Monday, May 26, 2008

So Many Firsts. . . (Beware- this is a long one!)


Well it has been over a week now that I have been home from Cancun ( or as Katie calls it "Cocoon"), and I figure I better write about it before I forget it all. My short term memory seems to be getting smaller and smaller these days. This trip encompassed so many firsts for me... my first passport and thus my first time out of the country, my first Sudoku puzzle-pesky, addictive little buggers-, my first time doing a zip line, my first time snorkeling, my first time parasailing, my first time being solicited to bribe a police officer- by the police officer,... I know that one got your attention, but you'll have to wait for it. Eric invited his two employees and their spouses to go with us. One of his employees is my cousin- Andrew and he and his wife are a lot of fun. It was a good group. Although we baffled many a waiter by refusing both alcohol and coffee. "You don't want to have fun?!? was asked often. They would walk away shaking their heads- "Crazy Caucasians." But I am happy to report we did have a lot of fun and even better- we remember it!

One of my favorite new experiences was snorkeling. It was so fun to feel like you were in a giant aquarium. I can imagine that scuba diving would be even better and before I was married, I started to get certified but never finished. I think that should be a new goal for me.

I also really enjoyed the zip line. And of course I have a funny story to go with this experience. Our guides were harnessing us up and giving instructions. They were talking so fast and I couldn't catch all the steps. I would turn to ask someone what they were saying and by the time I figured that step out, I had already missed another one. So as we climbed the 100 foot tower to the top of the zip line, I was a bit nervous. The wind was blowing hard at the top and you could feel the tower sway a bit. Two people went in front of me- one being Eric- and then the guide pulled me up. I stood on a wood bench as he hooked me up to the line. The bench wobbled a bit and I muttered something about it falling apart. The guide responded: (Now read all parts by the guide with a Mexican accent) "That is how to know it is safe. It didn't fall apart." Oh that's comforting! Then he tells me to step off the bench where there is nothing between me and a 100 ft drop. Here is how the rest of our conversation went:
Guide: Ready?

Me: Wait! Let me practice. (Practice applying the brake.)
Guide: (waiting patiently, but probably really irritated by this wimpy gringo, while I go through the proper brake application.) You ready?
Me: (With legs and arms visibly shaking) Yes, but I'm really scared!

Guide:Yes, it's normal. Shove.
And off I go screaming like my mother.


But I liked it enough to go three more times. The "yes, it's normal" became our mantra for the whole trip. Anytime something happened that didn't seem quite right or a bit unusual we would just look at each other and say, "yes, its normal." -obviously with appropriate mexican accent. And if you have ever been to Mexico, their standard for "normal" is a bit different than ours. Like when a guy approached us after dinner asking us if we wanted any coke or marijuana or when the staff at "Carlos and Charlie's" did a conga line right around our table with a bullhorn blaring in our ears. It was all normal.
Another fun experience was parasailing. Eric and I got in the basket to take off and I looked for a bar to bring down on top of me- you know silly me I wanted some sort of contraption that would prevent me from falling at 200 feet in the air. I even signaled this to the guy helping us, but he just waved and smiled as we took off. I swear he was saying, "Yes, it's normal" as we were taking off!

Here are some more fun pictures from our trip.

What happens in Cancun, stays in Cancun!

