Cyanocorax yucatanicus English: Yucatan Jay in...

Boo to parents who haven’t figured out their kids are not fit for travel with grownups, yet. Chelsea, spawn of satan and sister of Ethan, was on our flight to Cancun last Saturday evening. About a year old, in that dumplingy, wispy-haired, ruddy-cheeked sort of way. Ethan, about 4, was a seat-back kicker. I give him credit, though, at least he wasn’t noisy.

Unfortunately, Chelsea was a screamer. Blair With Project and Saw III material. The wheels on the aircraft hadn’t even begun to turn when she cranked up a glass-shattering shriek that borrowed into your eardrums like nails on a chalkboard. I’m not sure if Mom and Dad really ‘got’ how annoying that was, except that Mom kept hefting the kid into the air while half-heartedly going ‘shhh, shhh’, as if that would stop the ruckus. I mean, at one time, Hub and I wondered if Mom was pinching the kid, the noise was so prolonged and the cries so painful.

The folks in the rows around the conflagration kept their heads down and tried to do other things like, oh, read or sleep. To no avail.This was Chelsea’s flight and if she wasn’t sleeping, neither was anyone else in her orbit. The cabin crew tried to jolly her out of it but the kid was having none of that. Mom ordered Pop to retrieve some formula-fixings from the overhead bin and they shook up a bottle and stuffed it in the little offender’s mouth. She’s be relatively quiet for a while, but as soon as the nipple left her lips, she started up again, sounding like a wounded stoat. For 3 1/2 hours that went on. Occasionally, there’d be a lull, and just about the time we were beginning to slide into a doze, Ethan the footballer would ram his toes into the back of my seat and then Chelsea would rejoin the Dantean ring-of-hell chorus. They were on the same hotel shuttle as us, too, so we were treated to another 45 minutes of caterwauling en route. Most kids I know would have worn themselves out and gone to sleep. But noooooooo. Maybe the kid had superpowers. Too bad they didn’t slip a shot of brandy in with the powdered stuff.

The hotel we stayed at was enormous. Bonus points for having an adults-only section, including a fantastic pool, whirlpool and bar. No kids. So quiet you could hear the birds singing. Sweet. A restful 7-minute walk along a broad cobbled path to the Meeting Place (free wi-fi, spotty, but still…) and the main restaurants, shops and bars. The sugar-sand beach was the width of an airport runway and went on and on, up to the horizon.

Mexico is so dependent on tourism. They have the service thing down, too. Amazing food and beverages. Clean, clean, clean. First thing in the morning, the landscape crew would be out picking up leaves and hacking/pruning the flowering shrubs. The jungle is held back by a vine-shrouded chain link fence. When you peer through, the lush green is so thick, the darkness is an arm’s length away.

Another nice feature – dining rooms in Mexican resorts are huge and usually wide open, which is great for catching a breeze and the great view, but not so nice when those damned squawky birds swoop in to snatch the fries from your dinner plate. The ‘window’ opening were screened with netting, except in a few places where kids had poked their heads through and broken the tethers. Once in a while, one fo the smarter birds would simply duck under the barrier, do some reconnaissance and usually make off with packets of CoffeeMate or sugar. Not sure whether they mix the stuff in their latte, but there you go. Lots of entertainment in the theater in the evenings or in the main plaza, which felt like a small Mexican town. Everyone we met was friendly and helpful. No hands out for tips, which was a nice change from Cuba. Then again, Cuba has been so strangled for so long that it was no big deal to cut them some slack and be generous.

Regrettably, they were on the return flight, too, but seated at the bulkhead, which was nicer because the noise travelled upwards and forward. We all cringed when the wailing started up, but perhaps the sun and salt water had a beneficial effect, because there were longer gaps between the pain.

Thanks to Cindy Troung of Flight Centre at Upper Canada Mall, we lucked into a great vacation package for a week all-inclusive, including taxes and fees and other sneaky charges, for under $1000.