My father died suddenly in November 2000 and Paul's father died the following January. To say that it was a difficult few months is an understatement. By the time February arrived we were exhausted, emotionally and physically. Beach vacations have never been a big draw for us. I'm a redhead so the sun is NOT my friend. The sun is not a problem for Paul with his Mediterranean heritage but he doesn't hold still very well and sitting on a beach has never interested him.
But that winter/spring we needed a vacation somewhere warm and mindless. I called our travel agent and said "Find us a place to go. It has to be warm. I want a pool and a beach. I want to be able to walk to the beach from my room. I don't want to take a a taxi, bus or donkey to get there, and I want to be able to walk back to my room if I want to use my own bathroom. The only decision I want to make is whether I want red wine or white wine with lunch. And I want top-shelf booze at the bars. I don't want to be drinking Jose's Vodka."
Bless her heart, Donna sent us to the all-inclusive Riu Palace in Playa del Carmen in Mexico, one of the best all-inclusive resorts in the area. It was paradise. There were palm trees close to the water so I could be in the shade and my easy-tanning husband could be in the sun.
Each morning I got up and sat on our balcony overlooking the beautiful resort and read. We would go to breakfast and head to the beach where I would read. After lunch and a little more time at the beach, I'd head back to our suite, get in the tub and read. It was wonderful.
Since our vacations typically include some sight-seeing, we took a day trip to Chichen Itza, a Mayan archaeological site. The day we visited coincidentally was the spring equinox which is one of two days in the year when the sun causes triangles to form on the main stairway of El Castillo pyramid. The sun creates a shadow that appears to be the body of a 120 foot long snake that creeps downwards until it joins a huge serpent's head at the bottom of the stairway. It's a day of pilgrimage for many locals, and we were lucky to be there on that particular day.
We went back to the resort every winter for a few years but it's probably six year since the last visit. So Julie's and Kathy's photos of beautiful beaches and sunshine have me thinking back to these wonderful vacations. Where's the telephone? I need to make a call to the travel agent.