When we left off last week, I believe we had just made our way into the Los Cabos airport and been greeted by the oh-so-friendly airport staff. Now, you have to understand that the minute following the booking of this trip I began researching Mexico and Cabo in particular, the do's and don't's and so forth. And the one thing I found particularly helpful was the 'what to do' section on my receipt from Grayline, the company who ran the shuttle service to our hotel. In very large, bold letters at the bottom of the page is says quite clearly, DO NOT TALK TO ANYONE WHO APPROACHES YOU IN THE AIRPORT. THEY ARE TIME SHARE SHARKS AND WILL ONLY TRY TO TALK YOU INTO A PRESENTATION. GO IMMEDIATELY OUTSIDE AND LOOK FOR A DRIVER IN A GRAYLINE UNIFORM. Seriously, that's what it said. Somehow, and it's no wonder with all the crazy travel roadblocks we'd experienced thus far, I neglected to share this bit of information with my traveling companions. Especially Dave.
Something I learned on this trip: Dave likes to get things for free. I mean, who doesn't, right? But I'm telling you, he's serious about it. So when we get through customs and into the main lobby and the man in the nice uniform asks if he can help him find his transportation, he quickly proffers his Grayline receipt and follows the man to the counter, behind which is a GIANT sign for a resort. Now, my antenna have gone up the minute the man approached us, but I said nothing. Too late now to discreetly tell Dave that his new friend was a con man. Several minutes go by while this man and Dave shoot the breeze.
I look at Ryan and Eileen and they shrug. No help there. We're on a schedule here people! Our shuttle will leave eventually no matter HOW much we've paid them to take us to the hotel. I think these things, but do not say them. My blood pressure is rising and I'm looking at my watch. It's taken longer to get through security than I thought it would and we have five minutes before we have to meet our driver.
Now the man is laughing and talking to Dave about a bottle of Tequila, complimentary. Do we like Tequila?? Of course, he says...best way to learn Spanish, he says...and on and on. Oh, and do the ladies like massage??? Well, he'll write us a coupon for one of those as well. Free. No charge.
And how about a cruise? Beautiful sunset, free drinks, can't beat the price which is again, free.
He's writing these coupons and handing them to Dave. All we have to do is take a taxi over to a certain resort in Cabo and let them show us around...then we're outa there and off to all our free stuff. I'm pulling on Eileen's shirt like a two year old and checking and rechecking my watch as if somehow it can help me out of this mess.
"Eileen, we have to go." Dave is still talking. He's so relaxed it's KILLING me. Fifteen minutes go by and I'm getting downright antsy. She shrugs again. She's not the kind of woman to stomp away without her husband. That's very nice of her, but I have no such inhibitions.
Quite loudly and with faked authority I say, "Ok. Thank you very much. We HAVE TO GO NOW!" Dave and the man look surprised. I can tell the guy is trying to be polite even though there is a WOMAN telling men what to do. This is a big no-no in their culture and Dave's not too happy about it either. I weigh my options and make a decision. Dave loves me and will not kill me probably, so I turn on my heel and stomp away through a set of sliding doors that I pray will get me out of there. I hear Eileen laugh and make niceties to the man I've just ousted. Ryan is probably embarrassed, but I don't look back to see, and given the fact that he hasn't been tremendously helpful, I'm not sorry about it either. I'm pretty sure everyone's following and soon they're with me. Dave does not look happy.
The doors take us into another foyer-like room with counters on both sides. More pictures of resorts and yep, more overly polite young men offering to help us find our shuttle. My body language is becoming threatening, I can tell.
"What shuttle are you looking for, Sir?" An obnoxious young man asks Dave.
"Uh...Grayline." Dave answers, but I can tell he's getting wise to their schemes.
"Grayline, that's us! We're right over here at this counter. Come on over and I'll get you set up for your shuttle." Uh-huh. Right.
Amazingly however, Dave and now Ryan are listening to his ploy and within seconds are standing in front of the counter with this young man who is promising them everything under the sun for a time share presentation. "Just an hour of your time for So many gifts! Can't pass it up!"
After another several minutes at this counter, I'm getting fed up. Dave is still waving the yellow slips and this man is promising to do all that we were promised by the guy in the other room and MORE, he says.
