Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Lazy One.

That would probably best describe this vacation: lazy one. Or, perhaps even better, Lazy Won.

Even though I packed one running outfit – and (mistakenly) packed 2 pairs of running shoes – even though I packed the Garmin – even though I packed a copy of The 100 Workout, I did nothing more strenuous than some gentle doggy paddling and snorkeling in the beautiful blue Caribbean seas. (All the photos are clickable if you want to see them larger.)

Even Mr. Exercise Maniac Helen didn’t do anything – no situps or pushups every morning, no constant practicing of karate kamas, no jogging up and down every beach we were on.

As for strength training? Arm curls consisted of lifting rum & cokes and Kir Royals and French wine and delicious meals to lips.

But you know what? It’s All Good! Really. And for once, I think we both might be the better for completely letting go of all schedules and taking it easy.

What with the disastrous non-vacation last year, and the almost constant stress of aging parents and our own aging bodies doing crazy things and keeping us on the injured reserve list, maybe this vacation was just what the doctor ordered.

When your day starts like this:

And ends like this:

It's pretty easy to take it easy.

Neither one of us felt much like ripping and racing. We didn’t even go to 6 or 7 different beaches like we normally would have. We stuck to the two small beaches at the Beach Club and the largest beach on the island.

On our first full day there, it poured rain off and on. Even that did not stop us from getting in the water. Hey – rain is wet, the sea is wet, what’s the difference? Love this shot - you can see the raindrops!

The rest of the time the weather was gloriously sunny with some quick showers that did not hamper our non-activity in any way!  Most of the time, I had this point of view:

Or ones like these which I found quite enjoyable!

Occasionally I just had to rise from the cushy beach chair because I cannot resist that turquoise water, whether it’s calm or wavy.

For whatever reason – perhaps because our vacation started with Nick’s memorial (more about that in a separate post) – this trip seemed to be much more about the people we came into contact with rather than excursions and activity.

There were many friends and acquaintances who traveled down and though we often have issues getting together with them at home, we all had free schedules there! Saturday evening we went out to dinner with close friends.
On either side of us L-R is
Andre & Jean:  Mr. Helen has known Andre since kindergarten. 
Cheryl & Michael: Michael is Mr. Helen's best friend and Nick's son.

Of course we were also very happy to find out that many of our favorite people were still in place at the Beach Club. Sandra was still there doling out her dry wit along with her drink concoctions. Example? On Monday when we went for happy hour, I told her we were over-partied from Nick’s memorial the day before. Then on Tuesday, I told her I was over-shopped because we’d been on the Dutch side in Phillipsburg shopping for several hours. She replied, “Goodness, this certainly has been a vacation of “over” for you. Can’t wait to hear what you overdo tomorrow!” Sure enough on Wednesday she was waiting to hear about that day’s overages.

Philippe, who is the maitre d’ and all around go to guy at the Sunset Café was still there as well and we were thrilled to catch up on his family news. What surprised us was that he remarked that he remembers us, even if it’s 2 years between visits, because we are some of the only people who ask about his family. One evening as we had a pre-dinner cocktail, Mr. Helen told Philippe that one of his favorite things he’d ever eaten there was a seafood crepe. Philippe told us that was a regular ‘special’ under the previous owners but the new owners had put their own menu in place. The next day when we saw Philippe again, he informed Mr. Helen that he had made arrangements with the new chef/owner to have the seafood crepe as a special before we left. There was one lady in the kitchen who had worked under the previous owner and remembered how to do it. So that evening we had dinner there and it was a smashing success. We found out later the item had sold out!

We were both actually pretty humbled by that because really, how often can one get that sort of special attention and service without even asking? I’m not sure how many places in our hometown would do that for us. Philippe did not have to go above and beyond like that, but he did and made us regular people feel like we were superstars or celebrities. The day we were leaving, we went over to have our last breakfast and the chef informed us that the crepe was such a fantastic success that he was thinking of making it a regular special. I think they should name it Mr. Helen’s Seafood Delight or something like that don’t you?

Finally I'll conclude with photo which is probably one of my favorite shots of our vacation. (Don't worry, I have plenty more photos to show you but in the interest of keeping this post from being a novel, I'll stop here.)  That's Philippe in the middle.  We had handed him our camera and asked him to take a photo of the two of us.  He replied, "What about me?"  Then jumped in and did this. 

To say a good time was had by all would be an understatement!


  1. Wow - that sounds like an amazing time, and I love how it was more about people. I feel more relaxed just looking at all these photos.

    And seafood crepe? Yes please...

  2. Helen reading this post leaves me with just one conclusion: you guy had the best vacation one could have and you deserved it so much after all that happened. This post gives me joy because of all the happiness shown on the photos.

  3. There is not one hint of stress on anyone's faces in any of these pictures. Gorgeous pictures of a really fun time! I can't wait to hear/see more about it. SMILE!

    And you look fabulous, as usual.

  4. Now that is the kind of vacation we should all enjoy!

    The special attention you received is a testament to the kind of people you and Mr Helen are. You showed caring, concern and kindness to those you came in contact with and in kind they showed that kind of caring right back at you!

    I want to go there!

  5. I love everything about this vacation. The views (the water, the food, and Mr Helen is ripped!!) and the people you meet and the laid back attitude. The whole thing sounds perfect.

    So happy that you had a good time. You looked great too. :)

  6. You guys just look so relaxed and happy - how much do I love seeing this?!? (soooooo much!)

    I think the best vacations are when you connect - with your gorgeous surroundings, with each other, with the people that you come in contact with...and it sounds like you had all of that. What a wonderful, wonderful trip!

    P.S. I love that your swimsuit matched the ocean. :)

  7. WOW - looks like a top notch getaway.

  8. Hi Helen, looks like a FANTASTIC vacation. Just what you needed, and VERY well deserved!!! Love the photos, thanks so much for sharing them with us.

  9. What a wonderful vacation, it looks amazing there. And lifting alcoholic drinks is my kind of exercise!

  10. I've got a big silly grin on my face because it just all sounds so freakin' perfect. I AM SO GLAD...you and Mr. Helen needed and deserved it! YAY!!

  11. Fun fun fun! Looks like a great time! Glad you had a great vacation!

    thank you for spreading the relaxation and sharing with us, Helen.


  13. There is no "maybe" about it; you both deserved a vacation exactly like this. A complete break from your exercise routines, your daily routines, and just being pampered and treated kindly by people who you in turn have always treated kindly, is exactly the vacation we all dream about. Plus that gorgeous beach! I am so, so glad you both decided to loosen the reins and just enjoy the view for a bit. Hurray!
    P.S. I really want some of that crepe. :)

  14. Ah - your smiles at the end brought tears to my eyes!!! So happy this vacation worked out for you guys and you just let go and had fun.

    And now, because of you, I think I will need to find a recipe for seafood crepes - it looks amazing!

  15. What a wonderful post about a wonderful time! You chose some great photos to share (I know you had a lot more and it must be hard to choose) and I love the stories about connecting with the people.

  16. Argh, Blogger ate my comment (& I didn't think to copy it) so I'm reposting in short:

    LOVE that this holiday went SO much better, Helen. You deserve it.
    LOVE the photos - especially the last fun one.
    LOVE the two-piece. YAY, a photo!!!
    and LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the blues, turquoise (my favourite) and pinks on you.

  17. The picture perfect vacation! Well deserved, I'm sure.

    Thank you so much for your always supportive comments. They really do mean a lot to me.

  18. How fun! You look so young and healthy! Glad you had a blast.

  19. Gorgeous pics...makes me want to visit Grand Case!