I step off the plane and descend down the stairway. The sun’s rays are beating down upon me. I set my foot upon land and shift my carry-on bag from shoulder to shoulder. A parade of airport staff and locals greet us with warm welcomes. I continue on through the sliding doors into the airport. I meander through the crowd to retrieve my luggage. I arrive at the revolving turn-about, and patiently await the arrival of my belongings. I locate a familiar bag with dozens of tags slip through the conveyor system, and rush over to retrieve it. The announcement for the hotel shuttle comes on overhead, and I barely hear it over the crowd. I push my way through the masses, and hustle over to the curb to aboard the shuttle van. I climb aboard, find my seat, and then we wait for the last two travelers to climb aboard before taking off to the hotel. The shuttle van soon pulls away from the curb and heads towards the hotel. The journey to the hotel was fairly smooth except for one memorable bump in the road which jarred the passengers, and started conversation amongst them. We arrive at the hotel, tired and happy, and pile out of the shuttle van. I shift my belongings around and meander over to the main desk to check into my room. The hotel clerk welcomes me, and hands over the key card to my room. He directs me in the direction of my room. Wearily, I carry myself and my belongings down the hall, and eventually make it to my room. I insert the key card, push open the door with my foot, and slide my belongings off my arms onto the floor. I, then, walk over to the window, push the curtains way back, and admire the view of the water. The sunset is absolutely breathtaking. Soon it will be nightfall and a chance for me to sleep soundly.
I roll over and notice out of the corner of my eye sunlight peeking under the bottom hem of the curtains. I slowly arise from the bed, and meander over to the window. Bright morning light floods the room. I tilt my head down a little, crack the casement window so I can hear the roar of the ocean, and pull the curtains closed some. After I yawn and stretch, I adorn myself in a sundress and slip on a pair of sandals so I can venture down towards the banquet room where a delicious brunch awaits. Fruits, grains, and local cuisines, along with juices and coffee, are laid out for the hotel guests. I quickly discover that my eyes are bigger than my stomach as I struggle to finish my plate. I gently push my plate aside, and rest a bit before going back to my room, possibly for a mid-morning siesta. After acquiring some motivation to rise from the table, I carry myself back to my room. I collapse onto the bed, and rest my eyes for what seems to be an hour. About twenty minutes later, I awaken from my cat nap and get a second wind of energy to go down to the beach. I change into my beach attire, and throw my hair up into a messy bun. Off I go down to the beach with a small bag that contains items such as a lighthearted book and a towel. I arrive down at the front desk. The hotel provides guests with lounge chairs to drag onto the beach. I start to reach for a lounge chair when the front desk sends a tanned, fit assistant, to carry a chair to the beach for me. I make small talk as both of us meander down to the beach. I choose a spot along the water’s edge, and he sets up the chair for me. Then instead of leaving, he sits down on the sand beside me. We talk for approximately half an hour until he is summoned back to the hotel. I then grab my book and adjust my sunglasses. A light breeze sweeps across the beach and the waves lap the shoreline. I meander back to my room after reading several chapters. When I enter my room, I adjust the air conditioning and sit in a side chair near the window.
Am I dreaming? I wake up by the sunlight peeking under the curtains. I arise from the chair and draw the curtains back slightly. I adorn myself in a sundress, slip on some sandals, and throw my hair up in a ponytail. I grab my purse and sunglasses off of the dresser, and head down to the front desk. I inquire about island activities, and the front desk mentions several tours. I decide to join the historical tour group, which is waiting on the side of the hotel near the cabana. The five of us, and the driver, pile into the van. We drive along the coastal highway that overlooks various ports and villages. Then the highway veers off and winds down the hill to the last village on the island. This village is the most important one out of all of the villages on the island due to its location and history. Ships and boats still dock here for trading purposes. Island shanties and multi-family dwellings mostly line up the hillside, leaving the mansions to govern over the port city. The tour van cruises into what is known as the marketplace. The driver announces our one and only stop, and arranges for us to meet back at the van in 2 hours. We pile out of the van, and go our separate ways. I, unlike, the others who ran into every single tourist shop, chose to walk along the open market vendors. I refrained from taking many pictures. Instead, I took in the sights of daily commerce and hand made goods. I make a loop around the block, heading back towards the van. I arrive at the van a little early so I peek in a tourist shop in search of postcards. While I’m at the checkout counter, I notice some “authentic” merchandise behind the clerk. Older photos of the port city and decals were strewn up on the wall. I glance out the storefront window and notice that the others were waiting at the van. I pay for my goodies and dash out to the van. The driver tells me to slow down and that I won’t be forgotten. We all pile into the van and head on back to the hotel. Halfway down the highway, the driver pulls onto an overlook. He directs our attention to church ruins composed of weathered stone and oyster shells. This church happens to be the oldest one on the island. The driver steers back onto the highway towards the hotel.
