Monthly Archives: April 2008

Mine ear hath been pirated

For the past couple of days I’ve been healing an ear infection.  I’m on some powerful antibiotics and things are just now starting to get better.  I no longer need pain medication.  Unfortunately I was unable to focus on much of anything between the sleeping and the…ah more sleep.  That means the ski paradise posts may take a bit before becoming published.  You see GTA4 comes out tonight in about an hour.  This means that for the next few days I will be MIA.  Should my eyes bleed and my mind wary, I will return and continue the posts.  Until that time is upon us, I figure I can try to do some short thought provoking posts each night.  Best of luck to all and if you have a Xbox360 I recommend getting GTA4 as it’s gaming history in the making.

Ski Paradise (Part 1)

The Great Ski Paradise vacation in all its glory, presented in chronological format for your convenience. (Note: Pictures will be posted in the final post.)

The Cast (Roughly in order of appearance):

  1. Richard “Verde”, “Squirrels” Benson
  2. “Daddy” Dave Benson
  3. Ramon
  4. Ed “The Funologist”
  5. Serg (From Serbia, 8 page spread in the latest Waterski issue)
  6. Doug and Kristin
  7. John and Kathy
  8. Greg
  9. “Party” Dave and Michelle
  10. Eric and Rhonda
  11. “Big Hard” Dave and Melaney
  12. Sam and Suzannah
  13. Steve and “Judge” Judy
  14. Gordon and Gabrielle

Friday – April 4th 2008

Knowing that I must get up around 3:00AM Saturday morning I make the wonderful decision to stay up all night and just attempt to sleep on the plane and in the airports. To help me stay up I purchase Saint’s Row. I figure it will kill two birds with one stone: keep me up and prep me for GTA4. I get about 40% of the game done before 3:00Am roles around.

Saturday – April 5th 2008

So it was that Friday bled into Saturday. Staying up until 3AM is usually quid pro quo for me, but I had anticipated going to sleep around 7Pm on Friday and getting a few winks before the flight. Thus I had gone to bed early Thursday and woke up around 12PM on Friday. 15 hours is no big deal, but gaming all day had seriously drained my eyes of strength. My shower at 3AM provided the second win my body desperately needed.

My Dad and I tossed our bags into the Durango and my Mom was kind enough to sacrifice some sleep to drive us to the Airport. Being the tech savvy people we are, we took on look at the check in line and headed straight for the self check in. Naturally it didn’t work. The system didn’t even register us as existing. Luckily there was an attendant at the “Self” Check-in helping to mitigate issues. Apparently the system was working for about 1% of customers. That’s what I call convenience, go Delta!

With the check-in debacle behind us and my Dad’s ski in it’s makeshift ski bag (read: large cardboard box with DIY fin protection.), we moved on to the now large security check point line. Nothing says a good time like being forced to undress in public. I’ve traveled a bit and understand that it is in my best interest to keep things simple and avoid wearing metal. My security experience was fairly routine. I took off the sandals, my belt and placed them with my bag on the conveyor belt. Not a *beep* for this guy and I was done. My Dad on the other hand got the special treatment. He apparently was randomly selected for additional screening. I broke down and started laughing when the lady informed us of that. I mean, my Dad can get pretty high strung when we travel, but a threat to national security? Ha! I’ve got to admit that it wasn’t as intensive as I thought it was going to be. He actually got expedited to the front of the line and we ended up finishing at the same time. From there it was on to the gate.

At the gate we stopped to get some Burger King breakfast. Yum! French toast sticks. We didn’t have to wait long before we were on the plane and I was trying to sleep. Our trip to Atlanta was a foggy one. I spent most of my time in sleep state not unlike the one experienced in a History 101 class. We had plenty of time during our lay over to get to our connecting gate and to sit down. I tried to sleep, but failed miserably. We met some people from the Atlanta area who were big waterskiers and had been to Ski Paradise before. They were going to Acapulco this time, but on a non-skiing trip this time. They gave us advice about preparing ourselves for the unique water. Apparently since the water is so warm and slightly brackish, it’s much easier to get blisters. Gordon had told my Dad as much through a series of emails that had been exchanged prior to the trip. The family advised us to use duct tape. Yup, duct tape.

Now on another plane to Acapulco, finally. This is the long leg of the journey and was meant to provide me with plenty of sleep. I spent most of the time watching the in-flight movie (P.S. I love You), on my DS, Ipod and I read a bit. No sleep. The landing was…interesting. Acapulco airport is right on the coast and around 3Pm when we arrived in Acapulco there is a strong breeze coming off the ocean. It was rough. Immigration and customs went thankfully smooth. We didn’t get red lighted, green light all the way. And then we hit a wall. Someone was supposed to meet us to take us to the Villa, but our names were not to be found on any of the signs being held up. My Dad figured the taxi drivers would assist us in finding Ramon, so he started asking for Ramon. Pretty hilarious. To his credit and far beyond anything I could have expected one taxi driver did mange to point us in the right direction even if my accident. We saw the Suburbans with the PackaSports on top. Ramon wasn’t expecting us for a while yet, but he was still happy to see us and went in to check and see if Steve and Judy had arrived. (I think they come on a later flight that would arrive a few hours later, when Ramon thought we were arriving as well.) Around this time Gordon dropped Ed and Serg off at the airport. Ed was going to take us in the suburban to costco and then to the Villa. Serg was going to be driving the truck to the Villa.

