Tuesday, July 26, 2011

UkuAdventures in Mexico: Paradise-Hotel-in-Hell & Ear-Crisis!

PHOTOS: Barra Mural, Neighborhood Kids, Taxistand LipPhone, UkuAdventures!

Dear Blob,
Everything is becoming a parody of itself. Jessica's manpanion, concerned with her outrageous spider 'n' flea bites, bought her the gift of several days at the Grand Bay hotel, a Wyndham 4-5 star palatial resort, only accessible from Barra by water taxi. The prospect was exciting and yesterday afternoon, after a successful workday, we schlepped music recording equiptment, instruments & computers on bike to the water-taxi pier.

We locked our bikes at the stand and enjoyed the 5 minute, 10 peso ride, where Roberto, the first of dozens of Grand Bay employees, met us. A golf cart rode us to the front entrance, through majestic garden landscape, to the limestone Beverly-Hills-esque Disneyland. Julio from West Covina (having issues with his papers), checked us in and seated on over-puffed Martha-Stewarty-tacky couches, Hector served us our first and last complimentary pink-frosty beverage.

The first disappointment, but not surprise, was $10 dollar internet access, which they failed to mention, is per-computer. It seems the fancier the hotel, the less free amenities. They also put us in the wrong room, obvious by the Welcome! letter for Senora Roderigo.

Irritated, hot 'n' sheathed in sweat, we headed the pool area, famed for their 5 pools interconnected by waterfalls, slides & bridges. It's certainly unforgettable, with the most Hideous of American Music piped in everywhere, speakers hidden in bushes, blasting horrific covers of Celine Dion, Whitney Huston & bad country music. The pools were sprinkled here and there with Telemundo-beautiful guests, dripping with gold necklaces, giant earrings & heavy makeup. Several pools featured older Telemundo couples making out and dry humping. There's plenty of chaise lounges to find a private-ish place to relax, but no escape from I Will Always Love You & the Titanic Song. It's like an adult Downtown Disney; a quirky, sarcastic artist-intellectual's nightmare.

In fact, as I type from the balcony of our room, I can still hear, instead of tropical birds, bad jazz muzak, which they switch to after the pools close at 8. I repeat, the pools close at 8! Sunset doesn't even happen here until almost 9pm and it's hot throughout the night. Apparently, this place Does have liability insurance.

Crestfallen and cranky, we returned to our room, where I attempted to get water out of my ears with a q-tip, which had the opposite affect and blocked my ear unlike anything I've ever experienced. Now I was in medical crisis. A quick internet search, on our one working computer, recommended vinegar & alcohol poured in the ear. Of course the hotel had neither & medical services are American prices; in utmost ear-distress, I hurried us back into the water-taxi and back in Barra, we unlocked our bikes, quickly rode through town to Casa Azul, which, after the Grand Bay's disappointing Trapped-in-Paradise-Hell vibe, was a comforting sight.

A mixture of vinegar & vodka poured in my ear did nothing but make it worse, as now there was more stuff blocked in my ear. My hearing lost, head resting on the fan, horizontally pillow-like, hoping to evaporate the water with air and the Magic of Gravity, Jessica biked to the Farmacia for a squeezy-pumpy thing. After 20 minutes of squeezy-pumpy ear work, no results and on the verge of crybaby time, we called Dr. Rubio, who had 10 minutes of Doctor hours left.

I Heart the Mexican Healthcare System! That is my new bumpersticker, if I were to indulge in automobile-sloganery. We biked back to town & waited for Dr. Rubio to finish saying no to a bleached-blond peddler of handmade wooden backgammon boards. "Do you need a domino set?" the gringo peddler's partner asked me. "No, I need a doctor!" our ridiculously pre-doctor/medical-crisis theatrical-dialogue.

I don't know what Dr. Rubio flushed out of my ear with saline solution, but it wasn't pretty. Disgusting is the adjective of choice and that's all I'll write. The sensation of saline solution shooting into my ear and Meep-knows-what pouring out, was remarkable; like the awesomeness of a filthy cartoon house and a superior cartoon vacuum instantly, Jestsons-like, cleaning in seconds, complete with a cartoony ping! sound-effect & a sparkly-glisten!

Dr. Rubio is efficient, kind & gentle, with a wall of medical diplomas; everything one wants in a doctor. Ear infection was brewing, she informed me and $30 later, anti-biotic ear-drops in hand, I could hear better than I have in years. Jessica and I dined at Mexico Lindo, a Barra favorite ($3 for 3 large handmade-tortilla tacos!), loaded up on nibblies, as the Hotel prices are expectedly-outrageous (Example: Grand Bay = 1 can (not even a bottle!) of Modelo is almost $5; at the Mercado = 6-pack is $4dollars) and unexcited, returned to Trapped-in-Paradise-Hell Hotel.

Our evenings in Mexico have been spent skyping our manpanions. 5 weeks is a long time to be Ukulad-less and communication-dependent-on-technology is hard on a relationship. Usually Jessica retires to the hammock for her skype-date and I dining-room it up. So the night while pleasant in the air-conditioned hotel room, was marred by our lack of two internet connections. Casa Azul has air-conditioning, but it doesn't reach the bedrooms, so we haven't been using it. It's been fine without it, the spiders being the main source of discomfort. I will doubtfully spend another night here. Jessica can get some work done in a spider-free environment and I will enjoy my final days in the barrio, amongst our friendly neighbors, bike to the market for fresh tortillas in the morning and enjoy ice-coffee with HB Larry.

We are hoping to explore the grounds-area of Paradise-Hell Hotel today, avoid Dry-Hump-To-Celine-Dion-Covers-Pool & salvage what we can of Grand Bay's contrived offerings. I am just not a resort or cruise person. I generally dislike the people I find in these environments and prefer learning about a foreign country by actually being amongst the people, towns and parks. I like luxury, but Grand Bay's luxury is conditional and uncontrollable. Rick 'n' Cathy's Casa Canadian was the perfect balance of luxury & with-the-people-ness. If Casa Azul had a pool, most of our discomfort would disappear.

I'm surprised to find myself so affected by the heat. I grew up in the Mendocino County summer heat, went to Burning Man & always choose death by heat over death by freezing. However, the Mexican summer hours of 1:30ish - 5:30ish, are almost impossible to function in, unless a water source is available for frequent cooling.

I apologize, Readers 'n' Blob, for complaining; I consider my ukuadventures in Mexico a grand adventure and am filled with new knowledge & philosophical understanding of life and the imperfect world. I've contemplated the big questions & have great affection for what I call my Mexican Semester. I spent a semester in Mexico!

Love The Ukulady

ps: Who has advice for transporting prescription drugs to LAX without a prescription?

pps: The Hotel-Room coffee maker was broken this morning. Of course.

ppps: We discovered the bakery of Barra De Navidad, close to the Fish Co-Op. It is awesome!

pppps: We are hoping to gift a couple nights at the Grand Bay to HB Larry & Laura for all their wonderfulness; as there are only 33 rooms of 200 currently occupied; plan-scheming is ensuing....

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