1 - The number of people sitting near me who threw up on our boat ride out to the island of Cozumel. I got stuck sitting next to a 13 year old girl who had seasickness issues, issues she was not aware of until this ferry ride. After about 10 minutes she was forced to relinquish all the contents of her stomach. I was fine for the most part, but listening to her dry heaving in between sobs made it difficult not to feel queasy. I felt bad for her, there are plenty reasons to be embarrassed in the life of a 13 year old without throwing up in front of a ferry full of people.
3 - The number of sharks we saw scuba diving. (Picture taken by me...not bad for my first time with an underwater camera.) They were just nurse sharks, and I’m told they don’t actually have any teeth, but still, I felt pretty brave for not swimming the opposite direction. (I didn’t have to as the sharks usually swam away from us.)
3 - Also the number of Mexican Christmas songs we heard while there. Not quite the same, a little more upbeat, like they were meant for salsa dancing, but still good to be reminded of the holidays while on sunny beaches with no hint of a coming ‘White Christmas’. When I heard the Mexican version of that song, I wondered if it really applied….they should change it to ‘Yellow Christmas’ or something more fitting for the climate.
30 - The number of the sunscreen most of our group wore. I however, wore none and am returning with a slight red tint to my skin. This I don’t mind so much, it’s the unevenness and strange lines that are unfortunate. I was sitting at the pool and got distracted watching all the fascinating people. There was a French couple sitting near me and the man decided he wanted to participate in the water aerobics class but did not have his swimming suit on. So, he had his wife hold up a towel while he changed…I’m not sure whether he thought this was sufficient coverage, or if he just didn’t care about his rear exposure. It was quite a sight to say the least, and that was just one of the partial nudity incidents that afternoon. Anyway, I got distracted by the people watching and neglected to perform the rotation required for even tanning.
43 - The number of pina coladas I drank, not an exact number but it’s close. All of them virgin of course, with the exception of one fairly sour drink brought to me by a fairly incompetent waiter. He wasn’t all that bad but he couldn’t hold a candle to Ernesto. Ernesto was my favorite waiter, at my favorite restaurant, and introduced to me my new favorite beverage. It’s called a mango tango…not sure exactly what’s in it, sort of half mango/half strawberry, and he made sure all my drinks were ‘sin alcohol’.
5 - The number of times I actually understood any of the Spanish that was spoken to me. I took Spanish for a few years in middle school and high school but the rate at which they speak in Mexico is totally beyond my ability to comprehend. The way they smile whenever they speak also confuses me, it’s not something I’m used to back in good old grumpy America, plus I am not a smiler. I would always end up smiling back, I had no idea what they were saying but it just seemed like the right thing to do, but then once they walked away I was left grinning like an idiot for no apparent reason. However, my face quickly snapped back into more normal, thoughtful, and less cheerful repose.
4 - The number of times we ate at my new favorite Asian cuisine restaurant located in none other than Playa del Carmen, Mexico. I was a little sad that we’d be missing out on the big Thanksgiving dinner back home but I realized my love for sushi at this place and it made a great Thanksgiving meal. Plus, the ice cream tempura was to die for…and I’m not usually a dessert person. (I think part of the appeal of this place was also the excellent service provided by Ernesto.)
4 - Also the number of double-bogeys I got in my 18-hole round of golf. Not terrible right? Except that those four holes were by far my best. I had a 74 on the first nine holes…that’s 38 over par.
2 - The number of papers I had due while in Mexico. One was a ten-pager on Jimmy Carter for which I hauled five library books all the way there. The second was a paper in which I was supposed to argue whether or not Philosophy and the Gospel are compatible. For any of you who think Philosophy is evil, or like one relative of mine, that I am putting my eternal salvation on the line by studying Philosophy, please let me know and I will send you my paper.
14 – The number of bags checked by my family alone. No, this does not include carry-ons, of which there were many, and yes, we thought we’d bring the whole house just to make our hotel in Mexico really feel like home.
19 – The number of people we were traveling with. The Woods: Dave (7), Nancy (Fancy), Hannah (Dolores), Adam (Slim Jim), Aaron (Air Bear), and Caleb (Christopher). The Andersons: Dave, Mindy (Cruise Director), Paige, Claire, and Jack (Double O). And my family, the Wests: Will (Tope), Lisa, Me, William, Peter, David, George, and Lucy. Trying to make your way around Mexico with this size group… it’s not easy and you get a lot of eyebrow raises. But they were a fun group to be with and made for a great trip.