Hello everyone! I'm SOOOO excited to have seen Bethany's gorgeous ring - really bethy, it's SO cute! AND to read a little more about the details of this upcoming wedding (I TOTALLY vote for November... think how cute and skinny I'll be in November! I would be a rockin' hot bridesmaid...) SO I thought I'd write on my blog again :)
This morning (in about an hour and a half), I'm leaving for NY. I'm really sad to say goodbye to some of my friends here in Utah, but very very excited to be off to see the Cooks! Can't believe I'll get to hug them all tonight :) But first, I guess I'd better tell you about day 2 in Me-hee-co!
Jenny and I got up really early to catch the first tender boat to shore at just after 7am. When we got off at the piers, there were people holding up signs, and while we might have felt a little more comfortable heading for the person holding the 'shopping and sightseeing tour' card, we bravely headed over to the lady with the 'parasailing' card. There were 5 of us in this early parasailing slot - a young couple, jenny and me, and another girl called Mindy who couldn't find any friends to do it with her. Brave girl for coming anyway! The boat had two people on it - a driver and the guy who hooked us all up - and neither of them were named Jose/Hosea... sad!
As we heading out in the boat, I was still feeling pretty brave (I learnt to push fear down to the bottom of my tummy and jam a lid down hard over it in my piano performance days), but Jenny was looking a little green.
Tammy: Are you okay?
Jenny: No! I'm terrified!
Tammy: Why are you doing parasailing then?
Jenny: Because YOU wanted to!
Ahhhh. What a wonderful friend :) As we were driving out, they gave us a clipboard and had us fill out our names on the list. I wisely declined from writing my name in the number one spot (just this once) - I'm not stupid! I put my name in number three, and Jenny's in number four. Which meant we went AFTER the poor young couple who had to fill in slots 1 and 2. We could all decide to do it in tandem (pairs) or single. The couple decided to go tandem, J and I decided to go tandem, and Mindy was happy to go by herself. Right then!
The couple each got a (really small and not at all confidence inspiring) harness tied onto them (not clipped - tied), and then they were clipped to the horizontal bar and told to sit down on the patio at the back of the boat. Then they let the parachute go and the boat took off, and before long - wa-la! They were up in the air! As they were flying up through the air the driver was talking to the other guy about the fact that it was a fairly low-wind day, which got us a little worried. I asked if he was sure it was okay for Jenny and I to go up in tandem, or if it would be better to go singly, since I didn't want to die by 'falling from a great height'. The captain reassured me by saying 'It's okay. If weight is too heavy, I will draw the line'. That made me feel much better, until he pulled out a massive knife and held it, with a massive grin, against the main line holding the couple up in the air. THAT'S when I realized he'd said 'It's okay. If weight is too heavy, I will CUT the line'. Hahahahahha. NOT funny :)
Minutes later Jenny and were put in our (skimpy) harnesses and tied to the bar and sent to sit on the back of the boat. I only had time to give the captain a stern look and a 'no knives!' before we were suddenly sailing waaaaaay up in the air. It was AWESOME! Soooo much fun. They views were stunning, and the ride was just so wonderful. It took about 15 minutes all up - 6 up at the 600ft altitude, and the rest going up and coming down again. And it was so fun to have Jenny with me up there so we had something to talk about:
Tammy: This is AMAZING!
Jenny: Can you see any sharks down there? I really don't want to see any sharks.
Tammy: Look! It's the arches! And the ship - see our ship?!
Jenny: Wait, I see a shark! Oh, wait, no, it's nothing.
Tammy: Everything is sooo beautiful!
Jenny: I really don't want to be eaten by a shark... I hope they don't land us in the water by accident
Tammy: This is AWESOME!
