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By Daphne Biener

Just back from Cancun. Per-fec-tion! Can’t you just see me? Lounging in a pre-reserved beach chair, rolling every fifteen minutes as my evenly bronzed bod demanded. Smoking one ciggie after another, putting down the precious puffs long enough to take long sips from a bottomless glass of Coke. Kiddies packed away in some corner of the hotel to whine and cry for some babysitter on our dime. No distractions but the boom box, which I played loud enough to drown out the crash of the surf, and shared selflessly with fellow vacationers up and down the strip.

And how about that food?! It’s so totally cool to travel to another country and eat in local restaurants every meal. The only problem? How to choose from the many enticing menus. In one square block we’ve got Rainforest Café, Hooters, Hard Rock Café, the Outback. Geez, I’ll be honest–by day three I couldn’t stomach the exotic stuff and this fearless family afoot in foreign lands settled in at the ever-familiar McDonalds.

What? Lose the sarcasm. Oh, come on – lighten up.

It is true. Last week we took our first family vacation. No weddings, no obligations, just the fab four of us in the sparkling waters of Mexico. We told ourselves Cancun may be a tad Americanized for our refined tastes, but with kids, we shrugged, it may work out easier with things a bit pre-packaged. Boy did I underestimate the packaging. Cancun is Twinkie upon Oreo upon Cheese Puff emerging from an oily bath in a deep fryer.

Cancun…how to describe this ultimate in vacation destinations? No, put down that Lonely Planet guide and let me tell you: Cancun is the twisted spawn of a tequila-fueled night of passion between Times Square and Vegas. And Miami. With ADD.

Overheard in line at customs (slurred): “Come on honey (some drunk is talking directly to my four-year-old, Acadia), take the $20 and let this nice lady cut in line.” Hardly a lady, just ask Acadia.

Overheard upon exiting the airport: Welcome to Cancun! Enjoy our beautiful beaches. You can smoke Everywhere! (Happy happy joy joy)

Overheard poolside: Well Vern (names have been changed to strengthen my point), we sure do have to make it to the Walmart at least once don’cha know.

Overheard (not really, I suppose, since the super-sized, ultra-bronzed, man-breasted urologist was addressing moi in his Midwestern whine): That’s my beach chair. My brother Roger is coming and he’s going to deal with you. My beach chair. MINE.

Overheard in response to my constant derision regarding Isla de Concrete: You know, Mom, everything you think is yucky is actually bee-yoo-tee-ful. Acadia has determined that there is in fact no place more wonderful than Cancun.

Read, online at tripadvisor.com, prior to our trip: “The helpful staff at Senor Frog’s did get my 18-year-old daughter to be hung by her ankles, given a shot of tequila and spun in circles while they shot her with compressed air…” How young is too young for that kind of family fun? Come on, those Italians start drinking wine with their kids still in diapers. Wine, tequila, upside-down, right-side up, why argue details when the object is good times with the family?

Oops, there I’ve gone and slipped into sarcastic mode again. Luckily my isn’t-that-glass -more-than-half-full hubby is always on hand to snap me out of my self-righteous revelry.

Overheard in bed besides said incredible guy: “This is success. Kira (our 7 year old) swam off after a sting-ray; Acadia listened to a giant parrot fish nibbling on a reef. We built castles softened by ocean spray and decorated them with seaweed earrings and seashell jewels. Look at all we have done this week, together. No one got sun burnt. No one got sick. The girls were too wiped by the end of each day to fight. We are really lucky, aren’t we?”

Well golly gee Beav, smear me with SPF and pass me a Pina Colada. Keep talking that way and you’ll suck all the witty sarcasm from my sails.

So yeah, we are pretty lucky. No need to get all mushy about it.

You can read more of Daphne’s work here on the mama bird diaries or visit her site, Sestina Queen.

8 Responses to concrete cancun

  • Kristen says:

    Thanks for making me laugh! It sounds as though you married the right guy. I appreciate you helping me to count my blessings.

  • JoLynn says:

    So, so true!!! But isn’t it nice to be able to actually go to a Walmart when the kid’s sandle’s get sucked up by the ocean and you need three new pair’s? LOL I LOVE it!! (Better than Florida!!)

  • sharon says:

    Thank goodness for those “better” halves. Great piece. Sounds like you guys found the silver (sand) lining in all that concrete.

  • Another mama in need of a vacation says:

    You are hilarious. I love this. I will not be planning any trips to Cancun. I’ve gotten my fill right here.

  • Lanie says:

    I am glad that you had fun and that the girls did not seem to notice the concrete at all! I will cross Cancun off the vacation to take list.

  • Kristen says:

    I was in a dressing room today and I heard two women talking about what one of them would wear on their trip to Cancun. I was giggling!

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