Saturday, June 23, 2012

Without You by Anthony Rapp

                        "Happiness is not a's a decision."   Jordan Yoo

Profile Picture 
A memoir of love, loss and the musical Rent, courtesy of Anthony's website

Having a bit of an emotional day, weekend.  Truth be told, the last four months have been a bit of an emotional roller coaster.  It’s funny, I was getting used to doing things alone as my Husband’s and my schedule have been so different since he got his job at JetBlue.  But it’s totally different trying to fill time knowing you have a partner in life, another knowing this is now your life, “alone” again…
                Anyway, enough with the pity party. I had read about a one man play running in Boston for just a few days this week.  Without You”, written and performed by Anthony Rapp, one of the original cast members of the now iconic and historic Rent.  (And, directed by Steven Maler, the director of Shakespeare on the Common).  With my Baby in NYC going for her dream, she having seen Rent more times than I can remember, in many cities, this definitely caught my eye.  I actually penciled it into my calendar for the weekend.
                Then, during the week I got one of the many emails I receive from in regards to very cheap tickets for the show.  I checked with a few people, no interest, so I decided that I must start doing things, and not waiting for others to be available.  I ordered my ticket for not much more than the cost of a movie ticket.  I had absolutely no problem doing that last year on my “Winter in Manhattan Odyssey”, time to continue in my own city!
                I am so very glad I made that decision.  The play had been written about a couple of times this week in the Boston Globe, including a not terrific, not horrible review today. So, I knew the premise.  It’s, in my humble opinion, a love story to “Tonio’s” Mom and Jonathan Larson, the writer of Rent.   
Part of the emotions I’m feeling is that a dear Friend’s Mom passed away yesterday.  The Mom was a true Lady who was pretty instrumental in my life, especially in High School, and she suffered with Alzheimer’s for many years.  My Friend and her family treated Mom with such care, dignity, and respect, it was inspiring.
This morning I was happily able to help another Friend and her Husband in the reception for His Dad’s internment.  Then before I went to the Modern Theatre in Downtown Crossing, the new up and coming theatre district in Boston, I went to the Ritz! for a glass of wine and a salad.   While I quietly enjoyed my meal, I read my emails to see that yet another Friend’s Mom had also just passed away, also having suffered from Alzheimer’s.  (Those are my three, I hope..all things happen in threes, right?)
So, already a bit of an emotional basket case, I was glad I had Kleenex, and wondered why I had bothered with mascara.  I pretty much cried from the second line of the show, at some times the tears literally ran down my face, past my cheeks, onto my lovely décolletage.  "Without You"was amazing.  I highly recommend seeing this show.  Bostonians, you have one day left in this short run.  Tomorrow, Sunday June24.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Zion 2011

"In the end, it's not going to matter how many breaths you took, but how many moments took your breath away."  Shing Ziong

On our way out of the Grand Canyon
On Wednesday we had breakfast again in the dining room, next to the roaring fire, a nice touch, although not expected in May.  We then hit the road for the drive to Zion National Park in southern Utah.  I had looked at maps, but was still pleasantly surprised when I found us driving through the Painted Desert.  It’s amazing the land that spreads as far as the eye can see out West.  Having spent most of my life in the Northeast, we think we see lot of land while driving through Maine and Vermont, but it can’t begin to compare to the vastness of land out west.  We also found ourselves spending a good amount of that day on Navajo Reservation land.  Very enterprising Navajo Women set up stalls along the highway selling their crafts and wares.  We drove by many, one sign offered horse hair pottery, interesting…I finally couldn’t stand it, and my Husband stopped for me on a gorgeous overlook where about six Ladies had set up their stalls.  I managed to buy a shower gift (a Horsehair piece of pottery that was a Wedding vessel that I would use as a vase.  It was Beautiful!), some jewelry trinkets for the Girls, and a beautiful lapis necklace for moi…all for less than $75!).
Beautiful day for a road trip, and we finally entered Zion National Park late afternoon after driving along an interestingly fun road with tunnels, bridges, and spectacular scenery.  As we drove to the Lodge to check in we felt like we were in a smaller version of Yosemite.  I will say it again, God Bless the Powers that Were who decided to protect some of our most beautiful Lands as the National Parks.
View from our little porch
Our little cabin was charming, and clean, with a gas fireplace, lovely touch.  We settled in and went for a ver nicee dinner in the dining room, where we ended up having most of our meals.  Good honest food reasonably priced with friendly helpful waitstaff, great.
On our first full day in Zion, after breakfast we caught one of the buses that drive the road through Zion. (No personal cars are allowed to drive the road.  We had been allowed to drive as far as the lodge as guests there.)  The buses are great, they stop at the major pints and the drivers often give small bits and pieces along the way.  You jump on and off at your pleasure, and leisure.  As we drove along my Husband pointed to a rock face with what appeared to be ants climbing, rock climbers.  God love them, that is one form of outdoor activity that has never, nor will ever, call to me.
We spent the day hiking, walking, exploring the beauty that is Zion.  Our last hike of the day was our longest and we started it right from our cabin.  It took us through trees under waterfalls high up until we found ourselves faced with a towering waterfall.  Truly majestic and beautiful. 
That evening after dinner we went over to one of the campgrounds for a Ranger lead talk.  It was on the topic of night time skies.  Very nice, definitely geared to all the youngsters in the group, many in their pj’s armed with their teddy bears!  The major focus was protecting our night time sky from the glare of modern technology (using the lights of Vegas as a prime, albeit beautiful in its own way, example).
Last morning we packed up our things, had a final breakfast at the Lodge, and bid farewell, for this visit to Zion National Park.  We took our time and ventured slowly past the beauty of it all.  As we headed toward Las Vegas with plenty of time to kill before our late flight home we decided that we were not interested in the “Strip” of Vegas after having spent so much time in natural beauty.  I found a mall with a movie theatre so we stayed cool getting a bite to eat and watching a chick flick, fun cast, silly no-mind movie.  Perfect way to end a great vacation.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Grand Canyon 2011

