Before we get swept away into the bliss of sandy beaches and radiant sun, we cannot forget the excitement that occurred between the time of the reception and our arrival in Cancun. To my complete surprise, Jason became sick sometime between the luncheon and the reception. A nasty flu bug had been traveling through the Gruber family over the Christmas holiday, and it was Jason’s turn to catch it. I had no idea that Jason was feeling ill until he finally told me about two hours into the reception. We still had a bit of a line of guests left to see when the sickness really started to show in his face. He looked ghostly white and was feeling very nauseous.
Somehow he was able to hold off until most of the people had been greeted before rushing to the men’s room. After that, we kept the activities short; we quickly cut the cake, pulled off the garter, and threw the bouquet. All of Jason’s siblings contributed in giving a special gift to prepare us for our trip: a framed picture of the Cancun strip (including our soon-to-be-home-for-a week) and a nice amount of cash that could be used for our Cancun adventures. It was a great way to get excited for the coming week (not that we needed any encouragement or anything). In consideration of Jason’s present state, we skipped over the dancing plans and quickly changed out of our wedding clothes. We had a grand exit of friends and sparklers. Reflecting back on it, it seemed to have all happened so fast. The exit and drive to Salt Lake was just a blur of excitement.
The first and second nights were spent at Little America. We had the most elegant suite (room number 1028, I believe). It was the perfect place to lay back and relax. They had the bed turned down for us and equipped it with a comfortable robe and slippers. The room service was excellent and was just what we needed to cure an upset stomach. We spent the next day relaxing and watching Kung Fu Panda and The Incredible Hulk.
Of course, one of my favorite parts of the Little America stay was the luxurious dinner at the restaurant there in the hotel. I had the most delicious steak I think I have ever had. The only sad part was that I couldn’t share it with Jason, he was too sick to try more than a tiny bite. Poor Jason and his shrimp-in-a-cup!
Thanks to some miracle, Jason was feeling much better by the next morning. We left bright and early for the airport Monday morning. We took a plane to Texas and then made our connection to Cancun. Stepping off the plane into Mexico was such an interesting experience. It was the first time that I had ever been out of the country and I was instantly reminded of that fact; going through customs, having to deal with the money exchange, and trying to understand all the Spanish that was being yelled at me was all new to me. Luckily, Jason can speak Portuguese, so that was very helpful in getting some of the information we needed. I was also introduced to a world where everyone thrives on tips. We stepped out of the airport and there was a swarm of Mexican workers wanting us to take THEIR shuttle onto the strip. It was almost to the point of being overwhelming with all of the yelling and the signs. Most were not afraid to confront you and try to persuade you to take their shuttle. Thankfully, Jason already had a reservation with a shuttle company and we were directed to him. Now, here comes the hard part. If you’re not careful or quick enough, the worker will start loading or unloading things himself and will expect a nice size tip for it. Of course there is nothing wrong with that, but for young newly weds like ourselves, we would rather do a little extra work ourselves if that meant we could keep a little extra cash in our pockets for dinner or something else like that. If you’re not careful, you can end up paying $5 for the loading of bags, $5 for the unloading of bags, and then $5 for the bags being brought up to the hotel room. Before you know it, you’re paying $15 on top of the fee for the shuttle ride itself just for carrying the bags, which we could do ourselves; and that’s just with a small tip. This was a lesson that we had to keep learning throughout the trip.
One of my favorite memories about the tip-suckers happened on our first night. After walking around the block near our hotel, we decided to have dinner at a real authentic looking Mexican restaurant. The name of it has escaped me sense, but it was a cute restaurant that sat you outside in the front under strings of hung lights and lanterns. They had curved chairs topped with poncho looking blankets. It was a very enjoyable dining experience under the clear, starry sky. The food was very authentic (meaning it wasn’t too appetizing for me; I’m used to a very Americanized-Mexican taste. Café-Rio anyone?). All-in-all, however, I did enjoy it and was able to eat/try all of it. Adding to the ambiance of the restaurant, there was short Mexican man walking around all of the tables and serenading the customers with his guitar and his beautiful tenor voice. It felt like a magical moment, sitting there in the nice breeze and dark sky. He came to our table and offered to play a romantic song for the two of us, and I didn’t think the night could be more perfect. After he finished the song, we thanked him and continued to enjoy our dinner. However, we couldn’t help but notice that he wasn’t moving on to the other customers. He just stood there tuning his guitar in front of us, looking at us with an expecting smile. At this point, it was getting kind of awkward. All of a sudden, he spoke in a small voice, “Tip?” We looked up at him and he said it again, a little louder this time, “Tip?” We began to realize that he wasn’t just a nice addition to the restaurant ambiance. Jason quickly reached into his pocket and gave him some money, and then he went on his way. From then on, we decided before hand that we would not welcome any little services like that.
The cute Mexican restaurant
Not five minutes later, we noticed another man walking around offering roses to the other tables. Eventually, he got to our table and offered a rose “for your lovely wife.” Of course, this makes Jason look like a jerk if he doesn’t want to get his “lovely” wife a rose; but I was sure to make it clear to both of them that I did not want a rose. The man finally gave up and walked away. Some of them can be down-right shameless!