15 November 2004

como se dice en espanol "please don't remove my gallbladder"

Subject: Como se dice en espanol, "Please do not remove my gall bladder."

So, for the last 11 days I have been in Cozumel, Mexico. I think it was the longest 11 days of my life.

Basically I was there to be assistant camp counselor for a group of 27 adults who had paid $900 each for a week of fun and scuba diving in Mexico. Barry was not able to come with me, which was a huge downer, but I tried to remain optimistic until . . .

MEGAN'S BOSS: So, as soon as we get in to Cozumel I think we should go to Carlos and Charlies

ME: What's that?

MEGAN'S BOSS: It's like Senor Froggs but way more fun.

ME: Um. How can I put this? Let's just say, the first person to make me shotgun tequilla with an over-sized sombrero on my head gets a shot glass rammed down their throat.

MEGAN'S BOSS: You had better get used to it, girl.

Cozumel is a very lovely island off of the Yucatan Peninsula. It's about a 20 min. flight SE of Cancun and is considered one of the top 10 scuba diving destinations in the world. From the air, Cozumel looks like a peaceful little island that is about 98% jungle and 2% beautiful coastline. Most people come to Cozumel to scuba dive, relax in the sun, and make total asses of themselves while bloated on tequilla and the ubiquitous "Sex on the Beach." When they return home they will share their vacation photos in the hopes their friends will say, "Wow, it looks like you had a really wild time" to which they will reply "What happens in Cozumel stays in Cozumel" and everyone will laugh as though that phrase hasn't already been done to death and the marketeer who came up with it has had a special place reserved for them in hell.

A couple days in to the event, my bosses' boyfriend, "J" went to the hospital with stomach pains. It turns out he had to have his gall bladder removed. It looked like he might be able to fly home to L.A. to have it done, but no such luck, there was too much of a risk that the gall bladder could rupture. When the news came in that he would have to have the surgery in Mexico, no one could believe it. It occurred to me then that maybe being an ex-pat in Mexico could have some serious disadvantages.

The main reason everyone was so concerned was that, ironically, Mexican hospitals are wary/stingy with the pain killers. When "J" arrived to the hospital, they stuck a tube up his nose, down his throat, and into his stomach with no anesthetic. After the surgery (which was laproscopic -the belly button method-) "J" was given nothing more than extra-strength Tylenol for the pain. In the end, he survived the ordeal and is now home safe and sound.

While all this was going on, yours truly had to take over the leadership duties of the event in place of my boss "T." I think everything went okay, considering I had never done anything like it before. Only one guest complained by saying, "You need to be more perky and 'rah-rah' like T," to which I replied, "I'm from Oregon. Uh, here . . . have a cookie."

In the end, I managed to escape without being assaulted by any tequila bongs. I was, however, administered an over-sized shot of Sex on the Beach by a waitress in tight pants who, after giving me the shot, wiggled my head around and then grabbed my boobs. Male readers: before you get too excited, picture that this waitress jiggles hairy man-boobs too.

The best moment of the trip was on the next-to-last day when I finally had some free time. I rented a scooter and zipped around the ocean-side of the island to take in some lovely beaches. Unfortunately, it was late in the day and I was eaten alive by mosquitos. Now that the swelling has gone down I have counted 42 individual bites. Ten of these bites were on my right foot -which swelled up so much that it would no longer fit in my shoe. Note to travelers: bring Benedryl with you on every trip. Also bring non-tinted glasses if planning to rent a scooter so that your eyeball will not end up acting as venus fly trap.

Anyway, it's nice to be home at last. I am sorry to say I will not be home for the holidays, however, I did come across a really bitchin' deal on airfare for any of you who are interested in seeing a little sunshine. Alaska Airlines has a deal where you can fly from Portland to Orange County for only $89 each way!

Seats are limited, must purchase ticket by 10:00 p.m. PT December 2, 2004, and complete travel by February 16, 2005.

Ciao for now.

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