Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Girls' Weekend 2016, St. Augustine, Florida

On the beach on Anastia Island
Kathi wrote:
Monday, October 24, 2016
Today is massage day! The day felt luxurious from the moment we awakened. First of all, we didn’t have to listen to any alarm of any kind, mysterious, inadvertent, or purposefully set. Second, we got lots of sleep, especially me. It’s not often I get a full 8 hours, nevermind 9! It’s just decadent, that’s what it is. By 7:30 we were out at the dining room table beginning our morning routine. I made the coffee, then started writing. I love writing our daily journals; it’s a way to relive our experiences and solidify them in my memory. It is quite time consuming, but both Lori and I are dedicated to the recording and sharing of these trips – it adds an extra level of enjoyment to them.
Our massage appointments were at noon, so we were able to enjoy a few hours of chill time, mixing writing with researching, planning, and chatting. At 10:15 I stopped writing to start my breakfast, and showered while it was cooking. Lori only had an English muffin because she didn’t want to stop to make her eggs. She regretted that later, as it turned out. By 10:45 I was sitting down to my meal…lobster tail and asparagus. That’s right, I had lobster for breakfast. Actually it was for lunch, I just ate a bit early because I knew we’d be gone all day and didn’t want to starve again like I did yesterday. The stupid diet only allows me two meals, lunch and dinner. When we made our grocery trip I was entranced by the offerings behind the counter of fresh fish and seafood that had never been frozen! So I bought some beautiful tilapia…and a lobster tail. The stupid diet allows several options for protein, and lobster was one of them. I have never cooked a lobster tail in my life, but I asked myself, how hard can it be? As it turns out, not very hard at all, and my my, was it tasty!! Lori, who had been engrossed in trying to get her journaling done before we left, suddenly noticed the time and jumped into the shower. Once she was ready we packed up swimsuits, towels, sunscreen, and mosquito repellent (without which I do NOT leave the condo!) and jumped in the car for the half-hour drive to the spa.
I had done the spa research a couple of weeks ago, and had chosen a place that just “felt right”. Fortunately, my instincts were spot on. I had booked a couples massage, which our assigned therapists (mine was Christine and Lori’s was Sunshyne) thought was a brilliant idea for BFFs to do. I had suggested to Lori that we do a 90-minute massage with 30 minutes of reflexology added in, for a total of 2 hours of blissful decadence, and she readily agreed. It was absolutely wonderful, and we couldn’t believe that two hours could go by so fast. 
The spa was about 2 blocks from the beach, so when we left we drove straight east, and easily found a free parking spot at the St. Augustine Pier.  We walked across the sand and spread our towels about 20 feet from the water’s edge.  The day today was 75 degrees and cloudlessly sunny, with a light breeze blowing. We had found heaven. We spent several enjoyable hours there, reading, sometimes talking, and often just gazing at the water or watching some guys playing football or a dad throwing a Frisbee for his son and their dog. What a joy. What a blessing.  What a day.  Lori here.  I just have to add how strange it is for me to look out at the ocean toward the end of a day and have the sun setting BEHIND me, rather than over the ocean, because, of course, the ocean that I am used to looking at is on the west coast rather than the east.
Kathi coming out of the water
Around 5:15 or so, we left the beach, rinsed off as much sand as we could, and set off for our final adventure for the day, the Grande Royal Escape Room. So, I think escape rooms have become our new bowling.  We used to bowl every Girls’ Weekend, and then it became kind of stressful feeling the need to always find an alley and make the time, so we crossed it off the “must do” list, and added it to the “if we want to” list. Plus, Lori got tired of me kicking her butt, because I rule at bowling.  Um, sorry Kath, but I have to call you out on this one.  I am quite sure that I  pretty much reigned supreme when it came to our bowling games.  Nice try at stealing the Crown of Strikes, but I cannot allow this.  We went to an escape room last year in Richmond, so this was my second attempt at one. Lori, however, has become somewhat of a specialist and this would be her fourth time, all in different cities. Our scheduled time was at 7:00 for our escape, and we arrived plenty early. We took advantage of the time to take a walk, as it had been somewhat of a sedentary day so far.  St. George Street wasn’t far away, so we headed off in that direction, and made it to another store we had seen on Saturday and kind of wanted to visit. We stayed and looked around for a bit, then it was time to walk back to check in for our adventure.
A group of 6 was also booked to do the escape room at the same time, so altogether we were 8 people. The manager, Chris, led us all into the room to explain the rules.  This place is new and is only running one room right now, but plans to add a couple more in the near future. We were told that we were art thieves who wanted to steal the Mona Lisa, which was displayed prominently in the center of the space. There were forty color coded clues hidden in the room; we were to find them, sort them by color and solve the associated puzzles. I won’t give any more details here. The entire group set to work ripping the place apart to find the clues. After a while we got into a rhythm and we all worked together well.  The time on the clock kept ticking down ticking down…we had only an hour to get out of the room to be successful.  Lori was hyped to have her first successful escape out of her now four tries…but alas. It wasn’t to be. Lori here.  Well, crap!!  Another Escape room defeats me.  I am beginning to think that I am not nearly as clever as I have always believed I am.  But, I will try and try again until I have a victory. Despite some great teamwork and many small and medium successes in the room, we were stumped at the end and did not successfully escape the room.  We were BUMMED, but also ready to admit that we’d had a great time.  We liked the structure of this escape room.  It was easy to work together even though we were two separate groups of people, and the clues and puzzles were set up so that everyone had something to do at all times.  Bravo, Grande Royal, you did a great job. We will get you next time!
Our Escape Room team
We still had not eaten, and it was late when we got home, so I quickly cooked up my tilapia while Lori opted for the leftovers of the delicious chicken dish she had made on Friday.   Holy moly, I was STARVING by the time we got back to the room.  This diet of Kathi's is KILLIING  me!! We were extremely distressed and frustrated that the HDMI adapter had indeed NOT arrived from Amazon, despite the assurance from USPS that they would deliver the next business day. We are obviously not supposed to watch the shows we want to see on this trip!
After dinner we got down to business, journaling with a purpose, to such an extent that we didn’t get to bed until almost 3:00 a.m. – YIKES!!

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