We bask in the sun and the warm sandy shade, taking pictures of palm trees against a background of clear blue sky and sparkling blue ocean, reading books when we drain the batteries on our phones. The hotel photographer stops by daily, taking photos of The Child next to someone in a giant red Valentine Heart costume one day, glamour shots on the beach another.
We take breaks to explore the resort’s various buffets, which offer a seemingly endless variety of food that turns out to be exactly the same, but we don’t mind, and I see The Child eating more food, and more variety of food, than she has in a very long time. Each evening, we return to our room, where we are greeted by towel sculptures and neatly made beds, and order room service and different pillows to nestle against as we relax with Netflix and a book.
We take pictures of the towel sculptures each morning, before we disassemble them to use.
By the second afternoon, we are done exploring the resort, and ready to explore Mexico. We borrow bicycles from the hotel and head into town, where we discover people frolicking in a marina with dolphins, and photograph a billboard for a tour company called Local Quickies, but there’s not much else, so we return to our hotel. We check with a travel agent, and find a tour that suits both of us: A morning exploring archaeological sites, followed and an afternoon snorkeling and ziplining in seaside caves. Then we head for the spa, where I reserve massages for the day after, to help us recover from the snorkeling and ziplining and history.
The bus picks us up at the hotel, and we are joined by an Australian couple on their honeymoon, who are friendly and chatty, and a group of American college students, who aren’t. We wander among the Mayan seaside temples, and The Child is mostly bored, until I almost step on an iguana, which prompts gales of laughter. She borrows my camera and takes photos of the ruins, and later, we stand together on a cliff above the ocean, and she organizes a flattering selfie of both of us, together.
She runs ahead of me out of the archaeological park, and I find her at a monkey sanctuary just outside the gate, feeding bits of tortilla to lemurs and snapping pictures with her phone. She shows them to me excitedly as we walk back to the bus, but as we approach the parking lot, we are stopped by a couple, who hand The Child a massive, colorful iguana to pose with, and allow me to take her picture upon payment of five American dollars.
Please text me that picture, I ask her, and she promises she will, but now we can see everyone else is already waiting at the bus, for us, so we run to catch up.
Getting into the caves is more frightening than The Child expects, and ziplining is less frightening than I expect, but after a bit of encouragement, we help each other into safety harnesses and coast over the treetops, splash land in water, and smile for group photos with people we don’t know any better at the end of the day than we did at the beginning. At the end of the tour, we sit in a tent for a homemade Mexican lunch. I desperately want the recipe for the spicy chicken and empanadas that The Child devours two helpings of, but in the end, I have to settle for offering compliments to the cook through an interpreter.
As we leave, I stop to purchase photos of the day, dozens of them on a flash drive, along with video proof of our brave adventures. The Child asks if she can share the video with her friends, and I say Of Course and remind her to send me the photo of the iguana and the selfie on the cliff, and she promises she will.