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Sur le balcon


Yesterday's clouds and rain took all afternoon and much of the evening to clear. After leaving the business center, I came upstairs, swiveled the armchair around to face the ocean, and read for hours. Reading for hours doesn't mean that I read a lot, though; I must have spent an hour watching the low and wispy charcoal-colored rain clouds swim toward the west while, from time to time, a patch of blue would pierce the dour carpet higher up. Not long after sunset, the sky was a harmony of grey, blue and pale pink.

Kathleen came upstairs and took a nap. At a little past eight, we walked to the beach, where the hotel offers, according to its Directory of Services, an "oceanfront dining experience." That ought to have tipped me off. My visions of Shake Shop fare met with complete disappointment. I asked for a medium-rare cheeseburger and was told that all burgers are cooked well-done, as a matter of policy. Kathleen whispered that she's run into this a lot, as health concerns send managerial wimps scurrying to their lawyers. And the martinis! The martinis were all hat and no gallons. Three of them came to less than eight ounces.

Walking back, we chuckled at the Splash Bar, which I had observed from the balcony. Swimmers (not that anyone actually swims in the sinuous canal that runs from the hotel to the beach) can avail themselves of submerged barstools, happily protected from the elements by a canvas awning (wouldn't want to get wet), and enjoy tropical drinks. The management is obviously too concerned about stray E coli in the ground beef to worry about lowering the bar on getting tanked in more ways than one.

The weather this Friday morning is glorious. It will get hot later, but at the moment the air is still fresh and only just beginning to be warm. By rights, Kathleen ought to be at the conference, but we have had a bit of excitement, involving a visit from the hotel doctor and a trip down Isla Verde Avenue to Walgreen's. Kathleen's left ear was already a little reddish when we left New York. "This happens from time to time," was her diagnosis. But as of last night, the pinna had swollen to Mr Potato Head dimensions, and was taking on a nasty color, as was the skin just below her ear lobe. The affable doctor arrived pronto, and prescribed the latest anti-biotic, something frightfully expensive (more than ten dollars a pill). We hopped in a taxi for the two-minute ride to the pharmacy, where Kathleen was told to come back after 12:30 to pick up the medicine. That will fit nicely, as we're checking out of this hotel at one and heading for Dorado, but I'd have preferred to get my hands on the fix once and for all.


There's still time for Kathleen to attend the remaining two sessions, after which she'll have a luncheon. Then we're off. I'm looking forward to the change in venue.


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