(Missed parts 1-6? Find them here!)
On the last cruise, Jenn and I had the time of our lives just sitting in a particular bar in Cozumel, and we were hell bent on doing it again. We made a pact with Rae several months ago that we would all get off the boat by 11 at the latest, and nab the closest cab to el centro for maximum tequila time. Except. Jenn and Rae scheduled massages on the ship at 10am. Which means they didn’t even get back to the room until after 11, sweaty and full of rogue lactic acid. I was shakily putting makeup on, as hungover as could be, and was becoming visibly irritated. Our window for getting off the ship was closing.
I’m pretty high maintenance, but will be gross if the situation calls for it. Rae is high maintenance without give. She needs at least 12 hours to get ready for any given situation. That’s an exaggeration, of course, but she does take forever. So when she mentioned that she’d have to shower, wash her hair, and start her makeup from scratch, I pretty much threw a tantrum. Then she graciously said that Jenn and I could go without her and she’d meet up with us later. After all, Jenn and I had an errant husband to find. Estefano was our bartender last year in Cozumel and he was so adorable, Jenn and I declared ourselves sister wives when we left. Rae wanted in on that situation. And we were ready to induct her. So I left with Jenn, assuring Rae that we’d save her a swing. Because. This bar didn’t have barstools. It had swings, instead. It is so much fun. At least, I remembered it being fun.
I don’t know if you know this about Mexico, but it is hot. And bright. And when you’re hungover it’s just about the worst air-situation you could imagine. I started sweating the second I stepped off the ship, and never stopped. Even now, I’m still sweating. My entire physiology has changed because of those few Mexican hours. Last year, we happened upon this delightful bar by accident. So we had no idea where it was. I was going to wing it (because I’m dumb) but Jenn had done her research. She found out that the bar in question was called Habanero’s, so that’s where we told the cab driver to take us. And then I heard them joking about taking us to the supermarket. I speak a tiny bit of Spanish, but not enough to convey to these people that we wanted to go to the bar with swings, called Habanero’s. The cab driver insisted he knew what we meant, then dropped us off in front of Habano’s. Which is not at all the same thing. So we wandered aimlessly in the sweltering heat, speaking terrible Spanglish to passersby until finally, someone said, “Oh, Mr. Pepper’s?” and pointed us in the right direction.
First of all, it’s not our fault everyone on that damn island refers to it by a nickname and doesn’t have cognitive reasoning skills. I’m kidding, of course. We were the dumb Americans who couldn’t speak enough Spanish to convey that we DID know a habanero is a pepper, but that we wanted to go to the BAR that was CALLED Habanero’s. It was a whole thing. But we made it. And it was still really, really hot in there. My skin was made of salt-water by that point, so I gave up on looking even a little attractive. I had my trusty blue lipstick on, though, and Marbella the bartender recognized me from last year’s shenanigans. We were appropriately excited to see her, and then devastated to learn that our prodigal husband had moved on. Not from this world, presumably, but from his job as a bartender. We were divorced.
We did notice a few familiar faces a few swings down, though. Several Rose Tours employees had chosen our out-of-the-way watering hole as well, which put a tiny damper on our apparent tradition of having Marbella play us NKOTB songs from her phone. We didn’t want to remind these poor souls of work while they were on their short-lived break. So, Jenn and I ordered chips and dips and margaritas the size of our heads and obviously took a tequila shot or two. We swung to our heart’s content until the Rose Tours guys had to get back to the boat. Then it was on. Marbella grabbed a phone from one of the barbacks and gave it to me. I was the DJ now. I played the requisite NKOTB tunes over the bar’s speaker system, and our new friends whose names I have forgotten (Lovely lady and Faux Jordan, I’m sorry) swing-danced with us. See what I did there? Because that’s a type of dance, but we were literally swing-dancing. I’m so funny.
Then, just as we were talking shit about how there was no way she was going to show up, Rae walked into our lives. We broke the news of the divorce, and she self-soothed with a drink. By that point, I was three sheets to the wind. I was done. Marbella was handing out free shots of tequila like she wanted to marry us, and I can’t say no to free tequila. Then it was time to head back to port and back onto the boat. As drunk eyes tend to do, ours wandered and got distracted by a shop selling lifesize “pen holders” that were literally just stone penises. And they were 2 for $10. What a deal! No sane person would pass it up. So Jenn bought two. One for her, one for me. And it is my prized possession.
On the gangway (is that a thing with ships? I think it’s a thing.), we ran into Christina, Dan and crew and I’m pretty sure I talked to a few people about my new stone penis but I was several shots of tequila deep and unable to form lasting connections. If my photo-sleuthing is correct, we narrowly missed Joe Mac getting back on the boat and taking pictures with a few lucky people by the cheesy photo-op. I’m pretty thankful I didn’t see him, to be honest. Because I was a hot tequila mess who couldn’t shut up about her new stone penis.