It’s Oh So Quiet. And Rainy.

We just got back from Club Med Ixtapa.  Here goes.

There is no alcohol and no conditioner to be had at Club Med Ixtapa. I’ll just start there.  There is alcohol on display, right there behind the bar, but it doesn’t seem to make it into the drinks.  I probably drank 85 pina coladas, because that’s what you do when you have paid for an all-inclusive vacation.  It’s free! you think, completely forgetting that it wasn’t free at all…you just pre-paid for it. What they don’t tell you is that the all-inclusive drinks are so weak that what you have really signed up for is all you can drink Jamba Juice.  Another Mango a-go-go smoothie por favor!

Choosing a dollar sign over the usual fairies, hearts, rainbows, at the face painting station, Ivy inadvertently reminds me how much this is all costing.

My hair in humid/wet weather looks like every infomercial before picture for every hair styling aid ever marketed. Does your hair look like this? Are you tired of the frizz, the split ends, the really disappointing vacation? This is made worse by the lack of conditioner. Oh there is plenty of sunscreen and assorted lotions and anti itch cream and after sun lotion from the resort store. But there is no conditioner. “Your hair looks like cotton candy,” Hazel said. Gracias!

As it is a family resort, there are lots and lots of kids, some of them better behaved than others. There was a family of four small boys, all of them terribly behaved.  The youngest of these four, ALEX!! (I know his name because his mother was constantly shouting it) smacked Clyde in he face the first day, as Clyde stood in line for ice cream. I didn’t really believe Clyde at first when he came back to the dinner table, his face red with tears. “A baby just hit me,” he said and I, (familiar with Clyde’s general sensitivity and aptitude for wigging out over absolutely everything) was like seriously dudea BABY beat you up? But then I saw said baby hit another kid in the face the next day…just walk up to him and slap him.  His siblings were just as bad.  I watched them upend the craft table, ransack the resort store and fling paper all over the rec room. Their mother looked apologetic, but their father was too busy videotaping his children’s antics to actually notice the damage they were doing. Did you film that little shit hitting kids in the face? I wanted to ask him.  I didn’t though.  I just watched them all, a whirling tornado of awful and thought well, they’ll either all end up in jail or working in finance.

The rain. My god, the rain.  It rained heavily the entire time we were there, except the day we arrived – a cruel tease. The novelty of heavy tropical rain is exciting, but does not sustain a seven day trip and by the third day we were mostly out of clothes, because nothing really ever got dry.

I'm swiiimmmmming in the rain. I'm swiiimmmmming in the rain.

Our fellow tourists tried to make the most of it.  Chad from Oregon, moved quickly through the stages of grief and by Monday was in acceptance, by which I mean he was at the bar by 9:30 am drinking Jamba Juice.  The staff were in complete denial because it’s all they had to give us: “Tomorrow it will clear upthey’d say, as if none of us had checked the weather. As if none of us had poured over the hourly forecasts, the 36 hour forecasts, the Doppler readings, the heat maps…to find the same thing day after day:  Two inches of rain a day.  Landslide warnings in the mountains.  Even Club Med seemed unprepared.  Their method for dealing with it was to have several workers in rain slickers stationed at the entrance to the buildings, using a squeegee like mop to try and push away the water.  It looked mostly pointless. Twice they had to either buy more umbrellas or retrieve them from storage.  More umbrellas have arrived went the murmur through the indoor theatre where we gathered to play ping pong and watch the downpour and we would diligently collect one, still so new it was in cellophane.

And more rain...

They had, at some point over the years, plastered over the pool decking so that it was smoothed out – fine if it’s sunny, a catastrophe if it’s raining heavily.  I witnessed at least a dozen complete wipeouts, several of which looked like they might leave lasting damage and significant chiropractic work.  One girl broke her arm. Two ceilings in two different hotel rooms caved in.  Well, one caved in, the other sort of burst after rain made a pocket in the ceiling paint, and then filled until it exploded over the poor child sleeping in the bed beneath it.

They had nightly shows, some of them slightly odd.  There was a somewhat painful production of Cats and a circus show that was decidedly homoerotic.  The kids thought it was all fantastic.  The actors in the shows (who also worked various jobs throughout the day) would join us at lunch or dinner to socialize.  This was thrilling to the kids, especially Ivy and Clyde.  Ivy was particularly taken by one of the female stars of the show who looked like an even more voluptuous Barbie doll. “Do you feel bad,” Ivy asked me as she gazed at the lady teetering past us in stilettos, “that she’s much prettier than you?” I would, Ivy. But I’m drunk on Jamba Juice.

"My kingdom, or this weird rock, for a bottle of conditioner." - Bjork, and me.

The kids rehearsed dance shows of their own, also strange.  Ivy was involved in a very campy number set to the Bjork song “It’s Oh So Quiet,” which features Bjork alternately whispering and shouting. You may have seen every Broadway show, every off-Broadway show, every Shakespeare production, every Tchaikovsky ballet…but you haven’t lived until  you’ve seen six year olds lip-synching Bjork, turned up to almost deafening levels to drown out the rain.

We lost two jackets, two pairs of flip flops, a shirt, a pair of shorts, a stuffed iguana named Lemonade and Tara’s blind optimism. Only some of those items were retrieved in the lost and found.

Clyde contemplating the rain.

Here’s the thing though.  As is so often the case with calamitous vacations, the kids thought it was spectacular.  Ivy wept the day we left.  I had to carry her out of the kids club as she sobbed into my neck. Hazel, god bless her, immediately made friends with other kids in her kids club.  She is very petite, one of the shortest and lightest in her grade.  She hates this, but it sometimes translates into good things like being chosen to be part of an acrobatics show.  She’s light, easy to toss into the air.  She was thrilled.

Hazel performing on stage, she's on the right.

Ivy on the trapeze.

The kids danced until nearly midnight every night.  One afternoon, the kids swam with dolphins and though Clyde had an initial meltdown at the prospect of getting into the water with an animal that looked surprisingly close to a shark, they all thought it was miraculous.  I swam in a warm ocean.  I kayaked one morning, and another day I swung by my knees from a trapeze. “It’s sad there is so much rain every day all the time,” Ivy said “but at least it’s super fun here.”

Clyde, Ivy and Hazel, the day we left. Still raining...still smiling.

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7 Responses to “It’s Oh So Quiet. And Rainy.”

  1. Eryn says:

    I can’t tell if this makes me want to try a Club Med resort, or not.

    On the bright side, it makes for a great story. Unless you’re the kid that broke their arm.

    • Tara says:

      It would have been one of the best vacations ever had there been sun and had I brought a hip flask. Avoid the rainy season and bring a flask and you’ll love it – especially if you have kids.

  2. Betsy says:

    smiles to you and your crew. would be great if would could align calendars to connect this summer. blessings my friend. betsy

  3. Emily says:

    Oh Tara, I love your family 🙂

  4. Pure Klass says:

    Man, your kids are adorable, and you are clearly an awesome mom. They will definitely remember this trip and its stories when they are in their 30s… although perhaps there will be some long-term Bjork scarring.

  5. Taxmom says:

    Funny how the final verdict on vacations is not how objectively wonderful/awful they were, but “how well the kids held up”. We have been through some family vacations that were exercises in calamity, but which left us with memorable stories of ingenuity and triumph over adversity. Then there are the objectively wonderful vacations that are ruined by the incessant whine of small (or not so small) children.

  6. Bella Rum says:

    Oh, your kids are so cute. They really turned lemons into lemonade. They will have great memories from this trip. 🙂

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