So we kinda skipped December. You might recall, but Christmas and New Years happened at some point in there. Not going to rehash it too much, but suffice it to say it was lovely. The most notable thing that happened was I surprised Em with a trip to Cancun with my sister and her husband. This irresponsible post is going to be mostly dedicated to some highlights of that trip.
But before we even get to Cancun, let's start with the drama that preceded it. My sister, Becca, started feeling sick a few days before we were to leave. Not the "I have a runny nose and a head cold" sick, but the "FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS HOLY I THINK THERE IS A BOULDER LODGED IN MY GALL BLADDER". Yup, she had a major gall stone. For those of you that don't know (and I was in this camp prior to this event), the gall bladder is
"a hollow organ that sits in a concavity of the liver known as the gallbladder fossa. In adults, the gallbladder measures approximately 8 cm in length and 4 cm in diameter when fully distended. It is divided into three sections: fundus, body, and neck. The neck tapers and connects to the biliary tree via the cystic duct, which then joins the common hepatic duct to become the common bile duct."
Lovely, yes? Here's a picture:
It doesn't look all that important...
So, feeling not so well and worried about the upcoming vacation, she decided to try a few homeopathic treatments (read: witch doctor remedies) for gall stones. While I don't have a complete list, I think this consisted of:
1) Chugging olive oil and lemon juice.
2) Drinking kiwi-strawberry Kool-Aid through a straw, upside down while whistling Dixie. Note: This is even harder than it sounds.
3) Sacrificing virgin chickens to a pagan deity.
Sadly, none of these things worked. Come Tuesday night, she was in excruciating pain and couldn't down her oil'n'kool-aid cocktail. It was thus decided that she would head to the doctor the next day.
Once there, the doctor immediately decided that the strange little organ needed to be removed, a process that is known as a hepaticocholangiocholecystenterostomy. Ok maybe not exactly, but that's a really long word. You would think that something with a name that long would have a really long recovery time, but you would be wrong. The surgery is out-patient, and the doctor informed Becca that she could either rest and recover at home with 4 young children, or do it on the beach in Cancun. No-brainer, right?
After a successful hepaticocholangiocholecystenterostomy that afternoon, we headed to the airport early the next morning (yes, less than 12 hours after surgery, Becca was on a plane). Please note that if you ever have the occasion to travel with a person in a wheelchair, provided you are not the person in the wheelchair, it is a pretty sweet deal. We breezed through security and, once in Mexico, customs. It was pretty fantastic. Of course, there is the minor detail of Becca sitting in the back of the plane, drugged up and in excruciating pain, but if I had the choice, I would have her do it again.
Renting a car proved to take about as long as the flight from Salt Lake. This is one interesting thing about Cancun - everyone is constantly trying to sell you on a timeshare presentation of some sort. If you go to get some Advil from the pharmacy, they try to get you to take a sunset cruise or go snorkeling. When buying a taco from a street vendor you're likely to be pitched on a once-in-a-lifetime deal for a timeshare. So, after the rental car company spent at least an hour "cleaning" the car (which really means stalling until we bought the tickets to the outdoor adventure park), we finally headed out to our hotel. Here are a few highlights from the trip:
- Steve (Becca's husband who speaks Spanish and is 3/7ths Mexican) and I went golfing the second day we were there. While golfing, we caught up with an older couple that was playing super slow. We passed them, but later on in the round they came riding up to pass us, obviously done for the day. They were probably in their mid to late 60s, and looked like they had come right from a Grateful Dead concert. We asked them where they were headed, and he said they were heading for the bar. Except when he said it every other word was the f-bomb. So they rode off to the bar and we kept playing. About a half-hour later, we were teeing off and saw a cart way off in the distance. I thought it was a maintenance worker, but it turned out it was Capt. Salty and his wife. I asked why they weren't at the bar and he simply replied "Because we were smoking a joint!" with the requisite colorful adjectives. After declining his offer to roll us one, they rode off, giggling. I kinda like that retirement plan.
Playing Shanghai in our very own own Cabana.
