Jacqui (jacqui) wrote,
Jacqui
jacqui

Margaritas and Money, Nature and Nurture

This is the long, non-illustrated version of our vacation adventure for folks who enjoy reading; I'll put up a photo-filled version for anyone who prefers visuals later. : )

Hi Everyone,

Thank you as always for all of your good wishes, kindness and support. I was finally released from the hospital, (Because I begged and then promised to stay here and check in frequently for at least three days before flying anywhere), and am now happily ensconced in our beautiful resort hotel, the Marquis Los Cabos. I'm weak, dizzy, and tired because my blood count is so low. My whole digestive system hurts, and it hurts to walk because I've stopped taking my anti-inflammatory medication, but I think my doctor is going to have me go back on it, so as long as I can avoid stress and all the foods I love I'll soon be my old plucky self.

With regard to the accusation I received from my anonymous and oh-so-kind admirer out there -- the super compassionate person who wrote to inform me that I was ruining, "another one of my Mother's vacations with more of my drama," and who called me a, "fat, entitled PIG," in capital letters -- I would just like to say that there is nothing on this earth that my Mother loves to do more than go on vacations with Beau, "the Grandson," and me.

Believe me when I say that one of the first things my Mother thought of when I had to be hospitalized was that if everything turned out okay then maybe we could turn this all around and end up having a good time here in Cabo. She was sick of the ship ("This is THE WORST boat I've ever been on,") and looking forward to an extended stay in a luxury hotel in Mexico. So contrary to what Josofthetruth, (Is there any way to track an IP address once someone has deleted their comment?), thinks I did not ruin my Mother's vacation, I extended and enhanced it.

I am glad to report that this is now the case and my Mom is happily hopping from one hotel to another, sitting by the pool eating shrimp ceviche, sipping frozen margaritas and getting her hair done. Perhaps the person who wrote to me, and some of the people who read this journal, don't understand that my Mother is a very wealthy woman, a multi-multi-millionaire who has a personal maid who travels with her at all times, and that despite her age, and however impossible this sounds, she is as healthy as a woman half her age and does twice as much.

Mom was living it up here in Cabo while I was in the hospital and is continuing to have fun now. Yesterday she insisted we take an "expensive" cab into one of the two closest towns in order to go with her to look at fine jewelry in the Porto Paraiso Mall, (She wanted to buy a ring and earrings to go with two relatively new pieces of jewelry she bought from my friend Kitty at a trunk show), which may not have been the best plan for me considering how weak and dizzy I was feeling.

Last night Mom made reservations for all four of us to attend a semi-private six course meal that would have required formal dress, which we were prepared for because the cruise requires this. When I saw that the only thing Beau and I would have been able to eat was tortillas, because we are vegetarians and the meal consisted of highly seasoned beef, chicken, lobster, and foie gras -- one of the cruelest foods on earth -- we had to bow out. Not just because of the vegetarian aspect, but because "someone" forgot that I'm supposed to be eating white on white right now.

Mom went with Rosa anyway, had a great time, and came back full of food and drink. I never know what kind of mood she's going to be in when she's been drinking so it was a nice surprise to find her so affectionate and friendly. This trip has been full of surprises.

You have to take my occasional complaints about my Mother into perspective. I love my Mother more than anyone. We are and have always been the best of friends, but best friends who occasionally drive each other mad. I still fail to see what could possibly be so offensive about my having wanted my Mother to give my son enough money to come see me in the hospital when she had already promised to do so.

Perhaps this person doesn't understand that my Mother regularly spends upwards of nine thousand dollars on her pant suits and that this hotel, that she doesn't feel is up to her standards, is costing us a minimum of a thousand dollars a night. When you take that into account, then perhaps you can understand why the cost of cab fair for the Grandson she adores might seem somewhat insignificant. She wanted to stay at The One and Only Las Palmillas, which would have cost a minimum of twenty-five hundred a night for both of our rooms, not including food or drinks, but this being Spring break, they were completely sold out, and this was all I could get. Believe me I am very grateful. I am always grateful. I am the queen of grateful, but even the queen of grateful can get bitchy once in a while when she's so stressed that her body is eating itself from the inside out.

