Typically when you go on vacation, you tend to gain a few pounds here and there. For me, it was the opposite. But the weight I lost can’t compare to the memories I gained while I visited the Turks and Caicos Islands last summer.
“Chelseeeaaaa! Get in the shower right now!” my friend Annie screeched. It was 4:30 a.m., June 28th, and we had a seven o’clock flight to catch. After our showers, Annie and I scrambled to do some last-minute packing before the shuttle came to take us to the airport. The flight to Miami was long and excruciating. To pass the time, Annie and I resorted to inventing dance moves to songs. And yes, we did receive some odd looks from elderly women.
Once in Miami, we stocked up on food and magazines to prepare for the two-hour flight to Providenciales, an island that is part of the Turks and Caicos. As soon as I stepped off the plane around nine o’clock that night, waves of humidity crashed over my body. At home in Rancho Mirage, California, we have dry heat; on the island the humidity was at ninety percent!
Turquoise water and silky white sand dominated my first full day. Since Annie’s family lives on the island, we stayed in their house, which overlooks blue waters and exotic green trees. Her father took the whole family, including me, on his fishing boat. The water was like glass, perfectly still, and I could see fish swimming around the seabed. “See, I told the beaches are better here!” said Annie. I complete agree. Now, I’m too spoiled to go to the southern California beaches. The island water was sweetly salty and warm. At first, the salt burned my nose and stung my eyes, but I got accustomed to it.
While her brothers fished, Annie and I lay on the tip of the boat and let the sun cover us with a blanket of heat. The wind whipped around my hair and the aroma of salt water teased my sense of smell. Fishing, swimming, tanning, and laughing filled my days while I enjoyed my temporary paradise. It was the experience of lifetime, and I anticipate returning as often as I can.
I learned, however, that you really appreciate what you have when you longer have it. In fact, that’s the focal point of my trip. The island, which is covered in dirt, has rough roads and limited food options. Fast food chains are non-existent, which for me, as an American, was difficult. I also experienced some restless nights due to lack of air conditioning and the pitter-patter of lizards along the floors and walls. Many houses were poorly built and smaller then most homes in my area. Yet, even with these inconveniences, the trip was magnificent. My attitude was “deal with the minor features and enjoy the rest.”
The customs and culture of life on an island were by far the most interesting parts of my trip. Annie’s father made sure that we visited all the local spots. I listened to soca music, ate jerk chicken, and drank ting. I miss being there, and I hope to go back next summer – lizards and all!
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