Friends Abroad

The major question of the morning is: Why on earth do restaurants make me wait until 11am or so for delivery? Can I be the only one who wants scallop curry for breakfast? I can’t believe that. I’m starving.

I think we’ve had a LJ exodus lately. ElectricRocket went to Mexico, FriendOfJack went to Canada, and I was in Turks and Caicos. It was such a last-minute thing that I didn’t even get a chance to say goodbye. Our mag was doing a “Pamper Your Marriage” week at the Beaches resort and a few weeks ago I had idly suggested that someone should record the expert presentations. We had some cool folks speaking (Scott Holzman, Tina Tessina, a few of our editors). At the time none of it was really my problem so I hadn’t even registered where the event would be held.

So Thursday night I get a call from or EIC. She’s in a cab and in a huge hurry.
Me: Hello?
Stacy: HeyIThinkYouShouldGoRecordPamperYourMarriageHaveJessMakeYourArrangementsBye.
Me: Hello? Stacy? Wait! Where are we going?
Stacy: TurksAndCaicosBye!

So arrangements were made and a few days later I was on the 7am flight to the Caribbean.

Yes, my job can be really cool sometimes.

Here are some high and lowlights:

I was flying by myself as each editor was on a different schedule. I was carrying the recording equipment since I didn’t have time to ship it all with confidence that it wouldn’t get held up in customs. So when I filled out the “business or pleasure?” part of the immigration documents I said “business.” I did hesitate, as I feared that was asking for scrutiny. But first, I was carrying a fair amount of professional-grade recording equipment and was alone, so chances of skating by seemed iffy. But more importantly, I’m unwilling to lie to immigration officials. I don’t care to risk any kind of legal entanglement. So, of course, immigration wanted to see my work papers, of which I had none. They held me for a while insisting that I couldn’t come into the country to work, even though I was working for a US company and wouldn’t be making any T&C money. Finally, they got bored and just let me go.

I got a lovely, warm welcome from the resort and the concierge walked me to my own little cabana. I could see the ocean from the bedroom. When she was showing me around she pointed out my stocked bar. I had two six packs of beer (Red Stripe and Miller), a bottle of red, a bottle of white, a bottle of champagne, and one each of rum and vodka. All of this was accompanied by snacks and various mixers and sodas. She says to me with a straight face: Just let me know if you need your bar restocked. Seriously, she knew I was only there for four days. Clearly, I can’t party like some of the other cabana holders.

It’s too bad Damon wasn’t there to help me with the bar. I’d been invited to bring a guest. But he had jury duty. That’s right, he had to give up a free trip to the tropics in order to do his civic duty. A round of applause for the husband.

Beaches is one of those all-inclusive resorts. And here’s where it tested my own sense of self: I had a very hard time with the food and turned my nose up at much of what was on offer. I think of myself as so easy going, easy to please. But I just could not get off the snobby on my reaction to things like frozen waffles on the breakfast bar in the morning. They didn’t even toast them, just set them next to the toaster for a do-it-yourself. All the juice tasted like that slushy stuff that comes from a tube. All the crab was krab. The peaches and pears on the salad bar were still floating in the syrup from their cans. Here and there I found some lovely things to eat. One morning a cook made me some fresh pancakes with crispy edges. Why don’t more people get their edges cripsy? It makes the pancakes a million times better. Maybe my standards have changed since I moved to New York and have access to all kinds of fabulous food. There’s so much restaurant competition here that bad places take a swift dive. I hate feeling like a snob. But I think that bad food is a deal breaker and is enough for me to say I’d never go back there on my own dime. I may even be hesitant to go on someone else’s.

Here’s something lovely, to balance the food review: The water. There were six (I think) sparkling pools with waterfalls and other fun details like swim-up bars or slides. And right behind the patio was the gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous ocean. Two minutes after the concierge left me to myself I was rushing into the waves. We were behind some sort of break, as there were almost no waves to speak of. That made it easy for me to swim up to about eight feet deep and still be able to look right past my toes at the shells on the bottom. I floated happily in the salt water and decided that this was well-worth the last-minute flight.

Also worth the flight: the stars. The only other times I’ve seen so many were on a cruise and in Hawaii. If you can get far enough from the big-ish cities it’s just non-stop twinkle.

And speaking of big-ish, Turks and Caicos is not. It’s a series of islands and we were on (I was told) the second-most populous: Providenciales (called Provo by the locals). From what I could see from the rides to and from the airport, it’s very lightly inhabited. Once you get off the beach it’s not very friendly looking. The land is mostly dust and brush. It looked dry. We certainly didn’t get the daily rain shower that you get in a lot of tropical places. It never rained a drop the whole time I was there.

I was delighted to get to bond with my fellow editors. We went swimming and to dinner every day. They’re fun. We watched a juggler perform and talked about vacations and weddings and boyfriends.

Since Beaches is “family-friendly” there were lots of kids around. They didn’t really bug me until the return flight, which every one of them was on. Only one plane goes out of T&C at a time, so getting away from any of them leaving on the same day was unlikely. All I can say about it is I’m firm in my belief that anyone under 18 should be checked with the luggage.

So now it’s 23 minutes until I can order my curry, which doesn’t seem so bad. And after that I’m going to have to brave my inbox and see what happened while I was gone. I see the counter is at 124 messages, so… blah.

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12 responses to this post.

  1. Next time you’re invited to bring a guest and Damon has some civic function to perform, I’m just a phone call away.

    Reply

  2. Next time you’re invited to bring a guest and Damon has some civic function to perform, I’m just a phone call away.

    Reply

  3. Next time you’re invited to bring a guest and Damon has some civic function to perform, I’m just a phone call away.

    Reply

  4. Oh Man! Aileen and I went to Turks & Caicos a few years ago and it was one of the most relaxing 3 days of my life. I loved that water. We were in this great beachfront hotel, no resort, and there were never more than a dozen people around us the whole weekend. Also had the absolute best conch chowder in the world there and had I known you were going would have insisted you get some. Sigh.

    Reply

  5. Oh Man! Aileen and I went to Turks & Caicos a few years ago and it was one of the most relaxing 3 days of my life. I loved that water. We were in this great beachfront hotel, no resort, and there were never more than a dozen people around us the whole weekend. Also had the absolute best conch chowder in the world there and had I known you were going would have insisted you get some. Sigh.

    Reply

  6. Oh Man! Aileen and I went to Turks & Caicos a few years ago and it was one of the most relaxing 3 days of my life. I loved that water. We were in this great beachfront hotel, no resort, and there were never more than a dozen people around us the whole weekend. Also had the absolute best conch chowder in the world there and had I known you were going would have insisted you get some. Sigh.

    Reply

  7. Duly noted!

    Reply

  8. Ah, had I only known about the chowder I would have gone looking.

    Reply

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