Puerto Rico was not what I expected. The hotel was not what I expected. The beach was not what I expected. Sooo, Carpe Diem and screw expectations, we had a ball anyway. A ball, I tell you. For the record, Puerto Ricans have the right attitude.
The first day on the beach we were carefully encased in our fluffy lounges with a perfectly tilted sunbrella. I moved my book down a few inches from my face (my daily exercise) and noticed a woman walking toward the water. Not skinny, definately pudgy, more than pudgy actually and in a two piece bathing suit. My first thought, of course, was you've got to be kidding me. She surely cannot believe that that suit is weight appropriate. Please, no, that is not a good look. Book creeps down farther, more exercise. Heavens, it's been 15 years since I've even picked up a two piece at the store and she's got 50 lbs on me. Hrrmpf, what is she thinking?
I never found out what she was thinking, but I slowly realized that she wouldn't give two shits what I was thinking because she was having a good time. She was comfortable in her own skin, enjoying the beach, catching some rays and carrying the right attitude. And she wasn't the only one. I saw many, many women shakin' what their mamas gave them who in the U.S. wouldn't be caught dead without full cover pantaloons. Freeing actually. That's not to say that I skivvied down to a g string and nipple tassles, but it did cause me to think about how we Americans are so image obsessed. More than image obsessed, I think. We tend to define one standard of beauty, which is always skinny, skinny and impossibly young.
And speaking of skinny, I did some fine eatin. If you're ever in San Juan, ever I say, immediately exit the airport, head straight for Old San Juan and immediately go to Marmalades. http://www.marmaladepr.com/index.htm If the restaurant is closed, just sit patiently on the front stoop until dinnertime. My dinner consisted of three appetizers: (1) grilled peaches with lemon mascarpone and proscuitto; (2) paella bites and (3) gnocchi with braised beef ribs...don't know that I ever would have typed those two together in the same appetizer, but such is life's little blessings. I also got a little sample of love...the white bean soup. With thin scallions. Crispy pancetta. Black truffle oil.
Next week I'm off to Newport, Rhode Island for a company meeting. I've never been to Newport, so let me know if there's a sight I absolutely shouldn't miss. If it involves food I assure you I'll find it. My return should be greeted with a very large, expensive box of medicines. Sigh.
Did I tell you about the paella bites?