Monday, December 23, 2013

Review: Gran Melia Golf Resort, Rio Grande, Puerto Rico

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It has been years since I've been to Puerto Rico.  And then it was always for a night or two before embarking on a cruise.  My brother in law and sister in law go there all of the time for the shows and to gamble.  We're not into that but we are into golf.  And Puerto Rico has some very nice golf courses.  The weather outside has been frightful so we decided to take a little trip to San Juan to play golf.  After doing some research, I came upon the Gran Melia Golf Resort.  Since we're talking off season there, the prices were astonishingly good.  We got a junior suite, king bed, ocean view for $199.00 plus taxes.  Taxes ended up being $158.00.  This included a cocktail greeting, private check in, full breakfast buffet daily and a wine/champagne/appetizer party every evening.  You also have free use of the internet as well as the use of a private pool area with great Bali cabanas.  There is also butler service.  All of this is called their Red Level Service.  It is well worth paying a few extra bucks to get this because the buffet breakfast alone is $22 per person.  Read more...

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Book Review: Wonder by R. J. Palacio

I always read the Friday and Saturday Wall Street Journal editions because they include numerous cultural opinion pieces as well as travel advice and recipes from renowned chefs.  In this one edition there was a two page article on See Grown-ups Read.  It concerned the new phenomenon of adults reading books targeted to pre-teens and teens i.e. The Twilight series as well as Hunger Games.  One of the books mentioned was Wonder which was published in Feb. of 2012.  So I decided to “satisfy my curiosity” by reading the book.  It was meant to be read by 8-12 year olds.  No matter.  This book is so well written it can give an adult leaky eyes.  The novel is centered around 10 year old August Pullman, an ordinary boy, according to August (Auggie).  He plays X-box, rides a bike, eats ice cream and has a wonderfully loving family.  The thing is Auggie is not an ordinary boy.  Auggie has a horrible facial disfigurement and has undergone 27 reconstructive surgeries.  He tells us that, “I won’t describe what I look like.  Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.”  The author does tell us about Auggie’s craniofacial abnormalities via his sister, Via, and his other schoolmates.  He has “a mushed up face”, he “eats like a tortoise”, and he has cheeks “that looked punched in”. Read more...