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Grand Palladium Colonial

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Location: Vero Beach, Fl

Grand Palladium Colonial

Post by Brenda »

Rochelle and Rob

We just came back from our first ever visit at GPRM. This group helped me so much, so I made my daily Facebook posts about our fun experiences public, and I hope that it will give other families counting down the days something to look forward to, and also give you an idea of what an average day at GPRM was like for us with 2 kids.

We stayed in the Colonial side, for 7 days, and our kids are 10 and 13 years old. Feel free to ask questions about our experiences :)

Day 1:
Day 2:
Day 3:
Day 4:
Day 5:
Day 6:
Day 7:
Day 8:

Day 1: Enroute to Mexico

It was an early start. I know many of you get up at 5am every day, but really, I don’t think anyone should be awake at that time. Unless you’re going to Mexico. But work? No bueno.

It was an uneventful trip here, other than trying to book a campsite in Osoyoos (the one that sells out in literally one second) at the same exact second we were offloading from the ParknFly van. We failed, but luckily our camp-buddy Mario had faster fingers, and he got us one, so all pressure is trying to book campsites while Under the influence of tequila.

You gotta love an airport transfer that kindly sells you cheap beers on the hour trip to our resort, and throws in some Mexican party music and commentary along the way. The holiday is off to a good start.

While waiting for dinner at the resort, there was a tequila and mezcal display in the lobby. We said “Give us a welcome to Mexico tequila please”. The guy wasn’t super friendly, but thanks for the tequila anyway dude. We dutifully salted, limed and downed. Nothing special.

5 minutes later we sat at the bar waiting for our dinner pager to go off. Rob went for a stroll, so just me and the kids at the bar. Next moment, out of the blue, I’m salivating...sweating...the telltale burn of an impending hurl...what the heck? I’m not drunk (really I wasn’t!). And let’s just say I’m pretty acclaimed when it comes to downing tequilas.

I abandon the kids, and run to find a washroom. The stall door can’t close quickly enough before I very stealthily toss my cookies, along with perfectly timed flushes of the toilet. (See, told you iwasn’t drunk, you’re never self-conscious when you’re drunk 😉)

When I rejoin the kids, Rob is there.
“You’ll never guess what just happened “, I say.

He smiles. “Well, I don’t know what happened to YOU, But I just threw up that tequila.

We couldn’t believe the odds. That $&%% tried to poison us with whatever he gave us! Another story to add to the Hepworth-adventure journal.

We had dinner, danced a bit at the “Back to the 80’s” party, went for a walk on the beach in the dark. and promptly got lost trying to get back to the room. We got rescued by some angel in a golf cart. And so we fell into bed at 12:30am, happy and exhausted and excited for a new day to come.

Mexico: Day 2

We hit the pool hard today. Which means we had tons of fun, but it also means we all now have “spots that shall not be touched”. Our marriage was in trouble for about 45 seconds this evening when Rob insisted that I had moved the napkin on my lap so that it scratched against his sunburnt knee under the table, and he didn’t believe my denial.

For lunch, there was a Country and Burger party at the beach bar. Staff hooked fingers into imaginary belt buckles and line danced to awesome renditions of “I love this bar” and “Chicken Fried” and “Your lips taste like sangria”. I don’t love country but I did today.

I’m well on my way drinking through the cocktail menu. Had to order some twice just to be sure 😉

Also experienced a foam party this afternoon. Foam higher than our heads, which completely covers the little kids they invited in, stinging eyes after a while, people walking around squirting brightly colored but unidentified alcohol into your mouth, rubbing up against strangers, slipping and sliding on the slippery floor... we must’ve broken at least 41 Canadian laws.

Went to the Mexican restaurant for dinner, and thought we couldn’t possibly eat anything more after a day of indulging...and then walked into a bar where chocolate night was happening. Oh my... the kids gave up before I did 😉 You gotta watch the video to behold the splendor!

Jared joined up with some kids from the teen club for casino night, and true to form promptly took over as blackjack dealer and general wiseass. As I was walking into the building to pick him up, I heard him say “And so sorry you now lost all your money to me, but at least now you know how a casino works and takes your money!” Sorry guys, he annoys me too 😂

Kids decided they were too tired for the 9pm show, so they opted to go back to the room while Rob and I watched and stumbled across the sangria see where this is going, right 😉

Great day. And we didn’t get lost once.

