We are moored at the dock in Paradise Village - it feels like home because we spent so much time here in 2010 after the '09 Baja Ha Ha. We have spent the weekend relaxing, eating, reading and watching the sailors on all the boats around us knock off boat chores. I feel like we should spend this time at the dock working and getting important boat work done but Rockstar is in good shape right now and there are no big or small projects on the horizon. It feels strange to not have a "to-do" list - isn't that the whole point of owning a boat? Make a list, do some work, cross something off, make another list? We don't have internet access right now either and Jeff and I can't decide if thats a good or bad thing. It's good because it forces us to read more and find other ways to occupy our time; but it's different not to be able to quickly Google something and I still have a nagging anxiety that maybe there is an important email waiting for me. Yesterday, I walked up to the Yacht Club to download my email but after 4 days there was nothing in my inbox. I re-started my mac twice thinking something was wrong, but it was just that no one needed to send me anything - an odd feeling.....
|2012 Cruising Mexico||
Friday morning we took a bunch of people out on the boat to Yelapa. It took a couple of hours to motor across Banderas Bay and the swell made us all a bit queasy but it was worth it. We were guided in by Big Bully a local panga who handed us a mooring about 15 feet from the shore. Rockstar draws 6.5ft so we were skeptical we could go that close to shore by he knew the drop off and sure enough there was lots of depth. I think that is the closest we have ever moored to shore. Although he offered to take us all in it was hard to resist jumping off the boat and swimming the short distance to the beach. Yelapa is an ex hippie escape and there's not a lot to explore right on the beach but some seaside restaurants. Behind the beach dune we found a small shallow inlet with millions and millions of tiny frogs and tadpoles all in different stages of growth which was really neat to see; we could pick up handfuls of them. We stayed long enough for a yummy lunch on board and then raised the sails for a smooth sail back to Nuevo Vallarta. If we have time I'd like to go back and explore the waterfalls and village Yelapa is famous for.
|2012 Cruising Mexico||
We are back on the boat after several fun days up in Bucerais at the Royal Decameron Resort with our friends. We had a fun beach day in Salyalita (drinking and shopping is a fantastic past time especially when there are 30 friends and the vendors do all the work bringing their shop to you). Devon's wedding was a beautiful experience; perfectly planned and lots of fun - Thank you Devon for such an amazing evening!
|2012 Cruising Mexico||
Ive had a fun couple of days hanging out with Sabrina and Carden has had a great time playing with Ben and Maya. We went for an early dinner at a great little restaurant that has a play area in the courtyard; something so simple to keep the kids occupied and yet Iv'e never seen anything like it in Vancouver. By dark there were 30 children of all ages running on the grass, playing on the swings and dancing to the band. The parents sat at tables at the edge enjoying amazing food.
After Blaine and I checked out of the Mayan Palace Sabrina was kind enough to let us stay at her house while she was in Vancouver. Thank you S' so much for lending me your nanny, house, car and best friend for the week! Amazing!
We met up with Jeff and the boys who had arrived form Barra with lots of fun stories. We drove up to Bucerais and met all our friends who came down for Devon and Kris's wedding at Casa del Rayna and then stopped at a yummy late night taco stand on the way home.
The next day we had a long lazy patio lunch at a great Italian restaurant before the boys caught their flight home (Tim's idea) Thank's Tim! - Ive decided to start having way more long lazy patio lunches at great italian restaurants in the future!
|2012 Cruising Mexico||
"Gloria fell backwards into the fountain; in one last attempt to regain balance she grabbed at Ermundo, the combined weight propelling them faster into the pool. Amber grabbed the stroller with Mo as Blaine picked Carden up under his arm and in one motion opened the glass doors "Run for it!" he yelled and they both hurtled out of the Timeshare sales centre sprinting toward the light of day as ten angry sales people sprinted after them......"
Okay, so I'm dramatizing, but.... it came somewhat close to reality this morning.
When I first arrived here at the Mayan Palace I got roped into a timeshare presentation. Now, before you all go rolling your eyes and calling me stupid..... I really wanted an ocean view and it was the only way to get it. An invitation to a nice breakfast and 90 minutes of my time in exchange for an ocean view upgrade. So, when Blaine (my brother) arrived Sunday I scheduled it for Tuesday morning. In the two days in between we had no less than 12 people rant and rave against it. Guests in the elevator "Oh my god, it was the worst part of our vacation, they kept us there for hours!"; Mum "DO NOT GO TO THE TIMESHARE!!!!"; other guests "Just walk out, dont even talk to them.....".
But, I am a 35 year old mother of two and I am very good at saying "No". Plus, I understand its how the company informs you about their product and these reps are just trying to earn a living. Blaine and I thought it was a fair exchange: 90 minutes of our vacation for the Ocean view and breakfast, plus we were actually really interested in learning about the property and the price of the investment. Blaine and I chatted about it that morning and decided we would keep an eye on the time and conduct ourselves with "poise and grace" no need to be unkind.