It's always good to have someone to share things with :) My favourite moment was when Jenny pointed at the ocean and shrieked "Look at that MASSIVE octopus! Oh my goodness! That's HUGE!" with a tone that inferred impending doom. It took me a second to realize that she was pointing at the shadow of the parachute down on the water. I DIED laughing! I laughed SO hard I almost feel out of my harness (but I remembered my promise to Brecken that I'd make it in NY, so I stopped). Jenny started laughing too when I pointed it out to her. Her octopus was indeed 'huge', and a perfect circle except for the weird looking tail (the shadows of the two of us hanging from the parachute). Good times. All too soon it was over and they were reeling us back in. But we're so glad we did it.
After that, we had a couple of hours to kill before we met up with Peta and Brandon and P & J's friend Jen (not to be confused with Jenny), for the jetskiing. So Mindy came with us as we wandered through the markets. The markets were really fun, and there was a lot of cool stuff to see (as well as an awful lot of junk). But those street vendors are sooo scary for a person who has trouble saying no! Jenny and Mindy kept realizing I wasn't with them and backtracking to find me being held hostage by a man or women who were insisting I buy whatever trinket I'd accidentally looked at for a second too long :) I was doing my best to say 'no', but I realized after I while that I just had to not engage any of them in conversation, or they never let you go! I don't always want to buy something when I pick it up to have a better look or ask 'how much'!
The bartering system was in full swing there too (which again, I found much more terrifying then 4-wheeling or parasailing). They'd start at 15 dollars, and by the time I was being dragged away they'd be yelling 'one dollar! one dollar!' and trying to press the object into my hands. My favourite thing about the market was the call that they all used (that I quickly got used to) of 'It's free! It's practically free!' to try and get our attention. At one point, I stopped and said 'really? how much?'. When they replied 'Eight dollars', Jenny snorted in derision and dragged me away with a 'that's not practically free. 2 dollars is practically free'. Which meant, of course, that they followed me for another 20 metres yelling 'fine! 2 dollars!'. And they ALL use guilt too. Ooodles and oodles of guilt. Especially the ladies. When you say 'no, thankyou', they look at you as if you've just murdered every child they have, and are burning down their house. I kept having to recite 'I didn't murder anyone' as I was being dragged away - I'm not good with guilt!
SO it was a fun morning :) We had a late breakfast together (SOOOO good) before we met up with the others for lunch. I was too full to eat anything, but I ate lunch anyway becuase the food is SOOOO good in Mexico :)
Now, the afternoon is where things started to go a little awry! Every other activity we'd down (much to the derision of certain people), Jenny and I had booked through the ship. Everyone told us it was much cheaper to book with the men standing on the shore. But because I'm my fathers daughter, I just felt more comfortable trusting my parasailing self to the legitimate company the ship recommended. Well, we were throwing caution to the wind with the jetskiing - because let's face it a) we were running out of money, and b) how badly wrong can jet-skiing go? By the time we got back on the ship in the afternoon, we were very grateful for all the other times we'd booked through the ship :)
Jenny and I had scouted out a fellow named Francesco during our shopping hours, and we had booked in 3 jetskiis (2 doubles and 1 single) for a small group later that afternoon. We'd each given him a $5 deposit (he wanted $10, but we said '$5' - haha!). So that was set for 1pm, and we'd only have 2 hours, because the last tender service for the day left at 3:15pm, and we didn't want to get left in Mexico (which actually happened to one of the girls in our group on a previous cruise - ahhh). So we all set off to see Francisco and get our jetskiis. Unfortunately, we had been going by the time on our watches (ship time), and Francisco had been going by Mexican time - so we were an hour late and the guy who was supposed to pick us up in a little boat and take us to a beach that had all the jetskiis had already gone.
Francisco didn't want to let us down though. So he started fast-Spanish-talking, and got us into a water-taxi. First we had to pay a 'pier tax' that we'd never heard of before though - which is when we started to worry. We got in the water taxi - which didn't look safe - and the driver was eating his (delicious looking) lunch. We sat there for about 15 minutes while he finished it... clearly he wasn't in a hurry like we were! We were a little relieved with Francisco got in the taxi with us right before it left ("ahh! Francisco! We're glad you're coming with us, thank you!" "Of course! I have to make sure you get back on time, and that you get the ride you want" etc. etc.).
