Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Life is good in Mexico
We just returned from our annual Team Gymnastics trip and this year we chose Cancun, Mexico. It was quite a good choice considering we had perfect weather, great activities, ocean front condos for $100 per night and wonderful people to travel with. I organized this trip and all the stress that went into that was worth it. The girls had a great time, as did our staff and parents that joined us. We ended up taking 13 of our optional team girls ranging in age from 11-17. There were three coaches (Louie, Sue and me), Janice, Mary Ann, Ricky, Jackie & Ryan. When we flew in to Cancun we immediately put on our bathing suits and walked to find a place to eat. There are so many all-inclusives that we ended up at this local fish hut (literally a hut) that definitely doesnt have any kind of sanitation inspection. I'm not saying it was dirty, but it was authentic. The food was amazing, however.
After that we went back to the hotel and down to the beach. The water was pretty rough and there was actually someone who drowned the week before b/c of a rip current. We fully explained how to get out of a rip tide to the girls and anytime they wanted to go in the ocean, they had to be with an adult. We stayed out as long as we could stand (it got chilly in the water when the sun went down) and made our way back up the rooms and my roof-top terrace for pizza. Some of the adults braved the unknown bus system (which turned out to be amazing) and went to the store. A few people ventured all the way out to Walmart but Mary Ann and I were not interested due to time and wanting to get back to feed the kids pizza.
We bought plenty of breakfast and lunch foods for the girls so we wouldn't have to go out for every meal. After dinner, the girls had free time in our section of the hotel (there were leftover NYE celebrations this night so we decided not to let the girls roam). They had to stay in groups of atleast three and luckily all of our rooms were very close to each other. Friday morning, we woke up early and met for practice. Took the bus over to the gym and worked out for a couple of hours. After that, we came back to the hotel, did the beach/pool thing again before heading back to the gym for the college competition. We got to see UNC, Michigan, Boise State and LSU compete in each of their first meets. After that we all went to Margaritaville (duh) for dinner. We got the girls on stage to teach all the waiters their Cotton-Eyed Joe dance.
We shopped a little bit after that before coming on back.
Saturday morning the coaches took the Level 7's and 8's to the meet and the upper levels girls met us there later. The Level 7's all placed on something and the Level 8's rocked by winning 1st, 2nd & 3rd all-around and the team competition.
That afternoon we did more beach/pool time before heading back to the gym for the Level 9 & 10 competition.
Everyone in those levels came home with medals as well! We were very proud of how the girls did this early in the season.
That night, the parents stayed at the hotel with the girls while the coaches/staff got a chance to go out in Cancun. We were supposed to meet some other coaches at a restaurant/bar but it ended up being closed and since no one had good cell phone service, we couldn't find them. We ended up at Senor Frogs with every other college age student there. We actually had a great time....our waiter, Ury, was awesome.
Sunday morning, we woke up and gave the girls a chance to have some free time before heading on our adventure to Selvatica (meaning "Citizen of the Jungle"). At Selvatica, our guides (who were amazing) led us on a 2-mile zip line course with about 12 different lines. Most everyone got the chance to go upside down which was a lot of fun. After that, we (us and our guides) loaded onto mountain bikes to ride to a cenote (sink hole). They had a zipline, a cliff jump and ropes to hang onto in the cenote. It was a pretty cool sight and the kids all had a good time. Poor Ana did a back tuck off the cliff and over-rotated it straight to her back. Luckily she was fine but she was not without a lot of pain for a couple days. After our time at the cenote, we biked back to Selvatica for a great lunch of chicken fajitas, beans and rice. German (pronounced Air-Mon), Alex, David, Carlos and the rest of the guides were amazing to us and made the trip to Selvatica a wonderful experience. I highly recommend it for anyone of any age.
After that, we got back to the hotel and decided to "pool-crash" the Hilton. Ana's parents were staying there, so we hopped on the bus to the Hilton. Once we got there, we had to strategically walk in the hotel in groups of 4 or 5 and make our way to the pool which was AMAZING. Not quite amazing enough to pay for 9 rooms there but amazing enough to pool-crash. It was 5-acres of connected pools and hot tubs, beach beds, hammocks, swim-up bars, etc.
We stayed there through dinner and came on back to Solymar and our condos. Once we got back, we had a Dance-Off. Each room was supposed to make up a dance (they've been working on it for a month) and that night we had a competition. We threw some kinks in the girls plan as we told them they also had to do a "blind dance" (didn't know the music) and they had to pick a solo dancer. It was extremely entertaining and Bree, Gilly & Haley's room won the grand prize. Brittany got an honorable mention for her solo dance.
On Monday, we had to go relunctantly. No one was ready to leave Cancun but after our four hour layover in the Fort Lauderdale airport, we were all ready to be back home. The experience for everyone in Cancun was great. I think we would all go back again in a heartbeat. The place we stayed (Solymar) was great for us. Michelle & Peter Hermick, who I've worked with for 6+ months live right on sight and own a few condos as well as managing a few others. They were there for us whenever we needed them and nothing was over-looked. I highly recommend them and their condos as well. It isn't right in the hustle and bustle area of Cancun which was perfect for us. It is close to everything though! All in all the trip was amazing and I'm already thinking of what to do next year.....New York, Chicago, Vegas, Hawaii anyone?