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Vacation Journal
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Part 2 Xmas 2007 – The Best Trip Yet

Date: 1/4/2008

Part 2 Xmas 2007 – The Best Trip Yet

Sunday, December 16th

I am up late this morning for me – 7am and I am so proud I slept in. Then Elana points out to me that it really is 5am pacific time and that I am right on schedule. Damn kid – I hate it when she is right.

We grab a taxi and head to Centro – her to breakfast, me to yoga at Elements. I love the yoga at Elements. Lisa (she owns it with her husband, Caesar) has a very warm and accessible style and she takes into account the heat and humidity. None of this power yoga – thank goodness. Lots of grounding, lots of warm-up and lots of time on the mat before we move into the standing poses. Like everywhere, her prices have gone up - $130P or $12USD (used to be $100P) but it is totally worth it. The palapa where we do the yoga is on the top of the Element apartments – 4 stories up, 360 degree views (water in 3 directions) and great breezes. The class is worth it just for that alone. One of my favorite things she talks about is how yoga is about healing, not pain and you should leave a yoga class energized, not worn out. And that is exactly how I felt every time.

I have breakfast at Elements and fall in love with the Muesli. It is oats soaked in milk, with fruit. Kind of like oatmeal but not really. Some Swiss potatoes and nice hot, dark coffee and I am all set. Not the cheapest place to eat but very healthy and very good.

The wind is blowing like crazy and the sun comes and goes but I head to the beach anyways, in search of Marianne and Elana. Find them at Playa Sol as expected. Get a nice exfoliation from the occasional sand blast. And several hours go by as we chat and read and smoke and doze and chat some more.

A woman at work today asked me what I did on Isla for 17 days and my reply was “nothing”. She seemed a bit surprised by this (I am a bit of a workaholic and zip around work all day so no one can quite picture me doing nothing) and questioned me further. By nothing I mean I read, ate, slept, did yoga, chatted, and did it all again and again and again. She just couldn’t get past the fact that we never left the island. See, if you haven’t been to Isla you can’t understand it.

So anyway, we wile away a few hours and then I am hungry again. Amble on down to Bally Hoo. Pleasantly surprised by the most comfortable chairs on the island – wide metal chairs with cushions, looking out at the boats and we are shielded from the wind – perfect! Tried the fish & chips – loved them. And the ceviche camaron was good as well.

Figuring we will be hungry again in a few hours, we also stop by the Rib Man (their prices haven’t gone up – still $40P for the boneless pork meal). A stop at Mirtita’s and then back to the room for a shower to get the sand out of all the various crevices and a blissful siesta.

Dinner that night was at Sancochos – always good, with great service and a reasonable price.

Another favorite thing of mine is to have a cup of coffee after dinner (in the States, regular coffee after dinner keeps me up for hours but not on Isla) – people watching on Hidalgo or reading a book or whatever. Since the Crepes place was where I used to do that and it is closed, I was bummed. Until we discovered the Chai Tea at the Argentinean Steakhouse. Excellent!!!! That became our after-dinner nightly hang-out. Our friend Eber works there so that was a bonus – a guarantee of more kisses and hugs.

We were home by 9:30, still obviously needing more sleep to catch-up after our red-eye flight. And I realize as I get ready for bed that I am now completely in Isla mode and so very happy to be in my favorite place.

Tomorrow my 25-year old step-daughter, Danielle arrives. Yeah!

One final side note for the day – We could not have been happier with staying at Chac Chi. The rooms are nice, the beds are comfortable, the people who work there are great, the price is right – everything about it is wonderful. They really went out of their way to make sure everything was all right and that we had everything we needed. Two thumbs up.

Monday, December 17th

So, a little history. I have known Danielle since she was 11 and I was married to her dad. We divorced but Elana and I always kept in contact with Danielle. Unfortunately we never felt like we saw her enough. Four years ago, as Elana and I were planning our first Xmas trip, I got the brilliant idea to invite Danielle. It was the first extended amount of time we got to spend with her and it was wonderful. And so she became a part of our trips to the island – another reason (is this reason #27???) why I love the island.

And a further digression – I just went and read my trip reports from Xmas 2003 and June 2004 and July 2004 (it was a good year for Isla trips – I spent 51 days on Isla in a 13 month period). I was struck by several things. All of the reports focus on hugs and kisses and being recognized. They also all focus on how healing Isla is for me – how peaceful and grateful and happy I feel when I am on Isla. I write a lot about how my time there is spent being, not doing. How much I laugh. How I am my best self when I am on Isla. And how hard I work to incorporate all that into my life off the island.

They also made me sad. I realize how far I have been from my best self for at least the last year, if not two. How I let work and a challenging relationship get the best of me. How tight I have been wound. How long it has been since I felt that free.

How lucky am I that I have a place I can go that brings that back for me? That reminds me that I am truly blessed and sweating the small stuff has no good payback. That reminds me there is another way to live – one filled with laughter, peace, gratitude. One where I remember what it is to feel excited about each day, where I breathe really deeply and embrace all that life has to offer, where the knot in my chest just dissolves.

I used to think that the only way I could feel like that is by being on Isla. But I have had periods of time where I have felt that way away from the island – sometimes they are brief, sometimes more extended…and I realized (and again this comes up in every trip report) that my challenge in life is to take that energy, that special way of feeling and carry it with me wherever I go.

So this trip was a reminder – keep up the yoga and the meditation (because that is what works for me), take care of myself regardless of what else is going on, and breathe. The good stuff just flows from there.

How’s that for a little digression????

Ok, enough philosophy and back to the trip.

I know it was a long way back but I am now writing about Monday, December 17th (day 3) and the imminent arrival of Danielle.

She also took the red-eye and the plan was for me to meet her at the ferry at 7am. That seemed like a whole lot of effort that early in the morning (and we had a backup plan – if I wasn’t there, she should jump in a taxi and come to the hotel) so I took my coffee and went to sit on the curb out front. No sooner do I get out there (and it is still a couple of minutes before 7am), and she arrives. Good thing I didn’t go to meet her – we would have unknowingly passed on the road. She is so early because they held the 6:30am ferry for her.

Some catching up and then I head into town for yoga. Breakfast at the loncherias and then off to the beach. It is not as windy and much warmer than the previous 2 days. I spent the day on the beach with Marianne and the girls. I was really into reading this trip (ultimately reading 15 books) and finished book #2.

And this is the point that my detailed notes end. No tears – I have some sporadic notes and my memory wasn’t completely wiped out by the copious amounts of alcohol consumed so this will be continued….

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