Just Another Day in Paradise

It is hard to believe that it is already Saturday — and yet we have already enjoyed three-and-a-half full days of tropical sun, water and glorious beach. If today was our last day, we could easily come home fully satisfied with having experienced ‘A Caribbean Vacation’.

We haven't actually used it yet, but the tennis court is pristine, and (of course) has a view of the beach.

But it is not our last day. We aren’t leaving until Wednesday afternoon — four more incredible days await us. As Kathy and I sit with our laptops, side-by-side at the kitchen counter, looking out at the water, we continue to be amazed at God’s grace and goodness to us, that we can enjoy this. Just this morning, I was thinking about how incredible it is to have eyes that can see all the contrasts of colors and shades within colors — even though I have to squint sometimes, I almost want to drink in the scenery with my eyes.

The pool is as warm as bathwater, and useful for snorkeling practice, or just to rinse off the salt, sand and coral at the end of the day.

Yesterday we drove around the island and saw many of the poorer parts. For all its lush vegetation, the island is mostly coral and rock — we didn’t see a lot of arable farm or garden land. It seems evident that many homes have been abandoned or are unused, most of the time — sad to think of the lost opportunities bound up in those properties.

Kathy enjoyed a delicious Mexican salad at the Seaside Cafe, at Ocean Club West. I had a very tasty blackened-fish sandwich, with a mountain o' fries.

It is a little weird driving here — very strange when you come over a hill, around a corner and there is a car in the lane to your right, coming towards you. There’s a moment when you grip the wheel in panic, ready to swerve out of the way, before your brain kicks in: “It’s OK, you’re supposed to be on the left side, he isn’t going to hit you!” Sure enough, no one has hit us yet — the drivers here have actually been quite kind and courteous, with only an occasional luxury SUV careening at double the legal speed limit.

As we step out our door, these flowers greet us each morning.

We visited several of the other resorts, including the Ocean Club West, the Royal West Indies Resort, the Paradise Caribbean Inn, and the Seven Stars Resort. We decided to limit our stay here at the Aquamarine Beach Houses to a mere seven nights, and to spend our last night on the island at one of the other resorts. I must admit, I’m leaning toward the Seven Stars as the culmination of our visit — it was very swanky.

Breakfast on our own little beach side patio -- and of course, you can't go wrong with a good biscuit or two.

We’ve mostly been cooking our own food, partly for economy and partly because of the norovirus that struck some of the all-inclusive resorts just before we arrived. Still, dining at the beach, on food that someone else has prepared, has a definite charm.

There was this one lady in a pink hat that kept staring at me, all through lunch -- I suppose this is the sort of adventure you must expect, in the tropics. Maybe she is Mrs. Pollifax's beautiful niece?

One question we’ve been asking people who live on the island, is whether the beauty of the beaches has become routine or mundane to them. No one has yet admitted to this, but a few have seemed startled by the question — I can imagine that after a few years, you might become inured to the beauty, just as we have come to take our mountains and rivers for granted, where we live.

This morning, Kathy asked me, “What is one thing you would like to change, when you get back home?”

“I’d like to make better use of our mountains,” I told her. “There are people here on this island who will never see a mountain, all their lives, and we sit at home, not really exploring them or getting the most out of them.”

Maybe this year I’ll actually take the kids camping or something.


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