Riviera Maya, Mexico – Surviving the Swine

The grand finale. The cherry on top. The end of all ends.

Albertian and I were the only members of our clan willing to fork out the moolah to swim with the dolphins. I was hesitant at first, mostly because the idea of those creatures in confinement was bothersome, but I did some background research on our company (Delphinus) and decided they were respectable. Plus I didn’t see any curved fins, which according to Free Willy is a telltale sign that a dolphin is unhappy (how many times have I referenced Free Willy now? I need to rent a copy).

Anyway, after a brief training with four other people, Albertian and I were led to a large pool and introduced to our dolphin trainer. My first sight of the dolphins left me speechless, because I had never seen any in real life before. They were frolicking around the dock, and became noticeably more excited when we arrived.

Their obedience was incredible. They responded to every signal from the trainer so swiftly and flawlessly that I was speechless. Like, how much cooler than an obedient dog is an obedient dolphin? Imagine the babes I could pick up with my sweet dolphin jumping tricks instead of some silly “paw” trick from a golden retriever.

The trainer ran through a number of tricks with us, including the infamous “foot push.” I was terrified at first, but decided to be the second brave person to participate. I swam to the middle of the pool and floated flat-on my stomach, arms and legs extended. When the trainer blew her whistle, the dolphins swam up underneath me and pushed the soles of my feet. I glided through the water like a magnificent princess water nymph creature, until eventually I was launched into the air, clutching my bottoms to keep from flashing the onlookers my va-j-j.

The other activities involved a lot of interaction with the dolphins, including tricks to make them sing, twirl, dance, etc. I never laughed or smiled harder. By the time we left the pool, Abertian and I were giddy and high on life.

Back at the resort, we met up with the other girls for our final supper at Mikado, the Japanese restaurant. We were seated around a large table with five other couples and a grill sitting in the middle. After delicious saki and sushi, our chef introduced himself with a flourish, then took several minutes to entertain us with his twirling cutlery magic. He continued to put on the most fabulous cooking show ever: spinning bowls upside down without spilling their contents, cracking eggs seamlessly midair with his knife, tossing food in every direction. We were dazzled. And famished. And by the end of the meal, provided with a sense of satiety not completely caused by the food… new friends! Everyone should eat this way, all the time. Perhaps not so much with the flying cutlery.

It was around this time that we became to realize the seriousness of the H1N1 outbreak. After logging into my email, I was flooded with messages from friends and family sending their concern. Messages like “OMG ARE YOU OKAY?!” and “HI ARE YOU STILL ALIVE?! LOLZZ” dominated my inbox. After replying to at least a dozen assuring everyone I was fine, I felt weighed down by a sense of dread. What a terrible way to end the most perfect day in paradise, with worry and fear. Surprisingly, it was my Mom’s email that made me feel better:

“Dear Candice,
Well, you’re there now, might as well enjoy your vacation. There’s nothing you can do about it. Don’t kiss anybody. Love, Mom.”

She was right, there was nothing we could do, so Albertian and I said, “Fuck that noise, let’s go get HAMMERED.” So we did. The two of us ventured to the Coba lobby for heaping platters of drinks, sitting amid dozens upon dozens of couples, and proceeded to have the best night of the week dancing at the disco and making friends with a wedding party from Toronto. And I did kiss somebody, and guess what? No H1N1. Mexico, you are amazing. I cannot wait to set my feet on the Yucatan Peninsula again.

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