So we taxi over to a beach. Now, the interesting thing about these Cabo beaches is that they're incredibly steep. 5 feet into the water, the water's up over your head. Which makes for some crazy surf right there on the beach. There's no water, then there's a massive wave crashing over your head. Well, we get about 5 - 10 feet from the shore, and the taxi drive says 'okay, jump out'. That's when I remembered the cruise director talk from the first night, where he says 'don't get into any water taxis. They can't take you to shore, and will make you jump out'... We just hadn't realized that it was a dodgy water taxi since we were going through a tour company... granted, it was Francisco's tour company...). Well, Francisco and the driver argued back and forward for a good five minus in Spanish, before Francisco lost the argument. He jumped overboard in between swells, so he only landed in water up to his knees and raced ashore pulling the boat behind him. Jen (P & J's American friend) was next. The poor girl looked terrified, but she threw her bag to Francisco, held her shoes in one hand, and leaped overboard. Again, she'd timed it pretty well, and was only in water up to her knees before she scrambled up the shore. So that left Jenny, Peta, Brandon and I hovering in this terribly rocky boat waiting for the opportunity to jump overboard (there was a part of me wondering how we'd ever get back INto a boat, but since I was being adventure tammy in mexico....)
Suddenly the driver started shouting at us, and we didn't know what he was saying - and then a huge wave hit the boat, and we DID know what he'd been saying. We crashed backwards into the boat, and Jenny was the one worst hit - she fell into the very bottom of the boat (about 1.5 metres) and slammed into the metal side of the bottom - bad bruising the next day - poor poor girl! At this point, the driver decides it's too dangerous, and starts driving away - leaving Francisco and Jen on the beach! We tried to talk to him, but he ignored us, so we just waved good by to Francisco and Jen. Oh, and I laughed. At that point, what else was there to do!
The driver goes a little way down the beach, decides it's safer, and makes us all jump out! Very scary, but we completely wet by the time we got to shore but our bags weren't too wet, so we decided it was a success. We start running down the beach towards Francisco and Jen, and they're running up the beach towards us. Took us about 20 minutes to reach each other. By this time, it's a little after 2pm, and we told Francisco that as much as we'd wanted to go Jetskiing, we still weren't anywhere near the jetskiis and we only had an hour or get back to the tender docks, so we'd better just give up. He looked very sad (darn that guilt!), and said "I guess I'd better give you back you're money then', and handed us back the roll of money we'd all contributed too - $180 all up I think. We gave him back $40, because he really had tried to give us a good ride, and because we're the ones who'd messed up the time originally, and because his guilt trip was working. Brandon tried to give him a little more as a tip, but Francisco refused to take anymore money, and we all thought 'what a decent guy!'.
Francisco said it would be a 45 minute walk back to the tender dock, so we'd just make it. We were soaking wet though, and it didn't seem like too much fun. Suddenly a guy appears and starts talking to Francisco. They guy had a uniform on, so we felt okay about that. He offered to give us all a banana boat road for $10. I'd never been on a banana boat before, but it's basically a long tube with handles, and you straddle it like a horse, and get dragged behind the boat. When he offered to drop us off on the beach NEXT to the tender pier, I was sold! Here was a way to salvage our afternoon and at least do SOMETHING fun :) Brandon was too scared we'd miss the boat and decided to walk back with Francisco, but us four girls were game. So we waded out into the surf again (no one comes to you on the beaches in Cabo) with our bags held up above our heads, and swam over to the boat. Then we dragged the banana boat part into shallow water, and climbed on. I was somehow the one in front - if we hadn't been in such a hurry, I may have realized I didn't want to be sitting there...
