Thursday, August 26, 2004

Tahoe Missive 1: Sun-warmed figs and New Age massage

Trains, Planes and Automobiles: We headed to National Airport yesterday at 7:15 a.m. yesterday via Metro, bags packed and e-tickets in hand. We arrived in Tahoe at 6 p.m. (9 p.m. EST), as the shadows lengthened down the Sierra Nevada mountains but the sun was still bright. We're staying at my SO's brother's vacation home, and as we drove up in our silver Suzuki Aerio rental car (nickname: Peppy), we breathed big, watery, sighs of relief.

That's because after inhaling stale, recycled air for 6 1/2 hours on the cross-country plane ride (with a brief layover in Las Vegas), driving for 2 1/2 hours and ascending almost 8,000 feet, entering Tahoe's west shore was like reaching Valhalla.

We walked inside the spacious two-story house, dragging our suitcases behind us, and collapsed on a sofa. Then we looked around: The place, decorated in woodsy greens and naturals, was immaculate. Flowering plants graced the back deck. A big-screen TV and DVD player stood in the corner and board games were stacked neatly in a basket. Tennis rackets and two bikes waited for us in the rec room, and the keys to his brother's sleek motorboat rested on the kitchen counter.

Most welcome: The fridge and pantry was stocked with fresh fruit and vegetables, diet soda, yogurt, pasta, pizza and frozen chicken and steak. On the counter sat a plate of homemade brownies and a welcome note from my SO's sister-in-law. We have the house to ourselves almost the entire 10 days of vacation. We come to Tahoe every year, but I jumped up and down in grateful and tired elation, nonetheless.

Epicure's Delight: After a restful sleep, we walked this morning to our favorite breakfast place: Stonyridge Cafe. Try the blueberry pancakes or the Asian scramble (eggs with tofu, cilantro, ginger and green onions). At the local farmers market, we bought sun-ripened purple figs, seedless grapes and jars of homemade blueberry preserves and cherry tomato preserves.

Chakras and moonbeams: Gwen, a woman with flowing gray hair and kind, kohl-lined eyes was giving massages at the farmers market. When she stretched, a diamond stud twinkled in her belly button. Gwen turns 50 in a few days. I admire her sexy, earth-mother vibe.

She gave a five-minute sample massage to my SO, and talked about how her method was "instinctual and intuitive." My SO looked a bit glassy-eyed afterwards, the way dogs do after you've rubbed their bellies. Then she surprised me by giving me a big hug. She smelled slightly of sage. I smiled and thought, "This is SO NOT Washington."

We have massages scheduled for next week.

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