Ever since my sister turned twenty-nine I had been planning to take her to La Paz in Mexico. I told her three best friends what I was planning and they said that they wanted to go too. That was great news, especially when they said they would help pay for Rose's way.
On the day before her birthday, I surprised her by arriving at her apartment after she got home from work. I handed her an envelope and she looked at it curiously, then turned it open and ripped it open. Inside was the airline ticket to La Paz. She just stared at it without saying a word for so long I thought something was wrong. Then she started jumping up and down and squealing with glee. She threw her arms around me and nearly knocked me down.
Sandy, Susan, and Jackie met us at the airport with suitcases in hand. Though the flight would take many hours, we knew the time would go quickly since we had people we knew to have fun with. We celebrated Rose's birthday with a toast of champagne brought by the stewardess. First we played bridge, then a game of poker to pass time during the flight. Rose was easy to bluff, not only because she's my sister, but because she was tipsy from the champagne.
We all were laughing as we went through customs because the agent was making eyes at Rose. He let her go through without checking her bag saying, "She looks as harmless as a flower." The van from our hotel was waiting to pick us up outside the terminal. The driver helped us pile our stuff in and we head off to paradise.
Our rooms were incredible adjoining suites with two queen sized beds and a queen sized hide-a-bed couch. There was a small table on the balcony and it had an amazing view of the ocean. The scenery was so picturesque, and I took many pictures during our stay. The night sky was so clear you could see all the stars in the sky. We decided that since we were all exhausted from the plane ride we would have a relaxing night, sipping gin and tonics, watching movies and soaking in the jacuzzi.
The next morning I got up while the others were still sleeping, took the phone into the bathroom and order breakfast to be delivered to our room. The other girls were so surprised when there was a knock at the door and two waiters rolled in room service carts. We ate breakfast on the balcony enjoying the view of the beach and ocean. From our vantage point the water was as blue as the sky. While we were eating we even saw a pod of dolphins playing in the waves. We couldn't wait to hit the beach.
After breakfast we discussed what to do first, but Rose ended the discussion by saying she wanted to go snorkeling first. Since it was her birthday and it sounded like fun we put on our bathing suits and went down to the beach.
On the edge of the sand in front of the hotel there was a small snorkeling rental hut. As we were putting on our rented gear the snorkeling guide came over and introduced himself. Carlos was tall, tanned and gorgeous. Sandy, Susan and Rose just giggled when Carlos said he would show us where the most dazzling scenery was. I wanted to say I thought we were already looking at it, but I was too shy. We swam past reefs and gorgeous tropical fish of every description. Some of the fish seemed totally unafraid of us and swam within inches of our faces. It was too beautiful to describe in words so I'm really glad Carlos lent me an ingenious, water-tight, clear plastic, box to put my disposable camera in that enabled me to take pictures underwater. I got some great pictures.
We sunbathed and played in the sun for a while before we decided it was time to look for another activity. Rose suggested we ask Carlos what other things there were to do. I think she mostly just wanted another chance to flirt with him. He told us there was a place to rent horses and ride on the beach about a mile north of the hotel. Susan said she had ridden a horse on the beach once and it was fun. We thanked Carlos and went back to the hotel to change into jeans and t-shirts.
During our walk to the stable we enjoyed looking at the beautiful scenery and the beautiful people lounging or playing on the beach. When we arrived at the stable there were just enough horses left for all of us to ride. The attendant didn't speak much English, but Jackie knew enough Spanish to find out all the horses were very easy to ride except one. Since she had owned a horse as a teenager she decided she would be all right riding it. All of our horses were pretty, but Jackie's was beautiful. He looked a little like a carousel horse. He was pure white with a gray mane and tale with a muscular neck and a roman nose. Jackie didn't have any trouble with the horse except that he liked running faster than the other horses. A few times he kept going while the rest of us had stopped. Jackie seemed to be having a good time running him up and down the beach while we walked. I got some terrific pictures of Jackie galloping him through the waves. The attendant didn't say anything when we came back in an hour and Jackie's horse was tired, We were wet and sandy. He just smiled and called Jackie a Charrita--that's Spanish for little cowgirl. We called her "Charrita" the rest of our time in La Paz.
That evening we all went out on the town to nice little restaurant a few blocks from the hotel. We had margaritas and a great meal. None of us could believe how inexpensive it was. Another surprise was Carlos. He came over to our table and asked us how our ride went. Rose told him all about it then that it was her birthday. He excused himself and Rose looked a little disappointed when she saw him leave the restaurant. He came back a few minutes later with a single red rose for our Rose. then he asked her to dance. Rose's face, already red from the sunburn, turned even redder as she got up. They went to the dance floor in the center of the restaurant and I don't think I have ever seen her look so happy.
The next day, Carlos picked us up at the hotel taking us to see some Aztec ruins. They were phenomenal. We climbed the steep steps all the way to the top of a temple and took panoramic pictures. We spent all of our last day there and Carlos dropped us off at the airport so he could say good-bye before we caught our flight back home.
We passed much of the time by talking about how much fun we had. A week after we got back I took all the pictures from the trip and put them into an album for Rose to remember her thirtieth birthday.