This is the hallway outside our room. If you're on your back from tequila, that is.

Previously we stayed in a building by the pool. This is the main building with the big restaurant and lobby, so it's more convenient. It has a no-place style I like - the disconnected abstract world of the special-access places. Airports, hotels, that sort of thing.

It was Thanksgiving, and the restaurant did their best. I suppose.

They had actual turkey, although it was mostly pillaged by the time we got there. The gravy was remarkably sweet, so no. Pecan pie? Well, there were pecan squares of some sort, with no syrup; tasted like dyed particle board. The best was "Pumpkin Cake," which was just white cake with orange food dye and no pumpkin flavor whatsoever. Mind you, I'm not ungrateful; it was nice that they tried, and no one was yelling about cultural appropriation.

That night I had the bar to myself, and I watched the Vikings, texting back and forth with the Giant Swede and the Crazy Uke.

Well, what did we do today?

It begins with the best meal you’re going to have, because it’s simple and made in front of you and guaranteed hot. An omelette with various peppers and onions. Sara had some pancakes fresh off the griddle, which is good because otherwise they’ll go in a pile under the lamps that not only don’t keep things warm, but seem scientifically designed to extract the heat. I probably said that last year.

Then the pool.

It is large. It has about half a dozen bobbing humans, captains-of-industry types with enormous guts. They are striding around in the water with a drink. Is it too early to drink? Not according to the people who took up residence next to me; they ordered cerveza por favor at 11:00, with one choosing that tropical favorite, the Tom Collins. They were joined by one guy who’d be the homely goofy horndog type in an 80s movie about young people in the 60s. They all talked about drinking. They were having an excellent time.

Water Aerobics started, and they watched an old guy (I should stop using that term; probably my age) who was leading the group in an exaggerated series of comic motions, housing weights which I assume were balloons. One of the Happy American Drinkers turned to me and said “We couldn’t do that, could we?” and I had no idea what he meant. Who’s this we? Are you incorporating me into your merry band and its various assumptions? I had to laugh and be a good sport, of course, so I said “well, unless those are 30-pounders, maybe not, but I think the weights probably weight six ounces and I’m pretty sure we could get them over our heads, ha ha”

Perhaps the implication was: since you’re here in the immobile group, you eschew such coordinated displays of motion.

I stayed for an hour, reading, although it was hard - made a bad decision to use an old iPad instead of the Kindle, and couldn’t see much - then went back up to the room. It wasn’t made up. Hmm.

Door knocks: it’s hosskeeping. Ah! I tell we need dos cafe, and the soap is empty. She seems confused and does not make any move to come in. I step back and wave her in. She does not enter, and in fact she leaves.

Hmm. Something I said?

This will, in the end, provide the day’s sole allotment of drama, as we shall see.

Well, best to leave, then. Next stop: the beach.











It’s on the other side of the resort, next to the Poseidon restaurant. You hang out there for a while then eat at the Poseidon, because Bog knows you’re starving again, even though you did naught. I just basked for a while, listening to the ocean, watching the people. The huge bearish men in long sleeve shirts with impossibly tiny little girls, the blindingly pale Business Dudes on their phone, the innumerable moms in suits with skirts, becalmed in their chairs reading the latest books. All very peaceable and perfect.

After Sara was done with two hours of exhausting tennis in the tropical heat, we had a brief lunch. The dinner reservation was for 6:30, so having a big lunch at 2 just wouldn’t do. One must think about these things.

Then I went to the gym, which is fantastically appointed and mostly deserted. Shall we take a walk?

Walk to Gym.mp4 from James Lileks on Vimeo.

The entrance is typical for the place. One enters as a GOD

Gosh, better make an appointment, or I'll never get a treadmill:

The view's nice.

One kid staring at his phone doing reps every eight minutes, if that. Another couple came in and seemed to be fussy about things, spending a lot of time figuring out whether to use this tiny weight or that tiny weight. Then attendant sat by the door and looked at his phone, except for the time when he went to the locker room and looked at his phone with another employee who was looking at his phone.

Back to the room. It hadn’t been made up. I don’t mind making the bed and having the same towels, but we were out of shampoo and soap, and I wanted to arrange a nap at some point. You cannot commit to a nap if there is the threat of HOSSKEEPING. So I went downstairs to the front desk - the second time, really; I omitted the fascinating story of going down the first time - to beg for service. Went back to the pool to join wife and have a banana daiquiri, the 4 PM indulgence that sets you on a nice glide path to the nap. Went back up at 4:45. Room had not been made up. Now I am considering a sternly worded review, because maybe they get alerts from Google and would send someone up promptly. But! There were five people in grey uniforms in the hall, and surely one of them could do something. I made imprecating gestures, and got lots of smiles and nods. Make gestures for soap and shampoo. Smiles and nods. Mental note: just learn Spanish already, make that the next project.

Went away to the pool to try a nap there, but thumpa-thumpa music from speakers hidden about the property made that impossible. I was kept from sleep in Mexico by Funkytown, a song from Minneapolis.

When I returned the room had been restored, and all was forgiven.

Odd sound all of a sudden: sirens. Policia? Ambulance? There are no urban sounds here. There’s the compressor, which they used to clean the stones every day at 5; there’s the skeeter-fogger. But otherwise just distant music. Hmm. (Note: this will be important later.)

We went to dinner at the fine Mexican restaurant in the Village. I was a bit trepidatious, since breakfast had been good and lunch had been good - what if supper was good as well? What if they’d upped the overall dining experience?

Great space:

And the food was really good. I had, in essence, the Bucket of Mexican Meat. Everything was flavorful. This augured well! The only thing that had been bad was now good. Off through the Village, a coffee at the pastry shop:







It's a nice space.

Then we went to our favorite spot, the waterside bar on the canal. An excellent electric guitarist was strumming in the corner - same guy who was there last year. He works all over the Village. One night the elevated bar, the next night on the street, the next on the stage behind the Chic theater.

Towards the end of his set a young American woman came up and wanted to sing. I gather it was her dream, and she might have been emboldened by the venue and a shot or two. She had the lyrics on her phone. He was able to keep up well enough, but there were two small problems: she would not stop, and she could not sing. At all. Did a lot of that Ricky-Lee-Jones scat-faking, then leaned heavily into the chorus in a way that managed to miss every correct note and land unsteadily on its neighbor. It went on for a long time and no one paid any attention, the new visitors to the bar thinking perhaps this was official entertainment and wondering why this grand exceptional place hired such a tuneless person.

Why do people who love to sing but cannot sing think they can sing? Don’t they hear themselves?

I went up at the end of the song-inflicting to compliment the guitarist on his work, and ask if he’d been here in March. But he was talking to the Yank Gal, and giving her encouragement. Yes, she had a good voice, lots of potential. She was thrilled! Really? He invited her to come to his next performance in the Village, at which point I thought it might be possible he’s being nice for ulterior motives. I know, I know, a guitarist trying to get into the short-short shorts of a tipsy young woman, what are the odds, but it’s possible.

So that was our day. Now, at 11:15 PM, there’s noise from the wedding party in the village. Another Indian wedding, like the last time we were here. I don’t mind. Partially because I discovered a new tequila and it seems to have extended a benediction of sorts, over everything. Your host is browned and happy. And so to bed.



Tomorrow: Sheik? No, Chic. below, the last of the Quasicomics. For now.



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