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Rancho Huevos and Other Stories
By John Connolly
We were picked up from the airport by a chap who looked like he’d use a blow pipe and some darts tipped with poison from some colourful natterjack if you gave him a crossed look or a small tip, or both. The sign on his clipboard said ‘Mr John’ and without asking for ID he took our two suitcases to our carriage (Honda People carrier, spacious). Jaime was his name and he handed us two towels from an ice bucket along with a frozen margarita to quench our thirst. This is what you get when you book into a posh hotel. No need to get the tour operators coach with all the other bad half-mast wearing, tai-Kwando slipper sporting, wickerwork/celticband/hindi/Chinese tazzer rocking tramps for which long haul has become far too accessible.
Jaime asked us our names and where we were from ‘Liverpool’ he nodded a stern look then replied ‘The Beatles’ and started the 20 minute hop from airport to our luxury boutique hotel in Puerto Morelos which a small port not far from of Cancun. After checking in, Jaime carried our bags to the room and gave us a demo of the A/C, two plasma screens (50” in the lounge, 32” in the bedroom) satellite kit, DVD player and iHome system complete with gratis iPod choc full of terrible tunes. The only time Jaime smiled was when Barbara Striesand’s ‘Woman in Love’ came belting from the iHome super system, his eyes lit up as the nasally (like butter) Manhattan tones rang around the room.
My missus is a fitness instructor who gets to work in exclusive resorts all over Caribbean; she has to pay for flights while the accommodation, food and expenses are gratis in exchange for three classes a day with Saturday off. It’s an excellent deal for me as I just have to carry the bags. The hotels are usually all inclusive and very exclusive. Along with the usual trappings a luxury hotel has, the ‘Boutique’ hotel offers something more personal to make rich punters part with their cash. The boutique feature in our gaff was Mayan sauna complete with resident Shaman who’d pop over once a week to cleanse you of evil spirits.
The particular hotel we were staying at wasn’t an all inclusive job. We were granted $200 per day allowance to spend as we pleased and were told not to tip as we would have to pay this at the end in a one off 15% payment. The restaurants inevitably have a Michelin star chef so after exploring the exquisite facilities, we headed to one of the three restaurants for chow. The menu was not what you’d expect in Mexico. It was all Nuevo cuisine nonsense, you know, Quail stiffed with mashed duck livers and walnut on a bed of lobster Carpaccio, that sort of crap. I have say it was excellent and after a few Corona’s (which pissed the wine waiter off) we retreated to the Master Suite for some shut eye.
The next day we found the hotels 88 rooms had just three occupado, six guests, two of which were the other half and YT. The missus didn’t have any takers for her classes so we spent time on the beach catching a few rays and making our way through the cocktail menu. Although the solitude was great, the missus wanted to venture out to Downtown Peurto Morelos to find a beauticians. The hotel spa didn’t do the eyebrow treatment she wanted but she was told the local fishing village had one that would the job.
Puerto Morelos is like any other fishing port in Central America. It had a small army base with about 20 bored conscripts stood around watching a pelican wrestle with a chicken over fish heads. Outside, two soldiers chewed the fat over a bottle of Corona, leant against a sign that read ‘ALCHOHOL PROHIBIDO’. The houses were a mish mash of stucco villas and shanty huts, all plonked indiscriminately next to one another. The locals had homes that doubled as factories and supermarkets, you could get the essentials in while a family watches the local soap opera on a battered couch three foot away. We found the beautician come hair dressers come barbers come fajita shop floor. As if to add to the spectacle, the beautician was next door to a vets, complete with mangy arl mutt, more scabs than fur, dying outside.
The beautician ‘Astra’ went to work on the missus and rather than risk popping next door to the bar/abitour/kids nursery, I hung around watching a pop idol (Mex-Factor! Hohohoho) type show on the box with Astra’s jovial mother while Astra plucked away. The pop-idol show was fantastic. In between the songs and comments from the Mexican Simon Cowell, the camera would pan to a studio were three Mexican babes and one weird fella in bad suit would discuss the presenters breasts. Well I presume that’s what they were talking about as their commentary would be aired over shots of the bootylicious presenters bountiful bussom. I didn’t know where to look as now Astra’s granny joined me, I looked away from the nugs on the telly only to see a tub of hair gel with king kong on the front – the gel was called GORILLA SNOT – I burst out laughing which caused Astra to slip with the tweezers nearly leaving my other half with a short back and Einar. Luckily she wasn’t getting a Brazillian.
