Monday, December 19, 2016

Adios, Mexico

Our last days in Cozumel were relaxing and low-key with nothing but resort activities planned. Each day still had its highlights though!

Thursday, September 22, 2016
French toast for breakfast! Sue and I got massages in the morning, followed by some resort-sponsored "arts & crafts" time where we learned how to make the easiest and coolest string bracelets! In the afternoon, we went to the ceviche cooking lesson again. Now that we knew how good it was we weren't about to miss free food! The rest of the afternoon was pretty "typical" with some pool and hammock time. While eating supper in our room, we noticed the stunning sunset, so we left our plates and ran outside for pictures.

The evening was spent in the resort restaurant enjoying Karaoke Night! If you know me at all, you know I am not one to willingly put myself out there, especially singing karaoke. "When in Mexico" though I guess because toward the end of the night, I mustered the courage, got up, and sang some classic Shania Twain. Yet another experience where something I would never normally do, or was very nervous about, turned out to be a lot of fun!

Friday, September 23, 2016
After a rainy morning spent in the lobby, Sue and I tried our hand at snorkeling again. The ocean was rougher, and some water still got in my mask, but the overall experience was significantly better than Wednesday. We saw the Lion Fish on the sunken pier again, but also saw a spotted eel and a Blowfish! A dip in the pool to rinse the salt off, and we were ready for BINGO! I won the first round, and part of my prize was a certificate for a pair of tanzanite studs from Diamonds International, a jewelry store across the street from our resort. We walked over after BINGO, got my earrings, and briefly perused expensive jewelry we could never afford.

You can probably guess what was in store after lunch...hammock time! Honestly though, I never understood the hype about hammocks until I experienced the calming sway and overall relaxing quality of them during these two weeks. The sunset happily interrupted our supper, so we again abandoned our plates to soak in our last Mexican sunset.

Saturday, September, 24, 2016
One last swing in the hammock
Following breakfast and packing, I found a hammock under the pool deck one last time. Sue joined me shortly after, and we enjoyed our last hours before making ourselves get up and make lunch. We checked out and waited in the lobby until it was time to catch a taxi. We arrived and checked in with plenty of time at the Cozumel airport.

We arrived in Dallas earlier than scheduled, but there were no gates open, so we waited for 10+ minutes on the runway. Jayme had warned us that customs took a long time, so we (mostly Sue, I was trying to stay calm and positive) were nervous about making our connecting flight. We got off in Terminal D and our next flight left Terminal A in under an hour! We speed walked to customs, which is now all electronic, if you were not aware. You scan your passport, the machine takes your picture, and it prints out a sheet essentially saying you're legal. The machine took forever to take my picture (now I'm the one getting stressed out and nervous), but it didn't matter because I ended up waiting for the others because one of their passports didn't clear right away.

Goodbye, Cozumel!
Finally, we were off again: down an escalator to collect our checked bags and through another security/customs checkpoint. Luckily, the agent only asked two questions and on we went. We dropped off our checked bags again and through more security! It seemed to take forever as I kept looking at my watch - it was the time they were supposed to start boarding, and we were still in the wrong terminal! Up an escalator to get to the Skyrail. Our Skyrail ride went outside and we noticed it was now raining. We got off the Skyrail nearly running, with me in the lead. I rounded the corner to find our gate, but no one was there. Over the loudspeaker sounded the final boarding call for our flight! I ran, now seeing three workers at the desk of the otherwise deserted gate. We got on the flight - whew!

A couple minutes later, the pilot announced that storms had forced the ramp people away and we'd be there about 10 minutes. A few minutes after that, the pilot announced that storms had closed the airport, and he didn't know how long we'd be grounded! The next time the pilot came on, he started to tell us there were still storms in the area, but while he was talking, he got the call that the airport had reopened. We were off!

A crazy ending to a once-in-a-lifetime vacation. It was only two weeks, and we stayed at a resort. No semester full of classes and host families like my study abroad in Scotland, but I still learned so much, and will forever be changed because of the people, location, and experience. Gracias, Mexico.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Snorkeling and Pirates!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016
What a day! We were sitting on the patio, which had become a morning ritual for us, when Adrian and Azael found us and asked if we were going to feed the fish. So far we had seen adolescent and adult French Angel Fish, Doctor Fish, and Parrot Fish. Today we saw two new kinds of fish! One aptly named Black Fin because it is white with black fins, and the other was big and speckled with a mouth that jutted out in front of its face. We never learned the name of the second new fish.

