So we are making our annual pilgrimage to a warmer place far from the frozen wastelands of home. To be fair, this winter has been significantly less brutal than past years so the wastelands are not so frozen. There were signs of an early spring when we left. Still it is nice to be away from everything (except the dogs because I do miss them, well and dancing but I can set the addiction aside for a week) and just adapt to a different way of life.
We do tend to stay at certain places just due to points and all that. I’m not sure though that we ever stay enough nights to really do anything with those points. Besides, they usually have a nice spa which has become a requirement for my wife. I think I would enjoy a massage but the awkwardness of having someone invade my personal space is a hurdle. Plus, are you supposed to talk? I have enough trouble making idle chit chat when I get a haircut so I can’t imagine having to do it for a longer period of time.
These large resorts do tend to create their own ecosystems. I know they put restaurants and shops in strategic positions to entice you to stay within their boundaries and spend more money. They make it so easy to since you can just sign your name and room number and never have to exchange actual money. It makes the end bill larger but, hey, you’re on vacation so what does it matter.
I actually like how the wildlife adapts to these resorts. There is a certain bird here called a Bananaquit that lives off nectar and is attracted to all the flowers they plant to make the gardens look so nice. But the bird will also steal sugar packets off tables in most hotel restaurants so they have to take measures to cover them up. Since these places are always warm and usually have nice breezes, there is so much temptation to eat outside which also means dodging the begging birds. At lunch today, these grackles made a surgical strike – four of them flew in to an open door before they could clear a table and were happily taking pieces of the leftover rolls. It really seemed like a precision move since they just flew in, hit that table and few more and then left before anyone could really shoo them away. I saw a little lizard make his way across the floor and under tables looking for crumbs. He (or she) came close to running across a couple of people’s feet but seemed to know to avoid them. I was kind of afraid he was going to get stepped on but he was pretty nimble. Figured it wasn’t his first raid on the dining area.
We are not the type who like to spend all day every day on a beach sitting in the sun. But there are plenty of people who are. I think this is where the planners have the big advantage. According to the resort, you can reserve one of their shaded things up to a year in advance. I read that and I’m thinking who can think that far ahead but I’m sure there are those who do that right after they make their reservation so they always have mapped out what they are going to do. There are several that are set aside on a first come, first serve starting at 7:30 and people were lined up at 7:00 to get theirs. I guess they aren’t the planners but are still serious about their beach time. We do actually love walking along the beach wading in the ocean so we do that but I’m probably not going to be lining up at 7:00 AM to reserve a shady spot.
There is also just a strong connection to alcohol at these places. I’m not a drinker so I don’t quite fully understand the attraction. But every one of these resorts has at least two bars and lots of people walking around to make sure you can stay pleasantly buzzed. The restaurants all have large selections of cocktails, beer and wine and most of the specials revolve around drinks. I’m sure the profit margin on alcohol is pretty high so a couple like us that sticks to non-alcoholic stuff is probably a little disappointing.
It is funny how the days unwind here. Everyone has to be in their assigned shade by 10AM or they give them away so the pool and beach fill up early. People stay most of the day – leaving around 5ish to clean up and then make their way to dinner and/or other entertainment options. Walk the streets outside the resorts in mid afternoon and they are empty. After dark, when the sun is gone, they are filled with people.
When you don’t spend all day at the beach, when your room is cleaned can become an issue. There is always that disjointed feeling when you come back after lunch and they still haven’t gotten to you yet. You can hang out for a bit but it isn’t worth getting too comfortable because I really don’t like being in the room when they show up. Even though it is our room, it feels a little awkward like we are in the way. But then you have to time how long to be out hoping the room will be cleaned when you get back. After all, some days there are naps to be taken (hey it is vacation)
We will spend most of days out exploring and seeing things and walking because we are a couple of introverts who don’t enjoy group activities like tour buses and the like. Mostly, we just like to get away from the cold and grey and just enjoy a week of sun and breezes. So far it is going good.