Mexico: Day 3

We all yearned for shade today. Lots of “don’t touch me!” cries. But our resort is in a mangrove forest, so there’s lots of shade around...especially if you drape a towel over it before breakfast 😉

The forest also brings with it a fair amount of wildlife. We’ve met the agouti, which is basically just a supersized guinea pig. Jared named him Montgomery. Like there’s only one (we’ve seen 5).

There are also lots of feral cats. Jamie named her Missy. Like there’s only one (we’ve seen 4)

I was surprised to find myself in a swimming race today. There was one seat left at the swim-up bar, and some guy was literally swimming against me trying to get to it. I lost. But only because I was holding my mojito in one hand over my head while swimming. He didn’t have a drink yet and it was already 9:30am, so he was more motivated than me. Next time, buttface.

We went on a Segway tour of the resort today. I was really surprised at how easy it was to drive. The kids were thrilled to hear Vladimir, our guide, say that really, nobody falls off these things.

So of course I fell off. Rebel me 🤘

Granted, it was right at the end, like...we were literally parking our segways, and my wheel touched Robs wheel (apparently contact between segways is bad), and that thing bucked me off like a wild horse. I dusted off the old ego, and got back on it. Vladimir had turned white by this time. And he is very brown.

Dinner was at the fancy pants seafood restaurant on the beach. No really, the guys both had to wear long pants. I totally get the upscale romantic thing they’re going for, but you gotta realize that when you put a restaurant right on the beach, there will be women in thongs, screaming naked toddlers, obese Europeans in speedos and loud spring-breaking teenagers all parading past your table where you are sitting dying from the heat in your fancy pants. SMH 🤦‍♀️

Also, we concluded that food has a heat lifespan of 17 seconds flat before it gets ice cold on your table by the beach. Not the best dinner tonight. Glad I had that extra tiramisu at lunch to tide me over...

Show tonight was “The Pirate Show”, which is kinda like Pirates of the Caribbean, but with lots of people dancing on poles. Can’t look at a ship’s mast the same ever again.

Mexico: Day 4

Red is turning brown (and sometimes replaced by new red!). But it was nice to not hide in the shade today.

It was a beautiful calm sunny day at the beach so we put our asses in the sand and our toes in the water (I promise, it’s the words to a country song I heard here).

We had quite the fish swarming experience when someone decided to bring a croissant into the water. Let’s just say that we answered the kids’ question of “Do fish have teeth?”

We again drank a stupid amount of pretty drinks from the bar. Daniel, our bartender at the swim-up bar now makes the kids shooters the moment they come within 2 meters from the bar. I’m totally sending him the therapist bill in a few years time.

Kids made some friends, and Rob and I spent a good 2 hours hanging out with a couple from England. Cheers to opening yourself up to making friends ❤️

Jamie showed us all up and took on the mechanical bull. She hung on until the very last minute. In a bikini. Oh gosh. Another therapist bill.

Jared was...well Jared, and got to page 120 in his book in about an hour. Then swam for 3 hours straight. He’s always been a “best of both worlds” kinda kid.

Rob kicked my butt in ping pong (apparently his sport of choice in university). And then went on to Spanish lessons with Jamie, where they learned that fresa didn’t just mean strawberry, but also a can refer to a “man who wants to be a woman”. Our little liberal Canadian proudly corrected everyone saying the correct word to use is “transgender”. Of course Rob and I were less Mature and spent the afternoon calling each other strawberries...

At about 5pm the clouds starting gathering, and getting darker and darker. One moment we were mojito-ing at the swim-up bar, the next there was a huge roar of thunder and the barman’s eyes went wide and the lifeguards started whistling for everyone to get out the pool.

A few minutes later torrential rain came down, and we were running to our rooms with towels over our heads, laughing and getting soaked in hot rain. Loved it. There’s nothing like a tropical thunderstorm to make you feel alive. We watched from the comfort of our balcony and life was just good ❤️

The evening was spent at a piñata party for the kids, and a performance showcasing Mexico’s history and the different cultures to be found in different provinces, accompanied by a real mariachi band. It was a really good show, but went to great when the next moment there was a horse on the stage! The cowboy treated us to some spectacular lasso work, at one point he was standing on the saddle and doing tricks. Just awesome.

We were hanging in the lobby when a dance party broke out. Love that spontaneity we find everywhere here in Mexico 🇲🇽!

Halfway through our holiday! ☹️😣😖

Mexico: Day 5

What a great Easter Sunday we all had! It was really weird to not be at home, though!

