Paradise Bound

Trip Start Feb 08, 2007
Trip End Feb 12, 2007

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Flag of United States  , Texas
Thursday, February 8, 2007

Houston, Feb 8, 2006

As I stood sipping a cup of coffee in my 20th floor office while glancing at the chaotic traffic and light rail below, my nurses came in to tell me there were no more patients coming. After loosening my tie a bit, I took off my white coat and handed it to my secretary for dry cleaning. Still recuperating slightly from a busy call at the hospital yesterday where I admitted a 61 year-old woman to the CCU (Cardiac Care Unit) with a severe heart attack and was consulted on a 102 year-old patient with a dangerously low heart rate, etc.  I also saw several patients in my office this morning. Mr. X was doing well with his pacemaker implantation while Mrs. Y was clinically stable after her valve replacement.

Tying up loose ends, I turned off my computer after having checked the last chest x-ray and EKG of Ms. Z. I also got a call from an Internist, thanking me for seeing his patient in the hospital for shortness of breath. I then turned off the light, informed my secretary to transfer all calls to my colleagues, and said good-bye to my staff. They waved good-bye and wished me a good 5 1/2-hour flight to the Caribbean.

Arriving at George Bush Intercontinental Airport, I was inundated with flashbacks of my last visit here almost the same time last year. It was around the middle of February 2006 when I was ready to board Houston-based Continental Airlines for a non-stop flight to Rio de Janeiro before hopscotching to Buenos Aires. February 2006 in South America was intoxicating, from the feverish street-dancing Cariocas (residents of Rio) on Ipanema Beach to the seductive tango-swinging Porteņos (residents of Buenos Aires) in the bohemian San Telmo District. This year, I was ready to head south again, but closer to home.

American Airlines boarding call to Miami with a final connection to St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands (USVI) sounded overhead. This year's Febraury trip will be even more special, as I am going to attend my fifth wedding since September 2006. It all started with Lucia and Carlo's wedding in the wine valley of central Italy, then onward to the bull-fighting rolling hills of northern Spain for Marta and John's wedding. The next day, I flew from Spain to India (via Switzerland) for Daria and Ashish's wedding in the foothills of the Himalayas. Heading home, I next went to Galveston, TX for Felicia and Bernie's wedding on the sultry sands of the Gulf of Mexico in late October.

Now the invitation to Jeanine and Brian's wedding in the Caribbean was calling me once again to dust off my luggage and get my passport ready. Bouncing around from one wedding to another, was I officially becoming like Vince Vaughan or Owen Wilson in "The Wedding Crashers?" Having celebrated and partied with the Italians, Spaniards, Indians, and Texans, I was now ready to experience a little more heat and find out how caliente a Caribbean wedding would really be in the middle of February.

Before the day was over, I would be leaving the skyscraper jungle of Houston and landing on a group of tropical islands floating dreamily in the crystal-blue Caribbean, 2000 miles away.... 

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