Slightly weary, completely sticky, sweaty & shiny (the freakin' humidity made me frizzy and shiny all week - how appealing), and in desperate need of a drink, M&M&M&I head off to register. Marc leads us down a covered, wood-arched breezeway. To the left were the pools (one kiddie and one not-so-kiddie) surrounded by blue chaises and umbrellas; just past the pools was where we would come to take up residence every night - the bar! Spread out in front of us was the beach. With hundreds of lounge chairs and dozens of grass-covered umbrellas perfectly aligned in the sand, how could I not begin to feel relaxed? Just the sound of the waves was enough for me. Crossing the courtyard, we approach the VIP services office ~ affectionately dubbed "Little House en la playa" by Michael. As we enter, we're greeted by Israel - our afternoon host. The Little House en la playa is windowed bungalow at the edge of the resort. Inside there's a desk with computer; 2 dark wood tables set with gorgeous china, silver, glasses and fancy-folded napkins; overstuffed chairs, a sofa and loveseat; and, in the far right corner? A bar, baby! Through the beveled glass French doors was the jacuzzi (which didn't work until our last day - BOO!) and padded chaise lounges for VIP. Still in the middle of all the hand-shaking formalities and customer service niceties, we're offered champagne. Hell yeah I want champagne! VIP. That's how we rock it! Well, for the whole week, that's how we'll rock it. Registered, braceleted and reveling in the champagne we trudge up the stairs to the 5th floor. Why the hell is the elevator on the other side of the resort? It's the 5th floor, so our legs will get a great work-out, for sure; but the late drunken nights? That ain't right. Marc tells us we have a 3 room unit with a king size bed and 2 smaller beds in another room (Marc to M&M - "I was going to let you 2 have the king bed, but when I saw it, I said 'it's mine!' Sorry!" LOL) Enter room 559 - there's a bathroom, faux-kitchen thing, sitting area with TV, through the folded partition is the king sized bed, another bathroom and a small sitting area, which is next to the adjoining room with 2 more beds, small sitting area and a third bathroom. Sweet! Huge picture windows offered views of the property next door, the Little House en la playa and much of our resort. Mandy & I had our cameras out, taking it all in. I crossed the room, out the sliding glass door to the balcony. What an incredible view! No matter the oppressive heat or humidity, I felt all the crap and the recent stresses of work fall completely away. I think I even felt my blood pressure drop. With 2 chairs, a chaise lounge and table, I knew the balcony would be my journaling space. I couldn't stop looking at the ocean, the dark storm clouds gathering and the ray of sunshine hitting the water. It was really beautiful and peaceful and just what I needed.
After some chill time, we headed down for dinner. The al fresco dining area was tiered with tables on all 3 levels. As if one, we headed straight for the same table - the one closest to the water. I have no idea what we ate that night. But I remember our visitor. I kept seeing things move in my peripheral vision. Now, being the quintessential near-sighted girl, I've got those floaty things in my eyes. So, I tend to see things that may - or may not- be there. M&M&M bring to my attention **the Godzilla-sized gecko crawling on the wall above our table** Are you effing kidding me with this?! OK, I recognize this is an irrational fear. No matter, it's a huge crawly thing *above the table where I'm eating dinner* Oh, make no mistake that my so-called friends seized the moment and took full advantage of every opportunity to make fun of me. Hey, it's all fun and games until someone gets hurt. At which point, Michael says, it become A LOT MORE FUN. Ha! I'm vacationing with these people all week?! Fantastic. We dined with our new friend, Gordon, and/or some member of his family every night. I didn't sign up for the dining in the wild experience...
Laughing, drinking, talking and having a great time, the storm started to move in. The thunder & lightning, the smell of the air and the rain just fell. What an amazing sight! Born and raised in Southern California, rainstorms are an incredible nuisance to me. On vacation, however, it's a totally different story.
And that was only Night One.