I glanced around me and saw nothing but bright blue. In a moment of panic, I let go of the acceleration and almost launched myself forward off the jet ski.
And whatever you do, don't let the jet ski come to a complete stop.
Shit. I twisted the handle and sent the jet ski skidding across the water. Cayden flew past me in the dark blue water, the safe area, with a giant smile across his face. He was clearly enjoying jet skiing as much as I used to back before I fell off one in college, jacking my hip against the side and internally bruising it for the next year.
I wanted to stop and enjoy the scenery, the fish swimming below us, the wispy clouds above us, but I was scared to death at what would happen if I let the jet ski come to a stop. Would it spontaneously combust? Sink? Electrocute me? I should have asked for more information, but interpreting the Spanglish was getting exhausting.
"I THINK I'M GOING TO GO IN," I yelled to Cayden as we passed each other.
"I'M GOING IN. I'M DONE. FINITO."
I pointed to myself and then to the shore, hoping he'd get the picture. Now, where was I supposed to park this thing? I let the jet ski idle while I maneuvered it around the snorkelers. I was desperate to get off that death trap. We'd rented the jet skis for a half an hour, was I was done after 15 minutes. I waved my arms at the ski shop attendants in bright orange shorts.
"NO MAS PARA MI," I called. They waved me in and helped pull my jet ski up onto the sand.
"Fun?" one of the men asked as I handed him my life vest.
"A blast!" I lied. I needed a drink.
Cayden pulled up alongside my jet ski and hopped off.
"That was amazing," he said. "I can't believe it's already been 30 minutes. That time flew by!"
I didn't have the heart to tell him I'd chickened out early and he still had $30 worth of jet skiiing left.
"Let's go into town!" Courtney said when we regrouped in front of their room. "We've been on this resort all week. Let's go to town so we can at least say we did."
The six of us piled in a taxi van and headed off for an adventure in Cozumel's main square. The square was lined with litte gift shops and jewelry stores, and the store owners called out to us like the creepy kiosk workers in the mall.
"FREE TEQUILA SHOTS!"
Free tequila shots? Did we hear him correctly? Our ears perked up. You can't turn down free tequila in Mexico, right? Can't you get thrown in a sketchy Mexican prison for something like that? We all agreed that it was better to accept the free shot than to risk a life sentence behind bars.
The store we'd been beckoned into was a jewelry store/liquor store hybrid. One man behind the glass-walled jewelry display case tried to sell Vicky a necklace while another man poured the shots. It was a genius marketing scheme. I bet jewelers in the states would make more money if they served free tequila shots on the sales floor.
"Cuanto cuesta?" I asked after the after burn of the shot faded from my nose, eyes and throat. It wasn't an intense burn like the kind you get from cheap tequila; it was the dull burn of a good tequila that signals that the alcohol had already made it into your bloodstream.
The man held up the bottle and said, "Sesenta dolares."
Sixty dollars?? It wasn't THAT good. Suddenly, I was in the mood to bargain. I shook my head and laughed so he'd know there was no way in hell I was going to dish out that kind of money for a bottle of sub par tequila. I noticed that he'd already started wrapping the bottle in brown paper, determined to make his sale.
"How much you have?" he asked.
"Twenty. Veinte," I answered.
This time it was his turn to shake his head and laugh.
""Fifty," he countered.
"Twenty." I stood firm on my price and started backing toward the door.
He took the paper-wrapped bottle and put it in a plastic bag.
"Twenty." I wasn't going to budge from 20. I took two more steps toward the door and he followed.
"Thirty," he said. This was too easy.
"Twenty-three." This one almost threw me for a loop. What was an extra $3 to him? Courtney tried to offer me $3 so I could make the purchase, but I brushed her off. Everyone else was watching, highly entertained by the auction.
"Twenty." I held the $20 bill between us.
"Twenty," he said, swiping my $20 with more than a little attitude and pushing the bag of tequila in my hand. I stepped out triumphantly. The trip to town was a success.