“A Journey is Best Measured in Friends, Rather Than Miles”


I was able to escape the breezy and cold NY to enjoy three days of gorgeous tropical weather and vibrant waters at the Mexican Riviera.  Nonetheless, I can’t totally deny that I still have sporadic moments of missing the hustle and bustle of Manhattan – the tourists, honking of the yellow cabs, the “meet and greet” of people on the street and just merely witnessing the multitudes coming in and out of the subway stations.

Having spent time in NY for a month, definitely left a lasting impression on me. So much so that I can confidently say that I relatively have a good grasp on what it’s like to actually live there. Being as flexible as possible was the key.  For me, to be able to embrace the city fully, one must learn to adapt to its eccentricities, the things that make it special and authentic.

In my previous articles about NY it is apparent that living in NY is full of excitement.  You can do anything – explore, see, eat, – name it!  And you can do all of these any time you want. All you need is just a lot of energy!

NYC is a walking city.  However, if you really want to move around, the subway will be your best friend. Get a good subway map and learn it.  However, it is always best to plan your trips to save time, energy and a couple of bucks by buying special promo tickets like one day unlimited pass or 4 rides pass.  Going around by taxi is okay but it can be quite expensive if you are by yourself.  But I would definitely recommend using a cab at the late night hours.

Food is in every place and ranges from the very cheap to the ridiculously expensive. And you’ll go broke eating out all the time—mind you, this might really happen.  So if you want a cheap night out with a friend, check out the food stalls, the delis and bodegas, what seems to be nearly in every corner in NY.  Yelp and friends’ recommendations have been helpful in finding good places to eat that coincide with your interests and palette.

Although I have been deprived of shopping, I have also learned that clothes in the US are almost a 3rd of the price in Australia.  So my tip for the week;  if you love shopping and have seen cheap tickets to the US, book them now.   Just do it!   It’s definitely the perfect place to get your Christmas presents organised, and of course it’s the perfect time with the dollar reached at peak.

And to top all these experiences, it’s the wonderful friends, old and new, that I have met that added fun and perfection to my stay in New York.  And Tim Cahill, one of my favourite travel writers, is right when he said that “a journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles.”

I arrived safely in Cancun on Friday afternoon, the 8th of October,  after struggling to get some sleep from a 3-hours and 30-minutes flight.  A common distraction in most of my plane trips are wailing babies.  But this time it was the sound of game cards being shuffled.  Two passengers a row in front of my seat were playing cards.  It was so annoying that the sound eventually got stuck in my head and was playing on infinite loop. The result:  a sleepless me.

I was worried about my trip to Mexico due to my last visit here in 2002. That time I had no sleep for two days and was trapped in, as a typhoon ravaged the place for two days.  It was one of my solo trips where I convinced myself that travelling alone is a must for those who haven’t done it.  I still remember the night where I had to walk,  with the rest of my tour group (12 girls and 1 male),  through the flooded streets of Cancun on a raincoat.  It was after an American Express Global Pacesetter trip in Puerto Rico of which I considered one of my once in a lifetime unforgettable trips.  It was almost a 24hours event spread across three days.

This time around, a typhoon didn’t ruin my vacation. It has been three days of complete relaxation – not a drop of rain only the radiant glow of the sun and miles away from the crowded Cancun.

I have immersed myself with full relaxation at Secrets Silversands Riviera, an all-inclusive adults-only resort consist of eight swimming pools, eight bars, seven exquisite restaurant options offering guests an ultimate and unique collection of a’la carte cuisines.  I considered it my oasis for full indulgence prior to my Cuba trip.  This resort caters for couples or singles.  In my three days of stay, it was 98% couples of all ages and 2% single travellers.  On the entire resort, aside myself and friend Sam, there were only 2 other singles, Ashleigh and Chelsea, the young Canadian sisters.

Silversands offers a 24-hour room service.  Room service is only a phone call away if you happen to miss out on your breakfast or for whatever other whim you might want attended to.  The mini bar is refreshed daily with soft drinks, bottled water and beers.  This resort offers premium brand beverages and they can make any sort of cocktail you desire in a flash.

Service is so important for any holidaymaker. In this resort, that’s exactly what you get with its impeccable service and friendly staff.  The servers earn $5 dollars a week but the service they provide is certainly worth hundreds of dollars.

The room is massive and accentuated by elegant furnishings, a marbled bathroom and a spacious balcony furnished with a day bed perfect for private relaxation at the end of the day and to watch the majestic descent of the sun during sunset.  My favourite part of the room is the bathroom – it is huge and equipped with 2 controlled showers separate from the toilet, and not to mention a double size Jacuzzi overlooking the bedroom.

On Sunday night, Ashleigh and Chelsea joined in with us along with another young couple, Blake and Kristy, from Washington State. We culminated our last night at Himitsu. Himitsu is a Pan-Asia and oriental a’la carte Restaurant where we savoured the Teppanyaki cuisine. The Teppanyaki table is the busiest section of the restaurant.  Reservation is a must and would only take one booking per room from 5:45pm so if you are dining with a group, you have to make sure that one guest from the room is present at the time of booking.   They do four sittings a night i.e. 6.30pm, 7.30pm, 8.30pm and 9.30pm.

I have met a few Canadians at Silversands who are one of the privileged citizens in North America that have been to Cuba and who have very much enjoyed their holidays in there.  I am so looking forward to a true Cuban experience but I’m still unsure about the Internet access.  This could mean that I may not be able to update you with my Cuban travel until I get back to New York, which is likely to be on the first Friday of November.

For the meantime, let  me bid you all  “hasta la proxima mis amigos”  (until next time my friends).

© 2012 by Michelle Riel, retains sole copyright to her contributions to all the contents of this site.

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