Sunday, December 17, 2006

In the mood...

It's a great weekend to be in the mood....for love...for the holidays...

I'm 13.5 lbs lighter and feeling strong and rejuvenated. Almost all the Christmas shopping is done, wrapping has begun, and work is almost over for the year.

Tonight we made what's hopefully our annual pilgrimage to Dyker Heights in Brooklyn, and although it wasn't snowball fight-worthy this year like last year, it was still magical in its competitive commercialism. Ah, the true spirit of Christmas...animatronic decorations and multi-colored lights.

I hear that Howard Beach's decorations might be better, but I'll believe it when I see it. I do think I'm going to check out the Bronx Zoo's holiday lights this year....

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Bloodsuckers

There are people that suck the life out of you, and then there are insects that suck the blood out of you and make you itch. I got a little bit o' both in my life right now.


Apparently in St. Thomas there are sand flies that come out of, well, the sand and bite you and suck your blood. I am covered in welts. And, a week later, I am still itchy.


Between that and the Christmas tree, I'm real fun to be around.


The sand flies were just another one of the baffling things about St. Thomas. The Ritz resort also had an iguana beach where giant iguanas would come out and bake in the sun on the rocks. And if you stand there long enough, they'll walk right up to you.


I'm told that the ocean had a lot of living things swimming around in it, but without my glasses I had to just trust the reports of minnows and other creatures swirling about. I did spot a starfish on the ocean floor but we decided not to disturb it, so we didn't really get a closer look.


There were some cool parrots and hummingbirds at the peak of the Skyride, a tramway that takes you up a mountain to an observation point (actually, Paradise Point). It's sort of an enclosed ski lift - with three connected cars that ascend and descend together - located by where the cruise ships dock. It's really a lovely view and the birds were just a bonus.


We didn't stay for any of their crazy cocktail drinks, but I did manage to get a Christmas tree ornament before we left...It was the only piece of crap worth buying in the whole "downtown" area (even including all the pirate paraphernalia!).

No parasailing or snorkeling this trip but maybe next time. I'm ready to get into Christmas.

Saturday, December 9, 2006

Only in the Caribbean...

I am way too low-class to deserve the kind of fantastic treatment I'm getting at the Ritz-Carlton Club in St. Thomas (U.S. Virgin Islands). We were supposed to stay in the regular resort but because of a mix-up, we were placed in the residential wing, which means I'm in a huge 2 BR suite, and have keycard access to a club room where there is free food 3x a day. And good food. And amazing service. And everybody says, "My pleasure," and somehow I think they mean it.


And what do I do? Play a game of Asshole, drink straight rum and get so drunk that I lose my room key.


I keep suspecting that I'm supposed to be tipping everybody but mostly people are just being nice. And letting me into my room @ 3 a.m.


And even though the beach here is small, the ocean is gorgeous and warm and the sky is clear with these huge white puffy clouds that turn dark gray when the moon shines behind them.


Before I came here, I kept saying how I'm not a lay-on-the-beach kind of person, but that's pretty much all I want to do. I can't really think of a reason to leave the resort, it's so nice (though I think we are going to take a weird ski lift tomorrow to see some mountaintop views of the island). Today I got a "Tranquility Massage" at the spa from Michelle, a Texas-born mom who moved to USVI when she sent her son off to college. I'd been getting massages so much @ the gym that I forgot how nice a spa can be.


So far, though, I'm not very interested in St. Thomas itself. The taxi ride from the airport was harrowing along a winding road with tons of hairpin turns, and everything we drove by looked pretty shitty. People like to shop here but honestly, they're all giving away so much free Cruzan rum (at the airport, at the hotel check-in....) that I don't need to buy booze, and I really don't want any beads or jewelry.


As nice as the weather is, it's really strange being here now because the hotel is decorated for Christmas and they're piping in all this Caribbean-flavored xmas music. It's really weirding me out. But at the spa today, I did think their evergreen branch/seashell decor was quite nice. And sparkly.


I'm still absorbing it all. I'm having a hard time adjusting. But for my first trip to the Caribbean, this is a pretty nice way to go....