closer . . .
Max Laszlo \ Javier \ Willie
Dear Blanca,

A word about my son, Max Laszlo. At 22 months, and before his vocabulary blesses us with a common language, I have seen much pure joy and awe in his face and body these past few days.

His wonderment peaks with the magnificent macaws perched throughout your property. I can’t readily bring words to what transpires on his face; I can only venture a guess: it has much to do with confirming life and possibility and discovery and bliss, and if but a quarter of that guess is right, then the rewards of sharing this with wife and son are beyond measure.

So much joy emanating from, and reflected in, Max Laszlo. The gentle surf of your beach. The joining us—with room to stretch—in your king-sized bed. Spraying himself with a hand-held shower head. Sipping from his own bottle of water by the pool. Being there.

And with all that joy have come tears. A lot of crying. He’s slipped on your marble floor, all sweaty-slick from the humidity. He slipped from the couch cushions. The other night he was on all fours on the floor of our room, playing with his toy car; he lost his balance and fell on his face. Got a bloody lip. Not his finest moment. He cried hard over that one. We called him Fat Lip Laszlo for a day. No lasting harm.

This morning in Le Buffet, Max fell through the open seatback of his chair. I saw it all happen. Gravity and involuntary momentum worked in tandem as he went through the opening. He fell 15 inches to the floor, his butt and back taking the brunt of the impact.

Max cried, of course. Falling is scary. And no doubt it hurt. That said, my son did not start crying until—remember the man I described in my last missive to you, the one who possession-9/10ths-the-law bogarted our table and then waited around to let me know all about it? That man. Back again with his family. He was carrying a heaping plate of this, that, and the other breakfast things to his table—which was ten feet away from ours; they’re hovering close, these people—when Max fell. And not until after this rejected superhero character-shash-territorial fella released a loud, declarative exhale of surprise—like a housewife wearing her hair in curlers and nothing else who’s surprised at the door by the meter reader or the UPS deliveryman or a pair of Jehovah’s Witnesses; I mean, it was loud and very effeminate and very unbecoming of a bulldog who pees on fire hydrants to stake claim of a table closest to the buffet in a resort with 75% occupancy rate—not until he screamed out did my son cry. And while we’re at it, the macaws had also disappeared as we walked from the buffet. And no birds chirped. And the clouds had gathered and darkened the sky.

For the love of God and macaws and clear skies and for the peace of my son, please have this man removed from the premises.

occidental grand xcaret aquarium

Max Laszlo
Xcaret Park Aquarium
January 2010

Dear Blanca,

This morning on the way to the breakfast during which Max fell and cried, one of your minions, Javier, wished us a good morning. Carole asked what he thought about the weather. Javier said that with these clouds it usually rained and then cleared up, but these clouds were just hanging there, with no rain, so he didn’t know, and “Have you been on a presentation and tour of the resort?”

“Yes,” I said. “We bought.”

“Oh,” said Javier. “You bought?”

“Yes,” I repeated. “We bought.”

“Well, have a nice day.”

And Javier walked away.

Is there nothing more after you buy? No need for continued dialogue?

Because now I’m interested.
Dear Blanca,

Last night on the way to dinner, a drunk Canadian couple approached us. She looked like a very retired Dorothy Hamill. He looked like a very tall version of Willie Shoemaker. He wanted their picture taken because it was his birthday. Carole obliged.

We ate at your steakhouse. Vincente your waiter spent much time in conversation with Carole, and he also gave to her much visual admiration. But he got my drink and food order right, so no major complaints.

After dinner in the courtyard, between the concert movie of J.Lo performing in Puerto Rico and the
tchatchka salesmen, our drunk Canadian too-tall jockey suddenly appeared, disrupting my enjoyment of Jennifer Lopez and her limited singing talents. The man weaved heavily. Had he a loom, I’m sure a scarf could’ve been ours for purchase within minutes.

He told us about dinner at the steakhouse. I said we’d eaten at the same place, but my words fell on weaving ears.

And then he told us of his time-share presentation experience. Incredibly, he claimed to embrace and love the opportunity because, he said, “I only gave them 10 minutes and we got the Xcaret Park tickets and a 30-minute massage and two CDs. Not one CD. Two CDs.”

“Certificates of Deposit?” I asked.

“No,” he clarified. “CDs. Music, aye?”

“You got all that in 10 minutes?”

“That’s right,” he said. “After the 90-minute thing, I told our salesman, “You’ve got exactly 10 minutes, so you’d better bring your boss over here right away because I’m not buying anything today. And so we got the park and the massage the the CDs.”

So, I must express to you now a begrudging admiration for whatever system you employ—be it delivered through psychology or free-flowing alcohol—to convince an overgrown Canadian jockey that 100 minutes was 10 minutes.