Mom always wants the best but then makes a hobby out of complaining about the cost. The constant complaining and worrying about money is probably the largest contributor of stress in my life. It's like a game to her. For example; she wanted to get her hair washed and dried, (She has never washed or styled her own hair and doesn't know how, she can't wash or iron clothes either), so she called the front desk and made an appointment, but when she found out that they charge twelve dollars less at the Hilton next door, (Next door is a very relative term here in the wilds of Mexico), she canceled her appointment here and took a cab to the Hilton. But when she discovered that there was a hidden six dollar fee she freaked out and gave herself an upset stomach.

Mom came back to us in a sick and shaken state, but she brings this on herself. Penny wise and pound foolish is the expression I most often use in reference to this behavior. When you regularly spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars for a pair of shoes it seems insane to risk your health in order to save a few dollars. I had to listen to her go on and on about this for about as long as I had to listen to her complain about the man on the ship writing tip in large letters across the bottom of a bill in the spa, or a cab driver trying to charge her for more than she thought he should have, or the cost of pretty much anything.

I honestly understand how shocking it must be for her -- how outrageoulsy the cost of anything has gone up over the course of her lifetime -- and I will listen and express sympathy and understanding up to a point. When it becomes obsessive, as it always eventually does, I have to cut bait and run, otherwise I might just end up with an ulcer in a Meri-Med hospital in Cabo.

Maybe I have been remiss in choosing not to describe everything I do for my Mom, all of the good times, choosing instead to vent occasionally when I am upset. I think this gives people a skewed perspective on our relationship and particularly on how I am as a daughter. No one knows how often we visit and speak on the phone. No one knows that I long to travel the world and live instead in a city that I hate because I would never ever abandon my Mother. No one knows all of the many small and not so small loving things that I do for her, the countless surprises, gifts, and acts of love. I have been keeping a record of her life so that I can hang on to every little piece of her, every moment in time that she has shared with me. I want to some day write a book and a screenplay about the magnificent life she has led, a life that spanned the time from before there were refrigerators, radios and cars, to now. And I keep her secrets, secrets I long to tell all of you, secrets that no one on this earth but I have been privy too.

My friend Mary pointed out to me that I did myself a disservice by never actually writing up a full description of the fashion show we put together for her, so how would anyone know how much time, effort, thought, and love went into this magnificent tribute which was essentially a love letter to my Mother and Grandmother? I could buy a house with the amount of money I have spent collecting their dresses over these last years.

I hate that there are people out there who look at me and see a lucky over privileged "rich" girl. I can't stress how much we all have our own crosses to bear. It is all so relative, believe me. If it were within my means to be Angelina Jolie, I would be piloting the next private jet out of here, rounding up orphans in disease-ridden, war-torn countries and bringing them home to live with me. I swear to God I would do this, and I haven't given up the fantasy that this might some day be a possibility on some smaller level, but we do the best we can with what we are given. I share everything I have back home with three struggling families. I take in any stray or wounded animal that wanders into my path. I love and give recklessly and with abandon to pretty much everyone I meet and if I get to enjoy some of the luxuries and freedom that having inherited money from people I would rather have not inherited money from in order to have them back here with me alive, then so be it, call me entitled.

Mom's housekeeper Rosa is keeping herself busy shopping for silver jewelry and watching movies in Spanish. I bought her a camera and we take pictures of her wherever we go. She doesn't want pictures of scenery or anything else, just one shot after another of herself.

Beau is having a blast playing his beloved Star Wars game and in stark contrast to my time spent trapped in a foreign hospital I am in heaven floating in this gorgeous infinity pool and collecting sea-shells on the beach. I'd almost say this is all worth a three day hospital stay but it was pretty frightening there for a day or so. Mom was secretly afraid that I had stomach cancer, while Scott and I were worried that I had torn the staples from my weight loss surgery.