The Easter Bunny and Easter Egg led a parade of kids around the resort this morning, following the giant bunny footprints leading to several areas with Easter eggs hidden, including an area on the beach where the eggs were actually under the sand and had to be dug out.

Not only did Jared find one of the special giant eggs, when the kids came back to the room they found the Easter Bunny had obviously been there and had hidden eggs all over the room. Our first egg hunt in a hotel room!

Rob was thrilled that today was the paella party on the beach for lunch. Three giant skillets with different types of paella - just a sight to behold. Not remotely as good as our masterchef friend Mario’s but decent nonetheless.

Jared disappeared for 6 hours today, going from a pool tournament to an Xbox tournament to a darts tournament to a kayaking race to a ping pong match...I never saw any of these activities, but apparently he had stacks of fun!

Jamie decided she wanted to be part of the High School Musical Show for the resort tonight, and so she went to rehearsals, and when the show came on tonight, she did amazing, cartwheeling across the stage and all ❤️

A Jersey Boys Tribute Band from Venezuela entertained us tonight and they were amazing. We told them about the kids fascination with Frankie Valli after seeing the broadway version of Jersey Boys, and so THEY insisted on a photo!

We had a pop-up casino in the lobby, and of course Jared ruled the blackjack table. This kid really has a knack of charming the adults around him...earlier tonight a stranger came up to us singing Jared’s praises after he apparently braved an encounter with a parrot that the guy’s own daughter wouldn’t do.

Same guy came up to us later, telling Rob he is a lucky man because he “has a great view”, pointing at me. Granted, he was slightly inebriated by this time of night, but hey, I’m not picky about compliments!

Just two full days left! Time has flown by.

Mexico: Day 6

We started the day with a snorkel just off the beach. The visibility wasn’t the greatest so we headed back, only for Rob to step into a hole and land on his knees on coarse, gravelly coral. Ouch! I overheard him asking the medic whether the antiseptic solution they washed his knees in was supposed to be hurting more than the actual fall...

Other than that incident, the rest of the day fell right into the usual beach/pool routine, with Jared trying the hammocks on the beach (we had to drag him off), and Jamie wanting the waves to be bigger and stronger (neither happened).

We went to the Japanese Teppenyaki restaurant for dinner and the show was spectacular, with flames reaching high, broccoli being thrown at the diners, and some incredible knife and spatula handling skills.

My chuckle for the day: We were sharing the show table with a redneck family from Wisconsin. Waiter asks if anyone wants wine. Rob and I ask for house wine. Granny says “do you have any sweet red wine?” (See, my respect for the family disappeared right there 🤣). Waiter hands her the wine list and they order, wine comes, and then the waiter asks them to pay. See, House wine is free, but specially ordered bottles comes with a hefty price tag (clearly indicated on the wine list). I saw this play out, but far be it from me to suggest that the fine people from Wisconsin can not afford resort wine. “It’s $80!!”, wife mouths to husband across the table. Consternation ensues. Within minutes, we have about 4 waiters trying to explain the concept to them. Managers come over. I’m thinking this is the funniest thing ever. When wife says loudly “I didn’t even like the wine that much...”, I have to pretend to drop something on the floor because I’m collapsing in fits of giggles. Oh dear.

Let’s just say we were the subdued table (not usually the case in this type of restaurant)

On the bright side, the food here was the best we’ve had at the resort so far. Must be that it is freshly cooked and not sitting dying on a warming rack somewhere.

Today was Autism Awareness Day, and the staff were wearing blue t-shirts and handing out blue balloons all day. They even changed the traditional White Party on the beach to a Blue Party. First time I see this level of social responsibility at a resort of this kind. Way to go.

Speaking of which... the White Party (everyone wore white) was wild fun. They first did a fire show which was absolutely breathtaking. Well, literally breathtaking for the kids and I who were sitting right up front and were sprayed with lighter fluid from the twirling fireballs. 🤣

Then the party started and Jared came to life. I will leave you to watch the videos to see what I mean! Let’s just say, the bunch of spring breakers who arrived yesterday were filming HIM in stead of taking selfies.

We ended an action packed night with a stroll past the serene looking pool, and a visit to the kittens (remember Misty the cat) on our way back to the room.

Tomorrow is the last full day. Sigh 😔

Just realized I never updated the last two days of holidays! Here goes:

Mexico: Day 7

Our last day here. So we basically just savored everything about our experience by doing it all one more time. One more visit to the swim-up bar. One more Mudslide (okay, maybe three). One more swim in the pool. One more lazy lunch at the pool bar. One more Aqua Aerobics (who am I was a once-off thing!)

