I started seeing someone a few months back. Astute readers might have picked up on it after this. (He’s kind of awesome.) We’re gonna call him Klondike, ok? So Klondike & I went on vacation recently, and it was the longest time we’d ever spent together. He lives in Indy (and I do not) so we see each other roughly every other weekend, which actually works out nicely for this independent chica. Anyway, we went on vacation. Aruba, nine days, just the two of us. That is a long-ass time for me to spend with ANYONE. I wasn’t anxious about it, but definitely was curious to see how it would be. And it was really, really good. He didn’t get on my nerves at all, which is kind of amazing. Although I wonder if anybody would get on my nerves if I had plenty of sleep every night and spent all day on the beach being decadent. I wonder if I could get a grant to fund a social experiment…oops, I digress.
We passed the non-test. We still dig each other. Even after he got exposed to my less-than-cheery travel self on the way home, when a seven-hour layover in Miami got extended by an additional five-hour delay. It wasn’t pretty, but he hung in there.
In fact, I think the likeiness part is what made the vacation so great. It certainly wasn’t the 5-star (HA!) all-inclusive resort telling us upon arrival that they were overbooked and were moving us to a Westin. (We politely declined.) It wasn’t the weirdly uncomfortable beach chairs that were too short even for not-remotely-tall me that made everything fab. It wasn’t the mediocre food at the resort. It wasn’t the high levels of noise in the pool/bar area that oozed into our room morning and night. It must have been the company. 🙂
I made some bloggy notes so you would know I was thinking about you. Consider this post the equivalent of the “wish you were here!” postcard I didn’t send. But look! I can make one now!
Floating in the ocean is the most peaceful thing in the world. The water here is ridiculously buoyant. I’ve never experienced anything quite like it. It’s impossible not to float. Even Klondike, who says he never floats, floats here.
For me it is effortless. I lie back in the water and my legs and feet rise and my entire being is supported by the ocean. Cradled. The water is calm unless something motorized zooms by, so I can drift without fear of a face full of saltwater. And I do. I see the sun and blue sky above me. I can hear muffled sounds, but mostly it’s those passing boats and jet skis, gentle humming that quickly dissipates. Usually when floating in a body of water it requires a tiny bit of work – some hand waving, or consciously lifting my legs to the surface, without which they’ll dangle below me. Not here. Everything rises to the surface. It’s like I’m lying down. Relaxed. Sometimes Klondike stands nearby and gently holds one of my feet, just as a reference point for me. It’s perfect. 🙂
88 steps down and 88 steps up.
We took a killer jeep tour of the island, and one of the stops was at a natural pool. It was quite a trek down some rocky steps (88 of them), and then we had to navigate through a narrow, wet, slippery, rocky little path to get to the pool, and then to get into the pool you had to maneuver across some wet, slippery rocks and sort of slide into the water. This is not my skill set. I am a klutz. I walk into things. I trip over my own feet. So it was tempting to take some pictures and observe from afar. But I did it. I conquered my clumsiness, my klutziness, my insecurities, and I clambered (ha!) – ok – crawled – over the slippery rocks down to the edge of the pool and slid (deliberately) in. Kapow!
Klondike and I had been in the pool for a minute, maybe two, when he exclaimed, “That fish bit me!”
A few minutes later, “Again! That goddamn fish bit me again!”
I might have been a tiny bit unsympathetic. I saw no fish. No tooth marks. No blood. No missing toe pieces. He got much more sympathy a few minutes later when he sliced his fingertip on a piece of coral.
Ick. And I, who had brought every first aid ointment and pill in my medicine cabinet on the trip, had left everything, including bandaids, at the hotel. Oops.
Fortunately, he survived.
After paddling around in the pool for a bit I realized, oh crap, I had to get back OUT. Which involved scooting into a little “seat” in the rocks and pushing myself up out of the water. Which meant planting my hands squarely on “furry”, slimy, algae-covered rocks. Ew. Like, really, ew. But I did it. Shazam! And then I clambered (crawled) back over to the land side, to solid ground and no more slippery rocks.
I am obsessed with the lizards. We saw one the first day, a gigantic iguana, just hanging out, like it’s totally normal for iguanas to sit in the grass by the street. But we didn’t see any others that day, so it seemed like maybe it was an unusual thing.
The next day we saw one hanging out on some steps outside our hotel. I took a picture.
The next day, we saw bunches. Hanging out by the pool in the late morning. Then I discovered that was a daily thing. Breakfast, poolside, with lizards.
It doesn’t matter that we see them every day. I can’t stop being surprised by them. I have taken eight thousand pictures of them. And some video. I stop and stare. They bake in the sun on the rocks. They eat lettuce. They walk their funny lizard walk.
And then I wonder….when people from Aruba visit the US, do they obsess like this over squirrels?
The desk in the room is littered with shells and coral and souvenirs and books and earrings and snacks and water bottles and sand. There is sand pretty much everywhere in spite of our best efforts.
It’s time to go home. We are still having fun and haven’t tired of each other’s company, but we’re speaking freely about the ridiculously uncomfortable bed (rather than trying to pretend everything is PERFECT!!!!) and I miss my dog and my shampoo and being on Facebook for more than 90 seconds a day and Klondike said he’s feeling rested and ready to get back to work.
We have one more day, to sleep in and soak up sun and play in the ocean and get covered with sand. Tomorrow night we pack and schedule our early morning shuttle to the airport, and then Thursday bright and early we head back to reality. And we’re ready. 🙂
It wasn’t a test, but we passed.