           "The lack of power to take joy in outdoor nature is as real a misfortune as the lack of power to take joy in books."          President Theodore Roosevelt
The pool @ Caesar's Palace
                 My Husband joined me in Las Vegas on the final day of my Office’s  second visit for a conference that we liked.  This year it had been held at Caesar’s Palace.  The rooms, especially the bathrooms, and pool were magnificent.  But, I have already shared my thoughts on this city!           
            After our evening in Vegas, we headed south to the Grand Canyon, digging in for the long ride.  I had been once before, thirty years ago, pregnant with my first Baby! 
In homage to our White-Water Rafting Friends..
                This was a major Bucket List dream for my Husband, so we were pretty excited.  Around mid-day I recommended we stop for a bite to eat.  We pulled off the highway in Seligman and immediately faced a sign saying “the home of Historic Route 66”!  We found a cute Mom & Pop place, the Copper Cart Café, with extremely friendly people.  (The Road Kill Cafe was too crowded.)  While eating, my Husband announced that driving Rt 66 was another bucket list item.  Two in one trip, jackpot! (one we hadn’t hit in Vegas).  What was amazing to me was that when we got back into the car “Lilly” (our GPS), announced we were now on historic Rt 66! (She's amazing.) 

                Late day, we finally passed through the gates of Grand Canyon National Park .  I booked this trip a year earlier as I wanted to treat us to the Lodges in the Parks.  Pulling up to EL Tovar Hotel felt a bit like going back in time.  It really has the feel of what a western hunting lodge would be.  Very comfortable, lot of wood, animal heads, nothing too fancy.  We settled into our room, and ventured out to roam around the south rim that the Hotel sits on. 
El Tovar
                Magnificent grandeur, has been exclaimed by many before me, and will be by many after.  But, those are the words that continuously come to my mind.  It truly is a gift from God and nature.  We walked for a couple of hours exploring.  (Annoyingly my asthma was really going to drive me crazy I found.)  It was chilly, but we braved it to sit on the porch of El Tovar to have our first cocktail at the Rim of the Grand Canyon.  That evening was Mother’s Day, and I had made reservations in the dining room of El Tovar for all three of our nights, so we enjoyed a lovely meal.  (The first time I’ve had Weiner schnitzel and spaetzle in years!)
Our Morning Neighbors
                The following morning we woke up to 10 deer grazing right outside our window!  As we entered the dining room for breakfast, the people in front of us asked if we had brought plenty of layers for the day.  We were dressed for hot weather.  It was snowing outside.  I then had to buy a sweatshirt in the gift shop as I was totally unprepared for snow.  We spent the day jumping on and off the park buses exploring the museums, gift shops, and most importantly, taking walks along the rim.  The snow continued off and on all day, but thankfully didn’t accumulate too much.  My expensive gift shop sweatshirt had already paid for itself.  Late that afternoon as we were back on the Rim near the El Tovar, dark grey clouds rose above us so we headed back to the hotel.  The sky opened up to hail the size of golf balls! (I hadn’t seen that since living in Colorado more than thirty years ago.)  I cancelled our dinner reservations in the dining room, and we had a lovely light dinner in the bar which empties nicely of the day trippers after sundown. 

