Man Overboard!

We planned a couple of special activities while we were in Cabo San Lucas.  The first was a glass-bottomed kayak and snorkeling trip to Land’s End and Cabo’s “famous” arch.  Our guides arrived a tad earlier than we expected them, and Steve and I had a moment of panic when we could not locate Caleb.  After waking his neighbors pounding on his hotel room door, Steve found him in the restaurant (wondering what all the fuss was about, no doubt).  We all loaded ourselves into the van, picked up the remaining members of our group, and headed to the beach.

Steve and Caleb must have discussed logistics and kayak assignment beforehand because the next thing I knew I was being pawned off on the guide.  The joke was on them.  Here was my chance to receive expert one on one training!  As it turned out, in addition to paddling tips, I also received a history and geography lesson of the area from our guide.  And there no fear of falling out of the kayak this time.  This trip was definitely a win-win for me!

thumbnailThe bay was full of boats:  pirate ships, pangas, sailboats, and other kayaks.  Due to the number of boats, the water was a bit choppy near the Arch, so we waited for some of the traffic to clear out before entering the somewhat enclosed area where it is located.  I was hoping for an excited reception from the sea lions who lounge in the area.  Unfortunately, we were not the first visitors of the day, and they were no longer interested.  I guess if you have seen one tourist you have seen them all!  It was at this point, Steve most likely questioned his judgment in choosing Caleb over me for the first time.  A lone male sea lion dove into the water.  Like a flash, Caleb maneuvered their kayak closer.

Meanwhile, I was benefitting once again from being with the guide.  He held us steady so thumbnail-1I could focus on taking photos.  It was a bit intimidating to think there was nothing but water, a lot of water, beyond the last rock outcropping.   Instead, I focused on how small the Arch looked.  (Of course, anything in the Pacific would look small.)  I felt immediately guilty for expecting something bigger because it truly was amazing and beautiful.  Then I wondered if I was the sort of person who would see Mt. Everest and comment on how I thought it would be taller.  This led to an internal lecture on being grateful and appreciating the miracle of nature, blah, blah, blah.

We did not have far to paddle before stopping again to snorkel.  Given that we did not pull our kayaks out of the water, I opted to stay aboard and continue to serve as trip photographer.  Honestly, I could just not get past the vision of myself splayed across the thumbnail-2kayak trying to get back in.  Yes, I have been doing some arm work.  No, I was not quite ready to power myself out of the sea onto a boat.  Sea lions look cool sprawled out on the rocks.  Me, on the back of a kayak, not so much.  Steve had never snorkeled before, so I documented this “first”.  Caleb had snorkeled plenty, but it was a terrific opportunity for a new “Insta” photo!

Everyone made it safely back on and in their kayaks, and we headed to shore.  I was preening, listening to the guide tell me what a strong, consistent paddling form I had, when we were surprised by a sudden splash.  Apparently, while I was contemplating asking the guide if he could repeat this in front of my family, one of Caleb’s flippers slipped off the back of his kayak.  In an effort to save his parents the cost of replacing it, he reacted quickly to get it back, losing his hat and sunglasses in the process.  Caleb jumped off of the kayak and into the water, without giving Steve a head’s up.  The kayak was thrown off balance, and Steve was thrown into the water.  The flipper and hat were saved.  The sunglasses and Steve’s dignity were not.

I tried really hard not to gloat on the van ride back to the hotel.  The guide did indeed inform my family of my mad kayak skills.  And I was completely dry.

Culture Shock

Caleb just finished his first semester of law school.  And by finish, I mean he spent 37 hours studying for his his Torts final alone!  If anyone was deserving, er, desperately needing a Christmas getaway, it was our boy.

thumbnailI began planning our trip in June of last year.  I chose Cabo San Lucas as our destination, knowing nothing more than the fact that this was a huge Spring Break destination for classmates in Caleb’s high school class.  He had never gone on the trip with his friends, and it seemed like having survived Contracts and Torts was the perfect reason for discovering what the draw was over his Christmas break.  And while I felt a tad guilty for being such a “typical American”, I felt Caleb needed time to just lay on the beach and soak up some sun.  We could hit more “educational” destinations after his second year- -you know, when law school gets easier.

We were warned about the “time share” guys in the airport.  We were not, however, expecting them to act like they were from our car rental agency.  Yes, we fell for it!  Twice!  It was my fault.  It seemed rude to just ignore someone telling us he was calling the shuttle, then go over a map and highlight our route and main beaches while we waited.  Ugh!  If they would just make their pitch in the first 30 seconds!  We were much quicker the second time.   And yes, I truly felt like a horrible person walking away as soon as Alamo Representative #2 pulled out the map.  Caleb was not fooled.  We found him standing next to our real shuttle driver in an even more overwhelming crowd outside the airport.  This was probably the first time of many he was wishing he had been with his friends, not his parents.

The process for picking up the car was quick and painless, and finally, we were on our way! Thanks to the map provided by Time Share Guy #1 we had no trouble.  Of course, there is only one way out of the airport, a beautiful federal highway, and lots of signs pointing us in the right direction too.  It was exciting to see the opposite side of the Sea of Cortez.  Well, when I could see it through all the hotels, condos, and I assume, time shares!

Our hotel was not on the water.  It was just two stories high.  It was purple and turquoise.  The wifi was horrible.  And I loved it!  We unpacked, regrouped, and headed into the central district to check things out.  It was hard to believe I was still in Mexico.  Nothing about Cabo San Lucas looked like the places I knew:  Nogales, Santa Ana, Hermosillo, Guaymas, Obregon.  There were no potholes in the roads.  There was no trash along the streets.  The desert seemed softer.  Waiters and shop owners spoke English.  Everyone seemed to be paying in dollars.  Music was blaring from all directions.  Almost everyone we passed on the malecón was carrying a beer or margarita.  And wearing a balloon animal hat.  What was that and where could I get one?!  Hostesses were standing in front of clubs with trays of tequila samples.  There were so many choices- -it was a tad overwhelming.

And then the “draw” became much clearer.  A restaurant sign advertising 2×1 margaritas thumbnail-1caught Caleb’s eye.  Yep.  That was where we would eat our first night.  Being an only child can be lonely at times.  But 2×1 margaritas when you don’t have to share is not one of them!