Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Vacation: Driving (not Diving) on Saturday

Saturday morning I got up and decided to go for a run on the island. I ran toward town a couple of miles and returned to the hotel. It was a nice relaxing run, and the humidity was tempered by a little bit of rain while I was running. When I returned, the bellman met me with a cold minty washcloth and a bottle of water. He said he saw me leave and was waiting for me to get back. Service like that sure is nice!

When I got back to the room, my husband was working on his talk since he was slated to give it that afternoon. He wanted to have it done by noon, in order to have time to practice so I decided it was best to stay out of his way. I went to breakfast by myself, and had food sent back to the room for him. It was almost meditative to sit there, watching the ocean, not having to make conversation with anyone.

Once I was done with my leisurely breakfast, I went back to the room to find my husband stressing. Clearly he wasn't going to finish his slides by noon, so I headed down to the beach with my book. If he was going to be making a stress scene of his vacation, I didn't need to be part of that. I came back in time to confirm that he'd run everything down to the wire, having me proofread his presentation slides while he took a shower at 1:45 for a 2pm conference start.

Once he was safely off to the conference, I started my afternoon adventure. I got a taxi into town, and walked around all the shops. Somehow I found absolutely nothing to buy, except a nice sangria soda. Then I wiggled my way to my intended destination: a scooter rental shop. Now, I've never driven a scooter, and I told the guy as such. He gave me the crash course in starting and driving the scooter. As I took the helm of the bike, I must have hit the gas a little, and it jerked forward. The rental guy asked again if I was really going to be able to handle this thing, and I assured him that I would. I put on the helmet they gave me, and started the couple mile trek back to the hotel with my new-toy-for-24-hours. Conveniently, the drive back to the hotel was pretty direct, so I didn't have too much to really do. I just had to stay on the road, not crash, and keep that stupid helmet from trying to choke the life out of me. I, apparently, have a small head -- a large ego shoved into the tiny circumference of my noggin. In marching band in high school, they gave me the smallest hat they had, and they were annoyed that they might have to purchase a smaller hat if I couldn't get that one to work. Baseball caps just don't get small enough for me. And rental scooter helmets are decidedly enormous. It just kept flopping back, causing the chip strap to strangle me. I started to wonder if the hardest part of driving the scooter was dealing with the helmet. Regardless, I made it back to my hotel, and parked, and went looking for my husband for their dinner break.

His presentation had gone wonderfully (he has a knack for that sort of thing -- procrastination until beyond the end of the line, and then delivers something better than expected), and many people were wanting to talk with him before heading off to dinner, so we got a bit of a late start. Since the closing proceedings were slated to be after dinner, we had to get a move on. He was shocked I'd managed to get the bike out to the hotel, so we took the adventure back to town for dinner. He drove, this time, and I rode in the back. Based on all the fun I'd had with the helmet, we decided not to wear them for this trip. He didn't have any experience with a scooter, either, and we hadn't really learned the Mexican street signs, so we were an odd pair trying to make this work. I had identified a restaurant during my afternoon wanderings, so I was trying to direct us back there. When you're walking, though, one-way streets don't mean as much. I told him to turn down a specific street, and we came face-to-face with a taxi going the correct way down the road.

Since braking and accelerating occur from the same handle, stopping can be a little tricky, and this situation was no different. We fell over on the street, and had to jump up and get the bike out of the way. He seemed to be completely fine. I skinned a knee, bleeding through my slacks, and got a couple of bruises. But I can't complain -- it is my fault we went down that road. Once we actually got to dinner, the food was good, but we were a little traumatized by our scooter issues. We did, however, get back to the hotel without incident.

After the closing presentations and a mixer (where ordering a pina colada apparently gets you a shot of tequila -- oops!), we were worn out by our adventures and all the last minute presentation stuff.

So that was Saturday, and we slept very well.

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