I just sat down at the lobby bar in the Grand Palladium lobby and got a big smile and a handshake from Valentin.

“Welcome back, my friend.”

“It’s good to be back. We’re over at TRS this time, but I had to come here for your coffee. The best coffee in Mexico.”

“Americano, negro?”


And he makes typing movements with his hands. “And now you work.”


It is a damned good cup of coffee. I mean it.

When I said I was over at TRS and was coming here to Grand Palladium lobby, what I was really saying was “I’m slumming, just for your Joe.” TRS Coral is the adults-only portion of the resort, and it has a curious admission built in: they say the restaurants are the uppermost & toppermost, which is to say “yeah, the stuff in the Village can be a crap shoot. Literally, the next day.” The service is better, which is to say, they know the stuff in the regular resort’s a bit lax.

Regular resort: you ask for your fridge to be stocked, and they say “Five minutes,” and you know it’s the Mexican five minutes. You ask here and they say five minutes and it is actually five minutes. Because we have a butler. A fargin’ butler. He came to our room and sat down and walked us through the dinner options, made our reservations, handled a couple of issues about wife’s tennis and the availability of an iron. There was a short quick firm push to join the Palladium Travel Club, but I am an unmovable object about the subject and kindly put all thoughts out of the representative’s head.

The room is very nice, alhough it has a huge amount of space dedicated to the wet-clothes drying rack, aka the whirlpool tub.

The view:

Well then.

No water in plastic bottles for us: nothing but glass!

It's a Coke brand.

It's all black and angular and watery:

It’s much like the hoi-polloi place, but smaller. More exclusive!!!! Otherwise, I mean, it’s a chair in the sun. The beach is closer, though, and there’s a private TRS entrance and area, although - get this - it is has its own special tier, defining yet another zone of exclusivity within the zone of exclusivity.

Our own walk to the beach.

I like it here.


The first night we had no reservations, and ate at Helios, the “Mediterranean Beach Club.” The food was noticeably better. Stuffed and content, we went to the TRS lobby bar and shot some pool, which ended up as these things always do with amateurs: all balls sunk except the 8 and one of each, endless shots, scratches, and so on. Then a magic show for a small audience, and I felt bad for the guy. He was doing close-up magic, good work that got better as it went along, and everyone’s sitting too far away. Some nice patter, bright can-do spirit, and an absolutely killer closing trick.

We were asked to get out our phones. He asked people for special years, or favorite numbers, random things. We multiplied them. This was done four times. Then he chose a guy from the audience, had him hit minus, turn his phone upside down and stab at the keypad randomly without seeing what he was hitting. We were asked to enter the number and subtract. When we had a final number he walked to an envelope that had been taped to the speaker since he began his routine, and opened it up. It was the number.


I quickly took a picture, because I thought I knew what was coming, and I was right.


And I would be proven right in seconds: TRS CORAL.



So. I have no idea. Obviously (heh, like I know) He chose a number that could look like TRS CORAL upside down, then applied some secret magician stuff that worked backwards to a number he probably started with, and we didn’t remember that he seeded the number in the first place. That’s all I have. Afterwards we told him it was fantastic and it was too bad the audience was so far away but we enjoyed it and would give him a good review on Yelp. Plucky kid. Wish him well.

Blessed sleep. Solid.








Up to the new breakfast place. No more the tense omelette line. Now it’s all to order. The croissants do not seem as if they were unearthed from Tut’s tomb: big plus.

Books and vases, and if that's not enough, plenty of lanced transparent vases. They're huge - this display is 20 feet tall,.

Wife off to tennis, me to the pool, then off to the beach to do what I live to do a couple times of year: Just walk into the ocean. It slaps you, it’s cold, then it’s not so cold, then you move deeper, and it’s cold again, but then it rolls over you and it’s not so cold, and you acclimate until the two of you have an understanding and you know it all goes out from here around the planet, another world with a shared border in eternal conversation and conflict. DEEP, MAN

No actually it's about five feet, then it drops off.

Lunch at Poseidon. Hurrah: they have fixed the coffee machine! Ah drat: no. The Americano button produced a cup of hot water, followed by a diluted dribble of coffee. A waiter swinging by said that wouldn’t do, and took another cup, put it under the spout and pressed “Espresso.”

Okay I guess. Is the Americano broken?

Did not compute. He removed the cup by the handle and gave it to me, and I took it, whereupon he became a bit distressed that I would thus burn myself.

Well how do you expect me to take it? I thought, but I reassured him.

Went back for second cup, and there was a waiter filling up some frothy coffee drinks.

“Is the Americano broken?” I asked. He said no, took my cup, put it under the spout, and pressed “Espresso Lungo.”

“Is the Americano broken?” No. “Is that for me?” Yes. “But . . . I was getting an Americano.”

“You don’t like espresso?”

“Yes, I love espresso. Americano is an espresso with hot water.”

So he took the cup and poured half out and said “You want hot water?”

Thorough gritted teeth and a happy happy smile I said “What I want, is to select my own coffee. Thank you but I know how to work this machine.”

Well, young kid, well-meaning. He had braces studded with rhinestones. Never seen that before.

Then the gym. The attendant had instant recognition when he saw me, gave me a fist bump and said “welcome back my friend, good to see you.” Can’t tell you how good that feels. I did a long long stride on the machine, but it wasn’t showing Iceland this time, so I didn’t see . . .

Who? You remember! Or not. Who was I expecting to see?

Tomorrow, perhaps.

NEXT: sure disaster, since it’s White Dress-up Night, and we’re eating at an Italian joint. Which reminds me: on the way to the hotel in the car, Wife wanted to remove a slight stain from her blouse.

“Do you have any of those Shout packets by any chance?” She said, and I produced one with a single zip and dip into my bag.

“Boy Scout,” she said. “Always prepared.”

“Thirteen years of family traveling,” I said. “You don’t know how long I’ve lived for this moment.”

LATER: No sauce mishaps, and the dinner was good. We took a look at the "Urban" show at the Teatro:

More the same flailing and pouting, with a motormouth emcee who repeats everything at the same speed back Spanish. We came late, but I presume we were supposed to vote for our favorite Urban Dance Team. Not having seen the whole show, we seemed ill-informed to judge it all.

Then the White Party - everyone had been advised to wear white, and all met in the main plaza to line dance. It ended up entirely composed of Spanish mothers, mostly young and well-appointed, some holding infants as they did the steps. Sara enjoyed watching, but after a while the appeal diminished enough for her that she too wished to move along.

And then a nice stroll through the elegant gardens, music playing from everywhere, and deep into sleep.

Tomorrow: could it be . . . NAUGHTY BINGO AGAIN?