Saturday, February 23, 2008

Los Zopilotes of Cabo San Lucas

Aeropuerto San Jose Cabo San Lucas

As heat seeking, middle aged, well-fed Americans, Clif and I recently flew US Airways to Cabo San Lucas. Mentally dull from the recent sale of our business ( our radar ran at low ebb upon landing in San Jose Los Cabos, Baja California, Mexico.

Just outside Mexican Customs we walked into a vultures’ nest. We arranged airport pickup service, so when a well-spoken Mexican man asked us where we were going, we were clueless that he eyed us as road kill with luggage. (Figuratively, we were.)

He whistled for his boy and rattled out in Spanish what I think was probably, “Dude, I got me some fat American pigeons. Stall while I set them up.”

“Where are you from?” he asked. “While we wait for your transportation, come over here and let me give you a bienvenidos package with free cruises, massages, and tequila if you like.”

Two-word interpretation: Time share, amigo.

His half-hour pitch ended when I lost my patience, grabbed my luggage and found my way outside to the glorious 80-degree temps. A whole other kettle of vultures waited outside. “Gracias, no,” became my mantra until a taxi carried us away.

Royal Solaris Hotel

Celebrating 20 years of marriage, I reserved an ocean view room at the all-inclusive Royal Solaris Los Cabo in San Jose del Cabos.

Endless food, margaritas, sun. Oh yeah, baby.

“Bienvenidos,” greeted a young man with earthen brown eyes, a black guayabera over khaki Dockers. His name tag read Christian. He called for the bell boy, then asked us, “Where are you from?” New Mexico, blah, blah, blah. “Wonderful! Follow me for your bienvenidos package.”

Inside the gala lobby, Christian sat us at one of the many welcome desks and asked, “Would you like a margarita, cerveza, or maybe a mimosa?” Not yet. A young woman brought us chilled bottled water.

As in the airport, Christian asked if we’d like a Cabo San Lucas bay tour? ATV rides? A massage? All free, of course. He was also enthused about the possibility of us being invited to an exclusive cocktail party and even a free breakfast (but isn’t this an all-inclusive hotel I wondered) if we would just give the hotel 90 minutes of our time that will show us how to save big money on travel. What the heck, we said.

Well into our 6th floor room, directly facing the white sandy beaches of the Sea of Cortez where whales floated by, mantra rays splashed in the surf, and white clothed mercados offered touristas hats, jewelry, scarves, wind chimes and tattoos, our feeding frenzy began accompanied with the promised endless supply of margaritas.

Amigos, this is the first part of a multi-part blog. Ahead: A warning note to the unsuspecting traveler, meeting up with Alemany High School grads of ’66, and moments of unexplained emotions from a close and personal encounter with grey whales.