Ed described himself as a “Funologist”. He is a retired inventor, more or less, who spends most of his time now skiing, golfing and enjoying life to its fullest. Our trip to Costco had me believing that we were traveling through downtown Acapulco. I would learn later that I was wrong. At Costco we bought Coronas, waters and some snacks. It’s amazing the power of franchising. Without much time spent we were back on our way to the Villa. We went from sea level to climbing up a mountain side. Up and up we climbed. Twisting and turning. Traffic whizzed past. Rules held little merit. Horns were used generously for friendly signals as well as indicators of disappointment. Blinkers provided some indication of what was going on but a coin flip would be just as accurate. We must have reached some sort of high point because we were now going down. Before long (merely a few hundred yards) we took a turn and started climbing towards the peak of the mountain. Past a guard post and into an expensive looking area. Clearly we would not be staying in the typical lodgings I am used to on a vacation. Twisting and turning and still climbing we worked our way up. When at last we arrived. Ed told us that we would be in room 3. The best way to describe the place would be a very very large multi-level condo with rooms for many guests.

My Dad and I spent a few minutes unpacking and checking out our room. I immediately noticed that this room lacked the one thing featured most prominently in other “hotel” rooms: a TV. It was then that I realized I was truly on a different kind of vacation. I’m proud to say that for an entire week it was a relief to be without TV and not once did I miss it. After the quick scope, I stocked the fridge with Beer and Water and immediately changed clothes. I was still in pants and had a few shirts on. I went to board shorts, t-shirt and sandals. And that’s how I would remain for the majority of the week.

We left our room and climbed the nearby stairs to the second level of the villa which provided a truly breathtaking view of the southern part of Acapulco as well as slight glimpse of downtown Acapulco. It was there that we first met some of the other guests that we would be sharing this vacation with. John and Kathy, Dave and Michelle, Doug and Kristen and Greg were all up already relaxing. Ramon brought us out some wonderful Ceviche. Not something I would go out of my way to pick prior to the vacation. Now, I dunno, it was pretty darn good. He also brought us some chips, guacamole and salasa. I never really ate guac prior to this vacation, but now I love the stuff.

During this time the rest of the guests arrived: Eric and Rhonda, Sam and Suzannah, Dave and Melaney, Steve and Judy. Not long after everyone arrived and we had all had a few moments to get to know each other, it was time to get showered and dressed for dinner. The caveat for dinner was you could not smell or be wet. It was interesting to see the varying levels of “dressed-up-ness”.

Our dinner the first day was a wonderful meal with very Mexican roots. Sadly my memory fails me and I can not remember exactly what we had because of the so many wonderful meals to follow. I know enchiladas were involved. What I remember most was the table in the dinning area and the service. The table was made of solid wood and was the size of a small bus. It was absolutely the largest and most impressive table I have ever seen. The view out the dinning room were amazing. It was located on the 2nd floor right next to the pool/deck area and afforded the same views as any other spot on the 2nd deck. The walls were for the most part glass and had little to block your view when the curtains were pulled open. The service was astounding. Five star service in every essence. One interesting aspect was that depending on what was being served you choose how much you wanted. They would come along with a large pan or bowl and you would scoop out how much you wanted. Very nice if you were particularly hungry. (Some nights the meals were more individually prepared and this was not an option.)

At the end of dinner we went over the procedures for handling the mornings as well being informed on other events happening during the week. While our mornings would be dominated with time at the lake site and used primarily for skiing, our afternoons and evenings were open to doing other events. We were also informed of a little game they play at Ski Paradise. It doesn’t really have a title, but it certainly has a purpose. Gabrielle is involved in helping a local children’s home and as a way to raise money she has a little lockbox and whenever someone does something dumb they put $5 in the box. Needless to say I was scared because I didn’t have much cash. We’ll have to wait and see how that turned out.

As for the morning, we found out that the two suburbans would be going out in two groups. The morning crew and the late crew. The morning crew would leave the villa around 6:45AM and get the first sets of the day. The late crew would have time to eat breakfast and then leave the villa around 7:45. The late crew would bring breakfast to the Palapa for the morning crew as well as lunch. All of the meals were included with the trip. A service you come to appreciate and wish you had in everyday life.

The other interesting fact was that Mexico was switching to daylight savings that night. Oh great! So we all set our clocks ahead an hour (or those of us who figured out how to do it.) Everything seems great and in order now. It’s 10:17PM after setting our clock ahead an hour. I’m going on 34 hours being awake but strangely feeling not that tired. I figure it in my best interest to go to bed and so it is that our first day in paradise comes to a close.

If you haven’t got the feeling yet. It all feels like you are staying at a friend’s place and will be skiing every morning. Only the friend owns a multi-million dollar home in a very exclusive section of Acapulco, has staff that provides 5 star service, dinning and lodging and has access to one of the greatest ski sites in the world.

The plane has landed (finally!)

I’m back from my trip to Ski Paradise.  I’m fairly exhausted and yet energized at the same time.  I wake up around 8-9AM now and my body craves a set or two.  Tomorrow morning I will post an in depth review of my vacation.  For now here are a few facts to hold you over:

Number of emails accumulated over a week: 4500

Number of blisters: 5

Number of sets: 10

Rolls of duct tape utilized personally: 1/4

Coats of super glue: 14

Shots of Tequila: 4

Limes rubbed into open blisters: 2

Days spent sick: 0

Average wake up time: 7:00AM

Average bed time: 9:50PM

I’m leaving on a jet plane

I’ll know when I’ll be back again.  The 12th of April.  Have a great week everyone, I know I will in Ski Paradise.