Sunday was Day 7 of our trip, and with the next day going to be our last big day and with a packaged excursion scheduled, this was our last day to hang out at the resort.
Laguna for breakfast
Eco tour – toxic tree, mangrove seed pod, family from Nepean, cave with coral, spider monkeys, rained a bit before and during tour – hot (*A)
The resort offers free walking tours for the “eco” portion, one of the scheduled activities that actually looked interesting. We passed on the scuba demos, bicycling, swimming in the cenote as part of a large group, traveling a jade river that looked like a near swamp (shudder, I was *not* going in that creek, maybe not even in a wet suit!), etc. But the eco walking tour sounded okay, even though I thought we had seen most of the resort already and walked the same paths.
But the tour was really good, one of the most interesting aspects of the trip. Our tour guide, Ulysses, was quite knowledgeable about the eco side and alternated in the tour between french and english. The other half of our tour was a couple with two kids, and I thought the guy seemed a bit familiar to me, but just assumed I was being crazy. Turns out they live about five blocks from our house. I never got the chance to ask him if he works at our building in Gatineau, but I think he does. Small world, although not that small if you’re booking with Air Canada Vacations I suppose. It wasn’t an instant bonding experience, we didn’t become bosom couples, but it was cute. Ulysses showed us trees that were toxic to the touch, and other trees with leaves that would remove the toxicity. We saw trees with bubblegum sap, and it was hard to keep a straight face as he explained how you collect the sap in a bucket, heat it, let it solidify, etc., like this was unusual. He went to school in Montreal for awhile, you’d think he’d know this was pretty familiar to seven Canadians who have likely all visited a sugar bush.
He showed the mangrove seed pod to us, and J loved it for some reason. He occasionally has these little moments where he sees an acorn, or a pine cone, or a seed pod, and he suddenly wants to keep it and take it home as a souvenir. We didn’t, and often we don’t, just interesting he can bop along uninterested until the tactile sensation reinforces the learning and suddenly he is fully engaged.
We also walked through an old cave that was once underwater and there are still remnants of the coral in the walls. It’s a narrow “trench” (roof is open), and J really didn’t like it much. I was okay with that, less thrilled with the suspension bridge that followed. It wasn’t on any of the maps either, so we hadn’t been in that area earlier in our exploration either.
Near the end, we saw spider monkeys hanging out in the trees. The tour lasted only an hour, but it was well worth the price of admission (free), and I’m really glad we did it. Felt like the resort actually WAS an eco-resort rather than just a resort surrounded by trees.
Tortuga cenote, Select cenote, cascade
Near our room, there were signs for a “select” cenote and a “tortuga” cenote, and we hadn’t checked those out yet. We meant to do so all week, but frequently we thought of it while going to or from dinner, and just never got around to it. Since we had the time now, we checked them out. The “select” cenote (not sure the name is right) was nothing to write home about (or take up too much space in the blog), but the Tortuga was really quite beautiful, even if the “falls” were artificial.
Laguna – lunch
pool & beach
Mediterranean restaurant – La Riviera — on beach, view of ocean, salad, shrimp pasta, surf & turf, seafood casserole, spaghetti, good bread – 2 cats
Chocolate cake, banana split
There was one restaurant down by the beach called “La Riviera”, and it looked really nice. An open-air Mediterranean restaurant, facing the beach, circular in shape. We tried to go to it earlier in the week and there was a line up even just to leave names, and then another 45 minute wait after that. The steak and seafood place had been a bust too, really fancy looking and no one manning the kiosk to take your name, so we had bailed when we tried it. But La Riviera looked good, and Andrea really wanted to try it. So, with it opening at 5:30 p.m., we were there at 5:31 to get in line. Except there was no line. The place was practically empty. We had a few minutes only while they were seating other people, then us, and we ended up dead centre, near the front, with a great view of the beach and ocean. It was heaven.
The à la carte menu was a bit more “fixed” than the Italian place had been, and you had a choice of two salads (Greek or Mediterranean … I had Greek and the oil on it was quite good); four different appetizers, and I went with a shrimp pasta that was quite tasty, with both Andrea and Jacob liking it too; five or six main courses, with A having the seafood casserole, J having spaghetti, and I had the surf & turf (steak with shrimp); and really good bread/buns. A had a margarita
pina colada, I went with the Shirley Temple, and J loved the large blue glasses for water. We just hung out, ate, stared at the ocean, watched a cat or two wander around the tables, and had the best meal experience of the week.
J had chocolate cake for dessert, and the plan was to share it with A, but it was so small when it came, and so good, he ate it all himself. Almost didn’t even have time to notice the treble clef design on the plate. I had a “banana split” in a small cup, quite tasty. It was beautiful, and even an hour later when we left, it wasn’t full yet. Seemed weird a bit, although it was Super Bowl Sunday and we wondered if everybody was at the “party” (I’ll come back to that in a minute).
Super Bowl in theatre, 2nd and 3rd quarters, popcorn
Not as rowdy as expected
It was Super Bowl Sunday, and the resort had set up the main theatre to show the game. It was kind of odd, they have a sports bar area, and were rewiring TVs that morning, looked like what they were “offering”, a pub-style area for a small group to watch. But they had also been setting up a buffet near the main “stage”. The resort has it’s own theatre, I would guess suitable for 300 or so people, probably more, quite big. They do shows in there every night almost … the cultural show was in three parts, with the first part at the beach, and we never got around to doing the other two shows, or the bonus show later in the week. They also had a super heroes comedy show, and a Michael Jackson impersonator who was said to be quite good. We generally passed.
Earlier in the day, we had seen them setting up for a big buffet at the theatre, and while I assumed it was going to be the Super Bowl, I wasn’t sure they had the option to show TV on the big screen or not. But when we showed up after dinner, end of the first quarter, they had done a basic buffet, mostly hamburgers and hotdogs, same sort of fare as at the snack bar, few additions, and the game was on the big screen. Since the Mediterranean restaurant had been so quiet, I assumed that meant the theatre area would be PACKED. It wasn’t. Maybe 100 people in total, not even sure of that. I have no idea where everyone was eating that night, or if for some reason, Sunday is a slow day (they don’t always have a show for instance), but it wasn’t swamped.
And those 100 people were way less rowdy than I expected. At one point, there were four or five young adults sitting behind us, and the one guy apparently was incapable of watching the game or going two seconds without swearing, but they didn’t stick around long, and I don’t think J noticed.
J was hoping for New England, A & I probably the Falcons (go with the underdog!), and the half of a game that we watched (Q2, Q3) was awesome for the Falcons. The Pats were horrible those two quarters, and since none of us are huge football fans, we bailed when it looked like a blowout. Just in time to miss the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history. 🙂 We were perfectly happy though watching a 20-minute SportsNet recap later in the week, so it was all good.
We went back to our room and got organized for our big outing the next day. We also did a bit of packing since we were going to be busy all day. Another great day just chilling at the resort.