Sun, sand and snow?
by Dale Burgos
At the time of writing this article, folks in St. John’s Newfoundland are busy shovelling their way out of their homes. The record snowfall was a sight to see with snowpack taller than people’s house and garage doors! I can see why they needed to declare a state of emergency. By doing so, they were able to call on the Canadian military to come and help.
I know, I know, Winnipeggers are used to snow. Nothing will stop us from going to Polo Park in a blizzard! But you have to agree, they got a heck of a lot of snow!
It looks like most of the country got snow and a bit of a cold snap in January; temperatures dipping to -40 across the prairies and almost -10 degrees out on the west coast of B.C. (almost unheard of). This was a nice reminder that we live in the Great White North. On the plus side, we know it won’t last forever and let’s see if the groundhogs will see their shadows this month.
Closer to home here in B.C., the beginning of the snow and cold snap coincided with the Burgos clan’s return from our trip to Mexico, where we spent seven glorious days in the Riviera Maya. Within the space of one day, we were in shorts and +30 degree weather and then returned to below zero temps. Not a big deal, as we expected it, but what was a surprise was how the weather affected our commute home.
We flew into Vancouver, once there, we needed to take a ferry back to Vancouver Island. Usually not a big deal, but this time, we were faced with a multitude of ferry cancellations. What did that mean for us tired and tanned folk? We were stuck in Vancouver until the ferries returned to normal operations.
Sure, there could be worse places to be stuck other than Vancouver, but when you add expensive hotels and all these fancy stores and outlet malls, our trip just took a turn for the worse. And by worse, I mean we went shopping and spent more money. Ooof! My wallet still hurts by those darn ferry cancellations. Perhaps I will kindly ask BC Ferries to reimburse me for all the goods we bought during our layover in the beautiful coastal city. Imagine that phone call. They will either laugh and hang up, or say some not so kind words and then hang up. Either way, I don’t think I will recoup any of these costs.
As for our first foray into Mexico, I’d say it went very well. We stayed near a small town in between Cancun and Playa Del Carmen. The hotel and amenities were exactly as promised. The food was tasty and the pools were in abundance. This is what paradise looks like!
We spent one day out of the resort and visited Isla Cozumel – a picturesque island we ferried to from Playa Del Carmen. We drove along the island’s coastline and were met by turquoise waters and white sand beaches (probably very similar to what you’d see back home). The snorkelling in the Punta Sur Eco Beach Park left us breathless, literally! We swam out a couple hundred metres from shore to the reef. There we saw tiger fish, barracuda and fish that look like Dory in Finding Nemo. Doing this for almost two hours is a bit tiring! Snorkelling was one of three goals for us Burgos’ to experience on this trip.
The second goal was to relax by the pool, catch some rays and partake of all the wonderful all-inclusive meals. Goal achieved!
Our third goal (mostly for Gavin), was to hit the local markets and barter with the shop keeps. Gotta say, Burgos child #4 was a force to be reckoned with. He was able to negotiate some very good deals! His go-to move was to threaten to walk away. Worked every time!
Mexico was fun and we’re sure to visit again. Up next, I want to bring the family back home. I’ve never been and it would be a very special experience to see where my parents and ancestors lived. That trip will truly be memorable.
Dale, a former Winnipegger, manages the communications department for a school district in British Columbia and continues to write from afar.