More time passes. Now I'm nothing but mad. We have been traveling for days on little to no sleep, terrible food and enough coffee to power the Seattle area for weeks. Acid reflux is only the beginning of the things that are going wrong with my body at this point and frankly, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! I am having a full blown temper tantrum now (not pretty, I know).
"Ryan we have to go. I'm serious. The shuttle is going to leave without us. We're almost 25 minutes late." My voice is low and dangerous. He knows this sound and looks worried.
"Dad," he says to Dave. "We gotta go. We need to catch the shuttle."
The man behind the counter interrupts, "We are grayline! We get you to your shuttle!" He's trying to be reassuring and it's all so confusing, but my daddy taught me to spot BS (mainly because he dished so much out himself) and I knew a conjob when I saw one, even if Dave was too polite to turn his back on someone who was talking to him.
"I. AM. LEAVING! I don't want a time share presentation! I want a drink and a pool!" I am as fed up with Dave's courtesy as with the time share shark, but I love him and will not kill him probably.
I turn on my heel (again) and head for the door that has daylight on the other side. I hope that Ryan and his parents are following, and soon see Eileen trotting along beside me. They are with me after all. Behind us, the shark yells to Ryan, loud enough for the entire room of people to hear, "Don't you know how to control your woman!?" Ryan turns slowly around to face the little brown man... (This sounds sensationalized, but I swear to you it's the truth)
There is something we all need to keep in mind about Ryan. He has been studying different fighting styles since childhood and has a tremendous ego (not unlike all men everywhere), which is not a good combination. Fortunately, the fates and mom and dad K., instilled in him also, a boundless sense of honor. So rather than turning the small mexican person inside out- he just took my hand and proudly left the airport with his crazy, twitching, out of control, obsessively punctual, feminist wife. God love him. I might have added drooling to the list of body malfunctions by this time, but honestly, I've blocked it out.
It is 900 degree's and there are 400 people milling about a small outdoor courtyard waiting presumably, for transport to their hotels. We ask about and soon someone in a Grayline uniform appears. He does not ask us to sit through a presentation or offer us free Tequila. The guys a winner as far as I'm concerned and soon we are in an air conditioned shuttle with a group of twenty-somethings who all have drinks in their hands. It's a shock to most Americans to see that public drinking is A-OK south of the border, but you get used to it and we actually started to enjoy it after awhile.
Dave is in the front seat speaking Spanish with the driver. He's probably telling him about his rude and inconsiderate daughter-in-law. I blow the hair off my forehead and lean back against the seat. We're almost there, I keep telling myself. We're almost there.
And soon, the road bends in front of us and the sea spreads it's cerulean waters along our horizon. There are the biggest cacti I have ever seen growing right along side the road, their thorny arms reaching heavenward. Here is the sand and the palms and the surf. I breathe and feel like crying. Eileen is sitting next to me and we are excitedly pointing at the strange desert beauty all around us. And that's when I get it. We are on vacation, we are together, the whole trip is an adventure. How boring it would have been if our flight in Portland had not been canceled. How dull to make it to your destination exactly as planned with no bumps along the way... And the fight to get there makes arriving all the more beautiful, more meaningful, because then it's not just a nice place to be, it's everything for which you've struggled and dreamed and also the reason you have ruined good boots pulling 60 year olds through airports.
We are the only ones on the shuttle when it arrives at the Tesoro Resort on the marina, having dropped off the Drinking Twenties at their own palatial resort a few miles away. We unload our bags and saunter into the foyer with it's soaring ceilings and tropical decor. Check-in is easy and relaxed. There are no lines and the staff is smiling.
We are seated by our hostess, Violet, and are served champaign from a silver tray.
"Welcome to Los Cabos!" she says and seats herself across from us. We weren't expecting this formal introduction. A key, a wristband maybe, but not this. How nice???
She has a packet in her hands. My antenna go up. I take a deep breath and remember that we are on an adventure and if I stomp away, I might miss something amazing.
" Let me tell you about our sister hotel across the bay. You like snorkeling? Sunset cruise? Massage for the ladies?? I will give it all to you for free!" Her bright smile is so hopeful.
Well, I think as I sip my champaign, if you're going to have an adventure, you might as well do it for free...
*Please stay tuned for next week's episode of Baja Tuesday's... ATV's, ATM's and the infamous water taxi