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MUSE:Peace, family under Mexican moonlight

CHASING DOWN THE

October 20, 2006|By CATHARINE COOPER

The seeds of "Girls Weekend" were planted a year ago, when Val invited the gang to come down to Loreto. The running joke is that I came for a visit and left with a house. One year later, and a new girl-gang is scheduled to arrive Thursday.

The house, as I had dreamed, is becoming a perfect retreat for family and friends. Steve and our son, Cooper, drove down last week with a load of supplies for the fems, which included special wines and munchies.

I think the delivery was merely an excuse for a dude road trip and some hang time. When they picked me up at the airport, they were ice chest deep in cervezas, had organized the water toys and attended to the needs of an ailing pup.

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My sister, Claudia, flew down on Sunday to join us. She'd had a rather hellish trip from Idaho, including overbooked flights and a complete change of itinerary. Instead of arriving on Friday, she spent two days in O.C. visiting the folks. She's not big on spontaneous change, and the shift in plans had left her a bit frazzled. In hindsight, we've decided that she had personified the classic Mexican vaca- tion, which goes something like this.

Step one. You down a couple of cocktails on the plane to get into that holiday mood along with your fellow travelers. As soon as you step off the plane, you start soaking up that hot dry sun, ripping off as much outer clothing as possible.

After a trip through customs and your first "hola," you fall into the waiting arms of your family/friends/tour guide and wax long about the hard trip, the long lines, the delays, etc. Those around you stare rather blankly. You are, they remind you, in paradise.

But the plane was just the warm-up, which leads to step two. Once unpacked, you pop a cold one and slug it down as if it were water, which of course, would better suit your body, seeing that you are in the middle of the desert.

A swim perks you back up and it's off to dinner, step three. Since you are in Mexico, you have to consume the hottest salsa, the strongest jalepeƱos, and the stiffest drinks. Stuff to brag about back home.

After dinner, the real fun begins, because now, step four, you start on tequila shooters. This, of course, never leads to no good end.

In the case of my sister, this includes screaming "Help me!" about 3 a.m. I leap out of bed to discover that she's fine, except she can't find the bathroom (OK, it is dark). The tequila brain is telling her she's still in the airport in Phoenix and she can't find her way.

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