Ask Luke’s Mother-in-Law: More Mexico, Fire Ants, TMNT, and the Human Centipede!


Luke’s mother-in-law is former LAPD, a licensed property appraiser and a self-described crazy cat lady. None of which has prepared her for TR readers. All questions and answers are real.

Hello all,

If you missed the first part of my trip to Mexico with my mother, it’s HERE. Now, let’s continue.

When we checked in to the resort, we were issued an arm band (if you lose it, 250 pesos is charged) and towel keys (you lose, you pay). They give 1 towel card for each person. The trick here is to ask for more cards. You can get them at the front desk. We put one towel on the lounge and the other was either to dry with or cover up with. Even with the extra towel I got sunburned. The towels are large, which was great. But lose a towel or your wrist band and you will have to pay extra. The exchange rate was 12 pesos to 1 US dollar.

There are 2 spas at the pool – they did not function the entire time we were at the resort. Again I asked about this and was told they would be on in a few minutes. I was at the pool from at least 9 am to 4 pm each day. Not one bubble showed up. Again staff is misinformed, which does not sit well with the guests.

The bar staff at the pool was great – every time they passed I was offered a drink. You can get anything from soda to your favorite cocktail. I found something called Miami Vice. This was similar to a pina colada, but with grenadine in the bottom. The bartenders pour full shots, nothing watered down. You can get a cocktail starting at 10 a.m. – it’s 5 p.m. somewhere in the world.

Water is served in bottles by Coke. There is the old saying that you don’t drink the water in Mexico. This is not true in Puerto Vallarta. The city for many years has had an great rating for water quality and is very drinkable. I never had a problem and was drinking from the tap in our room. And as this is an all inclusive resort the cocktails are free and you can have as many as you want. I sampled several. Popcorn and peanuts are served with drinks. Tecate beer is a big thing and it seems that was what most were drinking. It was even in the room mini frig.


Breakfast is in Quetzal with indoor and outdoor seating. Wait staff is very good here. There is a large buffet with all you can eat. There was several fresh fruits and breads. They have hot and cold cereal. Next we moved on to cold meats/cheeses. Next to hot pancakes, sausage, scrambled eggs, potatoes, beans, and special Mexican dishes. There was also a station cooking made to order eggs. The bacon was nice and crisp. One morning there was no bacon and I asked about this; it just was not ready. A few minutes later a large plate of bacon showed up at my table.

Lunch is at either the snack bar or La Palapa the buffet by the pool. The snack bar is also by the pool. They have a limited menu of hot dogs, hamburgers, nachos, chips and french fries. Very good and you can just take your plate back to the pool.

La Palapa the buffet is great. Large salad bar with vegs and other salads. Various breads and fresh tortilla chips with great salsa and guacamole. On the salad bar is Sushi, take as much as you can eat. There are also hamburgers. There are 2 grill stations making grilled veg, fresh tacos, burritos etc. There were always 2 soups at lunch. The creme of tomato and creme of asparagus soups were great. Then there was desert, cakes, cookies and flan.

Dinner: we were back at Quetzal buffet. Dinner is where the hotel falls short. But you ate like a pig at breakfast and lunch so you could forget a few calories at dinner. Each night there is a dinner theme. Italian, Mexican, Seafood etc. Let’s start with Seafood night. Here you have to look hard to see the seafood. There was a large baked fish, the meat was dry and there was no drawn butter or any tartar sauce. Small crab legs with basically no crab. Then there was fish in orange juice and tomato juice – what the heck is that?. Lots of pasta with very little sauce. This night we ate the salad bar, soup, bread and desert.

Another night they had pork roast and pork ribs (Tex/Mex night). The pork roast had no flavor and the ribs, well they were mostly fat and BBQ sauce. Another bad food night there was a beef roast – dry and mostly gristle. The Melia has 2 other restaurants (non buffet). The Restaurante Azulejos (Mexican). Never saw this one open, so no comment.

The Restaurante Vitrales (Italian). When we checked in on Sunday we were told we had to make a reservation the night before we wanted to go and they were not open on Monday. So I asked at the reservation station if we could go on Wednesday. They said yes, but to come back to the desk on Tuesday at 6 p.m. to reserve. Came back on Tuesday and spoke to the same staff member and was told it was not open on Wednesday. I asked it would be open Thursday (our last night) and was told yes, but I could not reserve until Wednesday after 6 p.m.. The reservations are made by computer and the computer seems to only work 1 day ahead. Back on Wednesday and got Thursday at 7 p.m.


We arrived at 7 p.m. and were seated. It is a large restaurant and while we were there, only 5 tables were working. The menu has 3 salad, 2 soup options and then the main course. We sampled the tomato salad and the asparagus soup with smoked salmon. The tomato salad was good. The asparagus soup was good (had tried it the day before at lunch with no salmon). There were 4 very small pieces of salmon in the soup – it was more of a garnish.

By this time my water glass was empty. I asked for more, but it never was refilled.

The main course. We had fettuccine alfredo with ham. It was ok, but it was basically missing the ham; only 2 small pieces were located. The other main was Seafood cannellini. The Seafood buffet should have given me a clue. There were 3 cannellini on the plate, they looked rather small. It was about 98% pasta, about 2% of some ground up seafood. I could not even tell what was in the seafood mix. Anyway we finished the main course and our dishes were quickly removed as were the salt/pepper, napkins, center piece etc.