The speed boat took off, and we grasped those handles for dear life! I started yelling something about a lifejacket, at which point the driver slowed down and came alongside us to throw them over to us. We barely had time to get them only properly before he took off again. Seriously - it was terrifying! Fun - but only with the right attitude, because actually, it was terrifying! We were bucking around back there like some crazy rodeo, and the driver was driving like Bethy! Ahhh! The waves weren't small either, so we were up and down up and down! And he took us right out to sea - past the cruise ships and everything. Suddenly, he turns back around and gives me this crazy grin as he turns super fast. I barely had time to register the "He's going to throw us into the water" before all four of us were thrown into the ocean. We came up gasping for air, and in shock! I looked at the startled faces of the other 3 girls and then burst out laughing. We all looked so shocked! hahaha! We bobbed up and down in the ocean waiting for him to bring the banana boat back before we realized that we were supposed to swim to it. So we did. We got there, and spent about 4 or 5 minutes getting the boat back up the right way, and then set about trying to get back ON the boat. Really hard! Finally, we realize that with all of us on the one side, the boat would keep turning over, so two of us swam to the other side to steady it, only, when I got there, I realized only one of us was there to steady the boat on that side.
It's okay. I mean, I couldn't see anyone, I couldn't reach any of the handles because they were up too high, and Jenny swore she saw 5,000 sharks during our parasailing excursion, but it's all good. I got yanked up out of the water several times and slammed back in as the girls tried to get into from the other side. Eventually Peta made it back up. Then she tried to help Jen ("pull her up by the life jacket" screams the driver.
Oh goodness - I'm running out of time (we need to leave soon), but sufficeth to say that it took us about 15-20 minutes to get us all up on that banana boat, and I have seriously never laughed so hard in my life. The driver was just dying laughing for most of that time (though not once did he come and help us!). As the brave Australian least afraid of sharks (haha), I was the last one out of the water, And I was grateful that neither Fancisco or Brandon had joined us, because no male should ever see four girls looking so completely ungraceful. As Jenny was trying to pull me up, for example, she did so by grabbing my shorts and pulling, which did nothing to get me back up on the boat, and everything to make it difficult for me to walk once we got back to shore. At the same time, Peta's grabbing my bottom and pulling for dear life - all the while apologizing that she was grabbing my bottom, and I'm screaming 'that's okay, just pull!'. And Jen had my life jacket, and in an attempt to pull me up was essentially pulling it off - of of course pulling me in a different direction from both Peta AND Jenny. And the whole time, we were all laughing SO hard. We had to keep stopping because we were laughing so hard.
Eventually, we got back on, and the driver (who'd obviously gone way over his time limit) was too scared of us falling back in again to driver like Bethany. He drove like Dad all the way back to the shore. There was a minor incident when we realized that our bags were all in the boat, and the boat couldn't get in close to the shore. He started telling us his uncle had a tender boat, and he'd get our bags to the ship, but we told him we'd give him a life jacket back every time he gave us one of our bags, and that sorted that out.
By the time Brandon made it to the tender pier, us four girls were already sitting on the tender boat. And we were still laughing. So the afternoon was essentially a disaster, and Jenny and I were grateful that we'd stuck to our guns and only gone through the ship for our other tours... but still - we had a marvelous time, and will talk about that afternoon for a long time to come.
Okay - I have to go. Still in my pajamas here, and we're leaving VERY SOON!
Ahhhh! Talk to you all again when I'm in NY with the COOKS!
PS. OH! And that night, when we were counting up the money Francisco had given us so we could all take back our money, we found $25 missing. The scoundral had taken it before he gave our money back! We're stupid for not counting it of course, but it was all in a roll like when we gave it to him, and we were all in such a hurry! No wonder he wouldn't take any more money than the $40. He was feeling GUILTY! hahah :)
PPS. Sorry - haven't had time to proof read - hope it's okay!