The next day, I adorn myself in my beach attire, slip on some flip flops, and head out the door to my next activity. I arrive at the pier that is located to the right of the hotel for my snorkeling lesson. Fortunately, it’s not a deep diving lesson or otherwise my ears would implode. A similar fit, tanned individual greets me and hands me some flippers and goggles. I remove my flip flops, slip on the flippers, and commence to fit the goggles around my head. The instructor flips the goggle strap on the back of my head so it’s not twisted around. He then hands me a mouthpiece and instructs me how to breathe. We both wade out waist deep into the clear water and then he tells me to take a deep breath. I do so and hunch down into the water. My heart’s beating rapidly, but instinct tells me to kick up my legs and pull myself along with my arms. I pray that a bird doesn’t land on my air pipe as I’m snorkeling. The underwater world is amazing! Schools of brightly colored fish swarm past me. My instructor takes my hand and pulls me along. He then points to an old rescue boat that never made it to shore. The boat had a bite mark on the side. I grew nervous and motion back the way we came. We turn around and pull ourselves back to the shore. I stand up when my feet drag the sandy ocean bottom. I remove the mouthpiece and walk up onto the beach. My instructor follows me and sits down beside me. We begin to talk and watch the waves wash upon the shore.
I arrive back to my room much later in the day. I hop in the shower to rinse off before adorning myself in my new dress I purchased for going out and about. I slip into a pair of platform sandals before heading out the door. I hear joyful noises coming from the cabana even before I arrive. I’m graciously escorted to my table and order a margarita. What island getaway wouldn’t be complete without hearing a steel drum solo before turning over to a reggae classic “Could You Be Loved”? Halfway through my drink, the tanned instructor comes over to my table and I scoot over to allow him to sit down. He orders two margaritas and a coconut shrimp platter. With the combination of the drink and company, I am giddy and very relaxed. We are busy talking that I accidently dip a shrimp into my margarita. He fishes the shrimp out of my glass with a fork, and slides it into my mouth. The second margarita has a salted rim so I grab a straw, put it into the glass, and take a sip. A second buzz overwhelms me and I slyly ask my date to walk me back down the hall towards my room. We nonchalantly meander down the hall and he expresses a little concern, making sure I make it to my room safely. After a quick peck, I slip into my room and close the door.
The next morning, I roll over and bury my head into the neighboring pillow. The sweet, tangy flavor of margaritas are just too good to pass up. A couple of hours pass by before I stir about in my room. I seriously consider meandering down to the beach only to walk along the water’s edge. I throw on a cotton sundress, slip into a pair of flip flops, and wander down to the lobby. I reach the sand and remove my flip flops. The sand feels great between my toes as I continue to walk down to the water. The water is just the right temperature for my bare feet as I splish-splash along. I take a relaxing stroll down to the next beach access before turning around. I come across some shell deposits made by the waves that previously crashed upon the shore. I glance down to see if I can find any treasures but the shells are mostly broken remnants. I continue onto the next beach access. It's another perfect day with a light breeze and the roar of the waves. The sand squishes between my toes and still no perfect specimen of a seashell I can take back with me. Off in the distance, I notice objects laying on the shoreline. As I get closer, I notice jellyfish plopped upon the sand. I gaze at them and carefully step around them, not wanting to get stung by their tentacles. I continue walking to the pier. Once I get to the pier, I scour around for treasures deposited by the waves. I encounter stray fish swimming in the mini tide pools created by the drifts near the posts. I walk up and down under the pier to get relief from the sun. I discover an empty snail shell and half of a conch shell in which I collect for my finds. I decide the pier is my turn around spot so I migrate down to the waterline and head back in the direction of the hotel. The waves sweep along my feet. I can feel the sand erode from underneath me as the waves return to the ocean. Such a neat feeling! I pass other patrons enjoying the beach on my way back to the hotel. It starts to get crowded as I approach the cabana. I cruise by the cabana to notice the specials of the day. I decide to return later in the evening for the live music session since tomorrow I will have to head home.
Evening falls fast, and steel drums resonate in the background. I find a seat and order my dinner. As I'm waiting for it to arrive, the past days go through my head of what I have accomplished. I feel satisfied and relaxed. It's a nice change from being at the office on a daily basis. Dinner comes and goes. Now I decide to finish my evening by joining a conga line to move to the beat of Hot, Hot, Hot from the early eighties. The conga line slithers around the cabana, and then I slither my way out towards my room. I prepare myself to unwind for the night and eventually fall asleep.
I arise the next day and prepare my luggage for the trip back home. Before I leave my room, I glance around to make sure I have everything I came with. Then I head down the hall to the lobby to check out. The airport shuttle is awaiting me. I sigh as in I don't want to leave but I come to my senses and aboard the shuttle.