The second day I booked an all day excursion with a Jeep Tour company .  We were picked up @ 7:30 a.m., by our Guide for the day and he made me look like I never opened my mouth.  We were very grateful when another couple climbed into the van so we didn’t have to appear to listen the whole day.  We joined the larger group in Williams and off we went to first explore Grand Canyon Caverns.  On the road there we discovered that, Seligman was also the inspiration for the Disney movie “Cars”!  We had driven right by the small shop where the “Cars” lived and not even noticed! (Amazing the things you look right at and don’t see until they’re pointed out to you…)..The Caverns were very cool (but I found myself scarily having a hard time breathing), and enterprisingly, there is a hotel room built into these caverns, for $700 a night. 

Then off to the bottom of the Grand Canyon on the only road in.  Unfortunately, the weather was not cooperating so we weren’t able to swim in the Colorado River.  The coolest part of the day was meeting the resident mules who look forward to their daily treats of apples from the guides.  Truth be told I would not do this tour again.  It was a great, long day, but for us not worth the $.  It was expensive.   That night for dinner, I again cancelled our reservations in the dining room, and we went next door to the Bright Angel Lodge Restaurant for dinner.  It was okay.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Ice Out 2011

             "If you can't be in awe of Mother Nature, there's something wrong with you."
                                                                Alex Trebek

                 I am a very fortunate Lady.  And, I must say it is nice to finally empower myself to make “selfish” a positive word in my vocabulary.  In the first few months of 2011, I extensively explored one of my favorite cities in the world by creatively living in Manhattan for the winter.  I truly think that if I hadn’t given myself that gift I would be a bit crazier than I already am due to the wicked weather we Northeasterners endured last year. 
                Because of that weather, I came out of the winter craving sun and sand in a way I had never experienced before.  So, I treated myself to a long weekend in Puerto Rico, which was a first time adventure for me.  (Thanks to JetBlue and my Husband who is now working for that airline…thanks to me sitting him down and making him apply!).  Exactly what the doctor ordered. 
Ice Out weekend 2011
                In mid April, I sat with my morning coffee in my mental health retreat at Webber Pond.  Each year I manage to come a bit earlier.  Last year when I arrived the Pond was still covered with ice albeit not thick enough to do anything on.  I also got to witness my first “ice out!”  On the radio on the drive up I heard of fairs, and sales, in honor of ice out.  People, including my friends and neighbors on Webber Pond have a lottery, similar to football lotteries, on the date of ice out.  The person who guesses the correct date, wins the pot of money.  I’ve never taken part in that, but I did get to witness the actual thing.  Amazing. 

Loons on Webber Pond
                I thought that all the ice had to melt and evaporate.  It was explained to me that it actually gets porous and then sinks to the bottom of the Pond.  What I really want to know is, how did the Loons know?  Within an hour of the ice out, they were back on Webber Pond regaling us with their forlorn cries!   Mother Nature is really a Wonderful Mystical Lady!

