JEWELS FROM THE ROVING STOVE

From VIP entrances in Versace to service entrances in my apron

  • Julie Anne Rhodes

Flying Solo

I just got back last week from five glorious days in Puerto Los Cabos, Mexico. It was my first vacation completely alone since I cruised the Nile in 1993, but even then I was accompanied by a curator from the British Museum and many others on the tour. This was my first vacation completely on my own – with no one else’s schedules or interests to consider other than my own.

My last trip alone was to Egypt over 20 years ago

I gave myself over entirely to the beach Gods, and didn’t do a lick of work the entire time. I just consciously inhaled the beauty and serenity around me with all of my senses, while feeling every muscle unwind and welcomed the rest with every fiber of my being.

I gave myself entirely over to the beach Gods, and the hypnotic waves crashing dramatically ashore

I’m not sure why it never occurred to me to just go on my own before? I suppose I always felt I needed my daughter or friends with me to have fun, but when my friend Jimmy decided to take a solo trip to Europe to celebrate his milestone birthday in July, it inspired me to stop whinging about how tired I was, and dosomething about it!

During breakfast and lunch I would read my novel, but I didn’t know where to look without feeling like a voyeur at dinner

Not once did I feel lonely, although dinners alone night after night did feel a little awkward in dimly lit restaurants full of couples on their honeymoons. During breakfast and lunch I would read my novel, but I didn’t know where to look without feeling like a voyeur at dinner. Otherwise I was completely content in my own little world, with the occasional conversation struck up by the pool or the swings of the beach bar.

Relaxing on the beach with my virgin pina colada

As much as I adore the Caribbean and there are so many exotic places yet to explore further abroad, I knew I wanted to keep the actual travel to a minimum, especially with such a short window of opportunity to escape. Travel in itself is just too exhausting these days with all the security restrictions, crowds, and increasingly cramped seating on flights. I wanted to spend my vacation relaxing with my virgin pina colada (frozen pineapple juice and coconut milk) on the beach, not losing precious time trying to get to one.

Simon Manly, Antony Price, Jerry Hall, Julie Anne & Nick Rhodes, Yasmin & Simon LeBon, Jade & Karis Jagger in Mustique by Dean Chamberlain

Then I remembered Simon and Yasmin LeBon enthusing over Cabo San Lucas when they visited us in Mustique many years ago. It was the one part of Mexico I’d never visited. Even more conveniently, the closest resort area to Los Angeles – just a 2 1/2 hour nonstop flight versus a non stop twice as long to Hawaii or at least 5 hours of connecting flights to the Yucatan.

Secrets Puerto Los Cabos

So, Cabo it would be, but have you seen how many hotels there are to choose from these days??? It took several days just to look through all the photos and reviews, before I settled on Secrets Puerto Los Cabos – an adults only, 4 1/2 star all inclusive hotel closer to the quaint artist’s community of San Jose than the bustling nightlife of Cabo San Lucas. The hurricane season meant it was surprisingly affordable, and I lucked out with the weather – the only downpour came as I boarded my plane home.

The food was actually very good for an all-inclusive, fresh and lots of healthy choices

The food was actually very fresh and delicious (which is unfortunately not very often the case in an all-inclusive). One thing worthy of mention is the “adults only” bit is lost on me. I actually enjoy watching children play by the sea or frolicking in the pool. Their antics amuse me. I suppose it’s nice to think no one is peeing in the pool you are swimming in, but then all bets are off when guests start throwing free booze down their gullets at breakfast and continue throughout the day and night, getting progressively louder by the hour. Screaming children are actually less noisy for the most part.

More pisces bliss

The hotel accommodations were luxurious and stunning – oversized free-standing jacuzzi tubs, glass rain showers with views of the ocean, and beds that felt as if you were sleeping on a cloud. The staff couldn’t have been friendlier, the pools were downright seductive, and the drama of waves crashing ashore on the private beach positively hypnotic. The undertow was too strong to swim there, but every morning I did a lovely 20 minute walk up the beach to more protected waters where you could swim safely. My afternoons were spent by the pool reading and swimming some more – this Pisces’ definition of bliss.

Nighttime entertainment

Boredom is not an option with all the activities the hotel has to offer including a seriously overpriced spa, motor sports, bike and dune buggy rentals, golf and tennis, archery and rifle ranges, zip-lining, and entertainment every evening including live bands, outdoor movies with popcorn by the shore, beach parties and Secret’s Idol (their karaoke version of American Idol – which was surprisingly entertaining and offered great prizes including a free 3 night all-inclusive stay at the resort).

The quaint artist community of San Jose

I was more than content to spend all my time there, but I did go into San Jose one evening to poke around the art galleries and shops. I especially enjoyed meeting the proprietors of Flora Farms who treated me to some delicious hibiscus tea and invited me to come have dinner at their beautiful organic farm where several high-profile celebrity nuptials have recently taken place. Unfortunately, this trip would be too short, but I’ll make a point of it next time.

Keeping my priorities straight in Cabo San Lucas

The one sight I didn’t want to miss while in the vicinity were the arches and the sea lion community in Cabo San Lucas, so I booked a sunset dinner cruise with a one hour stop to shop in town before boarding the boat. In true Jewels style, I found an aquamarine ring I simply couldn’t live without, and promptly emptied my wallet within the first 10 minutes, leaving myself skint of the $10.00 needed to upgrade to the lobster dinner on the boat. Oh well, a girl does have to keep her priorities straight – Jewels loves jewels.

Relaxed, recharged, and happy

I’m always most in tune with myself in the tropics. I inevitably find my equilibrium, because the sheer power and beauty of the ocean forces gratitude to permeate my thoughts. A few tears of joy did roll down my cheek as I sat on the beach my last morning and thanked the universe for the many blessings in my life, before catching my flight back to my reality. As hard as it was to tear myself away, I do feel completely rejuvenated and ready to get back to work, and so happy that I let myself fly solo.

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