At 9am the shuttle dropped us off at the new mini train station on the resort, the main sales centre is underneath. From there we were told we were in the wrong place. 2 kids, stroller and us back on the shuttle over to the Grand Bilss. We were checked into registration and the girl glanced at my credit card to authorize our "gift" (breakfast and 10% off room charges - bogus if you ask me; I think the credit card is part of the screening process). From there we met our rep Jajanna. Within the first 5 minutes she had fished and prodded for all our personal information and deduced we were not ideal clients. We were very upfront with her and as we walked along the paths to the breakfast restaurant we made a friendly agreement to enjoy our 90 minutes together and then part ways. Jajanna was great, she has kids too and knew they wouldn't last long, she cancelled our resort tour and took us straight to breakfast which was amazing. After breakfast we actually asked her if we could tour the new show suites for the Grand Luxxe & Bliss. (She had to spend the time with us anyway so she happily obliged). Blaine and I had a nice time poking around the show suites, oohing and ahhing over the luxury and asking questions. Close to 10.30am she took us down to the kids club where Carden played video games and Mo settled into a big box of lego. We had about 10 minutes left so Jajanna offered to write out all the pricing info right there in the kids club before we left. It took a while but we respected the sales process and so when she was finished at 11am we wrapped it up and stood up to leave.
At this point both Blaine and I are blown away by the product and are both really stoked to go sit on a lounger and dream of ways to get our friends and family involved in this development. Split between a couple of us this scenario is actually "break-even do-able!"
"Ok, wait here and I will get my manager to sign you out" Jajanna said.
Chris, as expected, is the senior sales manger (a tall good looking gringo with 2 young kids) who "checks" Jajanna has explained everything correctly.
Chris then launches into his pitch that we have been looking at the wrong price point and in his experience Blaine and I would be better suited to purchase "vacation time" for $12,000.
We politely and briefly explain to Chris that I have a sailboat in Mexico and am here part of the year, all my money goes into the "big white floaty thing". Chris shakes our hand and politely but briefly tells us he is very busy and has a lot of people to see.
It's 11.15am. Blaine and I gather up the kiddlets and say our goodbyes to Jajanna, who is now surprisingly aloof, and ushers us out of the building. "Come with me and I will get you signed out" she says...... Huh?
Blaine and I tell Jajanna we can walk back to the hotel ourselves and we also have a 12pm dentist appointment so we really do have to hustle.
She insists we have to finish the tour elsewhere to receive "our gift". (the 10% off room charges that was confirmed upon registration at 9am)
2 kids, stroller and us back on a shuttle to the train station/ sales center. Here she hands us off to Ermando, and hops back on the shuttle, done for the day.
If I was expecting Ermando to sign our little contract saying we had successfully endured a 90 minute tour in exchange for breakfast (I was) I was wrong.
Its 11.30am. Ermundo hustles us into the sales centre and through some glass doors onto a patio overlooking a water feature. Despite our protests he says 'Yes yes, right this way, I just have to sign you out"
Blaine momentarily slips on his "poise and grace" and says "Ermundo, we would like to leave now and we have explained to both you and Jajanna that we need to make a 12pm appointment, you have 2 minutes of my time before I walk out".
Ermundo "Yes, yes, yes, please.... sit down and I will go through the survey very quickly".
By this time Carden and Mo are done with being dragged all over the resort and are more than ready to leave. Thinking it may be to our advantage, I let them complain and work themselves into a mini frenzy.
Ermundo flies through the superficial survey and then suddenly says "Will I be able to sell you something for $4000?". Before he even tells us what he is selling Blaine and I say "No".
Ermundo "But surely, you like to go on vacation don't you?.... Don't you like to stay in hotels?"
Amber "Ermundo, with all due respect I have explained to Jajanna that I live on a sailboat in Mexico part of the year and any money I have gets sunk into the "Big white floaty thing". My family does not stay in hotels, we stay on the boat.
Ermundo "But, you must like to leave the boat and stay at a resort sometimes yes?"
Ermundo "In Vancouver, you go on vacation yes?"
Amber "No, we come and stay on our boat"
Ermundo "Really, you dont want to stay in hotels?"
Amber "Ermundo, you live in PV - Do YOU want to pay to stay at a resort in PV?"
Ermundo "Oh...Yes" (LIAR!)
Amber "Ermundo, I am trying to politely decline your offer but you are making it difficult. I'm not interested in your product. I would like to leave. How can we get signed out?"
Ermundo "One moment please"
At this point a blonde woman sweeps onto the patio. She introduces herself as Gloria, I think. I didn't catch her name because she immediately launches into a tirade of well rehearsed rebuttals.
The next 5 minutes are a bit of a blur but here's the gist:
Gloria accuses us of yelling at Ermundo and calls us rude and unprofessional.
She says we have a contract that we have agreed to listen to their sales pitch in exchange for a gift.
Blaine and I respond that we have exceeded our contract 90 minutes and would like to leave.
