The moment I’ve waited for all year has finally, finally arrived.
Months of desk-bound dreaming about sand and sun and frozen drinks with cute little umbrellas is about to become a week-and-a-half-long reality.
Ah, vacation in the tropics. Is there anything better?
Sleeping late. Walks along the beach. Palm trees. A drink (or two, or five) with lunch. Wearing nothing more complicated than shorts and flip-flops. Palm trees and salty breezes. Long, lazy days. Dinners out.
Did I mention palm trees?
There’s no plan to follow, no to-do list; the only itinerary is to relax, recharge, catch up on my reading – and soak up as much sun as possible (while sensibly slathered with sunblock and wearing a wide-brimmed hat, of course). Maybe Mr. Oliver and I will meet up with friends for a drink or catch a local concert. Maybe we’ll walk the beach at sunset, or go shopping and buy some kitschy souvenirs.
Or maybe we won’t do anything.
The biggest decision we’ll make is whether to have grilled shrimp, conch fritters, or mahi-mahi for dinner.
We’ll visit the local produce stand, where vegetables and fruits are plentiful and cheap. We’ll choose from the colorful offerings of red and yellow peppers, string beans, tomatoes, fresh pineapples and coconut, and visions of BLTs and piña coladas will soon be dancing in my head.
But what I like best about vacation is people-watching from the shade of an umbrella-covered outdoor table or a sun lounger on the beach. For instance, who told that guy over there that a gold chain, Speedos, and hairy shoulders is a good look? And who are all these skinny-girl moms who spend the entire day, every day, on the beach with their kids, doling out snacks and feeding Chee-tos to the gulls?
I mean, imagine it – no office to go to, no desk, no deadlines or bosses or Annual Reviews. Just sun, and sand, and sea every day. The smell of suntan lotion and the salty kiss of a warm ocean breeze. No one to please but yourself. No expectations, no commitments to keep. Bliss.
But, as with anything, there are a few drawbacks to paradise. There’s sunburn; sand that seems to end up everywhere; fire ants; hurricanes; and in Florida, there’s a lot of grumpy retirees. (You think they’d be happy. They’re retired, after all. But most of them seem perpetually grouchy. I guess there just aren’t enough early-bird specials in the world for some people.)
And some of them are really crazy drivers.
As far as other drawbacks, well, um… I can’t really think of any others.
For now I plan to savour every delicious, tropical moment until we have to pack up our things and go back home. Back to our offices, and desks, and expectations, and meeting agendas…
…back to the ‘Out of Office’ notice waiting to be turned off in my email in-box. I’ll scowl, and grumble, and, very reluctantly, I’ll turn the notice off.
But you can bet that on my very next coffee break, I’ll already be planning our next vacation…