Thursday, May 14, 2009

There once was a girl...

...who went on a vacation. And it was wonderful.

Then it was over and she had to come back home. Which sucked.

But lucky for you she took a lot of pictures and has decided to share!

I am 33yrs old and up until April 23rd of this year, I had never been on a 'real' vacation. Growing up we did family reunion get togethers at state parks, but anyone who was once a kid knows that is more like torture than fun. Forced group activities with people you rarely see and sometimes barely know. Thanks, but I'm good.

Then I went to work for a company called ECAD, Inc and the empty place in my photo album where vacation memories go finally got a chance to be filled.

The first thing I have to say is that I work for the most incredible company on the planet. The owner of this company is one of the sweetest, most caring and kind women I've ever had the pleasure to meet. She also takes hella good care of her employees.

For the past 9 years there has been a 'Company' vacation. The only requirement to be able to go is that you have to have worked for the company for one year.

Company vacation?

That may not sound like your idea of fun, spending your vacation time with people you work with, but it's not quite what you'd expect.

Last year's vacation was in Cancun. The year before Cozumel, before that Playa Del Carmen. They've been to the Bahama's, Hawaii, on cruises.. Still thinking a vacation with your co-workers sounds like a drag? lol

I hadn't been here quite a year yet when the Cancun trip came around so I didn't get to go. This year's vacation was in Puerto Vallarta. I went.

4 nights, 5 days all, and other than some shopping and activity money, I do mean ALL expense paid vacation to an All Inclusive Luxury Resort.

Starting to sound better?

We flew out Thursday morning at the butt-crack of dawn and got to Mexico just after noon and flew back home Monday morning. Saturday evening there was an awards dinner and late Sunday afternoon there were a few hours of 'company' activities that required attendance but other than that, all the rest of the time is yours to do with as you choose.

OK enough about that - and yes, I know you wish you had my job - let's move onto the pictures!!
You can go to my Myspace and click the Puerto Vallarta photo album to view all of the pictures from our trip on a larger scale.

Every year someone comes up with a slogan for the trip and everyone gets a t-shirt. Here is this year's.

Here are a few shots from the plane on our way to Mexico.
Sunrise at 13,000 feet

Ice crystals on the plane window

Once we arrived in Mexico we piled in a bus for the twenty minute drive to our hotel.

The people that work for this company are serious drinkers so of course we had to stop by a Corona plant. The guy in the middle? That's Ramone - our guide. Don't forget to rrrrollll your rrrrrrrs.

Welcome to the Riu Palace Pacifico! We were greeted with glasses of fruit punch when we got there. This was not just any regular fruit punch, it tasted fresh squeezed and was delish!

The view from the deck just outside the lobby and the pool.

The view from our room, Matthew posing and us, chilling on the balcony listening to the ocean.

Check in was at 3 and we got there early so we decided to talk a walk along the beach while we waited for our room to be ready.

The view of the hotel from the beach, and our footprints in the sand

Early Friday morning we went on a Kon-Tiki tour where we sailed around the bay, stopped at an island for snorkeling, visited a small village and hiked a mountain to a waterfall.

Except for about 3 hours we spent hiking to the waterfall we sunned on the top of that boat from 9am to around 6pm. We got a LOT of sun. Which wouldn't have been so bad except we left our sunscreen at the hotel. Ack!

We got a chance to go snorkeling at a small island.
I couldn't stand the mask on my face but Matthew had a blast. Flippers are so sexy.

I stayed on the boat taking pictures

Me, pretty fish & the island cave they snorkeled through

The village

We hiked across two 'rivers', up 70 degree inclines, up a rock staircase and across a rickety bridge to get to the waterfall

I thought I was going to die. Matthew had to at times literally push me up the mountain.

But once we got there it was so worth it!

Nooo silly, that's not the waterfall......

This is

Matthew jumped in and played under the waterfall. I was too tired to do anything but sit on the rocks and watch the fish. Plus the water was ice cold and I knew hiking back down the mountain in wet clothes wouldn't be fun!

By the time we got back to the boat we were pretty pooped. Not quite as tired as some people though.

Then the guides on the boat decided it was time for some fun and games.
We danced to the YMCA and I found out I have the whitest boyfriend on the planet. We also played a game that somehow ended up using my bra as a prop.

I'd taken my bra off earlier in the morning to put my swimsuit on and put it in our bag. Funny how it somehow managed to find it's way atop one of the guide's head.

Our fabulous guides!

We'd met two lovely ladies on the boat that we sort of befriended. Mother and daughter - Anna & Linda. They did not speak one word of English, but we still managed to communicate. When we got back to the marina the 'Pirate Ship' tour was just pulling out

Even though we ended up borrowing sunscreen from someone on the boat, we'd already been baking for about 3 hours and knew some burning was inevitable so we walked to the mall to get some after frying sun lotion with lidocain. It didn't work, the lidocain that is. We were in hella pain that night lol.

There were 4 restaurants at the hotel, but the buffet was so good we ended up eating from it the whole time. Plus the weather was so incredible we wanted to eat outside. They always had everything set up so pretty.

Saturday afternoon we took a cab to Bucerias, a village about 2 miles up the beach from the hotel. The main part of the village was like one giant flea market. Matthew bartered the guy in the middle from 450 to 135 pesos for a silver ring. From about $37 to about $11!

There was so much color everywhere. Everything just seemed bright and festive.

After about an hour of window shopping we decided to walk down the beach back to the hotel. Like hiking a mountain hadn't been enough exercise!

We passed some tourists who's grandkids had buried them quite literally up to their necks in sand and some kids waiting for a good wave to surf.

Saturday evening we had the company awards dinner. They took 'official' vacation pictures of everyone then we ate dinner out on the veranda while the sunset over the beach.

We'd been so busy doing other fun stuff that we hadn't had a chance to check out the pool yet so Sunday morning we ordered room service for breakfast, slathered ourselves with sunscreen and headed down for a swim.

Sunday afternoon was the other company required event. It turned out to be an ECAD version of Survivor. In light of our extreme sunburns we opted to be voted out after the first game and then sat on a grassy hill in the shade watching the rest of the fun.

Then bright and early Monday (5:30am) morning headed to the airport to come back home.

Bye bye Mexico.

Bye Bye Mountains

Bye Bye scariest damn flight I've ever been on!

The last leg of the flight from Houston to Mobile had some SERIOUS turbulance!!

Sunburns aside, it was a fabulous vacation and we had an absolutely fantastic time. Being lulled to sleep by the sound of the ocean drifting in through our open balcony door was something I will never forget.

Something else I won't forget?

Sunscreen for next years trip!!

1 People who coughed on a furball:

Neil Crump said...

What a cool trip - what a great company. Thanks for your vacation log. Bra on guide's head is brilliant!

Neil :+)