Ok-you've read enough to get to the best story from our whole trip. One day we rented a car to drive to Chichen Itza- the Mayan ruins inland. It took us 3 1/2 hours to drive there because for once in our life we decided to be frugal and take the free "highway" instead of the toll road. Well we found out there is a reason it is free. It takes a lot longer. Anyway the ruins were fascinating and we got to hear a lot of "Hey, lady. This statue almost free you know." or "A deal for de honeymooners."
But our story picks up when we were coming off the toll road into downtown Cancun. (Yes, we wised up and took the toll road home.) We were cruising along keep level with another car when we get pulled over. The uniformed police officer comes up to our window and starts speaking Spanish until we are able to communicate that we don't speak much Spanish. So he begins again in English. Here is the transcipt- from my recollection-
Officer: You were going 80kph in a 40 kph zone.
Eric: Oh, I didn't see any sign showing a change in speed limit.
Officer: I need your driver's license.
Eric hands it over.
Officer: This is what we do. I take your license and you can pick it tomorrow at the police station on Tulum Avenue and you pay a 1000 peso fine.
Eric: Ok, where is the police station?
Officer: It is on Tulum.
Eric: Ok, but where on Tulum?
Officer: It is just on Tulum.
Eric: Do you have an address I can write down?
Kari: Or a piece of paper saying we got a ticket?
Officer: Ok, this is what I do. This be between you and me. You give me what you think is fair and I give you your license and we forget the whole thing.
Eric: (a bit taken back) What is customary for you to receive?
Officer: Oh. no. That is for you to decide.
Officer goes back to his motorbike to get his ticket book and Eric looks for the smallest bill he has- besides one dollar. Officer comes back and Eric hands him a twenty which he takes under his ticket book, then gives Eric his license back.
Officer: (With hand outreached) We friends- between you and me. (Well, now between Eric, the officer and anybody who reads my blog!)
Eric: (Shaking his hand)- Yes- we friends.
After getting over the shock of being solicited for a bribe by a police officer, we all laughed and decided having the story was worth the 20 bucks. And just in case you were wondering, "Yes, it's normal!"

13 comments:

Anna and Ryan said...

Kari.

OMG! (I have always wanted to use that in a message). What a surprise to hear from you! I tried counting up the years and it must be something like 13 since we last saw each other. What a great looking family you have. I haven't read your whole blog, but it appears you are in Utah.

Also, what a fun trip to Cancun. I love the story about you guys getting pulled over. I've traveled quite a bit and that type of stuff happens all over the place.

So, is there a better way to communicate than a public blog? We really ought to properly catch up with each other's lives.

Julie said...

Wow..lol. You guys look like you had a blast. Knowing you, I thought instead of giving the officer money, you would do a sexy dance for him. That's worth $20, easily. Also, you know the silver man you were frisking? He's not a statue...he just looks like one! You dirty rascal.

Kelly said...

I loved reading this post! It made me want to go there. I know about the drug offers. When we were in Cabo San Lucas, we were constantly being offered "Mexican Flower" which I guess is marijuana? How fun! I loved the police bribe story. That's definitely blogworthy!

Thelissa said...

Holy Cow! What a trip! You have stuff to go on for months! Looks like fun though. Who or what was the picture of you grabbing the "tin man's" bum? He doesn't have a heart you know... I guess thats normal too? :)

Liz said...

So fun....I'm glad you got away from your crazy life for a week. You guys looked like you were having a blast!

Natalie said...

I also had a first while you were in Cancun... For the first time, I understand why exactly it is you swear so much. :)
Well look at you! Doing all those brave things and what not. So funny, I laughed outloud reading the blog.

Kate said...

Sounds like you guys had a blast. I'm jealous. I can totally picture you up there on the zipline. You are so cute and funny. Glad you guys had fun! out of the country stories are always hilarious! I loved Natalie's comment about the reason why you swear! haha!

Wood Family said...

missy, as you know I lol when I read this- cause I was at your house when I did:) You left out one funny story- "I'm a little soft serve, but besides that I'm ok:)" jk- most people who aren't nurses or related to one wouldn't appreciate that story like I did...

Lori said...

Sounds like a great trip, but why did you post this picture?

Amber Ro said...

I'm glad you made it off the zipline in one piece, and that Eric didn't end up in the Mexican jail system :) Hooray for a chance to relax-now, I wonder if JJ and Natalie felt relaxed that week?

SevenVillageIdiarts said...

I have missed you so much, I'm glad you're still alive and ready to blog. I was worried you just didn't care about your fans anymore! It's hard for us, just sitting . . . waiting . . . for you to blog about something, each and every day. Don't ever leave us again, OK?

I wish we could have combined our vacations together, one week in Mexico, one week in the Bahamas, but most of all, two weeks TOGETHER! Now, that would have been fun! xo, Sarah

Drew & Stacey said...

We ALSO went to Cancun and did the same thing when driving to Chichen Itza! We tried the "free" way there (didn't you love the speed bumps in the little towns?) and took the toll road home. But we didn't have the bribe experience... Our best story was that our ATM number was somehow swiped and a few hundred dollars was missing from our account when we got home. Gotta love Mexico!

Kerry said...

You look so great...and what an awesome vacation! I'm jealous! :)