We survived snorkeling!
After fish feeding, Sue and I changed into our swimsuits because the next activity was snorkeling! I'd never been snorkeling before, so I was nervous, but also very excited. We had the choice to wear a life jacket or not. I consider myself to be a pretty good swimmer, so I chose not. It proved harder to coordinate with the large fins than I anticipated however, and I quickly changed to wearing a life jacket. It was pretty smooth sailing then...until my goggles started to leak and water pooled in the nose piece. I completed the snorkel tour, emptying my goggles when I could and focused on breathing exclusively through my mouth, so I wouldn't accidentally get a nose full of salt water. Even with my struggles, it was a neat experience. We saw the airplane wreck and an old sunken pier. We saw a Lion Fish living in the pier and got up close views of Doctor Fish as they swam right by us.

That afternoon we got ready and headed out for our evening activity: a Pirate Dinner Cruise! The three of us walked out of the resort, dressed up for our evening. Adrian was sitting right outside the entrance and greeted us with, "Wow! You look so nice, where are you going?" Sue told him about our Pirate Ship reservations, but first we had to stop at the bank. He asked if we needed a taxi and we told him we'd come back to the resort to get one after the bank. He said he would meet us at the bank and take us in his car. "For real!?" Sue asked. "Yea." We all laughed and I caught him wink, so we walked on not thinking much of it. (After all, of course he was kidding; what kind of an offer is that!?)

When we got to the bank, Dave told us to look behind us. Adrian was standing in the open courtyard. I now know what a "bewildered look" is because that's what I gave him! When we came out of the bank he walked with us to a car and opened the doors. "Is this serious!? This is really your car?!" I asked. Yep. He's serious. He started driving us into town. The four of us made small talk, and Sue commented that we wondered where people lived because we hadn't seen any houses our entire trip. He proceeded to take us on the backstreets, giving us a little tour, explaining the road system, and showing us where the street signs were. Earlier, we had mentioned we were going to do a little shopping, so he asked us where he could drop us off, but we didn't know the name of the store. With the little information we knew, he figured it out and dropped us off right in front. Wow!

We got to the dinner cruise meeting spot early, so we found a bench in the shade and relaxed. When it was time, we checked in, got our wristbands, and were led to the pirate a pirate! Group by group we were directed on the ship, got a picture with the pirate crew, then led to our seats. After we got our picture, the pirate standing next to me said "Muy bien. I like the color of your hair." We were all seated around the outside of the wooden ship on benches and activity throughout the evening was in the open center. Our pirate crew consisted of Captain, Sparky, Porkchop, and Black Shark. Once we had set out on the open water, Sparky came over, took my hand and led me to the middle to dance. I think I did pretty well (thanks to that dance lesson the day before)! The evening was filled with a lot of audience interaction and participation, swordplay, and dancing.

When it was time for supper, they set up folding tables right in front of us, and covered them with red tablecloths. I had lobster, rice, veggies, and a small baked potato. This was my first time having lobster, and you could tell! It was served already broke open (thank goodness), but figuring out how to get it out of the shell was a real struggle! Toward the end of the meal, another guest showed me how to get it cleanly out of the shell, but by then it was too late. I regrettably left a lot of the meat in the shell, but it was still really good!
Dave, the traitor

After supper Captain said there was a traitor aboard, and all the pirates started walking toward Dave. They brought him to a post and put a noose around his neck. Pirate Porkchop stopped them from hanging him, and once they stepped away Dave ran back to his seat. Sword fighting among the pirates ensued. Our cruise ended with more dancing and limbo.

When we got a taxi, we noted that this was the latest we had stayed out all vacation (and it was around 9pm. Ha!). What a day it had been, indeed!

On Our Own

Monday, September 19, 2016
After a morning of packing, Andy and Jayme left for the airport shortly after lunch. Sue, Dave, and I were now on our own in Mexico for five more days. I had picked up some cultural cues and Spanish words in our stay so far, but there was no denying we just lost our resident translators! We (probably, mostly me) were determined to prove that we could make it on our own though!