Gloria says "You had a nice big breakfast didn't you? Are you full from your free breakfast? You owe us your time, we bribed you to be here....we OWN you!"
Blaine asks to see the contract in her hand, she pulls it away and refuses to let him see it (I signed it earlier, its says: 90 minutes of your time from registration in exchange for breakfast and 10% off room charges.)
Gloria goes on that it is their job to try and sell us something for as long as it takes, we are under contract AND "the 90 minutes could take 3 hours!" ???
Blaine calmly explains we have a dentist appointment at 12pm and our time here is finished.
Gloria says "Would you be that rude to your dentist? Would you be telling him to hurry up because you have a gynecologist appointment right afterward?"
At this point I would just like to take a moment and explain that anyone that knows my family knows that Blaine is a world class arguer. To even entertain the notion of success with him is futile.Only rookies dare run the gauntlet with that one. Family and friends are seasoned professionals, we just never engage... He would have stood on that patio till Friday to prove his point.
Except.... as he paused for a stunned moment to wonder why any man would book an appointment with a dentist and a gynecologist on the same day .......Gloria kept ranting..... (she was good!)
Twice, I had to step in and say to her "Okay lets not fight about this...." if only to make the lady take a breath. The other half of me was wondering how much trouble I could get into for pushing her in the fountain!
Ermundo looks shaken and embarassed as both he and I know there was never any impoliteness or yelling and Gloria is just making it worse - I kind of felt sorry for him.
We all take deep breaths and I say to Gloria "We have explained to Jajanna and Chris and Ermundo and now you that we are not suitable for your products and not interested. How many times do you think it is reasonable to sit here, be told otherwise and say no?"
Gloria: 'I don't know, seven, eight? as long as it takes to go through our sales process...."
Amber: "Very well, lets sit down" (Still hanging onto a thread of that "grace and poise")
Its 11.45am. At this point Gloria says to me "I don't know anything about you but I get it.... you're what in your 20's? 30's? 28? 35? maybe you are a single mum or have a boyfriend or significant other?......."
(35? Really? Note to my dear spa lady Jacqueline: All that bloody botox, belt sanding and laser zapping isn't working - this lady guessed my age!!!)
Then she throws out "Well what Ermundo WOULD have offered you was 50 weeks of vacation here plus a $300 cruise for $1200"
(Amber and Blaine have exhausted deadpan faces; Carden and Mo are going bonkers)
She gives up and motions Ermundo to get us out of there.
We follow Ermundo through the glass doors into the sales centre where he walks into a room of sales people and hands our clipboard to a mexican lady.
"Hi how are you today?" she chirps. "So, I see you have chatted with Ermundo about our products? Did you have a good tour? And where are you staying?"
Amber: "Do we need to do anything else here to got signed out?"
Mexican Rep: "No your'e ........"
We didn't hear the rest, I grabbed the stroller and Blaine grabbed Carden and we beelined it for the exit.
Good thing it was happy hour at the snack bar. We cancelled our appointment, headed to the pool and ordered double margaritas. Phew! Escape form Alcatraz.
I know as she reads this my mum will be keeling over with laughter picturing her two most confident and outspoken offspring being bullied by a timeshare salesperson but I was seriously offended and dumbstruck!
(And I had a death grip on Blaine's shoulder to remind him I have friends who work here and we may be sitting across from these people at dinner tonight!)
|2012 Cruising Mexico||
Cardie, Mo and I hired a driver and did the 4 hour drive up from Barra to PV yesterday. We are checked in at the Mayan Palace which is part of the Grand Mayan Resort complex. This place is massive; there are 7 or 8 huge hotels all along the beach in Nuevo Vallarta all connected by pathways, gardens and swimming pools. The place is beautiful and the people are so helpful and friendly.
This morning our friend Sabrina stopped by for a visit with her children who are both close to Cardens age. We had a lot of catching up to do so we piled in her car and went to her house for a couple of hours. Carden loved it! He hasn't really had a lot of kids to play with lately. Ideas become reality really fast when Im with Sabrina and next thing you know I am flying down the PV Freeway in her Durango headed for the Costco. Sabrina is in her suv in front of me; she gets out at a stop light, gives me some good directions and heads off to Yelapa for the weekend....
Hurtling down the highway after some successful shopping (thank you S' for your Costco card and all the cash in your wallet!) every time I blink I think "This is great!" and "I am never going to find my way back.... how did I get into this situation?...." But... turns out, my "completely clueless, horrendous and dangerous" driving habits (thank you very much J.Lim) are actually considered a "skill" here in Mexico and I fit in perfectly with all the locals on the road!
The rules here completely make sense to me: The middle lanes are the express; the outer lanes not, the very left lane always turns right...unless it does'nt; the left lane turns left... or straight...or does a U-turn across the freeway; if you hit cobblestones you are not on the highway anymore. Chances are if you follow a car with a white person in it you will end up at Costco or Nuevo Vallarta!
Thanks for the adventure S'. We are really looking forward to spending some more time catching up with that family!.
|2012 Cruising Mexico||