I'm missing my Scott terribly. My dreams are as sexual as the movies on adult Pay Per View and just yesterday I thought of calling him and telling him everything I was going to do to him when I get home, but then who knows what got in the way.

Scott is never invited on any of the trips because my Mother only acknowledges him from a distance, which is really heartbreaking for both of us. After fifteen years, she still doesn't get that in some ways we're like an old married couple now. Leaving him behind, leaving my home and all of my animals is a sacrifice, despite what any jealous passerby might think when they read that I'm living it up, ha, ha, ha, while nearly bleeding out on a cruise ship to Mexico.

Nevertheless, if you have to get a bleeding ulcer and erosive gastritis while at sea in a foreign country, this would be the way to do it. This hotel is a work of art, everything is designed to enhance the view of the ocean, from the giant open entry arch and lobby, to the rooms, every one of which has a direct front facing ocean view. The floors are made of marble and tile. Our standard room is enormous with a large Jacuzzi tub that can be accessed from either the bedroom or bathroom so that it also has an unobstructed view of the sea. The property is filled with an array of fine modern Mexican art and there are these beautiful onyx wall sconces in every room that glow at night and are marvelous to look at. There is a moderate sized double door niche beside every room that allows the staff to deliver things to your room without disturbing the guests. It took me a while to discover that every morning someone quietly deposits a complimentary basket of sweet rolls, fruit, and a copy of the New York times into this hidden niche, and then just as quietly whisks it away again if you aren't quick enough to snatch it out and save it.

I could really throw money away if I wanted at this spa. Like the spa on the cruise ship it is beautiful and tranquil and offers every imagined indulgent and relaxing treatment. With an eye towards the near future and a recently regained sense of health and vigour I think I'll head down there and get myself a sparkly fresh new bikini wax. They weren't allowed to offer them on the ship. Oddly enough they can apply caustic chemicals to the scalp, face, and teeth, (Yes, they actually had teeth bleaching on the ship and my Mom was first in line for that treatment because it cost two hundred as opposed to the usual five hundred at home,) but they can't yank out your pubic hair for fear the ship might list to one side and you'll end up with what, a Brazilian when you wanted a Playboy, or is it the other way around?

The poor staff are kept busy folding and pleating our towels and toilet paper in the shape of swans. The linens are all Frette and the toiletries come from Bulgari. The food is wildly overpriced but the menu is limited to super high end fair when all we really want is fruit and toast, or pizza as is the case with Beau.

I wish I could show or record the sound of the waves crashing on the sand in front of our hotel for you. The surf is so powerful it shakes the entire building with every giant roaring crash and sends blasts of white foam flying high into the air. I love it. It's so nice to lie here and listen to, it's so soothing, but there are red flags up and down the beach because it is too dangerous to swim in waters like these.

Yesterday the surf was so high the waves came all the way up to the wall of the pool. It ruined a romantic private dinner for two that someone had set up on the beach beside us. The set up was like something out of The Bachelor and I was kind of surprised as I walked by because I could see that the water was inching closer and closer with each crashing wave

We've been beach combing, which is one of my all time favorite hobbies. Here, where the surf is so rough, the sand and water tumble bits of shells to a smooth finish and deposit them all along the beach. We've collected two cups full and Beau wants me to find this fine jewelers drill I have at home to drill holes in them to make necklaces.

The pools are gorgeous and so inviting. There are three of them, all with infinity edges. The water travels from a fountain in the lobby down through waterfalls that tumble down into the last of the pools that wrap around either side of the property. There are dozens of private casitas that have their own private plunge pools, (There are a whopping thirty-five, count 'em, private pools here,) as well, and you can look from your balcony and see people swimming in the nude. On my first night here I heard children squealing and went out to our balcony to see where the noise was coming from. I looked down and heard screams as the kids in the pool beneath us scrambled to run for cover. It took me a second to realize it was because they were naked and shocked to have been discovered by me.

Our favorite pool is the one closest to the sea. It is lined with tiny pebbles and the water is warm and inviting. Water flows over the entire edge of this long pool into a two foot wide catch basin. Gulls stand at the edge of the pool drinking and bathing. We have been having fun feeding them.

