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Archive for "Travel"

Dinner at Cantina Los Faroles

Posted on December 9, 2019 by under Food and Drink, Travel.    

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Our first dinner experience at Hotel Xcaret was at Cantina Los Faroles, one of literally a dozen amazing restaurants at the resort.

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The restaurant had a fun ambiance and some really unique touches like hundreds of lanterns hanging from the ceiling and saddle bar stools.

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Brian said they are surprisingly comfortable.

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I took pics of the fancy menu.

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Here’s the specialty drink menu.

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Here are some pics of our food.

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The food might have been a tad too frou frou for our group. LOL. Everything was beautifully plated and just so fancy.

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The restaurant is so fancy that they have a man who comes to each table and makes fresh guacamole. You get to tell him what you want in it.

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Here’s a quick table selfie.

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The night we were there, they had this wonderful all female mariachi band performing. These ladies were amazing!

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We had a great experience on our first day overall with our late lunch at El Mercado, some late night swimming, and then our delicious dinner at La Cantina. Come back for more vacation recap next time. Until then, GNG.

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Post Birthday Trip To Mexico Part 3

Posted on December 8, 2019 by under Travel.    

Here are the resort photos I promised. First one is a pic of the Trajinera pool.

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Here we are enjoying the pool on our first night.

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Brian with Becca, Justin, Tina, and Jay.

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Jay, Becca, Tina, Justin, and me.

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Tina and Justin.

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A few more night swimming pics.

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Enjoying the semi-private pool outside our room.

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View of our swim-up room from the pool.

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Amazing views from the rooftop pool of our building.

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Rooftop pool selfies.

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Looking down at the lagoon from the rooftop pool deck.

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Here’s the view of the Espiral from the rooftop pool.

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Brian and I got some pictures up close when we were exploring one night.

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Speaking of exploring, here are a few more pics from just us walking around and exploring the resort grounds.

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Views from our table on the patio of Fuego Restaurant.

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Here’s Brian at the table.

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Jay and Becca at the bridge.

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Views from the bridge.

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Pics of various spots around the resort.

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That is all for now. More trip recap next time. GNG.

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Post Birthday Trip to Mexico Part 2

Posted on December 7, 2019 by under Travel.    

This post is all about the food at El Mercado. El Mercado is a buffet unlike any other. It’s set up to look like a marketplace — except you don’t pay for anything. Delicious food was in abundance and we enjoyed a lot of it. Here are some pictures of El Mercado, our go-to place for meals throughout our stay.

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This amazing fruit stand greets you as you enter and it is always well-stocked.

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The restaurant has lots of neat touches like fresh food in baskets and pinatas hanging from the ceiling.

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Though busy making food, the staff was always friendly, helpful, and ready to answer questions and offer their assistance.

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There were multiple stations with fresh fruits and vegetables.

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In the morning, there is a panero (Spanish for “bread man”) that goes from table to table to offer you delicious bread.

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It’s always really hard to choose because everything looks amazing.

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They also have a pancake and waffle station.

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In the evening, there’s a street taco stand.

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The dessert station always has so many options.

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This place didn’t just give you little pieces of desserts. They gave you full-sized ones!

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I even found some handmade chocolate!

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On one of the days, they had these ladies making fresh tortillas for the tacos.

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On another night, there was a marquesita stand.

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Here’s a video of my marquesita being made.

El Mecado was just one of several amazing restaurant options at Hotel Xcaret. I know I said I would post more pics of the resort but I might save those for last because I want to share some pics of all the food that we enjoyed first. More restaurant pics next time! Until then, GNG.

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Post Birthday Trip to Mexico Part 1

Posted on December 2, 2019 by under Travel.    

For my birthday this year, I managed to convince Brian to travel to Mexico with the Vacay with Jay Jay crew. It’s quite exciting because Brian has always been super paranoid about Mexico (based on stories from former coworkers who lived there) and vehemently against traveling there for vacation. We’ve been to Cozumel, Mexico via cruise ship but we’ve never flown there and stayed at a resort because he’s always been very afraid of being ripped off, mugged, abducted, or worse – murdered – because there’s supposedly a lot of violence and criminal activity. I’ve never been worried about this because the best resorts (about the only places he would even consider) provide transportation to and from the airport. I didn’t think we would ever be in any danger. This time we had two other couples on the trip (the Huntees and the Dills) and I suppose it’s quite a special birthday (we were going with the group but also the trip was what I wanted for my second 21st birthday). This was the year he actually caved and gave in.

We’d heard of people vacationing in Mexico for less than $1000 because of all the fabulous deals to be had. That was not the case with this trip. The place we stayed at was relatively new (only two years old) and in such high demand — we paid a lot. But, as you’ll see from the pics, the place was worth every penny.

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We’re going to start our recap at the Wichita airport. As always, Brian had us there two hours before our flight which was completely ridiculous. The airport wasn’t even open yet! I tried to tell him but he wouldn’t listen.

