Isla Holbox, Mexico + Beijing, China
Lulu’s obsession is … Alison! Lulu gushes about Alison’s work in Pippin at freeFall Theatre. Seriously, if you’re in Tampa Bay, you should catch her in it! Check out this glowing review if you’re not convinced. Alison is obsessed with her sweater with thumb holes. Never had one? Here’s an affordable one. She does point out that it’s hard to keep the cuffs dry while washing dishes. Lulu reminds her that you can, in fact, take your thumbs out at any point. Mind. Blown.
If only there was a car that truly allowed a driver to shift from automatic to manual and back. Lulu loves driving stick (unless there’s traffic or uphill — so basically, if it gets hard), but she realizes she’s probably alone on this wishlist item. Alison just wants a mommy-only hot tub so she can decompress at the end of her day. Lulu says she’ll get in with Alison, but not with strangers, because that’s like taking a bath with them. Thanks for ruining hot tubs for us, Lulu.
Alison settles into a suite at Mystique Blue Holbox for her 10k day. She points out that Lulu would like it because it has air conditioning. They know each other so well. She starts her day with brunch at Arte Sano, but quickly heads to the highlight of her day…
WHALE SHARKS! Every year, the largest school of whale sharks in the world are off the coast of Holbox Island. Lulu is confused about Alison’s excitement since they share a fear of water and sharks, but Alison explains that they’re super friendly and that people swim with them all the time. She buys out a tour boat and sets off to see these majestic animals.
All of this is pretty bucket list-worthy, but Alison needs to spend some serious cash to get up to 10k. So she finds a Michelin star restaurant in Mexico, Pujol — however, it’s nowhere near Isla Holbox. Alison solves this by taking a private jet to dinner! And since she’s gone so far just for dinner, she orders BOTH tasting menus.
But that’s not the end of her day. She finishes with an Airbnb adventure to Mosquito Beach and Coco’s beach. Lulu is decidedly not onboard with any place called “Mosquito Beach,” so Alison takes that off the itinerary, but she keeps Coco’s beach, because it has bioluminescent water! That is DEFINITELY a great finish to a 10k day.
Lulu picks a hotel in Beijing that she has actually stayed in (but not on her own dime. How do we get a gig like that?), the Shangri-La Beijing. However, she upgrades from her previous stay in a standard room and splurges on the Valley Wing Grand Diplomat Suite, which comes with — wait for it — an all-in-one fax and copy machine. For all the faxing you tend to do.
It’s early morning, and Lulu starts off with a private tai class and a matcha green tea latte from Starbucks. Now that she’s caffeinated and focused, it’s time for breakfast. She asks the hotel concierge to help her find someone who will take her on a dumpling and dim sum tour of Beijing.
Apparently, we’re all about tours this episode, because Lulu takes a second tour of Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, and the Great Wall. Having been to China before, she wants to make sure she’s prepped for the heat, so she makes sure to bring along a panda hat, smog mask, and cooling towels. She also offers her tour guide some extra cash to bring her by the world’s largest outdoor escalator. PS, it’s shaped like a dragon.
And now, Lulu gets a little shopping on. She gets a handmade kite from Sanshizhai Kite Store and heads over to the 798 Art District to pick up some art. She oddly had some great pasta in this district a few years ago, so she searches out that restaurant for lunch — carbonara in Beijing? How exotic — and quixotic. To finish out her shopping spree, she picks up her favorite tea — wuyi yancha.
She’s bought tea, so now she’s going to bathe in tea—! Lulu visits the Green T House spa, which has a giant indoor green tea bath — and she gets a ten hand massage. The girls get a little lost in the math of this, but they get there eventually.
One last souvenir for Lulu — a pair of fu dogs or guardian lions. Here’s a link to a set on sale on the Internet. Lulu’s not sure if they’re truly authentic, but she buys them anyway. What is authentic is her stop for dinner — Bianyifang, a Peking duck restaurant that has been open since 1416. Finishing off her Beijing dinner is drinking baijiu, China’s national liquor, at Capital Spirits. The “nail polish remover” smell to this isn’t appealing to Alison, but when in Beijing…