We headed back to the hotel and I decided to catch the second half of the Man Utd Roma game. The Mancs sub Nanny looked ace rocking the ‘new look’ Buck was sporting in Dirk Digglers New Years Eve party. We headed on down to the restaurant for more chow but I noticed a decidedly frosty reception from the waiters. It turns out they were not aware of our little arrangement were the tip was paid at the end of the holiday, they thought we were stiffing them. My missus tried to explain but they didn’t seem to appreciate the fact and obviously were expecting us to cough up. We didn’t and while I was living out my Nouveu Riche fantasies by scoffing steak and lobster, my missus starting to get a touch of Montezumas revenge. Coincidence? I think not. She was convinced they were aware but eitherway you could tell they were pissed off, particularly as the hotel only had six people staying. Fuck them, I made them earn their crust, if they were going to poison me, I’d make sure they worked like dogs in the process.
We had the Saturday to ourselves and headed off to for bit of Culture in Talum. It was toss up between there and Chichinitza but as Talum had a beach, we decided on that. We jumped the local bus for the trip, mainly because I thought it would be more interesting. I wasn’t disappointed as we jump on board, they were showing a manga film about some wierdo called Cloud fighting with robot dinosaur hybrids – you know the drill, loads of kids crying as the main character looks off pensively to the distance with a ‘what could have been’ aura. Talum itself was an enclosed city build into a limestone cliff with a fantastic beach. It was very impressive until I discovered that it was only 600 years old. Pfft, Speke Hall’s older and it’s got a snooker table. The highlight was watching a snake eat a little lizard as we gegged in on a tour, the Mayans who built and lived in Talum were proper bourgeois parasites who flogged the paupers to death building the utopia to keep the very people who built it out.
On the way back we jumped in a minibus which you can flag down anywhere and I mean anywhere as we soon discovered. The driver was doing about 80 when this gang appeared from nowhere on the highway flagging us down. The driver slammed on then started reversing up the road as other cars doing 80 gave him a taste of the horn. The posse that flagged us down were a gang of boisterous Italians on their way to the supposedly bohemian capital of cool, Playa Del Carmen. They all piled in but there was no room for the leader of the pack ‘Gino’ who had to sit between the driver and some arl twirl on the gear box, facing in. The was lucky for us as Gino was the life the party, singing along to whatever passes for Mexican Country and Western in an exaggerated manner, conducting the other passengers on the fun bus.
That evening, the hotel welcomed a family from Kentucky who were there to celebrate the fathers birthday. We got talking to them, the father was 78 and a nice old chap with his wife who was 18 years younger and had that many face lifts she’d probably cry down her back. The son and was an obnoxious piece of fat dog shit who treated the Mexicans, and everyone else for that matter with utter contempt. His wife a pure trophy bride, gorgeous looking with a ripped body and big plassy tits. She was nice enough and always had an apologetic look when her hubby Craig (when he pronounced his name it sounded like an animal burping ‘Greg’) started acting up. He was continually shouting hilarious things like ‘remember the Alamo’ and had a penchant for slapping the small Mayan waiters on the back of head and saying ‘where’s my whiskey shit eyes?’ Kimberley, the wife, told me ‘oh we come hear all the time, the staff don’t mind Craig as he usually starts throwing $100 about when he’s in this state’. I think Ernest Hemmingway said to F.Scott Fitzgerald ‘The rich are different than you and I , they’re better’ or was it Marge Simpson?
Anyway, our next stab at culture was trip to Wet and Wild, the water slide park in Cancun. Again we used the public bus to get there and travelling through Cancun I was shocked at how many hotel were there. Wave after wave of 20 storey monstrosities peppered the shore along with the ubiquitous ‘western’ mainstays like McDonalds and Starbucks. On arriving at Wet and Wild they had the usual theme park mascots to great you. Sammy Sun a giant smiling sun with little arms and legs poking out, Sammy Sea Lion, no clues needed there, and finally…Darth Vader! Yes the blackest badest brother in the galaxy was preaching the dark side to bemused kids as they queued to get in. I’ve been the Wet and Wild in Florida and it was 10 times bigger and better than this. In fact, the Cancun one had only 4 slides, the pick of the bunch being one called the black hole were you disappeared down a tube into darkness only to end up in a bowl. Then after spinning around you were uncermonesley dumped upside down into a pool, great fun, if you happened to like the sensation of being a turd. They also had an opportunity to swim with dolphins and sea lions (not at once, natch). We did neither but watched the sea lion show. Basically four plebs got in the water while a sea lion performed semi human tricks, smiles, clapping pulling tongues. I’m not a fan of keeping animal in captivity but it was entertaining none the less. The funniest bit was when the sea lion smiled and some Yorkie biffa stood next to me puffing on a rollie shouted ‘look at the state of its teeth!’ as he chewed on a rollie with rotten brown peggers. The show ended when the Sea Lion emptied its guts in the water, it fucking reaked!
We spent the rest of holiday going for walks on the almost deserted beaches, popping into small bar along the way for a Corona. The place was so serene, I half expected to bump into Red and Andy, still working on that bastard boat…I came home and spent a week off work with the screaming abdabs.
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