- One morning we woke up to the sound of 20 ambulances screaming up and down the road outside the hotel. Looking outside the window, I saw that there were some bleachers that had been set up for a group picture for a company that was having a conference at the hotel. The top row of the bleachers was a good 15 feet off the ground. While taking the picture, the bleachers either just collapsed (entirely possible) or were rammed by the car that was sitting conspicuously next to the mangled bleachers with its hood dented in (more likely). Whatever the cause, a good many Unilever employees were taken to the hospital.
While leaving to head into town that morning, we passed a reporter and her cameraman milling about the scene. Steve leaned out the window while passing them and yelled out in gringo Spanish "We saw the whole thing happen, do you want an interview?" The reporter ran toward us so fast that her cameraman nearly fell over, but by the time she got to the car Steve had gunned the engine and sped off down the road, laughing maniacally. The reporter was crestfallen, her exclusive scoop turning out to be pretty much the comedic equivalent of "Made you look!".
- We had dinner at a restaurant that served Mayan food one night. Fortunately the staff was not Mayan, because otherwise we would not have been able to communicate with them because apparently they couldn't speak (ask Becca about this). The menus did however have some words and phrases in Mayan. Typically, when you are given a primer in another language on a menu, you could expect to find words or phrases like
"My name is ___"
"I would like a ___"
On this menu, you could find the following:
Ak - Dwarf
Al bo'ol - Cheating at payment
Bix - String Bean
Chakay - Sea lobster
Chak op - Bald
Etyum - Godfather
and my personal favorites for sheer randomness
Haha che-eh - Guffaw
T'uubul k'iin - Solar event
Pretty much all the words you need to order food at a restaurant. Provided you wanted to eat a your godfather, the bald sea lobster.
As far as phrases went, you could learn to say
'Bahun a hantantik ma'a hanal' (Why do you eat what is not yours?) or 'Tulacal baal yan tat, he baax a kat a hante; xectaba' (We have everything sir, whatever you want to eat, please sit).
Honestly, they couldn't even just put normal numbers on the menu. You can learn to say 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 15, 22, and 90. Truly beyond random, but it was amusing to call Em a dwarf and my little stringbean during dinner.
Bin k'iin, bo'ol chakay. Nak' lip'chi' kex. Et ok ak exex haha che'eh hach ah tus kanan way hanal kan.
Use this to translate the above caption.
- We wanted to go to see some ruins, but took a recommendation from my cousin to go see Ek Balaam rather than Chitzen Itza, as it is much less touristy. It was a great recommendation and we spent the better part of the morning cavorting in the ruins. (For reference, you cannot actually visit ruins unless you cavort. It's just not right.)
Note: do NOT attempt to use a tripod here. At least 15 Mexicans who were previously sitting around a table playing cards while people were spray painting on the ruins will run at you with guns drawn if you attempt to use it.
View from the top of the pyramid with our friend Snakeeyes the Canadian.
I'm not going to lie - I was hoping Indian Jones was going to come running out of one of these buildings.
I had no idea the Mayans could speak or used picket fences.
I'm fairly certain that this is nature's equivalent of a "Trespassers will be shot" sign.
- Em and I also spent a day playing on Cozumel. We rented a scooter and some snorkel gear and hung out at the beach all afternoon. Truly a blissful day.
I wonder what the menu said in this restaurant. Not at all random to have a Pagoda in the middle of a tiny Mexican town.
We came home to the thick inversion soup that we had last month and were immediately immersed back into the day-to-day circus that we call our life.
Finally, I'll leave you with a couple of funny Jane stories:
- Em, in an ever-escalating war to create the weirdest cakes for birthdays (we've had pandas and hippos so far), created a golf cake for me, complete with a dimpled golf ball and an Oreo hole. Jane, having helped make the cake, was quite aware of all that went into its creation. After getting her piece of the cake, she took a bite, then looked at Em and said 'Mom, when I was looking at the cake I thought it was going to be a 3, but after eating it I think it's definitely a 68.'
Fore... out of 10.
- Having just finished her bath, Jane came up to me in her towel and earnestly said 'Dad, why can't I chop off all of my fingers?' Ummm... because?
Allie really is smiling here. I am not kidding. We have to work on it.