Even In Mexico, You Can’t Escape Philly Drama

Whether it's Ed Rendell or Michael Vick, people all over the world are chattering about our city's celebrities

As blizzards were shutting down Philadelphia a little more than a week ago, I was sitting in a bar in Mexico, wearing flip-flops and shorts and practicing my high-school Spanish with the bartender.

Very Hemingway-in-Havana, circa 1932.

Well, except it was Cozumel, not Havana. And it wasn’t exactly the kind of bar that Hemingway would have favored, but an upscale lounge in a luxury beachside resort popular with Americans.

I had booked the trip six months ago for myself and my 25-year-old daughter. It was several Zip codes beyond my budget, but I figured the all-inclusive extravagance would be one of those once-in-a-lifetime, mother-daughter bonding experiences.

I’m not sure anything short of a double lottery win could have lived up to that billing, but we did share a warm, relaxing week while half the East Coast was shoveling out. Sweet.

Bonding wasn’t my only motivation for the trip, however. Cozumel is rated one of the most beautiful scuba diving sites in the world, and my daughter is a certified dive master. She did 10 different dives — with her own equipment, of course — and was ecstatic.

I, on the other hand, experienced my ecstasy on the beach, where I became an expert at ordering piña coladas from a supine position.

A word to the wise: “All inclusive” is a misleading term. Though it covers the basics — food, alcohol (bar brands) and certain activities — it does not cover tips. And in an exclusive resort, tipping is understood. We drained our pesos much more quickly than we had planned.

We didn’t sweat it, though. For seven long, glorious winter days, we had the sun, the sea, and the salsa. Manana was our new BFF.

Philadelphia was the furthest thing from our minds. For about a day.

Over shrimp fajitas in the snack bar, we overheard a group of well-fueled guests from Michigan discussing their incredulity and outrage at the cancellation of the Eagles-Vikings game due to weather. Ed Rendell was right, they said. The country’s becoming wussified.

Soon after that, the hot topic at the roof bar was President Obama’s remarks on the redemption of Eagles quarterback Michael Vick. Opinion appeared to have been split.

The remainder of our vacation was blissfully Philly-free. Coming home went without a hitch. At the Cozumel airport, even with two separate carry-on searches for all passengers, we left on time for Charlotte, N.C. There, our luggage arrived in a matter of minutes so we could re-check it with U.S. customs.

Then we landed in Philadelphia.

It took more than 45 minutes for the baggage to show up. No explanation was given, nor was there anyone to ask. No flight numbers were listed over the carousels, so everyone scurried from one to the next, hoping to spot their suitcases. Any way to find out? Get real.

Welcome home, señora.