Last week Darren and I took off on our first real vacation. We both needed some rest, refreshment, and quiet time together so we decided the beach was just the place to be–a beach as far from our house as possible that is. So, on Sunday we flew to Puerto Rico and from there hopped onto a big fat shaky boat and set sail for the Caribbean. On Monday morning we woke up as the boat was rolling in to the lovely island of St. Thomas.
We bounced off the boat and found a taxi–and by taxi I mean a pickup truck with benches in the bed–and told the driver we wanted to go to a beautiful beach. We ended up at Magen’s Bay–perfectly beautiful with white sand, palm trees, clear water–perfect. We found a little spot to put our stuff and splashed right into the crystal clear water rolling onto shore in turquoise waves.
Darren and I are very white, white people. Darren is fair-skinned with freckles all over and I’m fair-skinned without even freckles for protection. Every single time we go to the beach we end up frying to a crisp and being miserable the rest of the time. So we decided we would outsmart the sun and tan before we left. Tan, tan we did and pretty soon we were both a nice golden brown and very pleased with ourselves. When we got to the beach at St. Thomas we didn’t even bother with sunscreen. We jumped in the water and laid out on the sand soaking up the rays–daring the sun to touch us. The sun is not to be trifled with, kids. My skin started feeling hot. Then it felt too hot. Then it felt like I was on fire. I put my sun hat on, wrapped my beach towel around my shoulders, buried my toes in the sand, did everything I could to escape the sun’s hot angry rays–but it was too late. I dared the sun and the sun won. Apparently our cute little American tans are no match for the equator and by the time we gave in and left the beach we both looked like red sun boiled lobstas. I was fairly certain we would have to be taken back to the boat on stretchers.
We found a taxi back and ended up spending the rest of the day tracking down and putting on aloe vera and vowing to never taunt the sun again.
The next day was spent at sea making our way down to Barbados. So you know what we did? We slept all day. It’s amazing how tired you can be and not even realize it. You go and go and go and keep on getting by until you finally sit–and then it just hits you how completely exhausted you have become. So we slept until we couldn’t sleep anymore and woke up to Barbados. Carefully considering and learning from our experience the day before regarding sun burns, we thought it wise to spend another day at the beach :] So another taxi we got and zipped FAST along the busy, crowded street of Bridgetown until we were dropped off at another even whiter white sand beach.
We noticed big moody clouds rolling in overhead but paid no attention to them. We found a nice spot on the sand, put lots of sunscreen on this time, and relaxed. BAM. The sky opens up and pours all her wrath and furry down on us in a torrential downpour. We snatch up our things and run for the beach house through the pouring rain. The beach house was right next to us but we were still completely soaked before we could get inside. The people laughed at us and said the sun comes after the rain–and they were right, it came back out in a few minutes’ time. The clouds still looked pretty upset though so we chucked out some money for beach chairs and a big sun umbrella to hide under–good thing to, because it rained several more times and we stayed perfectly happy under our big fat umbrella.
Next, the fat shaky boat took us to St. Lucia. We wanted to see the Pitons and more of the island so we decided to take a bus tour. The big bus zipped FAST FAST up the steep mountains, down the hills, around the sharp curves, past pedestrians and vehicles, through the rain, over the slick muddy roads as we held on tight.
We saw banana plantations, fishing villages, a botanical garden and waterfall, the Pitons of course, and the beautiful scenery of the lush green mountains towering all around us. After the wild bus ride we wobbled off onto solid ground momentarily only to climb on board a catamaran for a better view of the coastline. It rained and rained and we huddled inside under the roof trying to stay dry as the boat bounced up and down like a water roller coaster over the fat cheeky waves. It was a lovely day even if it rained and rained.
The next day we arrived in St. Kitts and since the sassy sun had made a return, we decided to spend another day on the beach.
The sun was so hot and angry, the only place we could be comfortable was in the water–so the water it was. And you know what, kids? I learned how to swim in the wild blue ocean. Can you believe I never learned how to swim? Well, I didn’t and ever since I moved to New England I’ve been wanting to learn. But the water in New England is sooooo cold I’ve never had the fortitude to do it. But, in the warm Caribbean water with nothing to do but splash around and enjoy the waves? Well, it was the perfect opportunity so I started flailing about like a baby learning how to walk and Darren patiently showed me what to do–how to kick, how to move my arms, how to breathe, and so on. And you know what? By the end of the day I could get around without sinking. I’m a regular fish now! Okay, that’s a lie. I would probably still drown if my life depended on my swimming skills but it’s a start :]
I also held a monkey–that has nothing to do with swimming but I did ;]
The time we spent in the water at St. Kitts was my very favorite part of the trip. Having Darren teach me how to swim showed me so much about him–his patience, his gentleness, his protective nature (he held onto me tight–so careful of me when I was in water too deep trying to keep myself up). That day really helped me step back from the hustle and bustle of life and just see my husband all over again–see the man who stole my heart and who keeps on stealing it each day in spite of me. I love him.
On the last day, the fat shaky boat took us to St. Maarten. St. Maarten is divided and owned by two governments–half French owned by France and half Dutch owned by the Netherlands. We wanted to see both sides so we took another horrifying taxi ride over to the French side.
We got out at the open air market and walked around taking in the beauty and culture of the island.
Darren spotted a fortress on the mountain and decided he just had to see it. He looked at me excited, wanting to know if I was ready to climb up there? I looked at him in my long black dress and flip-flops and reminded him of the 400 degree temperature outside. And he wanted to know if I was ready to climb up there? Sooooo, because I love him and because he has big brown eyes, I climbed up that mountain in my long black dress and flip-flops in the 400 degree weather. And you know what? It was worth it. Here’s the view from the top:
Darren is not very good at staying out of trouble. He decided to mess with a cannon…
And he got arrested…
And then he got out and took over the land and now it is run by three countries–France, the Netherlands, and the Land of Darren…
And I am his queen–overlooking the land from my fortress above…
After taking over St. Maarten, we decided to spend more time in the water so we took a ferry over to the beach and got thrown about by the wild waves.
When we were all worn out and thoroughly covered in sand, we returned to the fat shaky boat for the ride back home. This beautiful sunset bid us farewell…
Finally, we made it back to Puerto Rico and decided since we had a late flight out, to explore old San Juan a little bit; here’s what we saw:
And that, kids, is our little trip in a very fat nutshell :]