Mexico

Between Storms

Ironically, surrounded by water, Baja California Sur experienced an 8-month drought before tropical storm Lidia quenched it over the Labour Day weekend. It was a bittersweet reprieve. Although the flora was nourished, structures were destroyed and people died. Three years earlier, Odile had ravaged the same area on a grander scale. It’s an area seemingly in constant repair.

We flew WestJet. I’ve always appreciated the individualistic quirkiness of the WestJet flight attendants but we were told that deviating from the pre-takeoff safety lecture’s monotone script would soon be banned. No more rap, no more rhyming, no more comedy, no more personality. You will not be allowed to enjoy, nor laugh at, a safety lecture. This is very serious stuff … stuff that frequent flyers ignore when not done by a creative and playful WestJet attendant. So, be prepared to no longer pay attention.

By the time we arrived in Los Cabos, the sky was clear and it was hot and humid. Most of the area had returned to its low season lull. Hence, a “cheaper than staying home” price for a one-week all-inclusive at Royal Decameron Los Cabos by Transat Tours.

We were greeted with smiles and a cold fruity drink. We were impressed that our room was on the same level as the lobby, and had a view of the interior gardens and the ocean. My partner was not so impressed to find out that his knees had to endure two flights of stairs to get to the pool and the dining area. There is no longer an elevator at the resort.

As in any hotel room – the bed dominates. This bed was particularly dominating. I can’t think of any good reason to shove two queens together to make one super duper harem-sized bed for 2 people. No one wants to sleep on the crack. They don’t make sheets that wide, they had to be overlapped. There were 8 pillows (2 more in the closet) and as many decorative toss cushions. Whether apart or together, two beds and two people require two bedside tables and lamps. We had to use a chair as a side table, which meant our seating area was compromised. That night, we chose a side (bed) without even disturbing the other. But, when we were short-sheeted one day (really?!), we had to switch to the other side. The comforter that was far too heavy for the climate (even with air-conditioning. And, there were extra blankets in the closet …). Each day brought a different surprise as to what housekeeping would forget—and what configuration of towels we would get. A bath mat? Hand towels? Face cloth? Clean glasses? The mini-bar replenished? We never knew. Housekeeping irregularities are my only complaint and can be easily addressed: Simple instructions and a list to follow … and a little common sense.

It’s a small resort, nicely maintained. There is one main dining area with an indoor and outdoor seating area. There is one restaurant near the beach that serves as a snack bar during the day and an a-la-carte, by reservation, restaurant for dinner. The food was plentiful and fantastic. The mixed drinks were ever-tempting, tasty and refreshing. The wine was very average (we’re snobs).

Nightly entertainment ranged from typical (does Michael Jackson really visit every resort in Mexico … still?) to downright fantastic. Most memorable were the rock band and the “Three Tenors.”

The staff members were pleasant and ready to please. After questioning why the general manager did not do “rounds” in the evening at dinner to greet guests, we found out that he was only three weeks into the position and still getting his bearings. He appeared later in the week and seemed appreciative of any feedback.

I love the art galleries in San Jose del Cabo. A short ride on public transit to el centro for the cultural part of our beach holiday ended up being a disappointing waste of time. Since the area had just been ravaged by Lidia, and it was low season, September was the perfect time for major renovations to roads and plazas in the downtown area. Bad timing for us; none of the galleries were open. Perfect timing for a proprietor’s vacation, an artist’s return to the studio, or quick renos and a paintjob before the next exhibition. There was little to do in the blistering heat so we returned to the pool at the resort.

Toward the end of our week, the clouds began to build; all the lounger pillows were moved inside and chairs were stacked. Hurricane Norma was expected to arrive and disrupt Mexican Independence Day celebrations just as we were leaving. It would be a race to the airport.

I watched the changing sky and threatening waves, waiting to witness the ominous powers of nature. Although I don’t wish destructive weather on anybody, I love to watch storms. The sky spit a bit and the cooler temperatures were welcomed. I managed to carelessly get a sunburn. By Sunday, Norma, finding us gone, veered west into the Pacific, far from the Baja peninsula, and we headed back north into autumn.

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