Happy New Year: Cheers to the End of 2021

man desperate to get from 2021 to 2022

What a year! Last year at this time we were so looking forward to a better 2021 as 2020 brought us the Covid pandemic. Well, the pandemic is still controlling our lives, some more than others. Hopefully, the new year will bring us health, happiness and an end to Covid-19.

The Good Things from 2021

A few good things did occur in 2021.

Retirement

My husband (finally) retired, after 42 years of service with Bell Canada. On the horizon for the past few years, he decided to stay on when Covid hit in March 2020 as we could not do much else. Almost two years later, he had enough and bit the bullet.

Just in time for another positive thing that happened…

Vacation

Our fabulous trip to Cabo San Lucas was a highlight. After much deliberation, we got away in mid-November. In retrospect, luckily we got away when the getting was good, as travel restrictions hit hard again shortly after our return.

Introverts Rule

On a less personal note, I was reminded last night when watching Anderson Cooper, Andy Cohen, and Don Lemon hilariously bring in the new year in New York City, that introverts may have actually enjoyed the pandemic. Usually much more serious on CNN, Don Lemon let loose and shared his feelings on the matter, recounting how he enjoyed the less hectic “home time.” Anderson Cooper also enjoyed the fact that he shared more “bedtime” routines with his young son. Those were heartwarming admissions from some very busy, famous people! Perhaps the following New Years resolution will be on their list:

new year resolution

Weather

The summer and fall of 2021 were great weather-wise too, with warm temperatures extending right into November, very unusual for this part of the world. We spent more time at our family cottage than ever before, in fact, our docks were not removed from the lake until very late in October. The increased cottage use was partly due to the fact authorities were recommending staycations, but also because one son and daughter-in-law were working from home, so could just as easily work from the cottage as from their home. I loved the extended weekends and the extra time with them and their adorable children. Fresh air, sunshine, and somewhat isolated, the cottage was a perfect spot to retreat to.

Grandchildren

2021 did permit me more time to spend with my other grandchildren too. Although online school was in the past and my eldest grandson started junior kindergarten in September, he and I had lots of adventures together before school started. My eldest granddaughter and I took the opportunity too to visit the Beyond Van Gogh exhibit here in Ottawa this past September.

Although 2021 did not provide me with another grandchild to cherish, (the first year in five to do so) I do have another on the way early in 2022. Maybe this baby is predicting 2022 will be a better year!

Resolutions for a New Year

New Year’s resolutions are always easy to make but harder to keep for some reason. Make yours reasonable so you can maintain them! These are great examples of sustainable, healthy resolutions:

cardinal rules in life

Cheers to 2022!

cheers!

photo credit

Destination Wedding in Paradise, AKA Los Cabos, Mexico

Recently I travelled to Los Cabos, Mexico for my brother’s destination wedding. What an adventure it was! A week chock full of sunshine, warm weather, parties, great food and lots of margaritas, shared with a large group of cousins.

Two generations of cousins in fact were represented. Me, two of my brothers, and two of our (many) first cousins with all of our partners, as well as two of my sons and four of their first cousins, and a few partners. Unfortunately, many more were not able to make the trip.

Destination Wedding in Paradise, AKA Los Cabos

Los Cabos Geography

Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo are collectively known as Los Cabos, (or just Cabo). Although in Mexico, it is located on the southern tip of the Baja California Peninsula. Sporting dramatic views and rock formations of the Sierra de la Laguna mountain range, Cabo is surrounded by the rugged Pacific Ocean to the west and the calmer Sea of Cortez to the east.

Los Cabos is a popular resort destination for winter vacationers seeking sunshine, warm weather, beaches, and adventure.

Destination Wedding in Paradise, AKA Los Cabos
image credit

Accommodations

Wedding guests stayed at the adult-only Pacifica site of the Pueblo Bonito resort. This oceanfront paradise was the venue for the wedding ceremony and other social activities. It was perfect for the older set of cousins, myself included. The younger set loved the fact that they could visit the livelier neighbouring Sunset Beach site with a short shuttle ride or cactus-lined walk. Both resorts are located within the gated hillside community of Quivira.

Vacation Condo Rentals

Prior to Covid-19 slowing down the vacation industry globally, my youngest brother purchased two penthouse condos in Cabo. Since then the investment has become a successful vacation condo rental business within the Quivira community of Cabo. He currently (my last count) owns two houses and more condos and manages many others too.

Destination Wedding in Paradise, AKA Los Cabos

We did not stay in any of his rentals, as the wedding and events were at the all-inclusive Pueblo Bonito Pacifica. We did, however, get to visit one of his beautiful houses…

Living locally, this brother (AKA Senor Dave) scouted out wedding venues and organized our group excursions outside of the resort. His knowledge of the area and connections within the community were invaluable, much appreciated by the bride and groom as well as their guests.

Be sure to contact Dave at Cabo Condo Vacations for more details, you won’t be disappointed!

Bucket List Golf Course

Also part of the Quivira community is a world-renowned, bucket list (for my sons and other avid golfers) golf course. This landmark was designed by none other than Jack Nicklaus and features spectacular ocean views. Breakfast, lunch or dinner at the golf course clubhouse was also included in the all-inclusive feature of Pueblo Bonito. Golf fees were extra.

