Monday, August 18, 2014

Norm makes a friend

Trivia question: What's better than having a time share in a tropical paradise?

Give up?

Answer: Having a close relative that has a time share in a tropical paradise.

My dad and step-mom bought an annual two weeks in Cancun a number of years ago. They went for the best weather weeks of the year. And the best part about it is it has two separate rooms that both have access to a common living area. So Dad and Catherine can (and do) take the main living quarters while another couple can (and does) take the secondary bedroom/bathroom area. AND...get this...we're as close as blood relatives can get (my dad and I even have the same NAME), so Taela and I typically get precedence for the years that we choose to go. We have been down there 4 times now and it's freaking muy bueno!

Relaxing in Cancun
Well, it had been a few years since we had taken advantage of this amazing standing offer so Taela talked me into going this year. I was all “ok...if that's what you want, honey” out loud while internally I was all “how great is it that my wife thinks she has to convince me to vacation in paradise?”

So there's a really great group of people that all time-share down there the same time every year. We have come to know many of them because Dad and Catherine are tight-knit in this group. They are all nearly inseparable...during happy hour. I mean there's a lot of bonding to be had when you're laying motionless in the sun for hours and hours on end....looking forward to that refreshing margarita at whatever o'clock. The point is there's a great group of folks from all over the country and may different walks of life who have made a little community and it's totally boss.

Happy Hour Group
Well...because we have been down there a few times before we are pretty much over the touristy things to do. We don't need to go to the markets anymore. We sure as hell don't need to see another bull stabbed to death by a scrawny looking matador (which literally translates to “killer”). But there was one thing I had always wanted to do but never had. I wanted to go tour Isla de Mujeres. Was it because “Isla de Mujeres” means “Island of Women” It was because I had heard...and seen in some pictures, that La Isla was still somewhat authentic to what vacationing in Mexico used to be 30 years ago. Quaint little towns with small markets. Cantinas on the beach without all the corporate fanfare. Places where locals sought their own recreation, not bikini contests (yes, we actually stumbled across a bikini contest up the beach from our resort on hotel row this past trip).

So a handful of us from the happy hour group decided we would head over to Isla de Mujeres and form what the regulars call a Biker Gang to tour the island. Why do they call it a biker gang? Because what you do is go over there and rent either a golf cart (wuss) or a motor scooter (macho, macho man) to drive all over the island seeking the sights and sounds of paradise.

Most of the Biker Gang
So I'll fast forward a bit. The Island of Women is beautiful. There are amazing little towns with old buildings and narrow streets that give you a feel for what it's really like to live in a small Mexican community. There are breathtaking views everywhere. We ate on the beach at a restaurant that serves a bbq mackerel platter that's just incredible. Oh, and there was a cat walking around in the sand begging for our fish. Oh, and the bbq grill was dirty and disgusting and right next to the piss trough they called a men's restroom. Oh, and Taela and I witnessed the garbage man literally vomiting as he took in the rotting fish stench of the restaurant's refuse. Talk about being in Mexico!
Me, Taela and Norm @ Playa Tiburon
Wood pile and fish prep

But by far the highlight of our time on the island, the magical island of women, was our trip to the little roadside stand that the ladies in the group love to visit on every trip. The women from a lovely little family sells all sorts of decorative seashells right in front of their home. We made a special trip to the far end of the island just to buy from them.

So our chain of motor scooters came to a stop across the street from this roadside stand. We all dismounted our bikes like Ponch and John...moving a bit more slowly than normal because it gave us an air of authority. What I haven't yet mentioned is that at least 3 members of our biker gang were active or retired cops. We were bad arse!

Biker Gang...preparin' to transact

Shells were not the only available merchandise
Well the ladies are all looking at the shells and the little 13 year old girl is doing a good job explaining all about them. This is a male conch, this is a female...blah blah blah. The matriarch of the family is sitting behind in a spot back behind the booth. She is holding a very young baby and casually supervising the older daughter's saleswomanship.

My lovely wife loves babies!
I notice that my dad and Norm have moved off into the only shade to be had over against a wall. They've had enough of women fawning over dead mollusk exoskeletons and it's hot so why not take a break from baking in the kinda-near-equatorial sun? Oh...Norm. Norm is awesome. Norm is, if you watch Parks & Recreation, exactly like Ron Swanson except with personality. Norm is the guy that doesn't have to say much but you know he probably has the answer. He has one of those mustaches that makes him instantly respectable (as opposed to those mustaches that you want to singe the ends off with a lighter). Norm is the guy in the room that everyone instantly likes and they should.

Norm & Keith Sr. - Shady
So my dad comes back to the group to take some pictures. This leaves Norm on the wall by himself. Now, coming down the wall (seemingly out of nowhere) is this skinny dog. I'm not too keen on dogs myself so it puts me on guard a bit. I mean, who knows what this dog's intentions might be? Maybe he wants to bite me or my wife. Maybe he wants to give me a disease. Maybe he wants to rub his gennies on my leg. But lucky for me Norm is between me and this dog. And the dog decides to befriend him. I open the camera on my phone and snap a few shots of the dog with Norm. They are literally dancing with one another. Norm says something like “this is so cool! Strange dogs usually shy away from me.” This is kind of weird because Norm and Lori have pugs and there is no stranger dog than a pug. But Norm and this dog are bonding big time. Dancing, petting. At one point the dog gives a little dog lick kiss right on the ole mustache. Adorable!

Then s*** got real.

The dog leaves Norm in the dust, trots back behind where the woman is rocking her baby and grabs something out of a small trash can with its mouth. It carriers this thing 40 feet down the grassy strip next to the wall. It starts tearing into it to open it up ready to greedily devour its contents. Words cannot describe the rest. But fortunately, video can.

Warning...what you are about to see is real and unedited. If you have a weak gag reflex you should stop now and assume the worst. Otherwise...enjoy!