We hit the ground running with a stop at the bank and taxi ride to downtown to finish our souvenir shopping! Our taxi driver was the friendliest, most talkative one we'd had all trip. We weren't sure what the name of the shopping square was, but he dropped us off at a large store down the road from the main square. We looked around, but weren't too impressed so we continued on. We found the "Isla Cozumel" sign Jayme and Andy had found days earlier and stopped for pictures. We got our bearings, found the shopping area we visited the other day, then had our Mexican public bathroom experience...

With my previous international travel, I wasn't surprised that we had to pay to use the public restroom (5 Pesos). I was very surprised by what happened next though! Once Sue and I paid the lady attending, she gave each of us a small bundle of tissues. We entered the bathroom and soon discovered there were no toilet seats on the toilets. The bundle the lady had given us consisted of four squares of toilet paper wrapped in two small paper towels. I didn't realized there were two paper towels until I was washing my hands and had nothing to dry them with!

With that experience behind us, we continue shopping. After getting a blanket from a very nice and helpful shop-owner and his wife, we went into a store and I asked for the price of a bracelet. It was more than I was willing to pay, so I said "no gracias", but the owner would not take no for an answer. He continued to lower the price and I continued to refuse. (I didn't want it that bad; I just thought it was pretty, and was curious how much it cost). We walked out of the store and the owner followed us down the street and beckoned us to a kiosk he owned. I eventually gave in to a price that was much lower than he originally told me. Thankfully souvenir shopping was done and we walked to Mega!

Throughout our time in Mexico, we had noticed a plethora of high-end jewelry shops. Out of curiosity, we decided to count how many jewelry shops were on each block as we walked to Mega: 5! On each block!

We were very hot and exhausted (a common theme of our trip) when we arrived at Mega, so we got a cold treat at an ice cream shop inside the Mega building. Sue and Dave got fruit popsicles, and I got a frozen banana with chocolate and cocoa pebbles on it. We did pretty well with finding everything in Mega. We searched and searched for canned chicken, but couldn't find any, so we asked a worker. She either didn't know what we were talking about, or didn't know where to find it either because she asked a deli man. The man stopped in the middle of what he was doing and came out to help us. He then asked another worker walking by, and walked us right to where it was. We were very impressed with how everyone was so nice and went out of their way to help us!

We took a taxi back to the resort, and cooled off in the pool (another common theme of our trip) where we met a couple from New York and chatted with them before we put that canned chicken to use for supper!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016
This vacation was just what I needed in more ways than one. I was coming off a summer at camp where you go to bed late, get up early, and are on the go all day. In Cozumel, we regularly went to bed early, and most days were free to sleep in. I had been getting so much sleep that our second week there, I naturally woke up between 6:30-7:00am each day feeling fully rested! On Tuesday, I woke up at 6:30am, ate breakfast on our patio, and waited for the others to join me. Sue and I went to the hammocks under the pool deck, and it wasn't long before Adrian found us and started a conversation. Azael found us as well, and then we were all off to feed the fish!

The next activity: Salsa dancing lessons!! As much as I tried, I couldn't convince Sue to join me, but I was ready to learn! It was good size group - three older women, a young boy from Cancun we met earlier in the week, Adrian, Azael, and me. Another very young boy joined us partway through. We started with learning the three steps, then put the steps together in partners. It was easier to learn than I thought it would be, and a lot of fun!

Learning the steps of Salsa

We had planned for lunch to be a giant sundae at Hard Rock, but when it was delivered to our table it was very disappointing. There was a brownie on the bottom, one scoop of ice cream, and mounds of whipped cream. Not satisfied at all, we got a small tub of ice cream at Oxxo and shared it in our room.

Ice cream lunch: take 2!
Ice cream lunch: take 1

Sue and I went to Spanish lessons led by Azael, then cooking lessons with Adrian that afternoon. The guacamole Adrian taught us how to make was incredibly delicious! By the end of the cooking lesson, the heat got to us and we retreated to our room to rest. When we had semi-recovered, we hit the pool where Christopher, the older boy from Salsa lessons chatted with us.

After supper was another movie night on the pool deck! This time we watched Now You See Me. I went to the lobby before bed, and had a very nice conversation with an employee about my age, maybe a little younger. We recognized each other, though we had never talked before; she said hello and we talked about the movie a bit. I went to bed feeling I had just made a new friend.

Race Day!

