Saturday, November 28, 2015

Heading home from Turks and Caicos 5 pounds heavier

Well, here we are suffering a six hour flight from Miami to LA. As much as I like to travel, I get incredibly bored flying. The only source of entertainment is watching the little girl across the aisle try to create as much mischief as possible before succumbing to sleep. Leaving Turks was at least interesting for the great aerial view.

We said goodbye to Larry and Lisa on Tues. They could only stay with us for 10 days because they had to get back to the ranch. They seemed to have a good time. Club Med isn’t for everyone. One first-timer said it well, “This is like summer camp for adults… with really good food.” To me the best part of the Club Med method is to create a vacation where you have the least amount of decisions as possible. You get whatever room they give you, they have a huge buffet of food with a different theme every night, they have a show every night, and they even have a clothing theme for each night. There're so many sports options, it's mind boggling. Now clearly you can have a hamburger every night and wear whatever you want, but if you don’t want to think—it’s wonderful.  Honestly, you can check your brain in at reception when you arrive. For me that’s a vacation.
Right after they left we had a torrential downpour. It roughed up the sea and killed the diving visibility. 

We finally dove Friday, and after I jumped in to put on my BCD, Joe yelled from the safety of the boat, “There’s a shark right behind you. I turned expecting to see a huge fin coming straight toward me with the Jaws theme-music playing. I saw nothing. Assuming Joe was messing with me, I went back to my gear, but the divers still on the boat were pointing behind me. I let the air out of my BCD and sank down to get a better look and lo-and-behold a shark had just turned and was swimming away!

That reminds me of the barracuda. We were all standing out in the water at the beach, and this barracuda swims up to us! They aren’t the friendliest fish, so we weren’t thrilled. I shoved a big pink floaty we had at it in the hopes that it would scare it away. Did you know barracudas will actually come after pink floaties? I didn’t! Not sure whether he was curious or hungry, but we got the heck out of his way (and made a mental note to not bring the pink floaty-thingy back in the water!)

Joe made a prediction at the beginning of the vacation that I would end up in a wheelchair by the end (or at least using crutches). I started by stepping on a rock in the sand and bruised my arch. It hurt like crazy to walk on sand so I muttered, “ouch, ouch, ouch” all the way to the water. It healed. Then I jumped off the surfboard (paddle board) and twisted my ankle, “ouch, ouch…” It healed quickly with salonpaas. A day later as I was entering the water I stepped on a crab and it momentarily latched onto my other foot… I just about jumped out of my skin! Once all that drama healed, I stepped on a sharp piece of coral and took a chunk out of the exact same spot I’d bruised! Ouch, ouch…However, I never resorted to crutches J

We met this sweet young lady from the Harry Potter generation. I noticed this tattoo on her arm and asked her about it. She explained that the Death Eaters would sneak up on people and suck the joy out of them, leaving the person evil or dead. The Expecto Petronum spell would repel the Death Eaters, thereby retaining your joy. Her tattoo was a reminder to herself to keep an eye out for people who suck the joy out of life. Pretty smart huh?

In spite of it all, it was a super relaxing vacation. Now I need to focus on my book release party on January 16th!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Club Med Turkoise; Turks and Caicos, end of week one

Here I sit in my temporary office. Today it’s in front of the restaurant. I’m torn between writing and people watching, so I chose to blog… a form of people watching J I find people to be fascinating. Even the most cool-calm blasé person is interesting if you watch them long enough. People watching is where all character development occurs. The writer is obsessed with observing scenes, so keep an eye out for your cameo role in my books.

Night before last was “White Night.” Ninety percent of the guests and all the employees dressed in white. It was really pretty to see so many people wearing white. After dinner they always have a show put on by the crazy GO’s (gentile organizers). These people work harder than anyone on the planet, 6 days a week, 12 hours a day! And when I say work, I mean work. They even play hard. I get tired watching them, it looks like a continuous aerobics class.

This club med has a circus workshop. Our friend, Larry, did it! He climbed up the ladder and jumped off a perfectly good platform. He swung his feet up over the bar while swinging and then let go with his hands! Then he did this crazy back-flip dismount into the net!

