This annual holiday trip was a little different than our usual luxury vacation. We went to a small fishing village in Mexico, to experience something different. Something quaint! As we approached the town some building lots near beautiful homes like the one we rented for the week looked like they were bombed out. We pulled up to the villa to be greeted by the dozen or so construction workers who would be hammering away at the sister house on the property the entire week long. The minute we unlocked the front door to our oceanfront casa, our daughter, Janelle, ran out to the back deck, and with her clothes on, and jumped into the infinity pool. Then came the infinity of rain…and the infinity of wet towels (the washer/dryer never reached “Stop.”) Jillian, our niece and her husband, Andrew, soon found out that all the terra cotta inside the house was as slippery as an ice-skating rink.

We quickly surveyed the floor plan and claimed our own bedrooms, neatly unpacked our suitcases, and got organized. Well, except for the thirty-something-year-old single boys, Jeffrey, Marc and Chris, who shared a huge bedroom, referred to as “the pig sty.” A frieze of a pig’s head actually hung on the wall above their headboards. Perfect!

For dinner on the first night we arrived, we hired a cook who served us the freshest fish I’d ever seen, with a mound of sauce covering the poor bass(tard’s) eyeballs and gills…finally smothered, the flopping stopped. The plate was still. “Dig in,” Judy, my sister, said. The next day we ate nothing but chips.

The young’uns took my husband Bruce to a bar on the street, showing him how to do shots (a first for him), and he was in his glory when two Mexican guys with guitars, who didn’t speak much English, happened to know all the words to a dozen Rolling Stone songs Bruce requested, along with his 12 shots of Tequila. The nieces and nephews later found Uncle Bruce sitting in the rain on the median of the road, reminiscing about Woodstock and philosophizing on life, and from then on coined him Uncle Hemingway.

The following morning, there was a slight break in the weather, and some of us took the complimentary dilapidated bicycles for a ride on the sandy beach along the shore, scouting out the hotel where our daughter Janelle and her husband Mike had originally planned to have their Destination Wedding – that is until the Swine Flu outbreak. To my horror, and the cackling sound of one of my nephews, I was almost blinded by what I saw next – the hotel is now the Swinger Hotel on Naked Beach. Let me tell you, nothing is worse than the shock of unexpectedly seeing a 90-year-old butt of an old man sunbathing. I closed one eye and we hopped off our bikes and headed for a pier, away from the nakedness…but then a sign stopped us dead. It read: No sexual activity beyond this point! “Oh my God, Oh my God!” I panicked. “Where do we go? Where do we look?” I hopped back on my bike and pedaled my prudish-posterior outta there as fast as I could go.

We swam in the rain under big black clouds, thunder clapping, lightning bolting, and umbrellas turning inside-out. There were a few inconveniences within our living quarters, too, but I think the worst of it was the signs above the toilets in each of our five bathrooms: DO NOT FLUSH ANY PAPER, WHATSOEVER. This took a lot of calculation after eating Mexican food which seems to go right through you. One night I heard Bruce wandering the house, like a zombie, at 3 a.m., looking in all 5 bathrooms for the one plunger provided Until then, we had only thought about using it to smash the piñata we bought to celebrate the multitude of Holiday birthdays.

It was a NOISY house, indeed. Day and night. One morning while in the shower (clogged, by the way), I heard a horrific sound and thought this is it. This is the end. A tidal wave? (only later to find out it was a very low-flying helicopter) The rain continued, the kitchen ceiling leaked, and every morning at 6:30 a.m. sharp, the construction crew next door arrived to add to the commotion. Some of us cried. No, really, CRIED teardrops (as if we needed more liquid?)

By the end of the week, we were ALL doing tequila shots; the only well-behaved ones were the three toddlers, Sammy, Lila, and Jagger. The coming and going of us crazies on the bikes down the long street to town was a sight. It seemed nephew Marc always got the “good” bike, and his brother Chris was always walking one home with either a flat tire or a loose chain; his face marked with black grease, entertaining my son Jeffrey, the more logical one. All the locals (THE nicest people in the world!) got to know us. And on the last day, one of the locals – a fisherman, took the boys out to sea in his boat, right after they scoffed down 30 tacos. He gestured to them; shrugging his shoulders at why they ate SO much before the excursion…they answered while they sang Heave-Ho over the side of the boat, laughing their fool-heads off at one another.