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Adventures in Playa del Carmen, Mexico

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Hurricane Dean: Under the Weather in More Ways than One

Posted by Tony & Cheri on August 16, 2007

We haven’t posted a new blog entry for a while because a lot has been happening. A few weeks ago we took a long planned trip back to California to visit family and help our son Chris finalize his plans to move from San Jose to San Diego where he will be attending graduate school in Digital Media at the University of California at San Diego on a scholarship. We are very proud.

Unfortunately it appears that just before we left Playa Del Carmen for the trip back, Tony was bitten by a mosquito… not just any old mosquito…but a mosquito carrying the dengue virus. The dengue virus lives in the tropics. It is not contagious EXCEPT when someone with the virus is bitten by a mosquito, and then the same mosquito quickly bites someone else, transferring the virus to the new person. That is what happened to Tony.

Tony & Cheri at the Blue Devils 50th Anniversary Celebration DinnerIt takes a few days to incubate so there was no problem at first. We checked into our favorite San Francisco spot, the Chancellor Hotel (Read our reviews of the Chancellor on TripAdvisor. It is a true San Francisco classic.) The first night we walked up Russian Hill and had dinner with our dear friends Jan and Eric. The next day we did some shopping and attended the 50th anniversary celebration dinner for the world famous 12-time World Champion Blue Devils Drum and Bugle Corps of Concord, California (Cheri had been a member of the Blue Devils color guard back in the day & also taught the corps for a couple of years). The next day on Saturday afternoon, Tony felt a little ill. Three hours later he was in the hospital, packed in ice, hooked up to a number of IVs and running a 103 degree temperature.

Dengue has a couple of distinct traits. One is a very high fever and the other is an inflammation of joint and muscle tissue to the point of extreme pain, hence the nick name “the bone crusher fever.” However, dengue is a tropical disease not often seen in northern California. The doctors were puzzled (despite Tony’s insistence that he had dengue) until a local infectious disease expert confirmed Tony’s self diagnosis. After that it was fluids, bed rest and waiting for the virus to run its course. The fever lasts three to seven days with dehydration, pain and exhaustion continuing for up to a month afterwards.

We are home now, with Tony making a slow recovery under the watchful eye of our family doctor, Eduardo Rovirosa. Tony is back on his feet, and moving around slowly, just in time to greet our newest guest, Hurricane Dean!

Here we go again!

Living in hurricane country means keeping an eye on the weather on a regular basis from June 1st until Dec.1st. Late August through early October is especially given to tropical storms and hurricanes. This year all the experts predicted a long and dangerous season, so we have been pretty happy to see calm skies and seas through most of the summer. However that seems to be ending as Dean becomes our first Hurricane of 2007.

As we write this, Hurricane Dean is still out in the Atlantic Ocean, churning up the water and gathering strength and heat for its plunge into the Caribbean Sea sometime tomorrow morning. Where it goes from there is just about anybody’s guess. The weather geeks are predicting a big storm, maybe even a devastating Category Five as Dean sweeps west towards Mexico. Landfall predictions range from north of the Yucatan near Cuba all the way south to Belize and every bit of the coast line in between. We really won’t know for sure if it will strike near us until about 24 hours before it reaches land (which everybody says will be late Monday night or early Tuesday morning).

Plywood which will soon be up on the windowsOf course it is a little scary to watch the radar screens and wonder if we are going to be hit big again (like Wilma did two years ago), but it is part of the price for living in paradise (and perhaps for having a leadership in Washington that has ignored global climate concerns for too damned long…but let’s leave that for another day). And as this is not our first time at the rodeo, we are getting ready for the big blow if it should happen.

Today we began the check list. We went to the lumberyard and stocked up on 4×8 foot pieces of plywood, called “tri-play” in Spanish. If the storm looks like it will hit anywhere near us we will use these to cover the windows at the hotel and in our little house. We ordered in an extra large shipment of bottled water so that we will have all we need to drink and cook with for ourselves, our guests and employees. We checked the generator and the wiring for the hotel pump. Water is supplied down here by pumping water from an underground cistern to a holding tank on the roof (home and hotel). If there is no electricity to run the pump the rooms have no water. As there will certainly be a shutdown of the electric grid during and after the storm, we have a gas powered generator ready to hook up to the pumps and get water to the rooms. It will be showers by candlelight…can it get more romantic!?

Tomorrow we will be putting candles and flashlights in all the rooms and throughout our house. We will do our emergency shopping including the necessities (pet food, canned goods, jalapeno potato chips and a Cheesecake Factory Cheesecake from Sam’s Club…Hey! We have to keep our strength up! Plus the doctor said Tony should eat all the carbs he can for the next several days!).

If you are planning to be here next week…change your plans if at all possible. Hurricanes are not fun and you should save your vacation for another time. Locals know there is a good chance the storm will miss us and if it doesn’t, we will all be in the streets cleaning up the second it clears. The attitude down here is very calm. As we said, there is a little scary anticipation, but no panic. The wonderful people of Mexico have met far bigger challenges than this storm…they and we will do just fine.

We will try and update the blog with more local info as the storm gets closer.

4 Responses to “Hurricane Dean: Under the Weather in More Ways than One”

  1. Jon Forrest said

    I wouldn’t worry about your hotel too much. I stayed there during Hurricane Emily to help the maids who stayed there too. One of the reasons I stayed is because the walls are thick and the building is so well constructed.
    This was a wise decision. Dennis did a great job putting all the protection in place. Other than most of the folliage coming down, there was hardly any damage.

  2. Bren said

    Glad to hear that Tony is feel better and on the way to being himself again. Thanks for the update on Dean we will you well and pray you and your staff and hotel will stay safe…..

  3. -tim and ruth- said

    Just gotta say guys…..That’s a GREAT photo of you two!

  4. Cliff and Laurel said

    We are following this storm closely so please know you and your staff are in our thoughts and prayers.Thanks for the great blog and hugs to all of you. Please take care of yourself Tony. So glad that you are on the mend.

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