Heyyyyy friends. We recently returned from a very very very delayed (3 years!) and very very very good honeymoon trip to Riviera Maya in Mexico. We stayed at an all-inclusive resort and it was the best goshdarn thing in the entire world. The food! The sunshine! The pools! The…roughly 5 total drinks I had because I am a dweeb and do not take advantage of the alcohol part of the inclusivity! The sunscreen I applied 800 times! The room with its balcony! Our concierge! Having a concierge! Learning roughly ten new Spanish words! Finishing one of the three books I brought with me! Waffles! So many waffles! There was! A breakfast buffet! I love waffles! There were so many iguanas! I got several pictures of them! Here are two!
We also did two things that required us to participate in the world for more than the time it took to order a burrito to be delivered to the pool! One was a morning that we went to the beach rather than a pool, and we brought our snorkeling stuff and rented some life vests, and we went in, and GUYS. GUYYYYS. G G G U U U Y Y Y Y Y Y S. WE SAW A SEA TURTLE. It was swimming and eating stuff on the bottom and it came up for air like BLOOP and kinda looked around for a second and then dove back down and ate some more and it was like 2 feet long and it was majestic and I screamed into my snorkel and clawed at Andrew’s arm and oh my GOD, IT WAS A SEA TURTLE. Andrew asked if I wanted to do additional snorkeling and instead of considering his wishes at all I replied “no, I saw a sea turtle, what else would I need to do.” TURTLE. I hadn’t gotten a magnet with a turtle on it earlier because I didn’t want to be a fraud but I then purchased a turtle magnet because TURTLE.
“hey, Christina, isn’t your bachelor’s degree in biology and you know more things about turtles than ‘they eat stuff and bloop'”
What is your point
And for the day where we actually left the property, we did an excursion to adventures and ruins. We did a bunch of zip-lines, and I loved it, but since it was my first zip-lining experience I was Not Pleased when I got spun around because I was sure I was gonna crash into a tree George-of-the-Jungle style. We also did rappelling and because I am tough as nails I got a blister on my first finger on my right hand and only complained about it like a dozen times. We also snorkeled in a cenote (freshwater underground cave) and it was amazing and I did not bonk my head on a stalactite. The ruins part was Tulum, which is the most I’ve ever sweat in my life, and I’m still so glad we went: it was stunning to see.
And, actually, wait: it was not the most I’ve sweat in my entire life. That honor is taken by my first spa experience several days later.
Our concierge, the biggest baller in the world, gave us a ton of nice things for free because it was our honeymoon and first time at the resort and probably to get us to come back but heck yes, we will take them. One of them was a pass to use the hydrotherapy at the spa. Hydrotherapy is apparently exactly what it sounds like: a whole bunch of jets at different stations that shoot water at your muscles and make them feel good.
This was very generous and awesome especially since we did not need to pay (it would’ve been like $70 for us both) but I am perhaps not a being made for a spa.
Everything went pretty well at the beginning: we went in, we wrote our medical stuff down, they gave us each a locker (I assume, I wasn’t with Andrew, maybe they just throw the guys’ stuff on a pile and are like “you ain’t pretty this what you get”), they gave us robes, and then they walked us through the spa like a goddamn Minotaur to the hydrotherapy place. (That was a maze joke I’m sorry I’ll shut up.)
At this point I’m feeling pretty good! I’m a little freaked out because things are so nice and I am a frizzy mess and I’m not wearing my glasses, so I’m anxious, but everyone is very nice, and the people in the hydrotherapy pool look super relaxed! We walked over a pool with a bunch of rocks at the bottom, which is apparently for reflexology which makes sense as my reflexes were certainly stimulated and they were saying “girl apparently the North Shore of Long Island is one big reflexology pool” but it did feel good. There’s a set of “rustic showers,” which I think is Mexican Spanish for “don’t actually get naked here you spa-going monsters oh my God this is why we can’t have nice things,” and they told us to use them to get less gross. I was good up until this point.
We were then brought over to the sauna.
Now, I realize this is a controversial opinion, but fuck a sauna. Oh, my God, you are willingly dessicating your organs and sweating out rivers and this is supposed to feel good??? Andrew loves them, so I went in with him, and while he was enjoying his cleansing and muscle relaxing or whatever horseshit he feels happens in that dehydrated murderbox (love you babe but I don’t understand), I was lying down with my knees up trying not to have a panic attack. Y’know, how one does a spa day. I calmed down enough to not be hyperventilating the set of Mad Max: Fury Road, and then the attendant came in with a cool scented washcloth and told us to put it over our eyes and this was the point I was absolutely convinced I would die. You want me to step into a tiny wood desert, set a timer, allow me to sweat oceans, get said sweat into my eyeballs so I’m thisclose to whimpering, and then you bring me a smothercloth and expect me to relax? Absolutely not, this washcloth means you are seasoning my body Salt-Bae-style and some animals will enjoy it later as jerky.
