Still crazy after all these years…

Thirty-eight years ago I worked for an airline and was asked to escort a select group of Canadian travel and media types to Cuba, the company’s new holiday destination.

Havana was a trip back in time – at the Hotel Capri all the furnishings and decoration were of early fifties vintage. The faces and famous quotations of the world’s socialist leaders had prominent places on thousands of gigantic billboards around the city. Day and night, the radio played recorded speeches by Fidel Castro, interspersed with Latin rhythms.

Now all this was fine with me. Every country has its own customs and ideology. But the many practical challenges made for a stressful week. The food we were served (rice & beans…beans & rice) didn’t quite cut it and we sensed that we were being constantly watched.

Most Canadian travelers take it for granted that the creature comforts they know and love will be available to them wherever they go. From the get-go, the members of my group knew this would not be the case in Cuba, and they found the country to be interesting but they were ready for a more conventional tourism experience in Yucatan, our next destination.

We arrived into Merida on the evening of January 17th and headed for the Plaza. A festive crowd danced and delicious food smells wafted through the air. Soon everyone in the group relaxed and felt ready for fun.

The next morning, January 18th, we assembled in the reception area of the Hotel Merida, one of the city’s best hotels at the time. At 8:30 am we were scheduled to depart for Chichen Itza. We figured that the handsome man in a red shirt who came rushing through the door must be our tour guide. Jorge was his name, and gazing into my eyes he crooned, “Estoy a tus ordenes.” – “I am at your service,” And at that very moment my life completely careened off course.

Visiting Chichen Itza with Jorge was like a “magical mystery tour,” and right then and there, I started to fantasize about staying in Yucatan for the rest of my life… That night, sitting with Jorge in a romantic patio restaurant, he blurted out: “Do you realize that we are going to get married?”

I nearly fell off my chair… that was the craziest thing I’d ever heard, and yet I couldn’t stop myself from agreeing with him.

Nine years later, my daughter Maggie was born… on January 18th. And today, January 18th, my daughter-in-law, niece and I will take Maggie to lunch while Jorge and our son, Carlos, look after our granddaughter

38 years later … this date is still a very special one, and yes, Jorge and I are “still crazy after all these years.”

24 thoughts on “Still crazy after all these years…”

      1. Love this story, Joany. It is such a happy one…I am in Puerto Vallarta at the moment to visit a friend who just lost her husband in a tragic death. And now she is in the hospital with a gastrointestinal infection. I am staying on a couple of days to look after her. Esta la vida! Stay happy and healthy!

      2. I wondered what you were doing in Puerto Vallarta. You are a good person to go to see your friend. I hope your friend is out of hospital soon and I know that she will find comfort in being with you.

  1. please give Maggie a BIG hug and a Happy Birthday from us. have a wonderful celebration!
    It hardly seems like you’ve been down there that long my friend but I remember when you left here, you were so so excited about the move and Jorge – so much has happened in the ensuing years but you two have always gotten through anything that was ‘thrown’ your way. you and Jorge are a shining example of a good marriage and a pair of great friends! Much love to all of you.

  2. A very Happy Birthday to Maggie from another 18th of the month soulmate (mine’s in June). Enjoy your ladies day out.

      1. I haven’t tried Bryans yet but those who have told me it’s great. Must add it to my “to do” list.

      2. You will enjoy it Sharon. It is one of Merida’s best restaurants. The food is always nicely prepared and delicious and the wait staff is well trained and attentive. Actually Maggie’s birthday lunch was a surprise for her. She thought it would only be a foursome, but I had called some more her friends and they came to surprise her. We ended up as a group of 12 and the service was as good as it would have been had we’d been just a couple. I highly recommend the place.

  3. Wow! What a story! I had to laugh out loud at this part:

    That night, sitting with Jorge in a romantic patio restaurant, he blurted out: “Do you realize that we are going to get married?”

    I nearly fell off my chair… that was the craziest thing I’d ever heard, and yet I couldn’t stop myself from agreeing with him.

    And here you are, 38 crazy years later! I’m so glad that you didn’t chose the safe path, the normal path, the expected path. Instead you followed your heart to a life of adventure, discovery, and true love.

    I admire your courage, and envy your outcome.

    May we all have the courage to take the leap of faith you took 38 years ago.


    Kim G
    Boston, Ma
    Where we are still up on the diving board, looking down.

    1. Well… it was a leap of faith but really, we were too young and inexperienced to realize just what we were getting ourselves into. We did not think much about all the challenges that would come our way (and they sure did come!) We had fallen instantly in love and figured that would be enough… Fortunately for us, it has all worked out. You can read the longer version of the story in the first part of my book “Magic Made in Mexico.”

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