A story in the paper a while ago said record numbers of people were heading out on spring break to Mexico again. By now they've returned and are writing tight-lipped reviews on the travel websites, unburdening themselves of their trials and indignities.
One review of our hotel said the guest had lost her reading glasses, and they had later turned up broken. "The staff refused to take my calls on the matter after 72 hours!" Yeah, imagine that not being their top priority.
Another: "To get to shopping you had to take an hourlong cab ride that cost $60!! There was nothing to do but drink! We spent the whole vacation arguing with each other!"
Well, as Shakespeare put it, the fault, Horatio, lies not in the stars but in us, and our reluctance to consult Google Maps when making a reservation.
The manager of the property usually responds to the online reviews, banging his head on the polished marble floor in abject despair. "Dear AngrNvrAgain2983, on behalf of the staff of the hotel, the city of Cancun, the entire nation of Mexico, including all the birds and lizards, we burn with shame. Please be assured we have forwarded your review to our staff, which will also be lashed."
Translation: "You big, red, sweating wad of unearned first-world entitlement, I would send a crew to the beach with a bag of mallets to pound the sand to your heart's content, but instead I will print this out on bathroom tissue and post it in the lobby."
I'm curious why the review was so hard. We found the place fantastic. We did salsa dancing, my wife played tennis, I broiled on the beach with potboiler books. There was nightly entertainment — great music in the bar and a show of a dozen taut dancers wearing a total of 3 ounces of fabric, two of which were ruffles pasted to their posterior.
I will admit that the food — from the buffet to the destination restaurants — achieved a degree of uniform mediocrity that suggests some inscrutable purpose. I imagine the person in charge of food service making a random stop at the buffet, sampling the vat of incinerated pork lolling in a sauce that appears to be made of liquefied brick, and frowning.
"Wrong. Wrong! You, minion with the ladle. Come here. Try this. What do you taste?"
"Uh ... it's seasoned pork in a robust chipotle sauce."
"Exactly! There are two distinct, detectable flavors! That is two too many! It should taste like compressed newspaper in colored tap water. And it is on the high side of warm, not tepid. Don't tell me you're using actual heating lamps? We spent thousands on ordinary bulbs painted to look like heating lamps. Did you change them?"
"Yes, sir. There were complaints."
"Complaints? From whom? Maniacs would who loll back in their chairs in agony because their tongue is blistered and their brain racing in a panic because it's trying to process the simultaneous assault of pork and chipotle flavors? Do you think people come here to be in such agony? Throw everything away! Water down the soups! Exchange all meats for tofu!"
That's my way of reviewing the place, but that's just between us. It's not as if I think the world cares what I think. If they don't get back to me in 72 hours about my missing Carmex container, though, that's another matter.
Oh, you may wonder about the "shooting" at the Cancun Airport. Was I there? Tune in next week and read all about it.