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There was not a soul there. I really could have slept an hour longer but instead we were at the airport at the butt crack of dawn waiting for airport security to open. All of the time wasted waiting at the airport is probably one of the worst parts about traveling with Brian (the other bad parts are his incessant paranoia and constant worrying — the man just cannot relax). I often joke that had we traveled together when we were dating, we probably wouldn’t have ended up getting married. He is such a pain to travel with!

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We traveled with the Huntees — Justin and Tina Huntington. I suppose they are smiling because they didn’t have to get up as early as we did. They arrived at the gate just as First Class passengers were getting boarded so they walked right on. They didn’t have to wait at all. I told Brian that, next time we travel with these guys, I am spending the night at their house so I can ride with them to airport and not have to get up stupid early only to have to wait for two hours in an uncomfortable seat at the airport when I could have been still sleeping!

Anyway, the Dills didn’t travel with us because they were already in Mexico on a work thing. They basically just extended their trip so the six of us could hang out.

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The place that we stayed at is called Hotel Xcaret. Our arrival was actually delayed almost two hours because we missed our connection in Dallas. Our plane left Wichita late because the de-icer wasn’t working and they had to get another de-icer truck. Thankfully, the four of us were able to get on the next flight out to Cancun so it wasn’t too bad of a delay.

Once we arrived in Cancun, we made a beeline for the transportation pickup outside. The Dills were already there. Rather than paying for a special transfer from the other resort they stayed at for the first part of the trip to Hotel Xcaret, they took the free/included transfer from their resort to the airport and then just hopped on the Hotel Xcaret bus. It worked out great because the six of us were able to ride to the resort together.

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When you arrive, the first thing that you notice, besides the grand lobby, is the amazing smell. Brian thinks the fragrance comes from the hanging plants which are not only decorative but also serve a purpose. No matter where fragrant aroma comes from, I loved the walking through the lobby because of the wonderful spa-like smell. It’s very relaxing.

We splurged on an ocean-front swim-up room just ’cause. I mean, how often does one turn 21 really? Well, this will be my second 21st birthday technically but the first time I couldn’t afford to travel to another country. LOL.

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Here are some pictures of our amazing accommodations.

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Upon entering the suite, you’re immediately drawn to the amazing view of the ocean outside. Though you only see one hammock in this photo, you actually get two (one for each person).

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You can see the other hammock hanging in the corner in this next photo.

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Here’s a pic of Brian and me enjoying the hammocks.

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And a pic of just Brian. It’s nice that we each got our own.

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While the view outside is magnificent, the interior of the room is equally impressive. We found the bed comfortable and the rest of the furnishings very nice.

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There’s a small round table next to the bed and a bigger one by the sliding door. The glass table (pictured below) is perfect for enjoying some room service.

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We never did get room service (even though it was free/included) but the butlers did leave us some delicious cakes a couple of times.

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I didn’t get a pictures of the luxurious hooded robes and comfy slippers that the resort provides but I did take a pic of the water bottles. The place is so eco-friendly that, instead of providing you with water in disposable plastic bottles, they have water in reusable glass bottles. The bottom of each bottle has a bottle opener. It’s a very elegant and ingenious way of avoiding excess plastic waste.

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Another special touch that I appreciated is the tray of treats that they provide in the room which gets replenished daily. The mazapan candy was my absolute favorite because it reminded me polvoron.

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The free facial kit that I found on one of the bathroom shelves was also a nice surprise. The kit contained a small tube of scrubbing face gel, SPF30 sunblock, moisturizer, and eye contour gel.

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Besides that, the resort also provides everything you could possibly need in the drawer beneath the sink. All the stuff was natural, including the wooden comb and toothbrush (the bristles were not made of wood — LOL).

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The toothbrushes actually came in handy on our departure day because we had already packed ours in our suitcase.

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Every night, you got surprise candy from the housekeeping staff. That was a nice treat as well. We also got a keepsake bag and little hand-woven baskets that the treats came in. There were so many thoughtful touches. They even provided you an umbrella to use on rain days.

Our room was was super nice and the rest of the resort was equally impressive. I will post some pics of the property in the next blog. Until then. GNG.

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Final Day in Orlando

Posted on August 17, 2019 by under Travel, Zumba.    

Brian and I got some much needed pool time after the ZINCON closing session.

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It was a hot one!

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Afterwards, we went to our favorite restaurant, the Pub Orlando, for dinner. We had our first and last meals in Orlando there. We love it that much!

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Bumped into DJ Dani on our way back from dinner.

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With Renee and Kizzy from Soca Xplosion.

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They packed up super quick. By Sunday afternoon, there was no trace of ZINCON in sight. The stage, the window clings, the signage — all gone.

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Pictures of the beautiful Hilton Orlando lobby. Hotel was great. Resort pool was great. Still not a fan of the long walk to the Hyatt. LOL.

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