were able to board in Zone 1. We settled into our seats and were offered a pre-flight drink. I didn't bother as I had my Starbucks hot chocolate with me. The flight did not have any in-flight entertainment, so I just listed to an audiobook during the flight. I was hopeful that there would be some in-flight entertainment, but No !
A cold breakfast was served with raisin bran cereal, fruit cocktail, a blueberry muffin and a banana. It was fine. I tried to sleep for a bit during the flight, but wasn't able to. I tried to as well, but I think I had "Gassy Jack" in front of me... and as I was trying to fall asleep, I got a wiff of something rather noxious !
We arrived in Denver a little late, as there was some confusion in the count of people on the plane vs. what was in the computer system. We didn't have a very long connection time in Denver, so we walked straight from the incoming gate to the gate for our Cancun flight (which were pretty much on opposite ends of the terminal). We got to the gate only about 10 minutes before they started boarding.
Once on board, we were again offered pre-flight drinks. Even though it was only 10:00am, we had been up for a long time so both ordered alcoholic beverages (me - a vodka and cranberry juice, Randy - a vodka and orange juice). Hey at least we had some juice in our drink - which is sort of breakfasty (Very !).
After take-off we were served a choice of lunch. I went with the lobster mac and cheese, and Randy had a Tandoori chicken meal. I had read that the mac & cheese didn't look all that appealing, but was actually quite tasty. And that was the case! As I find cheesy things quite filling, I only had half my meal (even though it was good), so Randy was gallant enough to finish it off for me (it was better than my chicken dish so it wasn't a hardship). About an hour later, we were served a warm chocolate square thing (Brownie) that was also yummy.
I had continued drinking vodka and cranberry drinks during lunch, so once my belly was full I passed out for a bit. Soon it was time to land in Cancun.
Because our flight was half an hour early, our plane parked out on the tarmac and we were bussed to the terminal. We had to clear Mexican customs, and when we got there the customs hall was already packed with passengers from other arrivals. It took quite a while to get through customs as there were no priority lines. Once through customs, we went to the National Car desk and the agent took us outside to where we needed to wait for the shuttle. The area just outside the terminal was a total train wreck of people trying to find their shuttle/ride/pickup. The National van showed up after about 10 minutes and we ended up cramming into the van with 6 other people (it was very crowded).
The drive to the National rental location was quick, but after that, not so much. We waited for probably 15 minutes for someone to help us. Even though we had made a reservation, it took forever (writing up manual forms, etc.) to actually process us. There was no Emerald Aisle at this location (as Randy has the top status with National), so once we finally got our paperwork, we were told to go outside and show our contract to someone who would get the car (another 10-15 minute wait).
One person looked at the contract and gave us a map. Then another person looked at it, and we thought he was going to get our car, but apparently not. Finally a third person looked at our contract and went to get the car - which took much (much, Much, MUCH - can you tell I am annoyed about that ?) longer than it should've as the car lot was the size of a typical 7-11 parking lot. He finally drives up in our car - which was basically a battered piece of shit. The dude starts walking around the car and noting all the dings and scratches. But by this time we just wanted to get the hell out of there, so we just got in it and left. We had an hour and a half drive ahead of us, and we wanted to do it in the daylight as we hadn't been here before.
Our drive to Tulum was uneventful, and not overly scenic. Because National didn't actually provide us with a car that had a full tank of gas, we arrived in Tulum just as Randy was getting a warning light for an empty gas tank. We filled up and continued to our resort, and managed to find it just before darkness set in.
The resort that we booked was the Intima Resort. Full disclosure - this is a clothing optional resort. We have been to numerous nude beaches in the past, but thought that we would try a nude resort to see what it was like. We booked a 1-bedroom unit that had it's own jacuzzi and roof-top pool. We checked in and were shown our room. We then went to the bar to get a complimentary drink (a very yummy margarita). We met a few others that were staying at the resort, and ended up staying and ordered a cheese burger for supper. The burger also came with a fabulous shrimp bisque and some fries. I had read good reviews about the chef at this resort, and the reviews were all correct - the food was delicious.
Randy ordered us some mojitos (which weren't as good as the margaritas, but still fine), and then we went back to our room to unpack and relax.
Definitely a long travel day and the pillow is going to feel good !
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