Laughing and crying, you know it's the same release. Joni Mitchell

Laughing and crying, you know it's the same release. Joni Mitchell

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

R & R (& R) in St. Thomas

View from our deck at Secret Harbor
painted en plein air by moi
I got plenty of Rest and Relaxation on my vacation to St. Thomas with my gal pals. The third "R" is for Recovery from the last several months of fibro flare-ups, blood clots in my lungs, and hot flashes. However, it could also stand for Restore, Recuperate, Revitalize or Rum (the raspberry flavored rum was de-lish). A big shout-out to the husbands for taking care of the home front so that we had no responsibilities but ourselves. As three moms we took care of each other and were sensitive to each others' needs - to the point that my two friends argued all week about who would carry the heavy beach bag!

Secret Harbor (on the East End of St. Thomas) upgraded us to a first floor beachfront room, which was the best part of the trip. We could literally walk off our deck onto the beach and go to sleep every night with the sound of the surf. I spent several mornings painting en plein air before the other two ladies woke up. My friend told me that naps were mandatory in St. Thomas, so I took full advantage of that. One day I napped in a hammock strung between two palm trees on the beach with the warm tropical breeze in my hair, the sun on my skin and the sound of the surf lulling me to sleep. Not too shabby!

Trunk Bay on St. JohnImage via Wikipedia

We took a ferry to St. John and spent a day on Trunk Bay Beach. It's part of the Virgin Islands National Park, as is 60% of the island, so it was gorgeous and undeveloped. The snorkeling was great and we saw many colors of coral and tropical fish along the marked snorkel trail. Some of the highlights were large spotlight parrot fish chomping on coral (we could actually hear them), a yellow trumpet fish, several trunk fish and a jelly fish.

On Friday we didn't miss missing a snow storm back home that caused a two-hour school delay! Friday night we went to Sabbath services at the historic synagogue in Charlotte Amalie, The Hebrew Congregation of St. Thomas, so I could say kaddish (mourner's prayer) for my sister's and mother's yartzeit (anniversary of passing). Established by Sephardic Jews in 1796 it's the third oldest synagogue in the Western Hemisphere and very beautiful. The sand floor either symbolizes the biblical Exodus of the Jews in the desert or was once used to muffle the prayers of Murrano Jews who were forced to convert during the Spanish Inquisition but practiced Judaism in secret.

Of course, no girls' trip would be complete without shopping, which we had plenty of time to do without our husbands or kids to distract us. I bought jewelry made of Larimar, a stone only mined in the Caribbean and a beautiful blue-green color. Every time I wear it I'll be reminded of the breath-taking turquoise sea surrounding the islands.

I took so many pics that I thought a slide show would be the best way to go. Enjoy!

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