by Mari Pintkowski (August 2013)
It is 5:30 in the evening and my husband, Lou, and I are sitting beside the Chichen Itza fountain sipping a cup of tea while waiting for the next guests to arrive. “They said they would arrive in Cancun at 2, but it is Saturday so traffic at Immigration or on the road could be delaying them,” Lou said.
We review the menu for the next day. Lou will be making French toast infused with cream cheese and blueberry marmalade, with a side of sausages and scrambled eggs with manchego cheese. I will set up the dining room with the slide show and prepare the fruit plate. It’s a plan
The couple in room #2 walk up to us as they finish their self-guided plant tour and request two of Lou’s famous blue margaritas. “Salt or no salt?” Lou responds.
It has been a sunny day and they comment on the coolness of the jungle, and the fruit loading down some of the orange, lime and papaya trees. They ask if the dogs eat the fruit lying on the ground under the Yax nik tree. I let them know that this fruit is great for the birds, but the dogs have no interest in it. I chat with them about their day in Valladolid while Lou prepares the margaritas. Within minutes, they are off to enjoy the evening and we are absorbed once again in “B&B stuff.”
Two rooms have checked in earlier this week. One guest, who is arriving today, is vegetarian. The guests who arrive tomorrow are vegan. Someone has inquired about making a reservation to go on the Sian Ka’an Community Tour of Muyil later this week. Two Maya-clay massages are scheduled with Ariana, our masseuse, for tomorrow morning. We handle each item with confidence; delegating to each other who will do what and when.
Our faithful mascots/security, Molly, Rosie and Zoie are on alert, and soon realize it is not the new guests we are waiting for but the young honeymooners returning from a day at the beach. We greet them and inquire about their day and time for breakfast tomorrow morning. “As late as possible,” they respond. “Then 9:30 it is,” Lou speaks in tandem.
We grin and gather the dogs for a walk along the paths that wind in and out of LSM. “Look, Lou,” I say. “The flamboyant are finally going to bloom this year for the first time.” We smile and continue on. The blue and white LED lights that line the paths around La Selva Mariposa begin to turn on. “I never take this magic for granted," I say softly.
As we stroll around, I know Lou is listening for irregularities in pumps, watching for lights that are flickering, and perhaps a detail or two that will need attention from our staff tomorrow.
The dogs dash off as headlights appear down the driveway. The guests have arrived. After welcome hugs, we direct them to their parking spot on the other side of the stone wall that surrounds the property and help them unload their belongings. While wheeling the bags down the path to suite #3, we chat about their trip from Manchester, England, and their drive south to LSM. They are glad they had brought our detailed directions along and are ready to begin their jungle adventure.
Lou begins the tour in the room, suggesting the most efficient way to use the AC, fans and lights, and then I take over and show them the nooks and crannies around LSM. I point out the double hammock tucked behind the grotto fountain and the two Adirondack chairs, a great spot to watch the sun set or enjoy your morning coffee. I explain how the cenote-style pool and waterfalls are filtered, and maintain a temperature of 78 degrees. This crystal water comes from the subterranean river that flows to the sea. We peek into the pyramid-shaped sweat lodge and then down a few steps past the concrete-lined pond that is part of the ecological wetland system. They are surprised there is no odor coming from this area and that the elephant ear plants are over six feet tall
The new Internet lounge and dining room are next. I introduce the tour books we have prepared that are an expanded version of the travel guide found in the room. There are photos, brochures, maps and articles to entice you into planning each day of your vacation. “We will even turn on a slide show at breakfast,” I add. I take a minute to show them all that they will find in this space besides the Internet (wifi is also available in the rooms). There are games, nature books, a library of novels, as well as dishes, bar b que grill and utensils, ice and microwave. Soon the second floor will be completed with a covered space for doing yoga and a Jacuzzi for six. “Looks like you have thought of everything,” they say.
On the way over to the house, I show them our roof-top kitchen garden under the solar panels, bicycles with baskets and locks, walking paths, spa area with waterfall, orchid wall, reflecting stream, gym, our house and Chichen Itza fountain and pool.
Lou greets us again with a plate of freshly baked cookies and I walk them back to their room. At this moment, their vacation really begins.
While walking back to the house, I think that even though my days as a classroom teacher have long passed, Lou and I continue to educate guests in a casual way about how we can all try to lessen our impact on the environment. Within minutes, I join Lou who is finishing up answering reservation requests, and before long, we sink into our private time as B&B hosts. Ahhh. Yes, we are living our dream.
To be continued ...
RECIPE: Welcome snack. Gluten-free peanut butter cookies
1 large egg
¾ cup sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup creamy unsweetened peanut butter (Earth Balance is great)
½ t. vanilla extract
1/3 cup chocolate chips/ nuts…optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat together egg, baking soda, and vanilla and sugar with handheld mixer. I just use a spoon. Beat in peanut butter. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop dough by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheet, pressing lightly with the back of a fork. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until lightly set. Transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.
* You may want to double the recipe