Morning did arrive as scheduled and all went well at the airports. These Alaskan kids are well trained in travel. No roads lead to Juneau, so when we leave, we do it by air or sea. None of these kids however had ever stepped off a plane and into a hot humid environment.
Sunblock. To kids living in a temperate rain forest, you never ever want to block the sun. My constant job was monitoring their levels of protection. The oldest girls wanted that " Hawaiian Tropic" look and sunkissed hair highlights, so they were focused on maximum exposure. The younger girls were obsessed with water activities and the swim up hamburger bar. Keeping block on them was nearly impossible. All the kids were burned after the first day regardless of my best efforts.
I don't know when or why it happened, but Keith and I became the enemy. Our 2 girls were not talking to us and were in total defiance mode. The other 2 were angels. We took them to nice dinners, we let them shop at the tacky tourist markets. We took them out to feed the crocodiles, Jet skiing and snorkeling. They all got to drive the golf carts around Ixtapa. That brought a few smiles, but it was short lived.
Keith and Breehia had chicken for dinner one night. There is a saying that common crisis builds strong bonds. Well, the crisis was extreme diarrhea and only 1 bathroom. It did not build a strong bond, it just added more pain to the process. They both spent the next day in bed as well. We still had 5 days to go.
Our youngest was still getting burned, although I had here covered in one of her dads tee shirts and a hat, she was still burning. And she began retaining fluids and her face was swelling like a pumpkin. I took her too see the resort physician who was very sweet and brought out that lovely smile that she had secreted away since losing the back pack.
Kally had sun poisoning. He gave her some meds to shed to fluid and said she would be fine in a few days. We saw him again that night at the Resort Fiesta Night and he again was able to get her to smile.
The next night was her 12th birthday and we celebrated with an oceanside dinner in Zihuatanejo. A lovely sunset and a 3 piece band with guitars and a wooded xylophone played Happy Birthday and my favorite, Girl from Ipanema. We all had a great meal and a good experience. We loaded back into 2 cabs and headed back to Ixtapa. That's when the itching started. We were all covered in sand flea bites. Bactine swabs for everyone. Bites on top of sun burn is especially unforgettable.
I was new to this Step-Mom thing. If I knew then what I know now, I would have done about 100 things differently. I was expecting that the kids to enjoy a vacation the way we do. But having no experience in vacationing, how could they? I thought we were giving them this awesome precious gift and they would be grateful and gushing in love and laughter. We generally got sneers, rolling eyes and sassy back talk in return. Did I mention I would do things differently now.
If we had been more travelled in Mexico, there would have been over 100 places that we should have taken them rather than Ixtapa.
On the cab ride back to the airport, I asked the driver where he takes his family when they vacations.
Without any hesitation he said "Troncones".
Once again in L.A. for our overnight stay, I sought out a book store and scoured the travel section for any book that mentioned Troncones. Only one did in brief, and it wet my appetite for more information. But that would have to wait.
Note, the kids are all now adults and it is fascinating to talk to them about this trip. Our oldest chose Ixtapa as her first real grown-up trip with her then boyfriend, now husband. Our youngest has travelled all over the world.