So we're home. We had an AWESOME weekend. Julius and Scott and I got there midafternoon on Friday, had a very amusing grocery shopping trip (Scott was postcall and had been awake like 34 hours at that point. Scott is usually pretty loose and sarcastic, so you take away what filter he has...), at the end of which we found Faye.
The house was amazing. 5 bedrooms, the master suite of which had a bathroom big enough to be another bedroom. Two queens, two rooms with 4 bunkbeds each. I got one of the queen rooms, not that I slept much (the mattresses, incidentally? Not awesome). It had a nice living area, a big kitchen (with ridiculously dull knives), a table that most of us could fit around at the same time, a little breakfast bar at the island for those that couldn't. Two decks, oceanfront, beach access, totally stellar views. I took 760 pictures, most of which were of sand or waves or birds or some such nonsense (I got some totally great shots, though). Fortunately, Mike often had my camera when it was out of my hands, and he got some good shots of people.
Friday night everyone started to trickle in between 7 and midnight, and it was nice to watch the progression as people kind of came together. Julius, Scott, Mary and I took a beach walk around 11, which was totally gorgeous. I got bitten by a crab (and still have the mark to prove it - he got me good!), which was mostly amusing. Apparently it was a big drunkapalooza after I went to bed at 2, though. The boys went through a bottle of tequila and like three cases of beer (I kept finding empties the next morning as I was cleaning up, like, are you kidding me?). Which explains why I ended up poking my head upstairs at 4am to tell my dear loved ones to shut the fuck up.
Yesterday I woke up at 5, watched the sunrise (of which I took a crapton of pictures until my damn battery died right before the actual sun came up over the horizon), and spent like three hours on the beach before I went back and woke Mike up, who was sleeping on the couch (I can respect not waking him at 5, but by 8am, if you're sleeping in the common area, it's fair game). Gradually the rest of the crew trickled up, we made breakfast, hung out for a bit, and then spent more or less the rest of the day on the beach. We bodysurfed, we laid out, we swam, we walked and walked. Scott has apparently been trying to get into kiteboarding, the first part of which is learning how to use the kite, so he brought it along and we all made lots of disastrous flights with it. The boys (and Faye, who incidentally throws like a girl) tossed a football around for a while. Peng and I beachcombed a bit (okay, she beachcombed, I went along and was neurotic).
Tyler and Scott rented surfboards and these paddleboard things, which you stand on what looks like a large surfboard and paddle around with these very long, thankfully buoyant paddles. I took lots of pictures of them falling off the paddleboard things. I went out for a while and was trying to get a shot of both of them standing up at the same time, but, um, that just wasn't happening. It was actually pretty amusing to watch - Tyler would get up and wobble for a minute before falling, but Scott would be straight upright and looking like he was totally fine and then just suddenly be in the water. So I got bored (not board! Ah, I crack me up...) and started shooting more environmentals. There's a bunch of really great houses around where we were which produced some great photographs (and also some crappy ones. Part of the 800+ photos I actually shot - I deleted a bunch - was about learning how to actually use the new dSLR like a real camera, not like a very overpriced snapshot camera). I chased this bird around a sand dune for a while. And then I looked over and there they both were, standing up, paddling along. I actually managed to catch the moment on film before they both promptly fell off again.
I also spent a good 45 minutes that evening upside down on a sand dune. It seemed like a darn good place to do a yoga inversion, so I plopped myself down into a good pose, listened to the waves, watched the horizon, watched the clouds, and was finally laying there just sort of breathing and listening and being still when I suddenly found Scott and Tyler standing over me, back in from surfing, being very amused that I was upside down. I convinced Tyler to join me for a few minutes, but he doesn't get the "still, quiet" piece of it very well and so we chatted for a while and then wandered back up to the house, completely coated in sand. It was amusing.
Mike made his famous Low Country Boil last night (shrimp and sausage and scallops and corn and...I don't remember, other things, all thrown in a pot and boiled), which always goes over well and when combined with some scrambled eggs made excellent leftovers for breakfast. I, of course, don't eat seafood, but we had enough leftover whatever that I did just fine. I also made Painkillers, which are a rum-based drink I learned from my Aunt and Uncle, and are also apparently the national drink of the Dominican Republic. They were very tasty, and I now believe are best ingested on the deck with a cool ocean breeze and a brewing storm.
I was also not feeling super well at this point, because by then I'd developed what's turned out to be the single most painful sunburn I've ever had in my life. It's predominantly on my back, and does not pair well either with long hair or wearing of a bra. So I was cranky, and decided another evening beach walk would maybe fix some of the cranky (and not make me crabby again. Ha! I'm just so punny...). Meanwhile, Scott had wandered off down the beach several hours previous, and didn't take his cell phone, and although he's totally the type of person who would just wander off, go farther than he'd intended, and find his way back eventually, he's also not above falling and breaking his leg, getting mugged, or perhaps being attacked by a giant octopus or something (they have those at the beach, right?). So the general consensus was that I'd point my own walk in the general direction of his last known location and if I happened to stumble across his cold, limp body, would alert someone to that.
As it was, we somehow passed each other in the dark and Peng called me when I was less than a half mile away to say he'd turned up (tangentially - because THAT's unusual for me - he was the second member of our party we'd lost that day. Mike went off for a run or a bike ride or a something earlier in the day and was gone for like 6 hours, and was of course not checking his cell phone. But he eventually came home, too). So I continued to wander along the beach a little longer, until it suddenly occurred to me....wait...I'm a woman, alone on a beach, at night, having gone out (in part) to look for a friend who'd been out, on a beach, alone, at night, and disappeared....I've seen this slasher movie...
So I turned around and headed back to the house. We watched "Old School," which I'd never seen in its entirety (funny), and SNL, and made microwave S'mores (because we'd also discovered at lunch that we had charcoal but no actual grill). I finished another baby blanket square. Peng crocheted on her afghan. There was...I hate to admit this....beer pong (Tyler had texted me Friday to ask if there was a table big enough for beer pong. I said, "No. We're grown ups." I got vetoed. And on top of that, Faye and I lost to Mike and Tyler). We all went to bed earlier (and some of them significantly more sober) than the night before. It was nice.
This morning I got up and shot the sunrise for real, which was obliging and completely awesome. I was back in the house dozing in a comfy chair when Tony got up, and we chatted for a while before we gave up and started making noise and coffee. We had the latter brewed and the kitchen mostly cleaned when the rest of the house started trickling upward. Tony and Mike pulled out a little "ghetto breakfast" (we made do with what leftovers we had, and had things like hamburger buns as toast). Tony and Scott got a little more surfing in, Julius wandered around on the beach a bit longer, Mary and Cleo caught a wee bit more sun. I avoided the sun like the damn plague and Peng rubbed cocoa butter on my back while I swore at the numbers for the weekend and could not make the accounting add up. But we all pulled it together, and left by the time we were supposed to be out, and did all the stuff we were supposed to have done, and the boys and I made great time (as in, two hours, which is almost an hour less that it's supposed to take. Which is not because I was speeding, but apparently my GPS actually DOES know where it's going on occasion). We were all pretty worn out and had far less spirited discussions on the way back (Scott and I have a tendency to debate almost anything pretty hard).
It was a really good weekend.
So that's sort of the journalistic report of Beach Weekend. I have a lot of more interpretive things to say, but I also really need to go to bed, so I'll save them. The moral of the story, though, is that we had a hell of a good time. I really like my friends. And I totally love the beach. This was such a fun time, and as those things often are, it was both completely exhausting and tremendously restorative. What else can you ask for?