I was on assignment to Mexico to get a good selection of slides for a Big Jim, Audio - Visual Travel Experience. A friend of mine who at the time was regional manager for, in those days Canadian Pacific airlines had asked me to do a show on Mexico for a special meeting. I was delighted for the chance to see Mexico, a place I had always wanted to visit anyway.
My assistant for this trip was actually my first wife's brother. Peter. When Pete and I arrived at the Hotel Continental in Mexico City we were surprised and delighted to discover that the Miss Universe Pageant was being held there at the time. Where ever you looked there were beautiful women, dozens of them, a vision of beauty and grace. It made for a most unforgettable evening but that is another story.
Our first evening at the hotel was not uneventful. The manager wanted to do something very special for us since we were there to promote his hotel for the airline. He decided to set up a sumptuous dinner. To make it even more unique he had the whole thing arranged right out on the open beach with the warm tropic waters lapping just a few feet away on the sand. It made for quite a setting, but for two guys? Oh well, all the Miss Universe contestants were hundreds of miles away in Mexico City. Can't win all the time.
There were a number of people on the beach, quite a few as a matter of fact. They were doing what people do on a beach obviously intrigued by what was taking place around us. "What, you never had dinner on a beach before?"
The table was beautifully set and two charming little white ice cream chairs set carefully in place. Now, the legs on these chairs are little more than very thin metal rods with tiny wire webbed feet. I sat down without giving any thought to what I was doing "Big Mistake." Almost immediately I could feel that I was descending very slowly into the sand. The chair was sinking like an elevator and it continued until all four legs had completely disappeared into the sand and I was sitting on the sand with my feet stretched out in front of me.
The meal was superb but my face remained a strong shade of red, which blended well with the beautiful Mexican sunset. The moral of this story is when you weigh as much as Big Jim, never sit on a chair on sand unless it has really Big feet.
As always in my travels, when people caught sight of me they were curious to know who I was, where I came from and of course what I was up to. The divers who had not yet made it to the water came over to chat. After a bit of friendly conversation the ruggedly handsome leader asked me if I had ever tried to scuba dive. I replied in the negative that the opportunity had quite simply never come up. "Well my friend" he said " why not give it a try with us, we will show you the ropes or the tanks so to speak?" Why not I thought, after all I was a good swimmer, I could give a fish a run for his money and I could float like a cork.
He had his people fit Peter and I with all the necessary gear and instructed us on the basics. When the time came to enter the water, they put the normal amount of weights around me and I moved out into deeper water and dove under. As much as I tried I could not stay under, I just kept floating to the surface.
I went back to the beach where considerably more weight belts were fixed together and placed around me. There was so much weight on me I couldn't stand up to get back in the water. They decided to take them off again and put them on in the water. This worked a lot better and I was finally able to stay under. It turned out to be one of my most memorable travel experiences.
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