Greetings from Turks & Caicos!
I would say Yeah Mon because of my Jamaican memories, but Turks and Caicos does not have the same slang. In fact, these Caribbean islands are a lot different than my last Caribbean experience. Jamaica had it’s own culture, food, slang, music and here in Caicos – everything is revolved around tourism. They have no crops, innovation, materials, they’re sole money supply comes from the neighborhood of hotels tucked one next to the other, wrapping themselves along the curve of the most beautiful beaches.
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Considering the reason mom and I have come here, this accommodating island works for me. Usually, I would be one for lots of fun activities and adventures but this is purely a restorative vacation. It has been six months since Dad has died, four since Grandma, and one since my brother has been moved to a lock down facility in Colorado. I am here to lay, read, swim, and sleep. And so far, I have successfully done all of those things, and only those things. Our hotel, Ocean Club West, has been exactly what we need. A clean, fine sized room that opens out to the view of the ocean and lounge chairs spread across the powdered sugar soft sand.
However, my obsession with Food Network has lead to the exploration of interesting Caicos cuisines. Mostly this traveling around is done by bikes, and after a few near misses, I’m finally learning to look right and then left when crossing the road. The nice lady at reception cut us a deal on renting bicycles (omen #1), since any car you want to take will cost about as much as the meal you are going to have. The woman said that they hadn’t been serviced in a while so she had us test them in the parking lot (omen #2) and I had to go through three bikes before we found with one breaks that worked (omen #3). Turns out we got the bikes at half price because you had to pedal twice as hard to get them to move. The tires were a bit short of full, the seats were too low and everything just kinda creaked as you rode. Add to that the fact that we had a very touristy and inaccurate map of the island, and you get a very sore Meadow who rode, in total, 15 miles yesterday on a bicycle that should probably be put out of its misery. It was, however, a very pretty blue color, which is about the only nice thing I can say about it when the seat has left permanent bruises on MY seat. Nevertheless, the ride was beautiful and mostly flat and it was a nice way to spend the day.
Although missing the jerk spices of Jamaica, Caicos has provided me with a new, interesting island chow: conch. Not only did we find them on the beach but we ate them too! It tastes sort of like calamari but a little more tough. We also had halibut that was caught an hour before it was in our bellies, seriously. Both were consumed at the Upstairs Bar & Grill, and was amazingly delicious and island-y. Besides these splurges, we found a small grocery store (the only one on the island, I don’t even know if it had a name) to stock up on some staples so that the rest of our money could be spent on Rum Punches, virgin for me.
The best part about the trip has been the ocean, just floating in the crystal clear water that is about shoulder deep only no matter how far out you dare to swim. Every night at sunset, we walk the stretch of the curved beach and just watch the sky change into different shades and continue to be amazed we are not looking at a desktop screen saver but really a scene this beautiful. The ocean has always been a part of my life, growing up in San Diego, and my childhood memories are filled with beaches. My dad was the one who took me into the ocean and taught me to body surf. Every picture I have of my grandma, she is lounging on some beach. It is a perfect place to come to remember and restore.
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