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A Honeymoon Story: “The Beach of Ladies”

August 13, 2013

In keeping with the theme, I have asked my dear friend Christy to indulge us with her favorite vacation. Christy, who writes the witty and hilarious blog Avoiding Atrophy, and Daniel moved to New York a little over a year ago and have become allies to us in more ways than we can count. I was so excited to learn about their amazing honeymoon…

I am not an international traveler like my friend Alex here. God, I wish I was, though. In my life, I have been to two countries (including the United States), and while I have a vague, if not slightly contrived idea of what other places must be like, my world is so very small. I can’t really even begin to imagine.

But I still try. A while ago, I started a travel board on Pinterest titled “Vacation: All I Ever Wanted.” It’s a short list because I honestly have very little idea of what is out there. Most of my travel motivations are constructed from things I’ve picked up from friends or movies or small cultural experiences in my narrow worldview. I want to go to Paris after seeing the film Midnight in Paris. I want to go to Spain because I am obsessed with tortilla española. I want to go to London because of the Spice Girls. Seriously. No joke.

I mean, come on, how have I not been here yet?

I know that these reasons are ill-conceived, slightly naive, and culturally-limiting. It’s a lot like people who travel to New York City to eat a slice of pizza or to dance on the giant piano at FAO Schwarz (all terrible reasons to visit, by the way). There is so much you miss when you constrict your travels to expectations you have created from movies or books.

But that’s exactly my problem. I’m a novice. I don’t know how to travel. I barely know how to pack a suitcase. Do I put my underwear on top of the clothes or at the bottom? Please teach me.

All this to say, I’ve been asked to write about my favorite trip, and hopefully now you know to not expect a moving story of worlds colliding in a tiny village in Russia. I just don’t have the experience.

My favorite trip was about as far away from the local culture as it could possibly be, but damn it was so fun. It was our honeymoon and we went to Playa Mujeres, Mexico.

This is how honeymoony it was…turndown service involved turning our towels into swan lovers.

It was an all-inclusive stay at Excellence Resort and it was basically heaven. We ate, drank, and did a lot of ocean-kissing. That’s what heaven is, right?

As for accommodations, we stayed in a luxury suite with not one, but TWO private balconies!

Balcony #1

Balcony #2 with jacuzzi and outdoor shower…unbelievable.

If you’ve never done all-inclusive before, you might not know the whole deal, so let me fill you in. All-inclusive means that you pay for everything up front. That part feels terrible, of course, but once you are there, you realize that you can basically do anything because no matter what, it’s already been taken care of. You could try all of the drinks you have always been too cheap to try. You could eat your weight in peel-and-eat shrimp. You could literally take a margarita shower.

As for us, we did our fair share of margarita-sipping, but what I remember most about Playa Mujeres was that we could order copious amounts of pastries at any time. The place had, like, six different restaurants with varying degrees of deliciousness, but when the day was said and done, we ordered a heaping helping of room-service pastries to our door and called it a day.

The thing I hear from a lot of people when it comes to all-inclusive deals is that they have this fear of getting bored. I see where these folks are coming from. I get it. For the first couple of days, you are totally amazed by what is happening. The next few days are the days where you grow in entitlement and kind of get used to the lifestyle. A little after that though, you remember a time when you had to make your bed yourself and you wonder, if for even a moment, what life must be like outside the walls of your resort.

Fortunately for us, we took a little day trip to the nearby island of Isla Mujeres, to get out of this funk.

On our way from Playa Mujeres (beach of ladies) to Isla Mujeres (island of ladies)

Here, we snorkeled, drank a little more, and then we did something I highly recommend. We rented a golf cart and drove all around the island, and wow, it was such a joy. Here are the highlights.

We took a pit stop to say hey to a bunch of tiny turtles.

We ran into a fertility goddess. Hey, girl, hey!

And this giant iguana!!

At the tip of the island, we came across a huge sculpture park. It was seriously one of the most breathtaking sights. If Instagram had been a thing back then, you just know all of these pictures would have an Amaro filter.

Seriously, this place was just magical.

We headed back to our resort to be pampered like kings once again, but I will always remember that tiny little island that just came alive for us that day.

In talking to people about that part of the world, I’ve heard some just scoff and say, “Oh, Isla Mujeres! What a tourist trap.” Whatever. We had a blast, and it had so little to do with what we were actually experiencing. Truly, you could have stuck us at a yard sale in Arizona, and we still would have been deliriously happy.

We were finally married. Finally ready, yet not even really ready, to take that leap into our future. This trip was more than just a hazy, booze-riddled gluttony fest. It was the first time a stranger called me Mrs. O’Shoney. It was the first ocean we saw as a married couple. It provided a glimpse into what will hopefully be our lifetime of exploring and enjoying.

Thanks Christy! I will now wonder to Mexico in my mind…

What about you? What was your favorite vacation?

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