Sunday, February 22, 2009

Smooth Operators

As you know, we woke up our third and final day on Catalina Island to heavy rain, wind, and mud-covered roads. Lucky for me, by the time I got out of bed, Mr. Monkey had already taken care of everything. He'd called Catalina Express to find out if and when any boats were coming to the island, switched our tickets, and booked spa appointments for both of us in the interim.

Jealous? You should be. We should all have a Mr. Monkey. Smooth Operator #1.

We grabbed some goodies from our hotel lobby's complimentary continental breakfast offerings and noshed and relaxed until it was time for our spa treatments. Mr. Monkey had a deep-tissue massage, while I had a body scrub accompanied by a massage. Our masseuse had magic hands. Smooth Operator #2.

After my body scrub, my skin was so incredibly soft. Smooth Operator #3.

Before we headed to the dock, we had lunch at Cafe Umami (205 Crescent Avenue, Avalon).
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The place is adorable, filled with organic this and that -- perfect for a light lunch and for feeding even your pickiest vegan friend.

Notwithstanding all the vegan options, we opted for a tuna salad sandwich, beef shawarma, and sides of pasta salad and Middle Eastern barley salad.
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Everything was fresh and delicious. We also had some fun bottled sodas.
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While we relaxed at our hotel, got spa-ified, and enjoyed our lunch, the huddled masses waited for hours here in the cold. They weren't as smart as Mr. Monkey.
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I almost felt a little guilty about showing up so fresh-faced, rested, and well-fed when we joined these folks in line to get off the island with our pre-reserved tickets. The wind whipped through our hair and through the palm trees.
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Armed with a dose of Dramamine, we braved the 10-foot swells of the sea. We saw the gnarly white caps through our window, but we felt nothing. Our captain was so artful in his navigation! And that, my friends, was Smooth Operator #4.

A few notes and answers to questions asked in previous comments:
  1. The Catalina Country Club where we had dinner our first night is not, in fact, a "country club." That's just its name, and all members of the public are welcome to dine there.

  2. While we really liked The Aurora Hotel & Spa, I want to caution any readers out there that I didn't exaggerate when I said the room was the size of a ship cabin. The shower was seriously tiny for me, and I am not a particularly large person. All this being said, the hotel's amenities (free breakfast, Keurig single-cup coffeemakers, large flatscreen TVs, Tempur-Pedic beds) and great service (they let us stay in our room well past checkout time on the day of our delayed departure and even gave us a cab voucher to the dock) really made us love the place.

  3. According to Mr. Monkey's research, another good place to stay is the Hotel Metropole, which is also rather modern. It is far larger than The Aurora but also more expensive. We chose to save some money by sacrificing the space.

  4. If we were to do it all over again, we'd likely just stay one night and rearrange our activity schedule to make this possible. The island really is quite small, and even two days and one night would be sufficient for a lovely leisurely trip.
One last interesting bit -- is the L.A. Times lurking here or something? Today there was an article in the Travel section about visiting Catalina Island during the off-season! Sounds like the reporter went the day after we left!

More photos of our trip here.


  1. Love the umami taste, what a cute name for a cafe!

    Mr. Monkey is a keeper :)

  2. Mr. Monkey is definitely a keeper! I wonder if this monkey is secretly an LA Times reporter . . . ?

  3. Trying to think of a nice way to tell my hubby that I wish he were more like Mr Monkey. . .

  4. I think my hubs would have definitely rearranged the tickets but would have NEVER thought of the spa. That's way money.

    I love that the LA Times may be tracking you. =)

  5. kickapoo joy juice?? amazing. how did it taste? ;-) the l.a. times needs to start paying you already..

  6. Can Mr. Monkey write a manual? Sounds like a great weekend!

  7. Hubs of the year award to Mr. Monkey! H would definitely not have thought of the spa reservations! Jealous!

  8. Mr. Monkey is racking up serious brownie points.

  9. i like when major publications stalk you.

  10. Super smooth! He should give classes on how to be smooth to those less fortunate.

  11. ooh, i've stayed at the metropole. it was many, many moons ago, though.

    mr. monkey is a rock star. i'd like to think that the hub would have thought ahead as well, but who knows?

  12. catalina was the first vacation jim and i ever took together (and the first that he'd ever taken with a girl solo!) we had a good time, but i agree, that you really only need to stay one night.

    i love the mr. monkey rearranged everything for you and that the stormy day turned out so well!

  13. The soda called "joy juice" makes me giggle. ;)

    Looks like a fun trip!


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