A turbulent honeymoon " naturally
My husband and I went to Playa del Carmen, Mexico for what ended up being a three-week honeymoon in late October 2005. Three days before we were supposed to go home, we were taking naps in hammocks, fantasizing about moving to Mexico when a nice guy named Freddie warned us about Wilma.
Wilma, for those who don’t follow the weather or news, was a massive category 5 hurricane that sat atop of the Mayan Riviera for 32 hours. She destroyed Cozumel, Cancun and, as luck would have it, Playa del Carmen.
The same morning we first heard about Wilma, our hotel evacuated all guests to a hotel farther up the beach. The locals told us hurricanes usually only remain intense for about four hours so we bought Pringles and Ritz crackers and loaded up on water.
We lost power and water late that first night and wouldn’t have either for the next five days. I woke up around 2 a.m. to a low mechanical sound not unlike a hovering helicopter. That, the deafening winds and the thunks from debris flying against our boarded up balcony doors, was how Wilma made her dramatic entrance.
During the day we opened our room’s main door, which faced the courtyard, to get enough light to read. At night we sat in our flooded room, lit a candle and read or talked. Those were our choices ” read or talk.
We talked about our goals, our wedding, our families and what we would eat if we could eat anything in the world. We even caught up on celebrity news ” something neither of us would ever do in the states ” thanks to some leftover trashy magazines loaned to us by the crazy Texan lady next door.
We made friends with the Texan woman and her husband, as well as some honeymooners from New York City. One night we made pina coladas with the New Yorkers by chopping up a coconut we heisted from the fallen palm tree in the hotel courtyard.
The bootleg rum that went into the pulpy drinks came from an American minor league baseball player who’d recently flown to Cozumel to play “winter ball.” He’d started a lucrative business selling booze to the many Italians staying in our hotel. The Italians would drink themselves silly, filling the dreary nights with boisterous renditions of patriotic Italian songs.
Though we couldn’t communicate with them, we were all in the same boat. Differences disappear quickly when everyone is scrounging for food, swimming in their bed rooms and using pool water to flush their toilets.
Yes, at times, Wilma was terrifying. She made the building shake, she was loud, she flooded our rooms and ” on a bigger scale ” destroyed at least three Mexican resorts. But, when people ask us how the honeymoon was, it’s a lot more fun to talk about the Italians and bootleg liquor, than it is to drone on about sleepless nights and backed-up toilets.
And in our minds, we already got the hard part out of the way. I mean after a hurricane, how challenging can marriage be?
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