Sunday, September 2, 2012

Drugs,Drinks and Drama: My Mexico Vacation

We chose a cruise to Mexico as our summer vacation, my friend Peg and I.  It was cheap,offered innumerable activities and was something neither of us had done before.

We researched our travel material and cruise instructions to be prepared and ready for a full week of fun.
As I was reading the guide for embarking on the ship something caught my eye in the "NOT ALLOWED' category.  Alcohol is not to be brought on board the ship.  "WHAT?"  This won't do I thought.  How are people on vacation supposed to be relaxed and happy if it is not chemically induced?  My heart began to beat a little faster and sweat formed on my brow.  Is this what a panic attack feels like I wondered? 

It sometimes takes days filled with confusion and procrastination for me to do something as simple as put a stamp on a letter and put it in the mailbox.  When it came to devising a plan to sneak contraband onto a major cruise ship it took me 37 seconds.  I emptied two water bottles of their contents, refilled them with rum, resealed the rim and stuck them in the covered portion of a pack of a dozen water bottles.

On the day of our embarkment Peg and I stopped for some rum to pour into our slushies from Sonic to enjoy while waiting in line for security. We were going to simply throw them away, but others had drinks in hand also so we continued to drink them. We arrived at the Xray Scanner and our luggage went through with no problem.  They didn't even look inside Pegs' handbag.  They didn't scan my pack of water.  At the end of the scanner we were however instructed to take this water pack to a desk that had many people in line in front of it.  Then it hit me,,,this was no ordinary desk, they were ripping open peoples beverage packs and shaking the bottles to check for bubbles.   You were allowed to bring on water, but alcohol will produce a greater amount of bubbles.   Those tricky bitches I thought.  
So I stood in line as Peg patiently waited for me on the sidelines.  My pack was immediately ripped open and before you could say Jose Cuervo, the bloodhound senses of the security agent identified the two rum bottles in my water and threw them away.   Peg was afraid to make eye contact with me while this was going on because she knew exactly what this meant for me.  TOTAL DEVASTATION!   I might as well have had my very own child ripped from my arms and given to a stranger never to be seen again.  All the while my face had to emote a look that said "Why on earth are you discarding those bottles, it's just water,not alcohol, just water." 

Peg could have had a human arm and a brick of cocaine in that handbag I thought, why didn't we just put them in there.   It took a good 45 minutes to talk me down from the virtual ledge I had climbed and threatened to jump off of.  In all reality this just meant I would be paying for alcohol on the ship but I would be paying  $10 per drink.   Sons of bitches.

The lack of contraband rum certainly didn't stop us from drinking,,,,a lot.  On the second day Peg swore off drinking for the entire day to devote to relaxation and health.  We agreed on this plan and I went off for a workout in the ship's gym only to arrive an hour and a half later to find Peg drunkenly passed out on the Promenade deck with a drink the size of a bowling ball in her hand.  "Look my drink looks like the ship", she slurred as she showed me the container in the form of the very ship we were now on..  "Well it certainly is the size of one" I replied and immediately ordered a pina colada.

Our first port of call was an all inclusive resort on the Yucatan Peninsula that included sports, food, but most importantly alcohol.  We hit the bar first and then began snorkeling.   By lunch we were both pretty drunk, but for Peg it really doesn't take that much.  I on the other hand can down a pony keg and still have room for shots.  As we sat eating, Pegs side of the table was filled with pina coloda glasses and she knocked over her guacamole dish onto the cement below us.   Our waiters were very efficient and immediately began to clean the mess.  "gracias" I said.  Peg also said gracias and followed it up with "Una mas margarita por favor".

We ended our day with swimming and dip in the resort hot tub where we struck up a conversation with a nice couple from Connecticut. We each continued to have drinks from the hot tub swim up bar.  The only reason Peg had not fallen over is because she was floating.   As I asked our friends about their home in the Northeast I noticed Peg swimming towards the bar and pulling herself up to ask for a shot of tequila.  "NO Peg' I screamed,,interrupting our new friends from our conversation.  Peg turned and looked at me and said "Shut up Kyle"  She never told me to shut up so I thought it best to let the situation work out on it's own.
I found Peg ten minutes later passed out in a lounge chair with a full shot of tequila in her hand.   I quickly drank the tequila and roused Peg out of her coma like sleep.