We found a waterlogged female gull trapped in this overflow channel yesterday. We noticed her when we were simply hanging onto the edge of the pool kicking our feet and looking out at the ocean. She was standing there all wet and soggy, getting wetter with each splash of water that cascaded down over the edge of the pool, looking so helpless with her pretty brown and white spotted wings and big dark eyes. I thought she was a baby.

Beau climbed out first and tried to help her out but he was afraid that she would bite him so I hauled myself over the sharp edge of the pool and gingerly climbed down into this narrow trough. I walked behind her until we came to a wall where she turned around and squawked at me. I was able to pin her wings to her sides and lift her up to another ledge and from there she jumped down to the beach where she spent a good half hour sunning herself and preening. We watched her like concerned parents as she hopped and attempted to fly, then cheered as she finally lifted off the ground and flew away to join her friends.

Even though we are surrounded by what looks like a dry barren desert, full of cacti and scrub, there are wonderful and surprising bursts of life all around us. Yesterday when I went to visit my Mom who was having lunch under an umbrella by the upper pool I suddenly noticed movement out of the corner of my eye and was surprised to see this huge fat brown iguana looking about as surprised to find me standing there as I was to see him. I so wanted to reach over and pet him, or her, but as soon as Beau came over to see him, he ran back up the large drain pipe he had come out of. We've also seen several of these bright yellow birds who dart around like humming birds drinking nectar from the flowers, and another unusual looking lizard that made us laugh when he ran scuttling away from us lifting his legs as if the ground were sticky and uncomfortable for his feet.

I had a great conversation yesterday on the phone with my old friend Mary. She is so smart and has such a clear perspective of things. She has been living this amazing heroic life for so long now that I really don't like to bother her with any of my crap but she likes to give advice and chatters away in her chipper happy way. It took me some time to get used to her incredible level of energy, this joie de vivre she has, because I am often slow moving and shy in my own weird way, but now as I think of her I feel a burst of affection and am smiling as I write this. She really is a force of nature.

Sunday was Easter and even though I had just come out of the hospital and was as weak as newborn giraffe, (I don't know; iguana, monkey, kitten, giraffe, I had to pick something), I wanted to keep up our long standing holiday tradition for Beau so I managed to gather up plenty of fun things and made our room look the way I make his room look at home. I found lots of funny Mexican candy, a painted wooden snake, a stuffed shark, a rabbit shaped puzzle box, a Day of the Dead Mexican scene in a glass box, and was able to order some Kinder Surprise eggs, from the gift shop downstairs.

On my way back to my room I ran into another American, (They don't celebrate Easter here like we do, it's much more of a religious holiday, so no bunny, no baskets, no painted, sugared, or plastic eggs), trying to create Easter for his kids by stuffing money into clear, plastic, pastel-colored eggs. He was going to hide them and was so generous and kind that he gave me a whole bag full. I went to the front desk and got bills in pesos and filled these eggs for Beau and the housekeepers, then I made the long line of candy and treats that I always make for Beau that leads from his bed to wherever the bunny decided to leave the biggest surprise, this year the Easter Bunny decided to leave everything in the shower. I was so happy and pleased that despite everything I was able to give Beau another Easter to remember.

Today, if I feel well enough, we are going to go snorkeling at one of the two calmer bays next door. One of them is a marine sanctuary and I really want to go but I just don't know if I'll be up to it. I'll see. Tomorrow we are going to go over to the Dolphin experience where we'll get to swim with and pet dolphins, but I am always a bit torn when it comes to doing these kinds of things. Despite the fact that around dolphins all I feel is the purest kind of joy, I need to assure myself that the dolphins are happy volunteers, instead of hard working captives, otherwise I just get sad for them.

God, I think this is the longest entry I've written in over a year. I wonder how many of you will manage to wade through it. I've got pictures too, lots of pictures. I wanted to edit and include them with this entry, but I'm feeling a tad woozy again and need to rest, so I'll have to do this later. I hope you're all happy and well. I love you -- Wacqui
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