Don’t get me wrong… I love ladies’ trips. I tell Allison “go away”, and she does, often with our daughters and lady friends and their daughters.
This time, she said
“why don’t you come along, with Ed, the husband of Santa Maria, another lady tripper. Palm Springs is beautiful and you can bike there.”
It was 38 degrees when she made the pitch and it was easy to say yes, even though I tried to back out once or twice amidst visions of manicures and pedicures and lying on chaise lounges all day, which is not my favorite activity, but she promised pizza at an outdoor wood fired pizza oven (she plays for keeps), 85 degree weather, and did I mention biking?
So the night before the trip I start packing, actually I had to first wash the clothes then commence packing.
“What time do we leave for the airport”?
“Four O’clock”, was the reply.
“I thought you said this was a morning flight, not an afternoon flight?”
Gulp….do I really have to get up at 3:30 AM (AM!) to get ready to have fun???
Yup! Ladies trips are fun… Ladies trips are fun… repeat after me, “Ladies trips are fun… Ladies trips are fun…”
So six uneventful hours later, we are standing in 80 degree weather and I started thinking, “this is going to be great! I must have misjudged Ladies trips.
The Eau de Palmes (pronounced “oh de palme”) hotel is beautiful, and full of happy Lady trippers, all cackling about their difficult time getting the wait staff to serve their noon time libations and whatever other difficulties they overcome in their daily struggle to survive. To each his own, I need to find something to do….
Ed and I surveyed the hotel bikes. Comfy cruisers, but not suitable for the 30 mile trip we have planned. Ed finds a local “real” bike shop, so we set off on the cruisers to rent bikes. When we arrived, he had 2 brand new, never ridden street bikes. We leave our land cruisers in his showroom and headed out for 2 hours of glorious riding. After an hour, we found ourselves in Marina Del Ray and a bit overheated, so the local bikini bar was a welcome stop for a beer and a burger.
As New Englanders, we needed to apply a second coat of sunscreen to make it back in the 88 degree weather. The biking is all north to south, along the coastal road, with little shade, but it was great and we dragged it out as long as we could.
Upon arrival at the hotel, we left the bikes with the concierge and I proceeded to the pool, where I jumped in clothes and all. After 5 minutes of cooling my radiator down, I did some circles in the water to clean my clothes, then went to the lounge chairs for a short nap to get ready for the 5,000 calorie dinner that I knew awaited me.
Dinner at Ranatas
Reservations in Palm Beach, made in advance for an Italian restaurant, means an ordeal that seems very un-relaxing. Packing up 7 people in 2 taxis, driving 15 minutes to eat dinner is a lot of work. So I am keeping quiet, partly due to the 30 miles of biking in 88 degree sun really mellowed me out. When we entered Renatas, I felt like I was in the south of Italy, in Tranto or Ostuni. A beautiful white building with an open courtyard filled with tables of smiling….billionaires. We had stumbled on one of Palm Beach’s favorite restaurants. Lots of healthy, smiling billionaires, enjoying a Thursday night out.
Ravioli, Bolognese, cream sauce, fish and Chianti Classico wine made for a great meal. Add crème brule, torta choccollata, molten chocolate cake, gelato, and we were approaching our mandatory 5,000 calories. I was starting to feel sleepy as 10 PM rolled around, and it was time to go. I bet those billionaires don’t eat as much as we did, probably to live long enough to spend some of that money. For me, if I lived in Palm Beach, Renatas would be on my regular rotation of restaurants.
So I resisted going into the spa. Not that Allison didn’t try to convince me of the merits of 4 hours of aromatherapy bliss. I even got a guided tour by Raul, who certainly was knowledgeable in all things spa. “Here is the essential herbs and oils that are available”. Available? for what? to eat? Sprinkle on my mahi-mahi? take out? I was too embarrassed to ask, so I just smiled and nodded knowingly as we continued our tour. Being from Boston and 40 degree spring, which is very cool this year, the idea of staying indoors for 4 hours when the outside temperature in Palm Beach is 85 degrees doesn’t really appeal to me in the least. But I dutifully complete the tour, admire the chamomile tea and head out to the beach. I run into Ed and ask him what he is going to do while the ladies are in the spa?
“I’ll be with them.”
“Yes, it’s our last day here, and I am getting a massage because of all the running up and down the beach.”
Which was true, Ed would spend hours running up and down the beach.
“And I can wash off all of the SPF 85 zinc oxide sun screen before the plane ride back”
When we showed up, I had to fill out this form that was way beyond my comprehension, asking what products I used regularly, skin dryness, hair issues, aromas that I like, etc. After lighting a candle, making a wish and floating the candle in a fountain, I was off to the massage. After explaining a litany of options, aromatherapy, hot rocks, Swedish, deep tissue, selecting an ambient light for relaxing, energy or mixed (I chose mixed) the massage began. Half way through I was thinking,
“Why did I ever resist this? I need to do this every day”.
So that is how I became a spa man, and ended my first ever ladies trip.