As I brought her into the men's room we bonded over my supplying Peg with techniques on vomiting, I in one stall Peg in the other.   Although I had no real reason to thrown up and couldn't if I wanted to for lack of a gag reflex, Peg made guttural moans and spastic panting noises from the other side of my stall.  She exited the stall looking like Linda Blair during the pea soup scene from the exorcist, but claims to have not thrown up at all.  Although you would think throwing up with my friend in a men's room would have been the most embarrassing part of our day, it was not.  When we exited the stall we noticed a line of men waiting to use the stalls.  God only knew what they thought when they heard me yelling "Try sticking three fingers in as far as you can, it might hurt but just try it, you will feel better when you're done".

The number one duty on our port of call the next day was at the local Pharmacy. I swear you can get anything in Mexico: drugs, guns, syphilis, it's all at your beck and call and for the most part all legal.  Peg has a pain issue that can be debilitating and I have anxiety issues, plus I just really like Valium.
First we asked for Vicodin or something like it.  Our pharmacist who was about sixteen and knew very little English returned with a white box and said "this make the horseys no have pain and be very sleepy"  Peg agreed this would be fine, I on the other hand am not sure if we had just bought horse tranquilizers.  Our next request was for me and I asked for Valium, which they did have but was instructed you had to have a prescription.  This did not seem to be a problem as the owner of the pharmacy was also a doctor who provided free of charge medical prescriptions next door.

We waited in what looked like what I imagine a cold war Soviet bomb shelter looks like until the doctor waived me into his office.  There was a diploma or license of some sort on the doctor's wall.  I am still not sure of its authenticity as the four year old that made it seemed to have colored outside the lines. 

The conversation with my doctor went like this:  Doctor: What you want?,  Me: Valium, Doctor: you want 20 or 90?, Me: 90, and then I went next door and got Valium.

Why can't things work work like this in the U.S?  No, in Mexico there is no HIPPA or FDA regulations or regard  for your own safety in general, but it took 15 minutes and did not require an act of legislation and personal note from the Surgeon General as it would have back in the U.S.

Our horse tranquilizers and lifetime supply of Valium made it back on the ship with no problem, but I am pretty sure I saw a woman being arrested for bringing a trial size bottle of tequila on board.

As we finished our trip our entrance back into the U.S. was through customs and since I had bought the pain pills and anti-anxiety medicine either over the counter or with a prescription (Mexican) but still legal, I wrote down on my customs slip that I had these items with me.  My thought was that it was better to be upfront and honest about what I was bringing back than risk being sent to prison.  As I was carrying the drugs Peg made it though just fine, I on the other hand was escorted to a holding room in the U.S. Customs office.  

Well your going to jail Kyle, this is it.   This is how it ends.  The holding room was full of families that had committed the crimes of bringing back unauthorized liquor,guns, Cuban cigars and the like.  One by one each person left and I was alone in that room.   I mentally prepared myself for nightly ass rapings and thought it best to quickly become someones' bitch, for I would stand a better chance of surviving in prison.   Maybe it wouldn't be that bad, maybe a huge lesson for all would be learned as in "The Shawshank Redemption",,,oh wait I think there was an ass raping in that movie.   I was on the verge of tears and if I ever needed a Valium it was now.  I had now been in the room for over an hour, were they prepping my uniform and cell?,,,,,what was going on? 
My name was then called and I was handed my drugs and was told by the Customs agent "well you are free to go, it looks like you did everything correctly".   Wait, no arrest? no prison? no ass rapings?  I was free to go and go I did, but in the back of my mind I thought to myself couldn't they have just Googled that?  I mean wasn't it their job to know these things?

As Peg and I reunited in the customs visiting area we exited the port having learned three very important lessons. 

1. Peg can't handle her alcohol.

2. Horse tranquilizers are not as powerful as you might think, but they will make your mane very silky.

3. The best vacations are the ones you have to take medication to forget.