We sat at the empty table for a few minutes. We were taking and guessed that we would go across the patio to the buffet and get desert. We got up to leave and a nice waitress came over to say good bye (first time at our table). We said goodbye and that we were going to get desert at the buffet. She said you did not get desert and we said no. She then said there was a desert cart. We sat back down and she brought the cart. Keep in mind she was NOT out waiter. I had a strawberry mouse – it was good. My mom had the fruit tart. Tart pastry is generally light and flaky. It was hard as a rock, could not even be cut.

Moral: don’t waste your time at the side restaurants; stick to the buffets.

The cost for the air (round trip) and 5 nights was $1050 per person. Pretty good deal and remember this includes all of your food and drink (hard and soft).

Now on to your questions:

Dear MILler LYT, are you a biggie or tupac fan. Or are you both

Sorry luv, neither. I am really not a big rap fan. I love show tunes and bubble gum music and the biggest fan of the Beach Boys.

Dear Mother-In-Law-I-Like-To-Ask:
Since you said that you’re a big fan of the TMNTs, what’s your take on the Michael Bay version?

Yuck!!!!!!!. They are ugly. I love, love, love the the cartoon version that I watched as a kid. They were bright and funny. You just wanted to be friends with them. The new ones remind me of my turtle in the back yard and I don’t care to hug and cuddle him either.

Dear Luke’s MIL,
Which is better for 3, canasta or cribbage? Do you play either for money

Only play for fun not money. But I would say that cribbage is better for 3 as it is generally to be played with 3 or more players where as canasta is a paired player game so you have an odd person with only 3 players.

Are there a lot of bugs in the desert? I like the desert, but I hate bugs.

I would say there are not any more bugs here than anywhere else. However, we do have a couple of nasty ones that bite. I break out in hives at the site of a fire ant – they don’t even need to bite me. We have lots of these on our property. About this time every year and continuing into the summer my husband would start killing the fire ant mounds in the yard. They get into the house via the plumbing and under doors.

The other one we have a lot of is scorpions. We have had these get into the house from time to time. They can squash flat and come in under doors. However my cats find them quite entertaining and generally have lots of fun dispatching them.

The bees so far we have in our area are very nice and gentle. I fish them out of the swimming pool all of the time. We don’t get as many flies as in the city; it seems to be to hot for them.

But don’t let them stop you from coming to the desert.

Since you mentioned Trek,,,, what do you think of the old show vs the new ones and/or the reboot movies?

My fav Star Trek is the Original series. I cut my teeth on this and was a friend of one of the writers’ nieces. So I have scripts and some goodies from the show. I like Picard and Janeway. Mr. Spock and then Mr. Data also are tops.

I loved all of the Star Trek movies with the old cast members. When they went back in time and recast Kirk for his younger years at first I was reluctant to see it. I mean, some of the original cast was still alive, so the new cast was poor copies of my Kirk, Spock etc. So I did not run to see the movie. I finally was more or less dragged to it by my daughter who had seen it. She said it was good and she is also an original fan. So off we went and guess what, it was pretty darn good. To tell you the truth I would rather have the new movies than no Star Trek at all.

Dear Mrs. Ppraisal,

You have UFOs in your backyard? when can I come visit you?

Maybe sometime we could have a meet in the desert – that is LYT’s department. We have sat in the yard many nights and have watch interesting things in the night sky. My husband was also a private pilot so he can spot airplanes at night. He knew all of the planets, stars etc. Many times we got to watch the space station fly right over our house. Several times we saw 2-3 objects come together in the sky mostly toward the base or the Colorado River and then a few minutes later they would separate. The objects would do this several times and then shoot off in different directions. We have very clear night skies where I live, very few neighboring homes and most do not have outside lights like in the city. It is wonderful to sit out side at night and just gaze at the sky. It is also fun to watch the lightning strikes from as far away as the Colorado River. That’s hundreds of miles away.

Gene H: If you had to be part of a human Centipede,.what spot do you chose?

The front end. I love to lead and tell people where to go. If I am the front I get to choose and also get to see everything first. My minions have to follow.

Lea B: Zombie movies and TV shows tend to have the one singular zombified child that pops up for shock value or poignancy. So zombie kids do exist. But whenever you see a huge pack of hundreds of zombies, there are never any children within the group. Why is that?

Well, they are probably home being good little zombie kids or maybe in zombie school. When the adults go out to party the kids are generally left at home. How can you wreak havoc with kids tagging along?

William B: Who put the Bop in the Bop se do Bop?

I have no idea, but when you find out let us all know.

William B: Does Luke actually eat the food you make for family get togethers?

Yes, he most certainly does. I think I have contributed to a few pounds he has gained over the last few years. There are some things he does not like such as sour cream, bacon, butter and ham, but I don’t get flack over anything else. You should have seen him with the soup I made last time I was in LA. We had it for dinner before the meet and greet and then after we got home he had 2 more bowls of the cold soup. He also likes my lasagna. I bet he is going to really like the pork chop and potato salad that is in his future.

Well all, that is it for this week. I was a bit late getting this in this week. Yesterday we lost power for 12 hours – transformer blew and we were not back on line until late, so had to play catch up. Take care all and be good to each other. Huggs.

If you’d like to add your questions to the pile for Luke’s mother-in-law, leave them in comments below.