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“Erica,” I asked my daughter, “Would you and your family
like to come to Puerto Morelos again this year?”
“Yes,” she replied, “and we
should ask Ross and his family to come too. After all, it is your and Dad’s 50th
wedding anniversary on December 30th
And that is what we did. We rented the same apartment in
Casita Blanca that we did the previous year and we reserved a second apartment
right across the hall from us for Ross and his family.
Ray and I arrived in Puerto Morelos on December 19 and
the Auerbach family arrived from Paris the next evening. Atticus and Roman
hardly made time to give us a welcoming hug. They had an agenda. They dropped
their bags in their room, got their bathing suits on, grabbed their snorkels,
and made a beeline for the pool. It was just as inviting as they remembered.
Even the Caribbean the next morning met their expectations. Even the small jelly
fish, swept over the offshore reef, were fascinating, after we confirmed that
they were not the stinging variety.
The next few days were taken up with diving expeditions
for Andrew and snorkeling from the shore for the rest of us. We saw eagle rays,
fat barracuda and found the Ojo de Agua, a favourite fish
sighting spot around a hole in the limestone shelf that forms the floor of the
ocean a short distance from the beach.
Finally, Ross, Sherri,
Tyler, Ryan and Gavin arrived just in time for Christmas Eve. They feasted on
pizza we had bought for their late dinner and a special surprise dessert Erica
had brought all the way from Paris. Erica told us the shop keeper in Paris said
not to refrigerate the dessert so instead of waiting until December 30, we were
having an early 50th
Anniversary treat. It was large book made from chocolate with a gold fleur de
lys on the cover. The cover lifted off to reveal a wealth of chocolates. None of
us had ever seen a chocolate box like that before.
Christmas morning found Erica
and Roman in the kitchen, putting the last touches on cinnamon rolls for out
breakfast and making a cake for Atticus’ 12th
birthday. When the late rising Ross Burnham clan appeared it was time to eat
those cinnamon rolls and open the Christmas stockings Santa and his helpers had
filled candy, school supplies and other small items. There were presents to
open, including snorkels and masks for Ross and his boys. We all had a Christmas
swim and walked into town along the beach for a taco lunch.
We decorated Ross’s unit with the Spanish Happy Birthday
banner, and set the table for 11 hungry celebrants. Instead of the traditional
turkey dinner, we had chickens for our Christmas dinner, prepared expertly by
Andrew. Between the chicken and dessert courses we had a rendition of the 12
Days of Christmas, using cue cards decorated by Erica, Roman, Atticus and me.
This was a tradition started years ago by my sister Debbie. We had two versions,
the traditional and a new Canadian version, from a children’s book. As usual,
some of the group could sing and some could not, which makes it all the more
hilarious. Finally, we brought the cake into the condo and lit the candles, in
the bathroom and brought it to the table as everyone sang Happy Birthday. The
boys all have birthdays near Christmas; Ryan on December 23, Atticus December 25
and both Gavin and Roman on January 6. We listed all the birthday boys in the
song, even Tyler, whose birthday is October 23, and got group photos.
Croco Cun Zoo, just on the edge of Puerto Morelos, was
such a hit last year, that a repeat visit was a must. It was a great success.
There were several animals and birds to hold and feed and of course, the large
crocodile enclosure was full of the scary beasts, sleeping off their dinner.
Our big group excursion this year was to the Mayan
ruins of Coba, a huge archaeological site 44 km NW of Tulum. Coba, first settled
between 50 BC and 100 AD, is estimated to have housed 50,000 inhabitants at its
peak, spread over 80 sq km. The site is less popular than Tulum, which means the
crowds are less and we were even able to climb the 130
steps to the top of Nohuch Mul pyramid. At 42 M (137 ft), it is among the tallest pyramids on the Yucatán
peninsula. Exploration of Coba really only started in the 1970s. Ray and I had visited the
site twice before, first with Ray’s siblings and their spouses as part of our 25th
anniversary celebration at Club Med in Cancun in 1990, and again in 2011. Not
much has changed in Coba, it still has huge unexplored areas and many
interesting carvings and stelae to see.
We ended our day by visiting two cenotes, which are
underground caves with dripping stalactites and cool, fresh water to swim in,
near Coba. It was an eerie experience swimming in the quiet darkness of
Multum-Ha and Choo-Ha, so completely difference than the beach and the
Finally the El Norte winds, which had prevented the
snorkel and dive boats from operating, lessened enough for us to take a trip to
the reef, which is only 500 M offshore. The water is shallow inside the reef,
making it easy to spy all the fish and corals with just a snorkel and mask. We
were able to see lots of colourful fish at two different spots along the reef
and returned satisfied with last day with the Auerbachs.
After more group photos by the beach, we said our goodbyes as they left for the airport in a taxi. The next day, New Years Eve, was the last for Ross and family. They did have time for a swim and a walk to town as their plane left for Toronto at 8:30 PM. It was a very different, but great way to spend the last days of 2015.
We were alone for New Years Eve, but we glad of the rest as were were flying the next day to Bogota Columbia to spend the month of January exploring the country before returning to Mexico for February and March.
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