And just to give you perspective, they set the sauna timer at 5 minutes. I am just the chillest human whom you never have to reassure her death is not imminent during a relaxation procedure.
They let us out, I probably looked like a potential lawsuit, and into the rustic showers we went, and I could have stayed there and let the rain fall down and wake my dreams and that would have been my hydrotherapy. I assumed we were then gonna go into a pool because I had participated in spa hazing and was now a member of Kappa Alpha Why.
But no. Not at all. I had not adequately proven myself to the fraternity of Making Shit Up And Saying It’s Relaxing, because we were then directed to a steam room. I had thought that the dry heat of the convection oven I’d just spent 5 minutes in was the worst feeling in the world, but I was wrong: the steam room is a large crab boil but for humans and they make it smell nice and they wanted me to be in there breathing air piped in directly from Old fucking Faithful for an additional five minutes. I have to imagine that during this time the attendants would close the door, walk around the corner, and burst out laughing about the shit they make gringo ladies do while simultaneously collecting bets from billionaires on how long the anxious woman is gonna last in “Escape the Room: Central Florida.”
I walked in with Andrew, took one breath, and said “nope!” out loud. I attempted two more breaths, Andrew encouraged me to leave, and I left and took another “rustic shower” and contemplated just staying there forever and hoping they’d assume I ran away.
The attendants found me (and Andrew! he only lasted a few minutes) wrapped in a towel and looking ashamed.
They then directed us to two small round pools, and stated that the second one was very warm, and that the first one was very cold, and something about varying your body’s temperature is good for it, and holy angels and saints in heaven absolutely fucking not. I say this, but I did it, because I cannot stand up for myself when fancy things are happening. I got into the My Heart Will Go On pool, shrieked a little because it was FIFTY DEGREES, got out, got into the warm one, and contemplated drowning myself in embarrassment.
We then actually did hydrotherapy, which was actually delightful: there were a ton of jets that hit your shoulders and neck and head and that felt really good and you just stand there and let things hit you and no one tells you to get into a tiny Death Valley and I liked it a lot. I wanted to stay there forever.
We did both eventually get out (after Andrew went into the icebath two more times because I married a person who is not looking out for his own well-being) and the attendants came to retrieve us, and this part was my final personal humiliation.
I couldn’t find my locker, to start: the spa is like the goddamn third Triwizard task and I was scared I was gonna have to fight a beautifully-arranged pile of towels. Once I got to my locker, I couldn’t find the bathrooms, and I sucked it up and asked, and bless you to the attendant who did not laugh at me and my terror-face. And because I didn’t trust myself to find my own hydrotherapy-ed ass at this point, I also asked for the location of the showers.
I got my towels ready, I brought my change of clothes in, and I clicked on the light only to discover that this shower had only three walls and the last one was a glass pane through which you view a rock garden with a few willowy plants.
No, no one could see you. Yes, they had structured them so you couldn’t actually get stuck in the rock garden. No, you didn’t have to use that section of the shower. But I am full-on over-on-the-Mayflower, layers-are-bae, so-I-put-on-a-sweater-and-a-pair-of-corduroy-pants-level insecure, and having this goddamn Rear Window situation happening during my shower, my by myself time, my I got into your Easy Bake Oven now let me panic in peace, goddammit setup, and I was NOT HAPPY.
Yes, for normal, non-mentally-ill people this is relaxing! It was quiet, and pretty, and it smelled nice! But when you have someone like me who would gladly install 18 more locks on her bathroom door and is generally one appearance-based comment away from a meltdown, this was not great, Bob. But I did it! I took my shaky Chihuahua shower, and I used the comb that the spa puts in the shower, and I got some nice-smelling lotion on my legs, and I opened my bag and realized I had left the skirt I was going to wear in our hotel room and y’all, perhaps I am not meant to spa. Don’t try to give me anything nicer than a sheet mask – I am not the target audience and I will mess it up. You heart is in the right place, but my panic is front and center.
I got back to our room (wearing my swimsuit coverup) and opened a glass bottle of Coca-Cola and actually? I take that back. If you wanna give me something nice, give me a very secure room with four thick and opaque walls and a six-pack of glass bottles of Coke. I will be so flippin’ relaxed.