The diving has been good. We saw a reef shark, who saw us first. It was swimming alongside us checking out our big weird fins J We saw a spotted eel and a giant moray eel too. Every dive is a lobster dive, but we also saw a really cool crusty old crab. A large nurse shark was dozing under a ledge. Nurse sharks are funny because they act like if they hide their head, then no one can see them. This big huge body is hanging in the open where everyone can see it. It’s super cute in a giant shark kinda-of-way.

Last night was a big local event in our little corner of the world. For two days a stage has been slowly rising out of the sand next to the Club Med property. Workers have shuffled back and forth erecting awnings on the beach and burying electrical cords. Finally the square tables came out and then the beach became a traffic jam of families with blankets and ice chests. Of course Joe and I couldn’t resist. We joined the party. They had tons of local food, mostly various ways to prepare conch and fish. Giant beach balls were tethered by strings to the stage. This turned out to be a great way to keep the little ones busy.

I was impressed with how seriously the men took the domino games at the square tables. Each table had a score keeper. It was like watching a fast paced poker game. I think a fight broke out at one of the tables… It’s hard to tell because the slightest disagreement is quite loud. Actually any animated discussion is loud, but they looked mad about the game. It was quickly settled and they returned to the serious business of dominos. I’m positive that scene will make it into my pirate novel.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Club Med Turkoise; Turks and Caicos with Lisa and Larry.

The view is amazing here! The sky is a brilliant blue with stark white clouds creating sculptures of turtles, battling titans and crawling babies… all you need is an imagination. The thousand palm trees dance along the property edge as though they too want to run across the sandy beach and jump in the ocean. I never tire of gazing out across Grace Bay. On the very furthest edge of the horizon is a thin dark-blue stripe, but as you bring your gaze closer the colors shift from brilliant turquoise to darker turquoise. This is all framed by sand so bright it is… well it’s white!

I write here, at Sharky’s Shack, a beach bar. Sharky’s is known for its cool beach-vibe music and its burgers and fries. I’ve lost count of how many bowls of French fries we’ve eaten. They toss the fries in a seasoning that’s completely addictive. In the morning this is a peaceful spot. The bar is closed and all I have is the sound of the palm trees and the distant music of the water aerobics class. Joe is down on the beach with our friends, Larry and Lisa watching the sailboats and kite-surfers.

Yesterday we dove in the morning. It was great to get back under the sea. I love the peace and quiet of cruising along the ocean floor. A favorite pastime of mine is to kneel in the sand in front of a coral head and stay still (not easy in the surge). It’s amazing how many things live on one tiny coral head.

Speaking of diving, I hurt my mid-back a couple of months ago and am now forbidden to pick up anything heavy. I don’t know if you know this, but a scuba vest with a tank attached is very heavy. I consulted my doctor and she said, “Just have them toss the BCD with the tank in the ocean.” Of course! Why didn’t I think of that? I remember that being part of my original PADI certification a hundred years ago. So I took a refresher course and honed my tank donning and doffing skills. The first dive when the dive master, Matt, threw my gear off the back of the catamaran, I thought, Okay, here it goes! I jumped in after it and put it on as though I always do it that way J When I got out, I just removed it and Matt yanked it up on the boat. Easy peazy, lemon squeezy.

Larry just did the circus trapeze. He wanted to try it, but was afraid he wouldn’t be able to get his feet up over the bar as he swung upside down. I would have been afraid to even climb the ladder to get up there, plus I doubt my doctor would’ve written a release form for that activity. Larry did it though and he had no problem getting is feet over the bar. He even did a back flip off the bar onto the net. After 3 times he walked away with his hand on his low back and a proud grin on his face. I have a feeling he’s gonna be sore tomorrow.

I need to get back to writing my third book. This one is about modern-day pirating. My locale is very inspiring… Arrrg matey. Last night’s theme was pirates and French food. The Turks and Caicos is definitely pirate territory. Maybe my bad guys will end up over here… ?

Well, signing off for now.