Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Ahhh…vacation. Even though it was short, it was awesome. Because it was relaxing and beautiful and best of all…free (mostly). Winning stuff is awesome, ya’ll!

Even though I stayed up watching It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia getting stuff packed, I still managed to get up at 3:00 AM to get to the airport in time. We got in early, and the flight was uneventful - though I could have done without the 5 hours (OK, minutes, but it felt like hours.) of spiraling around the airport before we landed.

We were at the report before 10:00 am, and had the whole day ahead of us, which was why I didn’t mind getting up so damned early. Here’s a news flash: It’s HOT in Arizona. We were ready to head to the pool, but we needed to eat first. We didn’t want breakfast (something about 100 degrees that makes eggs blech), so we had to wait until they started serving lunch. The pool café was the earliest - at 11:00 – so we headed there. And since it was 2:00 our time and we were on vacation, we decided to have a drink, too. Which pretty much set the tone for the while weekend.

The resort was beautiful. I would go there again in a minute. The food and drinks were delicious, though expensive. When we checked in, the people sponsoring the contest gave us gift bags, drink coupons and $200 in cash to cover some expenses, which was awesome.

After lunch, we headed to the pool, which was amazing. “Pool” didn’t do it justice – it was a whole bunch of smaller, sort-of connecting pools that formed a giant water playground. The way it was set up was nice because you never felt crowded. There were waterfalls everywhere, misters, bars, strolling waiters, comfy lounge chairs, beautiful landscaping and flowers, private cabanas, a sand beach and sand-bottomed pool area, and a kickass 3-story spiral waterslide, which shot you out like a cannon.

After lounging (and drinking) all day, we headed back to the room to get ready. I – of course – was ready way before mr b, so I headed to the open-air lobby to watch the Native American dancing and have a drink (OK, actually, several delicious pomegranate mojitos). After that, we headed to a group dinner for the contest winners. It was outside, on the edge of the water, surrounded by palm trees and mountains. And the food was fantastic. I was expecting mediocre banquet food, but I was pleasantly surprised with fresh, delicious southwestern cuisine, including a spicy fruit salad that I could have eaten 6 pounds of.

Also – the sweet, hilarious southern lady sitting at our table came back from the buffet with a steak covered in cumin sauce and said, “I thought this was gravy, but after I put it on, I saw the sign and it said it's cummin' sauce. I don't know if I like cummin’ sauce on my meat. Hot damn – it’s good!

Of course, after dinner we headed back to the bar area – the lobby was all open to the outdoors, so you could sit on the huge terrace outside (they had a bunch of little seating areas with comfy couches and chairs) and still get table service, and enjoy the live entertainment they had every night. This night, it was a contemporary Latin band – they played some original stuff, plus some Santana, Los Lobos, etc. They were great.

We slept in a little on Saturday, had a delicious breakfast in the room, and then headed back down to the pool. It was even hotter than the day before – at one point, I heard 103, and later I heard 105. And I know – dry heat and all – it’s true – it’s much more bearable than humid heat, but still - 105! Being in the pool, it was very comfortable, but out of the pool, you just baked.

Mr b ended up getting a bad headache, so he headed back to the room, and I stayed in the pool area, floating on a raft, drinking rum punch and eyeing the beautiful, distinguished, downright chocolicious man alone the hot tub. If it hadn’t been 7000 degrees, I might have joined him.

That evening, we got a car into Old Town Scottsdale and did a little shopping and sightseeing. Then we headed to dinner at a place that had great food and a shmillion beer choices. Yay beer! After we went back to the resort, we sat on the terrace again and listened to the traditional Spanish band and watched the Flamenco dancers. And tried more delicious drinks. Mr b liked the prickly pear margarita a lot, and I teased him relentlessly since it was pink and girly. But it was delicious. I stuck to the rum drinks, though, since college pretty much ruined me on tequila.

The next morning, I got up before sunrise, so I could take some photos. Mr b, needless to say, stayed in bed. After he got up, we had a nice, leisurely breakfast, checked out, and headed out to the airport. We stopped to do a little shopping, and got the kids some more souvenirs, then hit the bar to watch as much of the game as we could before our flight.

When we got to the gate, I saw some people were whispering and throwing uncomfortable glances in the direction of the two Middle Eastern guys waiting for the flight, but honestly - I was more worried about being locked up in an airless tube for 4 hours with The Sneezer. Plus one of them was pretty hot. Not that has anything to do with anything. Just saying. Hot.

The flight was pretty good, but again with the spiraling (this time on takeoff) and lots of turbulence. The plane was full of Steelers fans, so the captain was giving us updates, the last of which resulted in a planeful of unhappy campers. On the bright side, we did have Aunt Bunny sitting in front of us. She was hilarious. As she was getting up from her seat, she was moaning and groaning and giving a running commentary: “Oh, I’m getting up now. Ohhh. Here I go. Ooooo. My leg. I’m almost up now. Wooo. Damn. I got one leg. I need my other leg. It’s numb. Oooooweeee. Oh Lordy! My leg ain’t movin’. I gotta grab onto this. I’m getting there. Oh no, I’m not. I’m goin’ back down. Lord Jesus. Ok, I’m trying again. Oooooo. I’m up now.” She was awesome.

The only bad thing was last night when mr b called and said there was an almost $700 charge from the resort on our debit card. The room was paid for by the contest sponsor, and we paid our incidentals when we checked out, so we weren’t sure what it was. I called an found out that it was a “hold” charge. I understand why they have those, but I don’t understand why mine is almost $700. They told us at check-in that it would be $200, so where did the additional $500 come in? The woman on the phone told me that when you have incidentals, the hold charge would go up. Well, our incidentals came to $300 (paid for in cash), so why the hell was the hold charge for approximately $400 more than that? I’m pissed. They told me it would revert by Wednesday or Thursday, which is unacceptable. Also? We can fly a man to the moon, but we can’t figure out how to drop a hold charge as soon as the bill is paid? I call bullshit. Big, stinky, steaming, funky, fucking bullshit. Fuckers.

And finally - yes - we went there. And moments afterward the Gods of Good taste punished me with cactus retribution:

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Dina said...

These pictures are awesome. Your trip sounds sweet too. I missed how you won it? I need to go on one of those. Congrats on getting away from home for a few days. :)

Kim said...

So jealous-- I NEVER win ANYTHING. Seriously, would it put the universe out that much to let me have a few raffle cakes or Sham Wow package?

spoon said...

That whole Debt card thing these hotels do is a freaking scam. They can charge you right away but refunding your money takes 5 days? bullshit. We pay cash everywhere we go now and say to turn off our phone and TV if they have to for "incidentals". We tossed our credit cards years ago.

Looks like a sweet vaca too :)

bluzdude said...

Solid Aunt Bunny reference... lol... And I agree... 105 degrees dry OR moist, is still freakin' HOT.

Amy said...

You DESERVED a great vacation!! Glad you had a good time.

Shelly said...

Looks like an awesome trip, Gina! Glad you had a great time!

Lisa said...

Gina I am so glad you had a great time and got to unwind a bit! Pix are great, you deserved the rest!

Bethtastic said...

I need to win me a vacation.

Burgh Baby said...

So glad you had a great time!

And, uh, I looked at the photos in Facebook last night and totally didn't notice the scenario playing out in the last one. Finally! Proof that I'm just as wholesome as I pretend to be! Er, as wholesome as I am! Whatever. I'm a good girl.