Just a few weeks later..Fire Road 10

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Sunday in Puerto Rico 2011

     "Spend the afternoon, you can't take it with you."  Annie Dillard, writer

Sunday morning I woke up and took my time getting ready for the day.  My plan was the beach again, but didn’t need, nor want to be there all day as I had caught plenty of sun under my palm tree on Friday.  I decided to head to one of the restaurants on my map from Emeo and Esteban at Andalucia.  I liked the sounds of “La Boulangerie”.  Emeo said it was a bit of a walk and that was fine by me.  I found it after getting a bit lost (I do now know where the Children’s Hospital is in San Juan), but the walk felt good even if it was getting hot.
“La Boulangerie” was just what it sounds to be.  For those people from my hometown of Milton, think  Newcomb Farm with a French twist.  I was initially seated at a table for 4, and felt guilty as the restaurant was filling to overflowing with waiting guests..I moved outside to a table on the patio, which again, after a long cold winter felt great.  I knew I had chosen well as there were very few “Gringos or Gringas” in the restaurant, and the Spanish language surrounded me.  After enjoying a lovely brunch of Eggs Florentine I headed back to my little Inn.
view of the restaurant and inn from the beach
Beach @ Numero 1 Guest House, photo from their website
Deciding to wait til later in the afternoon to head to the beach, I went up to the shaded roof deck to read for while.  Lovely lazy Sunday.  At around 2 I finally ventured to the Beach, and decided to head to the area in front of Numero 1 Guest House, and take advantage of their invitation after having lunch there Friday.  The scene was a tad different from Friday’s.  It was a Paaartay on this Sunday.  I had read that the Ocean Park Beach was very popular on Sundays with families.  Well, also so with the twenty somethings…It was kind of fun to watch, but not quiet and peaceful, more like Nantasket Beach in a heat wave than Green Harbor. 
It was fascinating watching the kite surfers.  Boy that would be fun.  The air they caught was amazing.  At one point a beautiful young bikinied Lady walked along the beach with a snake wrapped around her neck as a necklace.  The Latin music bleared, the beer was flowing.  (I treated myself to a couple of cups of sangria delivered by a very nice “Cabana Boy”.)  I also witnessed some drama giving full reason to why 18 year olds really can’t handle beer, especially in the heat…All in all an entertaining, if not peaceful afternoon at the beach.  Auntie would have loved the little 4x4 Yamaha dune buggies the Beach Patrol cruised by in every so often.  (Friday they drove pickups, but had more room to maneuver them.)
Sunset @ Uva's again!
At around 5:30, I decided to head to my other place on the beach for sunset.  I headed to Uvva again and my very friendly waitress, Helena, was there to greet me, by name, again.  She was working a private party, so introduced me to her co-worker, Felix, and I enjoyed a lovely couple of glasses of Chardonnay and their “grilled  skewers” appe.  (grilled charetta or beef, chicken, tuna, and shrimp).  Perfect.  Along with the perfect sunset.  Was home again by 7:30, very content.
Caught one of the last seats on my plane again, and then enjoyed a comfortable, if crowded plane ride home which took about the same time as all my MegaBus trips to New York all winter.  I will defintely go back to Puerto Rico again.  Just tapped the surface of that lovely island, and loved it!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Puerto Rico, Saturday

                                “Voyage, travel, and change of place impart vigor” – Seneca

Cafe Berlin
Cafe Berlin, from their website
  Saturday morning I woke and got ready for my day in Old San Juan.  I called a cab as I had read a lot about the very erratic and slow bus service, and just didn’t feel like dealing with that.   As I got out of the cab in Old San Juan the skies opened up, so I decided to eat lunch a bit early and ducked into one of the nearest places, Café Berlin.  I must say it was good, and the young bartender who grew up in Puerto Rico, and recently home after a stint in the Navy was quite enjoyable.  I decided to get another dish that Everyone said was a must.  Mafooto is a true Puerto Rican dish.  I watched as the chef ground the yucca in a large mortar with pestle.  It is then fried, and served in my case with a chicken in a red pepper and olive sauce.  Glad I tried it, didn’t love it.
Castillo San Cristobal
      Then off to explore, literally, as I headed over the to the fortress that was the protection of San Juan dating back to 1790.  Castillo San Cristóbal  is now a National Historic Site, and really something to be seen and enjoyed.  I roamed around the fortress, climbed the walls, slinked through the tunnels, and visited the dungeon for awhile.  
         Walking up and down the cobblestoned streets of Old San Juan truly is a step back in time.  It feels like a pastel European city since the buildings are painted in beautiful Caribbean colors, unlike the muted tones of Europe.   I just walked and walked finding cute shops, lots of ticky tacky ones as found in any touristy area (alas even at the Trevi Fountain in Rome there is much ticky tacky being sold), and something I didn’t expect, many Designer outlets (not thinking that San Juan is probably one of the largest ports for cruise ships in the Caribbean).