Sunday, September 18, 2016
Alarms went off at 5:15am! This was such an important day-the whole reason for traveling to Cozumel-that everyone set their alarm the night before to make sure we wouldn't miss it! This was the day that Jayme would compete with triathletes from across the globe in the World Championship!

Sunrise over the marina
Everyone was up, dressed, with breakfast eaten, and we were out the door at 5:45am. We walked a little over a mile in the dark to the race venue and Jayme went to set up her transition area. When everything was set, we walked to where she would begin her race with a swim in the ocean. The sun rose over the marina as she was warming up, and she started swimming at 7:08am. They swam in a rectangle, following the buoy lines off the coast from where we watched. The current on the longest part of the swim was so strong that the race officials had shortened the swim course earlier that morning. Sue and Dave stayed with Andy as he video graphed her entire swim, and I waited with my camera where I could get a shot of her running to her bike.

Ready to swim!
Sue, Dave, and I lost Andy when he followed her to the transition to the bike, and we weren't sure on the exact course route, so we picked a spot where we thought we would see her coming in from the bike leg and waited. We cheered her on as we saw her start the last portion of her race - the run. We moved to a corner and waited for her to return. We stayed in shade most of the time, but it was still so hot with the sun beating down, no trace of a breeze, and the Cozumel humidity crushing you on all sides. And we were just spectators! How could the athletes do it!?
Looking good despite the blazing sun and crushing humidity!
As we were waiting, a female Great Britain athlete came around the corner obviously struggling to stay up. She staggered around with what appeared to be no control over her legs or arms. She came very near the sidewalk and almost collapsed when some Mexicans grabbed her arms and walked her to the curb. She mumbled that she was fine - she clearly was not! Her face was gray. A man in Great Britain attire (either a team coach, or fan) wasn't far down the sidewalk and came over along with some other spectators. They poured all the water they had on her and eventually moved her farther on the sidewalk into the shade. Meanwhile, a race staff member came over and called over her radio for ice and an ambulance. The three of us knew we would be no help, so we moved along farther down the street. When the medics came they put her on a backboard, but their walk to the ambulance was halted when the girl threw up. Yikes! After seeing all this, we decided that if you finished this race you were doing good-who cared about your time!?

Jayme passed us on her run twice, the second time saying "See you at the finish!" We hurried down the street, crossed the race route at an intersection, and continued to the finish line. We waited there quite a while and came to the sad conclusion that we must have missed her finish. We walked over to the "finishers village" where there was food, shade tents, athletes could stretch out, and results were posted. We found Jayme and Andy, and Jayme let me try water from a freshly cracked coconut she got after finishing! I wasn't impressed with it. Maybe I would like it better if it was cold, but after just a couple sips, I had had enough.

Team USA/Wyss!
Excited to drink from a coconut-not excited about the taste

We checked out the results, and Jayme was very happy with her performance and how she finished. She picked up her bike from the transition area, and we walked back to the resort, had something to eat, and hit the pool - all before noon!

The afternoon was spent relaxing in hammocks reading, for me first under the pool deck, then outside our room. Uncharacteristically of me, I got the itch to jump off our resort's dock into the ocean. I didn't know how deep the water was, and normally do not like heights or jumping from them. However, I had seen several other people do it, and was feeling adventurous. I convinced Jayme to join me and we jumped off twice! My foot hit bottom a little on the second jump. After the ocean, a dip in the pool is always next! We ordered Dominoes pizza for supper and watched the extremely disappointing Packer/Viking game.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Mr. Sancho's and Sunburn

Friday, September 16, 2016
Mr. Sancho's Aquatic Park
Today we rented a car and hit the road! Our first stop was Mr. Sancho's, where we bought wristbands for the Aquatic Park. The Aquatic Park is a buoyed off section of ocean filled with blow-up water fun and obstacles! Water trampolines, log roll, Rock-It, climbing towers, and slides! Of course I put sunscreen on as soon as we got there, and waited for it to soak in. We swam for about an hour before Jayme and Andy headed back into town for Jayme's Team USA picture. Once they left, Sue, Dave, and I swam for a bit longer then found a place in the shade (obviously) and ordered lunch - right on the beach! After lunch I reapplied sunscreen, and again waited in the shade. I headed back out to tackle some obstacles! I climbed the giant "iceberg" twice and slid down Level 1 and 2. When Jayme and Andy came back we climbed it to the top and Jayme and I went down Level 3 once together, then Andy joined us in going down. We moved to the log roll, determined to make it to the opposite end trampoline. After countless failed attempts, I made it! What a sense of accomplishment! I've worked at Camp Luther, which has a Rock-It in the lake, for two summers, but never went on one until Mexico!
The Iceberg
It took until Mexico, but I went on the Rock-It!

