Hola Mexico

For the first time in my life I went on a warm winter getaway. I won’t lie, it was AMAZING! My entire family went to a resort outside of Playa del Carmen for a week of sun, food and beach.

Relaxing on the "Playa"
Relaxing on the “Playa”

The sun and beach did not disappoint, however except for the guacamole, the food was much less memorable. But the guacamole…oh the guacamole! And fresh fruit for breakfast every morning…papaya that melted in my mouth, and mango that was soooo sweet and juicy.

The Beach at Telum
The Beach at Telum

One of my favourite things was our day trip to Telum and Xel-Ha. Telum is a small Mayan City dating from the 13th century. Although there was no breeze and the day was sweltering, it was really great to see. I really don’t know much about Mayan history, but it was a really neat trip. I love going to see old architecture, it is so beautiful and truly incredible when thinking about the labour involved in building the structures.

Things I now know about the Mayans: They decorated their houses by painting mosaics and frescoes. The Mayans used cocoa beans as currency. They were also fantastic at dentistry and would insert jems and gold into their teeth. A few neat architectural things were pointed out to us including the face of a God on the side of one of the temples.

Face on the side of a temple.
Face on the side of a temple.

Xel-Ha is a “National Water Park”. But instead of slides and wave pools, it is a big nature reserve with a “lazy river” (literally a river that flows into the ocean within the park), snorkeling, and scuba diving as well as opportunities to pet sting rays, and swim with dolphins. I loved the snorkelling, and in the park you had the opportunity to see both fresh and salt water fish. My dad saw a sting ray, I saw critters in conch shells crawling around a starfish hanging out and bright coloured tropical fish.

Another brilliant feature at our resort was the swim-up bar.  Imagine going for a swim and thinking, “I’m getting thirsty” and instead of getting out of the pool, drying off, and walking to the bar all you have to do is swim to the bar at the side of the pool, no need to dry off, sit on a barstool in the water while enjoying your daiquiri. The best bartender on the resort was Omar, who had a different delicious drink special everyday.

Omar's drink specials.
Omar’s drink specials.

The hardest parts of leaving Mexico were:

1) Wearing pants again…it was so wonderful to wear a bathing suit all day and IF needed pull a skirt on. Pants are a hard necessity to real-non-vacation-life.

2) Arriving back to -5 degrees celsius and snow. I shouldn’t complain, my parents went back to -15 in Winnipeg….but I am complaining, too bad. That 10 minute wait for the bus at Pearson Airport were the coldest 10 minutes, and I might have cried (…well, no, I didn’t actually cry.)

3) Getting back to the real world. I had to work the day after I got back. I had string players to find for Excelsior’s concert on March 16. I had program notes to write, practicing to do for 2 concerts, nope, make that 3 (Excelsior, Hart House and a concerto on a friend’s recital…)

Getting back to real life is always a bit tough and takes some mad computer time for me, but unfortunately the day after I got home, the house was broken into and my laptop was stolen. The good news is I had bought an external hard drive on Sunday morning, the bad news is, I didn’t use it and an hour later my laptop was gone.

I’m not too choked up about it, I wanted a new laptop anyways. While I wish I would have bought a new laptop under different circumstances, I do have to say I’m in love with my new computer. I learned some valuable lessons, like back up your computer and keep a list of everything you own with a serial number.

My new Mac <3
My new Mac <3

So…I think I’ve finally caught back up after my week away. Excelsior’s concert is on Saturday and the Ensemble sounds AMAZING. We have an organist performing Variations on America by Charles Ives. (I chose this video because the organist is a crazy-looking man in an extremely “stylish” outfit.) We also have some works by William Billings, a choral composer who was a contemporary of Mozart…however if you listen to his piece Jargon, you would never know it! (Yes, that is how it is SUPPOSED to sound…Atonality in the early 1800s…Billings is both crazy and awesome!) The following picture I took during the rehearsal for Country Band March. A work about 2 amateur marching bands crossing paths on a parade square. I love that the saxophone “gets lost” near the end. How many familiar tunes can you pick out?

Excelsior concentrating during rehearsal. March 8, 2013.
Excelsior concentrating during rehearsal. March 8, 2013.

So that’s been my relaxing week without phone or email…and then a busy one with extra phone and email just to catch up. I won’t lie, I might physically be in Toronto, going about my business, but in my head I’m still here:

Don't talk to me...I'm pretending to still be here!
Shhhhh…I’m pretending to still be here! (don’t spoil my daydreaming!) 🙂


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