20 April, 2022

In 2010 I took a Méxican Riviera cruise for my late Aunt’s 97th birthday. Royal Caribbean Mariner of the Seas. That ship was huge! Anyway, back to the story … Three stops: Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlán, and Puerto Vallarta. Seven nights (seven? seems like it was 10, but they do a 7 night cruise now).

I hadn’t been to México since the early 1960’s when my family did a day trip from Los Angeles to Tijuana. It was not a pleasant trip and my six or seven year old self vowed never to return to México. 2010 would find me considerably older and proportionally heavier. I was at the peak of my weight gain (not a pretty sight). The lure of cruise ship buffets took over my brain and shut down my vow. Add that I booked late, and since the ship wasn’t full they waived the single supplement. And gave me onboard credits. AND it was my Aunt’s 97th birthday, and she was the last Aunt (of many) still alive – and was/had been my favorite. So I went.

Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlán, and Puerto Vallarta were NOTHING like my experience in Tijuana. NOTHING. It was bright, sunny, and WARM – even in February! And the food was great! Puerto Vallarta was jungly and beautiful. I’d caught the bug.

When I returned to Seattle I began looking for ways to visit México inexpensively and regularly. That led me to look for timeshare units. Being an Ebay junkie, I started there. Well, let me tell you – the people who bought in the 1980’s at the peak of timesharing were either now too old to travel, or had passed and their children were dumping their timeshares. I found a week at the Costa de Oro for $1. Annual maintenance fees were well under $400. For 7 days of use every year. And the contract ended in a dozen years – so there was an ‘out’ if I needed one. “Wow!”, you might say – what’s the catch? The only downside was that this was a fixed week 28 use. July. In Mazatlán. HOT. HUMID. I figured the benefits outweighed the heat. Plus, I hadn’t taken vacations regularly for a long time and needed something that I would pre-pay for to motivate me to go. I dropped the dime.

2010 was my first use. I changed my clothes three times a day! HOT HOT HOT!!! Seattle did nothing to prepare me for this!!! If there hadn’t been a laundry across the street from the Costa de Oro I don’t know how I would have survived! 2011 … HOT HOT HOT. I realized I was just going to sweat and wore clothes that didn’t show it as badly. Most others were sweating too so I was just a drop in the crowd! From that point on it only took a couple of days to acclimate. Sweating was just another part of the day. And I learned the tricks – go out early and late, stay in midday. Walk on the shaded side of the street. Always carry water. And so it came that I felt the need to go more than just one week in July. Ebay? Hello! Ebay? Yep. Someone was selling their unit at the Costa de Oro for $1 AND they were throwing in a $200 visa gift card! Same maintenance fees. Same contract expiration. AND the week was week 17 – APRIL! I snatched that baby up right quick!

Since I moved here I’ve either given the weeks to friends, or banked them with a trading company and used the points to go to Acapulco. This is the last year on the contracts, and since it seems no one wants to rent from me [and now for the point of the whole lead-up story] I’ll be doing a stay-cation at the Costa de Oro starting this Saturday. I just bought some pretty plants for my apartment, so I’ll need to make at least one visit a day to water them – but I’ll be living out of my backpack in the Gold Zone for a week. That means close proximity to F.I.S.H., Casita Maria, and alitas (chicken wings) at the Costa de Oro bar. My diet is going to have to tighten it’s belt and toughen up!

Costa de Oro

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