When we left Mr. Sancho's I could tell I was a bit sunburned. It was probably a lot worse than I thought it was, but I hoped for the best. Hoped that if I kept my long sleeve cover-up on the rest of the day, the pain would be minimal. 

If you are not familiar with Cozumel, it's a small island off Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. The populated side (where we stayed) is the West Coast, facing mainland Mexico. The ocean is fairly calm here, making it beautifully clear to swim in, with no big ocean waves. If you want the waves you picture when you think of the ocean, you need to head to the other side of the island. There's one road the circles the island, and the Eastern Coast is almost entirely unpopulated, except for the few beach hangouts. After Mr. Sancho's, we drove around the island, looking for a nice beach with waves. We stopped at one beach, but quickly decided to move on. By the second beach, I was spent. I now realized my sunburn was worse than I originally thought, and all the sun and activity had me physically and mentally exhausted. Sue and Dave played in the waves, while the rest of us sat - you guessed it - in the shade.
A few pictures before retreating to the shade
Before going back to the resort, we stopped at a few shops downtown and stocked up on more water at Mega. When we got back, out of the sun, I could see just how bad I'd been burned, and lathered on the aloe. I've definitely been burned worse, but it really hurt nonetheless!
So much sunburn!

Saturday, September 17, 2016
With Jayme's race the next morning, Saturday was a complete lazy day at the resort. Sue and I washed some clothes in the tub, and hoped they would dry (with the humidity so high, even the air conditioner didn't take the moisture out of the air!). The rest of the day was spent reading, sitting in the lobby, lounging in hammocks, and cooling off in the pool. Jayme dropped her bike off at the race site that afternoon, and we went to bed early because we had a big - and early - day the next morning!
A pretty accurate depiction of our Saturday

Friday, November 18, 2016

Life Changes in Mexico!

Thursday, September 15, 2016
We planned to stay at the resort all day because there were 6 cruise ships in port on the island (one with 9,000 people), and roads were closed at different times for the Triathlon.
Our view Thursday: cruise ships
The day started with me in the lobby (only place with reliable wifi connection) working on a resume and cover letter that were due the next day. Before leaving for Mexico, I had interviewed for my dream job, a position at Camp Luther in Three Lakes, WI. I would find out either while in Mexico, or shortly after I got back if I got it. While the thought of not working at camp full-time made my heart sick, the "responsible" part of me begrudgingly knew it would be wise to start looking into second options. So, I would use a lazy day in Mexico to apply for a "Plan B." It was extremely rough-going. It seemed like everything I typed sounded cheesy or dumb. I finished a [very] rough draft of my cover letter, took a Facebook break, and saw that Woody from camp had messaged me. This was it - I either had a job or didn't. I took a deep breath and opened the message. 

"How about another first day at Camp Luther?" I quickly read the rest of the message, almost in a daze, tears welling up, and hurried back to the room. I cried. A lot. It took several moments for the others to comprehend I had good news because I couldn't get words out. When I was finally able to tell them I got the position, there were cheers all around and more happy tears. It was only 10:00 in the morning, and already we had our highlight of the day.

Andy joined in towel folding
Later that morning we learned how to make the towel animals the housekeepers left on our beds at a lesson lead by Adrian, the resort's activities director. In the afternoon, Sue and I attended a cooking lesson led by Adrian as well. When he told us the ingredients in what he was making, we were pretty sure we weren't going to like it, but went to the lesson anyway. Boy, were we glad we did! The ceviche was surprisingly SO delicious! During the lesson, a lady overheard Sue and I talking about my "exciting news" and she asked if I was newly engaged. "No, I got a job today!" Everyone in the lesson-strangers-clapped and congratulated me. "Even better!" a lady exclaimed.


Sue, Dave, and I ate supper in the restaurant, and then met Jayme and Andy in the lobby where Jayme was watching her volleyball girls play via skype. The resort had a program on the pool deck for Mexican Independence Day, which we watched from the lobby. There was a buffet, followed by dancers and a mariachi band. While others were still eating, Adrian led trivia. The first question Andy googled and told me to yell the answer from the lobby. I was invited out in front and got a mini sombrero for a prize! 

