Saturday, January 13, 2007

the 24-hour vacation

So , at some point on Tuesday, I realize that I don't have to work Wednesday or Thursday. On cue, I get an email from Las Rocas Resort and Spa near Rosarito saying it's "Customer Appreciation Week", and that everything is half price. Everything - rooms, spa treatments, food, and, maybe most importantly, drink. We've stayed at Las Rocas five or six times in the last few years, and during that time it went from "undiscovered relaxation hideaway" to "over-crowded party destination with horrible service and an abundance of Rosarito frat-boy spillover". In fact, the last time we stayed there, we vowed to never stay there again. (It's a long story that involves being falsely accused of smuggling two beers to the pool area, security escorting us to management, and a narrowly-avoided altercation with a sixty year old busboy.) This week, however, the offer was just too good to pass up.

We tossed a couple bags in the car and made the two and a half hour trek into Mexico. After a quick stop in Rosarito for some chips and salsa, carne asada tacos and burritos, and some Dos Equis, we checked into the hotel. (which is easier than ever to find thanks to the fifty-foot Fat Jesus recently erected on the hillside directly across the highway)

Las Rocas is clearly deserted. The entire time we're there, we see maybe ten other vacationers. It feels like we have the entire place to ourselves. It's chilly, but that's all right. The hotel is set on a cliff overlooking the ocean, and it really is beautiful. I could stand on our balcony and get lost in the sea for hours.

After a quick stop at the bar (2 shots "top shelf" Don Julio anejo and 2 Dos Equis - $8!), we head to the spa for $25 massages.

One of my favorite things about going to Mexico is going to Puerto Nuevo (aka Lobster Village) for some of the best food on Earth. Again, we have the entire village to ourselves. Our favorite restaurant - Puerto Nuevo #1 - is closed, so we go to Chelas. We're the only customers, save two incredibly drunk locals who ask if they can run a tab that they promise to pay the following week. The meal is ridiculously great. Lobster, dripping in butter and garlic, is fresh and flavorful. The spicy tortilla soup is especially gratifying. And, of course, there's hot, fresh chips and homemade salsas - a firey red salsa and a dense pico de gallo, rice and beans, and giant, hot from the oven flour totillas. As we are eating, I'm convinced that this is the best meal I've ever had in my life.
We finish off the great evening in front of the fireplace inside Bar Ole at Las Rocas, sipping beers, and playing cards. (I won. In your face, Gina.) Because of us, they are now out of Don Julio, and for the last shot of the night, we have to "settle" for Tres Generaciones. I'm not sure of the math, but somehow, two shots and two beers costs us $5.
The next morning, we take a jacuzzi, and check out of the hotel. All told, the room, two massages, spa products, a meal, and a bar tab comes to about $150!!!

Before we head home, we have to stop in Puerto Nuevo for one more meal. The town is still deserted, but this time, Puerto Nuevo #1 is open. Usually, there is a line around the corner, and at least a half hour wait to sit down. Today, we walk right in and have our choice of seats. As I make myself lobster tacos, I'm convinced that this is the best meal I've ever had in my life.

It's hard to believe that start-to-finish, our huge vacation was only about 24 hours! One of the great things about living in LA is the multitude and wide varitey of getaways at our fingertips. And look, Gina got a Fat Jesus hat!

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