Had a nice chuckle at the masses of people telling themselves “we’re working off all the food” while clapping their hands and jumping from one leg to another in waist deep water during aqua aerobics. Hardcore man 🤭

Had a nice little surprise for lunch when they served Kokus down at the beach. It’s basically coconut ice cream served in half a coconut, with strawberry and nuts for toppings. Absolutely delish. Jared missed it as he was engrossed in a pool tournament at the teen club, but we made sure his portion was ... uhm...”accounted for”...

Jared has been loving all the different activities here. They’re weird ones sometimes...this afternoon was fruit decorating. Predictably, Jared was enthralled. Go figure.

Tonight’s show was the International Show. There were Mounties on the stage at one point, much to the delight of all 30 Canadians at the show 🤗. Canada got about 8 seconds on stage, followed by Argentina’s 23 minutes of non-stop guys hitting boleadoras on the floor. All 3 Argentinians cheered 😛. Guess Canada’s transferable cultural heritage is not as rich as we think. Then again, a guy tapping 3 maple trees for syrup doesn’t have the ooh-aah factor of balls on ropes making a noise.

There was a market set up in the lobby tonight, and we found a guy who carves a 5peso coin into any shape that you want and makes a necklace or bracelet. He is SO super talented. Rob showed him a picture of pilot wings on google, and 45 minutes later he had carved a masterpiece. Be sure to check out the pictures!

We closed the day off with a Peace and Love party. Lots of oldies to dance to, a few cameo appearances from Elvis, ABBA, The Beatles, etc. And I danced with an Austin Powers with an oversized head. Groovy baby.

Mexico: Day 8

Not even our last day. Just our last few hours. 😭

Rob and I decided to get up early and go meet the sun at the beach. It was serene, sitting there greeting the day in this beautiful paradise. I have to admit, I was happy the 24hr beach bar offered some caffeine to smooth the sunrise!

We went for one last sea swim, since we had another crazy Hepworth dare/tradition to uphold... on the count of three, while in the deeper water, we all stripped off swimsuit bottoms and waved them in the air. Oi vey, darn Mexican sea with 20ft visibility 😱

Then after a quick dip in the pool and some shooters, we were off to get dressed and check out. I swear, there is nothing worse than that wait in the lobby, dressed in jeans, waiting for your airport transfer.

On the way to the airport, we learned that I can down a 710ml water bottle in 8 seconds flat, and Jared can almost fill up that same bottle with pee in a just a few seconds more. Oh the glamour of parenting.

The flight started uneventful, but an hour in the call came for “we have a medical emergency, any doctors on board?” The grapevine told us that it was a kid having an anxiety attack.

They seem to placate him with some oxygen, but a short while later we were at it again. That’s when the captain called it and said we’re diverting to Dallas. Emergency descents are NOT fun. After the excitement of watching more than 12 fire trucks chase us down the runway, we waited 30 mins on the tarmac just trying to get a bridge to the plane so they could board. The EMTs got on board, then left, then anxious kid and mom got off the plane. It was painful to see the 9-year old stroll down the aisle, smiling at everyone like he was pageboy at a wedding. Not a care in the world. I know anxiety has many forms, but darn it, I would’ve felt better about the situation if he at least was taken off on a stretcher while pretending to be passed out 😜

Then the real complications started.
1. We were overweight when landing. So now whole plane needs structural check by the maintenance crews to look for damage.
2. Customs isn’t happy we landed in the States unexpectedly. So they’re debating and reading law books at 8pm to figure out whether we should deplane and go through customs,or do something on the plane, or just let us go.
3. Toilet can’t be used while on the ground. Parents are threatening that their kids will pee on the floor if prevented from going.
4. New kid has enough of current stressful situation and throws up. Then captain says he can’t file his flight plan with “sick” people on board, so this familynhave to get off the plane too.
5. New flight plan means whole safety briefing has to be done all over again before we can fly.

It was just over two hours on the ground, that we tackled the 4.5 hour journey to Vancouver.

We arrived safe and sound, tired but happy, and fell into bed at 3:30am. We cancelled school and work for that day, and managed to catch up on some rest.

The rain hasn’t stopped much in Vancouver since we’ve been back. Those tans sure look good under the raincoats and jackets!

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