Decorated for Mexican Independence Day

Monday, November 14, 2016

Swimming with Dolphins

I know some of you read this post title and are judging me for swimming with dolphins. Believe me when I say I debated doing it or not. I want animals to be treated fairly. I don't want them to live in small, unnatural environments, and be beat just so I can swim with them for an hour. I decided to experience it myself and come to my own conclusions. In the end, I was pretty happy with what I saw of how they were treated, and I'm glad I participated because I learned more about dolphins in that hour than I have any other time.

A bit nervous, but ready to meet some dolphins!
We were in a taxi on our way to Chankanaab Adventure Beach Park a little after 8:00am. Andy and I had passes to swim with the dolphins; Sue and Dave weren't too interested in it, and Jayme couldn't because she was pregnant. The enclosure for all the dolphins and manatees was a large square of docks with fencing under, so their habitat was all ocean water, but they couldn't get out. Along the edges of the big square were smaller enclosures where 1-2 dolphins were housed if they were going to be meeting people, the rest were free to swim in the open middle. Andy and I were led to one of the smaller enclosures around the outside. Our dolphin "guide" Brenda went in first and got their attention by feeding them. We had two female dolphins, Krista who was 15 years old, and Olympia who was 20 years old and a bit shy. Brenda invited us off the dock to stand on the submerged platform that went along the perimeter. First, she had them swim past us and we got to pet them. We felt their back, belly, tail, teeth, and tongue while she told us facts about dolphins!
  • In the wild, dolphins live between 20-25 years, and under human care they can live up to 50.
  • Dolphins can make 400 noises, and all noises are made through their blowhole!
  • We saw their belly buttons! 
  • How to tell a male from a female: Males have 1 slit on their underbelly, females have 3.
  • In the wild, they nurse 1-3 years, and under human care just 12-18 months.
I'm touching a dolphin!
Brenda taught us hand movements and we instructed the dolphins. We got to kiss them, they kissed us on the cheek, they opened their mouths, and we touched their flippers. We swam to the middle of the enclosure and they both kissed us on the cheek, laid in our outstretched arms, and had a splash fight with us (they won). They showed us how to spot the difference between sharks and dolphins by their tail movements (dolphin tails go up and down in the water, shark tails move side to side). They pushed us up in the water with their noses, and gave us a ride with their fins.

After the dolphins, we were led to another enclosure where we got to feed manatees lettuce. They were a bit more shy than the dolphins and stayed under the surface of the water. For existing in water, they sure have leathery skin!

I came away with a greater knowledge about and appreciation for dolphins and manatees because they became tangible creatures I interacted with, not simply a picture on a calendar. Brenda said they only use positive reinforcement to train the dolphins to do all their tricks, and the animals are never "punished." One of my favorite parts of their care is that they still live in the ocean environment, not a pool.
Sea Lion kisses! Disclosure: sea lion kisses are a bit smellier than dolphin's

The five of us spent the rest of the morning in the park. We walked through Mayan replicas, saw alligators, and swam in the open ocean. We had lunch overlooking the dolphins, then saw part of a sea lion show. After the show, Jayme and I got kisses from the sea lion!

As if the day couldn't get any more exciting, that night was the Parade of Nations and Opening Ceremony for the Triathlon World Championships! Before heading into town for the festivities, we stopped at the official Team USA hotel where Jayme and I had the team doctor look at our knees (they were pretty nasty from our volleyball escapades). I maybe, probably, technically wasn't supposed to get free care from the doctor since I wasn't competing, but he helped me regardless.
Note the band-aids on our matching injuries

Once in town we shopped a bit before it was time for Jayme to line up with Team USA. We followed the parade to the Municipal building square for the Opening Ceremonies. At the beginning of the parade there was a mariachi band, as we walked there was a drumline, and as the athletes entered the square, there were Mayan drummers and actors. We stood behind the fencing, but it wasn't long before Jayme's paparazzi (aka Andy on video and me with my camera) made ourselves at home in the athlete area. Jayme and I spotted each other, and I joined her in the sea of triathletes. One of the speakers reminded everyone, "You are the best triathletes in the world!" I turned to Jayme, "Yea, you are!"

I think she's smiling :)

Teaching us the importance of recycling