In 2008, a freak Christmastime snow-storm sent us scurrying from Vancouver to Mazatlan, and a stay at the El Cid resort…
A visit to El Cid Mazatlan
(originally published under the title “One-way ticket to tourist hell” at lavalife.com, Dec 30 2008)
By rights, the Texas Twister. and I should be dealing with my family and the snow in Winnipeg. But because of Vancouver weather conditions, i.e. snow, our Dec. 24 flight out of town was canceled. So we spent all of Christmas Day scouring the Internet for deals on flights to sunnier climes, and once we finally (literally, seven hours later) decided on Mazatlan, the Texas Twister hunted for deals on lodging. On eBay, she found a time-share at a resort for seven days and a very reasonable amount of money. What we hadn’t realized was that it was a one-way ticket to Tourist Hell.
The El Cid is a resort complex with a 27-storey tower and a smaller, adjacent hotel, as well as a skyway that crosses over the street to a golf/tennis country club. A small shopping complex in the complex ensures that guests never have to leave the premises; if you do, there’s a Senor Frog‘s pit of hell attached for all your tequila shot/clubbing needs. Our room is homely but comfy, but we are required to wear “El Cid” wristbands to alert the authorities that we have a right to be here. No surprise, but it’s also the kind of place that nickel-and-dimes guests to death—there’s a fee for wireless, and the bottles of water in the bathroom are 50 pesos, or about four bucks US. I’m bucking the system by buying water and tequila from one of the myriad little markets nearby.
Mostly I wanted a pool to sit around. Be careful what you wish for: we have a pool, all right, and it’s bloody huge, with a big rock formation in the middle for diving. But the whole place is teeming with meaty Midwestern American families. We won’t be partying with them New Year’s Eve (famous last words?). At the towel station, a DJ spins loud top 40 Latin tunes to, I suppose, get everyone in the mood to part-ay. It’s hot, with temperatures hovering around 80s, but the long-range forecast calls for mostly partly cloudy days until we leave.
We both agree this place is a bit of a nightmare; Nicole wants to subvert the system somehow, but so far the only idea she’s had is selling discounted bottled water. She’s going to have to do better than that.
But, me complain? Why should I, really, when I get to sit around on my fat duff all day and read and enjoy the palm trees and strong Mexican coffee and fruit plates and a sip at a tequila concoction of my own devising. I’m in a section of the lobby as I right this that looks out over the pool, and the palm fronds are almost close enough to touch. Nearby, smoke from a grill down below rises, and I can see a wedge of ocean. There’s nothing to worry about except where to get our next meal (hopefully, outside of the complex) and that Middle Eastern war which, I have to admit, is harshing my mellow somewhat.
But, at least the girlfriend and I are getting along pretty well. At nine days, this will be our longest trip together; Sonoma was a few days, the same with Portland and Seattle and, just last month, that misbegotten American Thanksgiving weekend in Pennsylvania. As long as she keeps sleeping through most of the day and fooling around on her laptop we should be fine. Although I am worried; her computer is beginning to die. Oh well, there’s always the pool.