I am presently sitting on the deck of a small boutique hotel in the Caribbean overlooking a tropical bay littered with yachts, catamarans, and sailboats of various sizes.
Many of the vessels I see are moored together in groups of two and three with the passengers enjoying evening cocktails and revelry; the music is ubiquitous with thumping basses of varying tempos echoing throughout the cove.
Next to me is a single malt Scotch softening with two ice cubes in a rocks glass. Nearby is a candle burning, giving off the titled essence of “Coconut and Palm.” And beside that is a small platter of cheese partnered with some very pedestrian toothpicks.
It is early evening and my unique vantage point has afforded me a clear view of a cloudless sky and the ensuing sunset.
In a word, it is picturesque.
I’m struggling with the juxtaposition of this special moment and the fact that my MacBook is sitting on my lap, with me typing. But I suppose, if I have to write a column, this is probably the best scenario to do it in.
The fact is, I was supposed to be experiencing this slice of heaven exactly one year ago, but the pandemic ended it before it even got started. We were already in lockdown and trying to figure out what to do when the Caribbean nation we were heading to made it abundantly clear they didn’t want us there.
That’s when we begrudgingly cancelled our flights, foolishly thinking we would make new plans a couple of weeks later. Those couple of weeks turned into a year and now here we are finally getting the break we’ve been waiting 12 months for.
Getting here was interesting. Not only are we still in a pandemic and therefore subject to a battery of new travel restrictions, but it’s also a Spring Break week for a nation of families who’ve been trapped in an extended isolation.
I’ve flown twice in the last year and both times I felt like I was in an apocalyptic movie as I moved about barren airport concourses with scarcely a hint of activity. However, on this flight, it was a jarring return to the pre-Covid chaos with tired and anxious tourists constantly fighting each other for position.
It also felt like a full-time job keeping track of all the paperwork that’s needed to prove you’re not infected. I’m not sure about the exact number, but I swear I had to prove I was healthy no less than seven times while in transit.
But all that’s behind me now as I bask in the glory of palm trees, white sand, and aqua-blue water. (Of course, getting home requires another battery of tests and documents — but that’s for another day.)
Tomorrow my wife, son, and I will jump aboard a catamaran to go island hopping with stops at popular snorkeling spots to take in the underwater sea life. We also plan to canoe to a remote beach spot later in the week and charter a fishing vessel so my son can appease his innate need to angle marine life.
In between those activities will be copious amounts of downtime to lie on the beach to either read, sleep or — as I prefer to do— just watch the people nearby go about their day.
Oh, and then there’s the food. After not eating in a restaurant for almost a year, I’m prepared to be fully gluttonous on this trip. We’ve already scoped out the available options in the area and have reservations for a different culinary fare each night.
It was apparent when we first drove to our hotel that the pandemic has had a negative effect on the local economy, as an abundance of store fronts looked permanently shuttered. This point is obviously true everywhere, but for an island that depends on tourism for its economic health, it’s especially harsh.
The good news is that things seem to be getting back to normal. People are starting to travel, go out to dinner, and become connected again. I’ve been waiting to take a vacation for over a year and it admittedly feels good.
On the flight down, I decided I wanted to be upbeat in my movie choice to get me in the mood. I pulled up Netflix and noticed that the Number One most-watched film this week was a comedy called “Bad Trip.” Without so much as a look, I started the movie, hoping it might be a winner.
“Bad Trip” is a hidden-camera buddy pic about two friends who decide to shake things up by road tripping from Florida to New York. The film is a combination of real-life pranks pulled on unsuspecting people and acted-out scenes to help push the storyline (think “Borat” and “Bruno”).
I have to admit, I laughed out loud on multiple occasions during this film as some of the pranks were wildly entertaining and well-conceived. However, a couple of scenes were so over-the-top that I literally looked away.
This film was obviously made for and will appeal to a younger crowd. That’s not to say others won’t enjoy it, you just have to be prepared for some intense college humor.
A cringe-worthy “B-” for “Bad Trip.” Got a question or comment for Dom? You can email him at [email protected]