Jan 19th, 2011

The first thing I remember is what a great mood everyone was in on the bus, as we rode from the airport to the property. Everyone had a good laugh over the confusion between the locally known MAMAjuana which the bus driver was trying to recommend to us, and the more internationally known marijuana.

As we reached the resort there was a crush of people trying to get checked in and that process was pretty slow and laborious. We handed out room directories as everyone checked in, so we could keep track of  room numbers. As we started to check-in, the receptionist stopped the process and forwarded us to the Royal Service VIP salon for check-in. As we were getting ushered away we told everyone to meet at the Marketplace buffet for dinner .

We weren’t sure what was going on because we hadn’t paid for Royal Service. Still, we went along with the process happily, and the concierge took us and our luggage via golf cart to our ridiculously upgraded room. After review of the overly awesome room, we thought there may have been a mistake and called the front desk to make sure we wouldn’t get billed big time for the upgrade. We were told it was ‘gratis’ (free!) because we were getting married there!

We had a bit of trouble navigating the resort but eventually found the Marketplace (a bit late). Most had eaten already and were working on second or third or fourth batch of drinks. Brent appeared to be getting a initiation from Dan that involved a lot of heavy drinking of everything in twos. After a drink or two and listening to the cover band, we decided to take the train to the beach.

As we rode the train past the Marketplace, the band started into a rendition of ‘Hey Jude’.  Our group was in the mood to join in, so queue much singing from the back of the train where we were located – and we sang nearly all the way to the beach. I actually heard people in the resort humming Hey Jude the next day!

A bar was just getting set up on the beach, so as we waited for that to be ready the group took pictures and enjoyed a walk on the beach in the full moon. I remember marveling at how 10 hours and 3000 kilometers changed things.

A few of the group came back to our suite after the beach to check it out. While the ladies discussed the changes of marriage and family life on the balcony, the guys discussed the resort, the security business, and got a complaint lodged against us by the next room. Apparently we made a bit too much noise and frightened the lady next door when we jiggled the knob on the adjoining door between suites. Whoops!

Shortly after everyone left our suite, we had a surprise call from Mats, who wasn’t supposed to be checking in until the next day (that one extra night cost him a pretty sum, too). I was pretty full of booze and tired to boot at that point – I’m sure I asked him about 5 times what room number they were in. In any case I managed to relay that we should meet at the marketplace for breakfast the next morning.

(to be continued…)