“If you could write like Bill Bryson, you would be really successful.” Dave said to me as he read by the pool.
Next to him I sat,
looking at the ocean. I thought for a second and in my vacation haze I responded,
“I’m not sure how to take that, but I would like to think I can write and who wouldn’t want to be successful?”
“He is a travel writer and he is really funny.” Dave continued.
“I like to think I am funny and I love to travel. Maybe there is hope for me yet.” I laughed or laughed as much as I could in the mid day heat. I looked to my left and saw Kyle reading one of my favorites: Gary Larson. “I could pull off a little Far Side, couldn’t I?” I thought.
Dave kept reading and so did Kyle. I looked over and noticed Eli to the right of Dave. Covered with his shirt, the boys had spent the morning at the beach and then swimming in the pool.
Somehow our day came to this moment, the four of us each lying in a lovely beach chair reading, staring at the ocean or wrapping a shirt around our head. The moment was divine and the moment was brief. Soon Eli, Kyle & I decided we were hungry and I had to pee. We promised to bring Kyle a snack (we didn’t) and Eli and I went on a little adventure. We found the baños below the pool walked back to our room. We could not get into the room because it was being cleaned so we decided to check out the tennis courts. Back in the hotel courtyard Eli looked up,
“Hey Mom, look. It’s the cleaning lady. I think she is done.”
We walked back to our room and decided to change plans. Dave and I would take a long (and it was long) walk on the beach while Kyle and Eli cooled off and hung out in the room. Best part: there would be snacks. Eli and I walked a different way back, asked Kyle & Dave to pack up their things and follow us because we had a plan. We did. They were settled in the room and Dave and I were off. . .
We lucked into this hotel. It is not what I had picked and I am glad. Do you like deals? We like deals. What happened is that Dave saw a Groupon for the Welk Resort. Coincidentally I had also decided I wanted to stay at the Welk Resort. Within hours the Groupon was sold out. Dave was discouraged and so was I. I was willing to pay full price for the Welk, but when I called they had no availability. Dave asked me to call the Groupon folks and I took it a step further and called the Welk People. No. I could not get the Groupon deal, but if I would be willing to listen to a Timeshare Presentation (yes, that is what I said), a timeshare presentation, then I could stay at a participating hotel (The Westin or the Hilton). We have Gold Status at the Hilton (you could too) and with Gold Status we get things like room upgrades (if available), free internet, kids eat free and treats. I have been very happy with this particular Hilton Deal.
See, Dave has always been a deal guy. For years our friends always say something like, “I am sure Dave has a coupon for that.” He probably does. His Happenings Book is not far and we always skim the Park Record for two-fers doing the Shoulder Season. We have always used coupons and any combinations of discounts. It is how we roll. Some think this is shameful and most think it is awesome. Dave recently upped the ante with the online Travel Deal Market. With all these new travel deal website I need to understand, I must admit that I have been confused and I have been slow. Dave often comes home telling me new credit cards he has signed up for and how if you spend such and such amount each month you will get something like a billion Delta Miles. It is pretty awesome and I am grateful he is on top of things.
I was hesitant to take the Groupon route. Look, the last time we went to Mexico (2009), I had VRBO’ed what looked like an amazing place in Playa Del Carmen and come to find it was the biggest Bait and Switch ever. Our first twenty-fours consisted of Tenacious Me getting us and our friends into a new place. Yes, and after $100 cash was stolen from my wallet, the three other adults were beaten down and the boys cried a lot, we (I) achieved our beautiful and lovely infinity-pool success. Sure, I wore the Playa Del Carmen folks down and secured not one, but two brand new condos, but I was skeptical. If I ever went to Mexico again, I wanted to know what I was getting into. A Timeshare presentation attached to the heels of a Groupon deal seemed a big giant fat risk.
And I am here to tell you that sometimes these risks are worth taking. I would stay at this hotel again. I would pay full price. I love it. I love the beach. I love our room. I love the little chocolatey treats they bring to our room (for being gold members), I love Mexican Doug (Hector, our waiter), I love the pool and I love having this time with my family. Yes, and we also used frequent flyer miles to pay for our trip (you could too). The deals are out there. No one is paying for me to say these things. I have no sponsor, but I should. Ok, Dave should. Hilton, Delta and the Happenings People, you need to sponsor my husband. I am just saying.
PS: And here is how you can play it. You can either (a.) brag to all of our friends about your fancy shmancy Mexican Vacation or (b.) tell your friends about the killer deal you got to stay at the fancy foo-foo resort. Either way, you win.