Hotel courtyard
Courtyard @ El Convento, from their website
                I wandered the walls out-skirting the city and meandered onto the lawns of El Morro, another fortress that protected San Juan.  It was an awesome site, as hundreds of families gather there to fly kites.  Really cool.  I then found myself by the Cathedral where I rested for a bit, and did thank God for my good fortunes.  Then I went into a lovely old convent that has been converted into a beautiful hotel, aptly named El Convento, where upon I decided to quench my thirst with a mojito in their lovely courtyard.
Chapel of Christ the Saviour
              Continued my meandering and found myself at a lovely little chapel covered with pigeons, and a small park next to it filled with pigeons that children feed and chase around, or scream from fear. This chapel sits at the wall and is apparently the site of a miracle.
                My mini miracle appeared in the site of a cute spa offering cheap foot massages.  When I entered I discovered that Anam doubled as a small bar!  Great concept!  My feet were sore, and having developed the lovely gift of plantar fasciitis, I decided I owed it to myself.  When I entered the spa area I saw a young family where Mom and Daughter, about 10ish, were having pedicures, and Dad waiting looking totally bored.  I asked why he wasn’t treating himself like his family.  Being a typical beefy American “Man”, he just looked at me whereupon I explained that in New York City I witnessed as many men having pedicures as women.  He just continued looking at me.  He seemed to lighten up when he was delivered a cocktail.
 A free rum punch accompanied any spa service, and if that wasn’t to your liking any other cocktail was only $5.  As I sipped my Margarita waiting my turn for my treatment, I perused a tour book of Puerto Rico.  A Gentleman came up behind me and asked if I needed any help in my planning.  We had a brief chat where I discovered his Son lived in the Boston area and was an attorney.  I then entered the spa room, and the Gentleman got a drink and hung around. 
As I got ready to leave following my wonderful foot massage, said Gentleman started chatting again, whereupon he introduced himself, Kevin, and asked what I was doing later.  I was so caught off-guard, I believed I just blushed, and started babbling, and finally explained that I was actually meeting a Patient and her Family for dinner.  Beefy American Man at this point was being thoroughly entertained as I saw him laughing at the scene he was now witnessing.  Kevin asked where I was meeting my Patient as he said he had learned the restaurants well in his stay in Puerto Rico.  I naively told him, and he announced that he may show up and if it was okay, may join me.. I’m not sure how I exited, but I do know my mind was baffled.
"Let's go fly a kite" @ El Morro
I made my way up to El Morro, again, this time to meet my Patient, her Husband, and Daughter.  "Missy" (not her real name) who was just shy of age 2, loved the kite flying families as she had been enamored of Mary Poppins, watching many times til her Mom decided perhaps it was best to put it away for awhile!  A few weeks before when Mom was in my chair at work, we had chatted about my Winter in Manhattan Odyssey (She had lived and worked in Manhattan for many years, and still owns her small apartment on the UWS..I have asked for first refusal if she ever sells!). I told her about the 70 year old Man who my Daughter tells me was hitting on me at the King Cole Bar at the St. Regis!  We then discovered our mutual plans to head to Puerto Rico as a reward to ourselves for surviving this year’s wicked winter.   My Patient invited me to join she and her family for dinner, so that I wouldn’t have to deal with being picked up by older men.
Baru, from their website
So, as we started walking to Baru, a restaurant nestled in the cobblestoned streets of Old San Juan for dinner,  I laughingly explained what had just happened at the spa.  I promised Husband, whom I had just met for the first time, that I truly did not make it a habit of picking up men when I travel.  I had been married for 19 years. I do not know how to play that game anymore, nor had any desire to play that game anymore!  Well, when we arrived at Baru, there sat Kevin at the bar.  Awkward…He ended up joining us, and we ordered a lot of different great tapas (including a mahi mahi ceviche, plaintain chips in really interesting bean dip, tuna, manchega cheese and Serrano ham plate, and a great spinach salad) enjoyed with a great sangria.  It was, as I said an awkward time, though enjoyable, and my Patient and her Husband were tremendous sports. 
We, again awkwardly, bade Kevin a goodnight outside the restaurant, and then Family and I shared a cab back to our respective Puerto Rico homes for the weekend.  I went to bed, catching up on that week’s “Grey’s Anatomy” on my laptop after texting my lovely Patient that I was indeed, ensconced in my nice little room, happy and alone!!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Puerto Rico..Friday, continued

