Visit to Hard Rock Hotel, Riviera Maya 

(Cancun area)  July 13-17, 2019 (Sat to Wed)

Before heading to Mexico, we stopped at a provider of high fashion to get some new shades.
Arrived at Cancun airport uneventfully, but just as was noted in the youtube videos (like this one at about the 4 minute mark), as we were going from customs to the ground transportation area, the sales people were super aggressive. 
(Note to self:  next time bring pepper spray or machete...)
After check in, first order of business:  lunch!
Then went off to meet our luggage in the room, which had access to the roof, where there was a terrace with a great view.  It was pretty warm, so after the pic, we went back inside to enjoy their awesome air conditioning...
...and so Merle could take a nap!
Did a little more exploring and looking for photo ops, in case they needed to use us for their commercials.
Although the restaurants require reservations for dinner, by arriving a little early, and practicing my Spanish (!!), we were able to get this beachfront table at their steakhouse.
Next day, Sunday, aside from eating, we mainly relaxed, except here Merle prevents the alien from exiting through my belly button.
We also had a chance to commune with the local animals.
Agouti (like a large rat)
So why did the monkey cross the road?
As noted below, to show me what the banana looks like from the other end.
Iguanas, or as the staff called them Godzillas
(probably translates better into Japanese...)
Here in a poolside contest for whiteness, I got second place to a seagull.
I woke up early a few days to go swimming (see path of arrow), before the party started .  Having goggles allowed me to see the residuals of parties in the pool, with pieces of napkins, sequins off bathing suits, hairballs, and even some pepperonis, which was cool, 'cause swimming makes me hungry.     :)
On Monday, we went to visit a local popular tourist attraction, Xcaret.
Like most tourist places, we are guided initially to the souvenir shop.
Hey, they gotta make a buck.
One of their main attractions were three underground rivers, which were both visually, and thermally cool.  We floated along these rivers under caves and with some openings to air, and since we had no waterproof camera holder, these pics from online show what we saw.
We even went under a colony of bats, which was simultaneously super interesting, and also difficult not to think of guano.
They also had snorkeling, which looked like this in the brochure, but in real life was quite a bit more crowded, especially when we were in the water.
Giant sea turtles were just next door.
They also had an opportunity to swim with dolphins for the low price of only $160 USD per person for half an hour.  Somehow, I wonder if trickle down economics means they get better fish to eat.
Our admission included lunch, which was great, and we were glad to be in the shade at least.
Following full day, Tuesday, we mainly hung out and relaxed, but had our final dinner at a Japanese restaurant called Zen, but we did not order the Godzilla (aka iguana).
In summary, it was a nice experience, though probably a better deal for guests who drink a lot.
They had shows every night which were good, but the amazing part is how audience members, like right in the middle of an act with a guy doing a handstand on top of four tables, that were perched on a piece of wood that was balancing on a cylinder...would choose that moment to just walk out with their family.
Also, they had some aggressive marketing for future vacations, so if you go, be prepared to just say no.    :)
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