Sunday, December 6, 2009

Memories of Mexico. Trip with the kids

She was sobbing.

"you cant make me do this"

I said, Oh my Dear, we certainly can. We are in Mexico and here the parents tell the children what to do. She relented as we strapped her in. We gave the signal and the boat took off with our oldest daughter in tow. Para sailing.

It began as an idea. A good one we thought, but that's what we get for thinking.

Keith and I loved Mexico so much that we wanted to share it with everyone, especially our daughters.

They were 11 and 14 at the time. A critical age, not so much crucial, but meaning they were very critical about everything.

We thought (here we go with the thinking again) that they would have more fun and make wonderful memories of a trip to Mexico if they both brought a friend along with them.

We chose Ixtapa, GRO as our destination. The Krystal Resort. Several pools, Oceanside, swim up bars...all the trappings of a National Lampoons "Vacation" movie.

The girls anguished over the choosing of the friends that would go. Our youngest invited a girl that she had known for most of her 11 years. Our oldest chose a recent friend and at the last minute the girl got into typical teenage trouble and her parents forbid her to travel. A new girl was chosen and a girl was close to the family. A nice quiet girl. A good fit.

Everything was going so well. Passports, vaccination, Report cards.

So, I should have been careful of the undertow.

Getting from Juneau, Alaska to Zihuatanejo Mexico takes 2 days. One from JNU to LAX, then from LAX to ZIH. So, We had to overnight in L.A.

We took at very expensive taxi ride into Beverly Hills to a nice Sushi Bar. Then to a Mall for shopping. Shopping does not happen in Juneau unless you consider outdoor wear as shopping.

Once back at the Hotel, we settled all 4 girls in for the night in our adjoining rooms. Only a few minutes passed before one of them were crying. Our youngest daughter could not find her back pack.

Tragedy struck and it set the tone for the rest of the trip. We think Kally left her back pack in one of the cabs. Why she took a back pack full of school books and 11 year old knickknacks is beyond me, but to her, she had just lost the Holy Grail.

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.


  1. Ah, traveling with teenagers. So glad I´ve never done it. Glad you survived.

  2. Krissy, love this post! We took Michael on a vacation to Northern California when he was 12 and he refused to get out of the car the entire time we were in Yosemite! Puberty! That's the tough time!