           "Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadow."  Helen Keller
 After a few hours, my belly started rumbling, so I decided to walk down the beach towards a beachfront restaurant I had read about (and the Inn it was attached to, Numero 1 had been recently written up in Budget Travel magazine, and had also been recommended by my Boss, and a patient).  Pamela’s is not a beach shack, it is considered fine dining on the beach!  And, it was.  I had a wonderful mojito with a corn cake topped with avocado-bean mix which was lovely followed by a small plate of grilled scallops nestled on a sesame dressed light salad.   I had just started reading “Cooking for Mr. Latte"  by Amanda Hesser, a food writer for the New York Times, lent to me by my co-worker.  At one point during my meal, I was close to tears, yes, definitely getting softer by the year.  Not sure if it was my incredible lunch on the sand surrounded by ocean, or the meals and food being described by Amanda.  I was invited to come back and be a “Guest” of Numero 1 on their beach with Cabana service since I had joined them for lunch, with a discount on food and beverage, and also a discount offered on a stay with them in the future!
                More than satisfied, I went back to my palm tree, and continued doing what I was doing before lunch, very happily.  Late day is, and has always been my favorite part of a day at the beach.  This beach was great.  It reminded me of GreenHarbor in Marshfield, Ma., a beach my extended family had been going to for generations, in the tropics.  It was interesting, there were vendors selling ice cream, water, and fruit, walking up and down the beach.  They were not intrusive or obnoxious as on many Caribbean beaches, and only came to you if you asked them to.
Sunset @ Ocean Park Beach
 As it moved on to cocktail hour, I headed in the opposite direction of my quest for lunch, and found another of Andalucia’s recommendations, Uvva’s @ Hosteria del Mar, another beachside hotel, as a great place for a drink at sunset.  It was.  Helena, a really friendly extrovert, made me feel like a friend.  I enjoyed some watermelon sangria, and their Puerto Rican Delight, a pot pouri of local appetizers that was great as it gave me a real taste of local foods. 
The jacuzzi                As the sun was finally set, I walked home to Andalucia, and settled in for the night.  My room was nestled in the garden of the Inn, literally, so I felt as though the Jacuzzi was all mine!  That evening I did share it with a nice young family from Los Angeles, and we had a nice chat and visit.  I then hit the hay early as I was wiped out!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

First trip to Puerto Rico (2011)

                 “We wander for distraction, but we travel for fulfillment.” – Hilaire Belloc                    

       I’m truly getting old.  The winter of 2011 about did me in.  If it hadn’t been for my Winter in Manhattan Odyssey I think I may have really gone a bit crazier than I already am.  I have developed a fear, bordering on irrational, of falling on ice and really hurting myself.  As much as the thought of being laid up for awhile, having to read all those great American, and other novels, and continue on my own quest of writing, it is an economical unreality. 
                       Never had I felt the need for sun and sand as much as did last year.  A couple of years ago during the last tough winter we had I did escape our winter for a couple of long weekends, and I now realize that made all the difference.  So, one of my dreams has always been to just go the airport, and get on a plane, anywhere…Well, now that I’m a bit more set in my ways, but really working hard to let go of the control issue, I modified a bit.  I put myself on the standby list for flights to Puerto Rico (thanks again JetBlue!), and started researching places to stay.  That is one of the absolute best parts of the internet.  It is so easy to explore, dream, and plan travel.  I use so many different places in my exploration, but my first go-tos are  (when I buy travel books I head to them first and I had subscribed to their Budget Travel magazine for years), so I also go to, and

Andalucia Guest House
Andalucia Guest House
the courtyard
The Courtyard @ Andalucia
  I found my way to Andalucia Guest House.  I didn’t want to spend a lot of money, and I like the smaller inns and guest houses in most areas.  It got great reviews on TripAdvisor, and the area sounded good.  It was a great choice.  I flew down on the red-eye after work on a Thursday.  After an extraordinarily long day, I easily got a cab as not many people were around at 5 in the morning.  I finally arrived @ Andalucia Guest House and found my room (Emeo had left the keys in a mailbox for me), my room had the air   conditioning set to a comfortable level, and a soft light on.  Wonderfully welcoming!
  I woke the next morning at around 10 feeling drugged.  Made my way out to the front where Emeo was waiting with a smile.  He gave me a great detailed map of the area that he and Estaban, his Partner, have put together of the neighborhood, including recommendations on restaurants, etc, and then directed me down the street to a diner, Kasalta, that has been in the neighborhood for over 30 years.  He kindly understood I needed some coffee and food before I could be coherent.  When I came back after a lovely cup of coffee (albeit a small one), and a piece of guava pastille, I was ready to be communicative.  I finished the check-in process, and we chatted a bit.
Ocean Park Beach
Ocean Park Beach
        Emeo gave me the lay of the land, showed me where things were including beach towels, chairs, Boogie boards, and sand toys included.   I then lathered on sunscreen, packed up my beach bag, and walked the two blocks, through a suburban type neighborhood in one of the busiest cities in the Caribbean.   The beach was lovely, almost deserted, with the gorgeous aquamarine water and gentle waves rolling into shore that only the Caribbean can deliver.  I sat myself under a palm tree, day dreamed, read, and was blissful.