Destination Wedding in Paradise, AKA Los Cabos
two sons, one nephew and one brother

Cabo Beaches

The portion of the Pacific Ocean that Pueblo Bonito Pacifica is situated on is not swimmer friendly due to dangerous undertow, strong currents, and drop-offs. However, the sandy shores made for wonderful morning walks, whale spotting, and glorious sunset views. They also have a baby sea turtle releasing event this time of year that some of us were able to experience; look closely to see them crawling towards the ocean in the beach picture with the setting sun…

Cerritos Beach, on the other hand, 45 minutes north of Los Cabos, is a beach-lover, swimmer and surfer paradise, with nothing but pristine beach visible for miles.

Medano Beach, on the Sea of Cortez, is smaller and less pristine than Cerritos. It offers lots of hotels, restaurants, souvenir vendors, several designated swimming areas with views of visiting cruise ships.

Destination Wedding in Paradise, AKA Los Cabos

Deep Sea Fishing

A highlight for my youngest son on this trip was a deep-sea fishing excursion at sunrise one morning. I’m sure you can guess why by looking at these pictures; that’s a 110-pound sailfish he hauled in! They released it back into the sea; a sailfish is quite a rare catch.

His brother, father, and I (and others prone to seasickness) did not participate in this adventure. That was our loss, evident in their obvious enjoyment.

Here are a few videos of their fishing adventure, including dolphins and a sea lion following/leading the boat as well as the rookie reeling in the sailfish….

Cabo Landmarks

As well as its beautiful beaches, Cabo is also famous for El Arco, the Sea Arch, or Lover’s Rock. This rugged, distinctive landmark sits at the tip of the peninsula where the Pacific Ocean meets the Sea of Cortez.

Destination Wedding in Paradise, AKA Los Cabos

We experienced an up-close and personal tour of this landmark and other majestic rock formations in a spectacular 90-foot yacht. Whale watching and frolicking in the buoyant, surprisingly warm, turquoise waters of the Sea of Cortez topped off the day.

Enroute to Cerritos Beach, we stopped for lunch and shopping in the tiny, rustic town of Todos Santos. Its claim to fame for tourists? Home of both the Hotel California and Tequila Sunrise. Contrary to popular opinion and speculation, the (musical group) Eagles have never been there. In fact, a recent lawsuit challenged the use of the famous Hotel California name.

Mexican Culinary Delights

Along with every flavour of margarita imaginable, we sampled lots of delicious food too. Seafood lovers or abstainers, vegans or carnivores all had lots of choices. All-day and (apparently) all night with 24-hour room service. All-inclusive featured daily breakfast buffets, (including an over the top Sunday Brunch buffet), poolside snacks, casual and formal dining.

Not an adventurous eater, but not too picky either, I tried a few new things. You know, when in Rome (Mexico). These delectables included sushi (with more than avocado and rice in it), sashimi and ceviche. Of course, I included lots of my favourite Mexican treat, fresh guacamole. The jarred stuff is just not going to cut it now.

Tequila

Destination Wedding in Paradise, AKA Los Cabos

I sipped on my share of margaritas on this trip; tequila appears to be the alcohol of choice in Mexico. That makes perfect sense as agaves grow in wild abandon there. Tequila shots, meant to be downed quickly and not sipped, are not my style. I prefer to sip at a beverage. My eldest son suggested a low carb, liqueur-less, “skinny” Margarita with a bit of pineapple juice….delicious!

I am no stranger to tequila and the endless variety of cocktails one can create from it. In fact, I concocted my own skinny version last winter when we were just dreaming of a winter vacation.

My brother (the Mexico dwelling one) swears tequila is good for you. According to this information from The Independent he may be right:

Research has found that tequila can help lower your blood sugar. Agavins are the sugars which occur naturally in the agave plant. They are non-digestible so they act as a dietary fibre. They also support growth of healthful microbes in the mouth and intestines.

The Independent, July 24, 2018

I consumed more alcohol in a week than I normally do in two months. No hangovers slowed me down though. Skinny Margaritas may become my new drink of choice here in Canada. Move over red wine!

Covid Precautions for the Destination Wedding

The travel industry is eager to welcome travellers back at (what we hope is) the end of the pandemic. All airlines, airports, transportation services, and resorts we visited were fully Covid compliant. All staff wore masks, we did too when not eating or drinking inside restaurants and bars. Masks outside were not necessary.

Restaurant menus within the resort were accessible through apps on our phones. Much like here at home.

My immediate family members and those of the bride and groom had to obtain an expensive PCR covid test to return to Canada. That was on top of the rapid antigen test (less expensive) to fly through the USA. I was also randomly selected to submit to an additional PCR test at the Edmonton airport on our return. Thankfully that was not at my expense. All results were negative. Travellers were all double vaccinated, symptom-free, with all test results negative. For those reasons, we did not have to quarantine on our return home.

As a sign of the (pandemic) times, the bride and groom included customized face masks in gift bags…

Destination Wedding in Paradise, AKA Los Cabos

along with a bottle of tequila of course!

Romance in the Air!

The oceanside wedding ceremony was very romantic. My niece (daughter of the groom) got engaged in Cabo as well. Her fiance definitely chose a romantic theme.

Photo Credit and Acknowledgement

I took very few of the gorgeous photos within this post. Most were taken on better cameras by more talented photographers, then shared amongst us on our wedding FB page.

Conclusion

In summary, the only downside to this adventure is that we had to come home to cold weather! I for one cannot wait to go back!