Sunday, February 22, 2009

Vail...15 years later

When I was a a Senior in high school my best Eleanor and I decided that we were too cool to stay in high school a single minute longer and we moved to Vail, Colorado. We left just after Christmas for our senior venture. The idea was that we were sick of high school and really didn't need any more credits to graduate from high school so why stick around? Anyways my friend Eleanor's family had a condo there so we thought it would be the perfect place to go work and save money for college the following Fall.
For a Texas girl moving to a Colorado ritzy ski resort town (the biggest ski resort in the U.S.) was a big adjustment. I think I spent the first week just playing in the snow. Right away we started working bagging groceries at Safeway. (Hey it was $8 an hour which was good money in 1992!) After pushing the mop and gathering too many grocery carts out in the freezing snow, we quickly found jobs working in the Vail Village gift shops. Those were the days of selling ski clothing and souvenirs to rich snobby people, coming home and soaking in the hot tub, and surviving on diet coke and pretzels. We lived there from Jan- April and had so many incredible adventures, which one day I will have to write down. Two of the most memorable involved me pleading guilty to using a fake ID (to get into a night club) and the other involved me and Eleanor going to Kansas city with several bands that we had met when we were at their concerts. After a semester of fun, and before we got into too much more trouble we returned home to graduate with the rest of our Senior class.
It's been 15 years since I have returned to this venue of my wild and reckless days. Yesterday I took Jake and the boys up to Vail, a 2 hour drive, to show them where I used to live and work. The town was incredibly busy with tons of skiers and snowboarders. We found where I used to live and then parked our car and took the bus down to the village. (The whole town caters to the skiers so the bus is free and goes all around town).
The memories came flooding back and it was great to reminisce. We walked into Vail village, and of course all of the shops have changed and it has all been remodeled. The place I worked isn't even there anymore. We grabbed a great little lunch at a Mexican restaurant as we watched all the skiers and snowboarders racing down the hill. I swear we were the only ones not in ski boots.
Of course my boys have never even seen skiers so they were all fascinated. After Vails Village we caught the bus down to Lionshead where we caught the Gondola ride up to the top of the mountain.
The views were amazing and the ride was so much fun! Then we headed back down the mountain for an icecream cone at Haggan Daz. We caught the bus ride back to the condo and took a quick dip in the hot tub before heading home.
It was a great day trip, and it made me of course think of how much my life has changed in 18 years. I don't think I would but oh to go back to the days when all you really worried about was whether or not your hair looked good and whether or not I had enough diet coke in the fridge to last me through the week...

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Where's my cabana boy?

I think that my favorite place to be is Culebras. Culebras is a little island off of the East side of Puerto Rico. My first trip to Culebras was as a single gal with my friends about 12 years ago. When we moved to Puerto Rico I insisted on taking my husband and boys and sister in law and we had a fabulous time. Then a few months ago when we decided to move we knew the one thing we HAD to do before we left was head to Culebras. You drive to the east side of Puerto Rico to Fajardo and pay about $3 to jump on the government owned ferry. It is about a 90 minute ride on the ferry. This last time we went some of our best friends on the island, Rafael and Osiris. Born and raised in Puerto Rico and they had never been to Culebras. Most Puerto Ricans dont even know their own island and haven't even been all the way around it. (The whole island of Puerto Rico is only 115 miles by 35 miles!!!!)
Once you arrive on the dock of Culebras island there are several buses waiting to take you wherever you want to go. My favorite place is Flamenco beach. It is the type of beach that you see on post cards. It is the type of beach that you dream about in the Dasani water commercials with the hot cabana boy bringing the lady on the beach her water. The sand is so white and fine and soft. The water is the most amazing color of turquoise and green that you have ever seen. The waves are great to play in but not so rough that they send you doing nose dives to the bottom or knocking your swim suit bottom off. The water is the perfect temperature. You can swim out as deep as you want and you can still look down and see the color of your toe nail polish. There are picnic tables set up under the palm trees or you can rent giant umbrellas and lounge chairs to sit right out under the sand. You are welcome to pack a picnic and cooler for the days adventure but if you're not up to it you can eat the wonderful authentic carribean foods from the vendors and stands under the trees.
So right now as I shiver in my flannel pjs in Colorado knowing that I should be at Culebras right now sitting under the umbrella on the sand listening to the waves roll in and wondering where the heck my hot cabana boy is with my bottled water....