Here’s the thing. I have a mixed marriage. My husband can swim. I can’t. Not even a little bit. It makes for unique Caribbean vacations.
No couple snorkeling, parasailing, paddle boarding or scuba diving. You know, all the water sports that look like a helluva lot of fun in those Sandals Resorts commercials.
The mere thought of dunking my head under water is paralyzing. This is old news. I had the audacity to walk away with an A+ in my high school swim class because my teacher said I showed effort and wasn’t a troublemaker.
It was the 70’s, folks. Low expectations. Yep, I was a real shark with that flotation device. Well-intentioned family and friends tell me, “It’s never too late.” Trust me. It is. I have nothing to prove at this point in my life.
I don’t want to cheat death.
Oddly enough, my favorite place to relax is the beach. Seasons don’t matter; an unorthodox place in the rain or snow. I bundle up and go.
Living in Connecticut, for the past thirty years, has spoiled me rotten. It is inundated with gorgeous beaches along Long Island Sound.
However, tropical destinations really make me swoon. After rave reviews, my husband and I chomped at the bit to visit Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic.
Thirty minutes after we checked into the resort, he gleefully said, “I’m ready for a nice dip.” A dip? Already? I was ready for a long nap. But, I headed out with him for all the frolicking.
In awe, I watched him slowly emerge from the sparkling blue Caribbean Sea. The water glistened off his chest. A sense of freedom was etched on his joyful face.
And there I was, perched on my beach chair. Rubbing sun screen on my legs, sipping a yummy Pina Colada. I wasn’t a total wuss, though. I did muster up enough courage to tip toe into the water up to my ankles.
But, I must tell you. I’m no beach wallflower. It’s my happy place where I get inspired, seek solace and let the sea breeze run wildly through my hair. My husband and I weren’t at each others throats!!
The real reason I love it? It’s my playground to meet people. I can’t help myself. Yes, while many tourists were dripping wet from swimming or jet skiing, I was talking to the resort staff; pool side waiters, bartenders; towel attendants and concierge. Every damn body!! LOL!
I enjoyed brief, but, compelling stories about their culture, families, jobs, sacrifices and challenges.
All it takes, sometimes, is a warm hello. If you lend an ear, most folks want to connect. I met a vibrant, 23-year-old woman, who works as a concierge and gives tours of the resort. Life is not easy, as she puts in ten hour days and works two weeks straight, before she has a few days off to spend with her toddler daughter.
While strolling the beach, I met a young man in his early 30’s from Port Au Prince, Haiti, eight hours from Punta Cana. He sold beautiful Larimar bracelets, necklaces and earrings. Larimar is a blue stone found only in the Dominican Republic. Of course, I jumped on it. I had to buy all three pieces.
He was very pleasant and talkative. He went to college in England; spoke Creole, Spanish, English and Russian. Yes, I did a double take on the Russian. LOL! He was a real hustler, in the most respectful way.
Read that book you’ve put off
So, what if you aren’t a fish. Don’t put your head in the sand. There’s lots to do.
- Listen to a podcast.
- People watch.
- Get a pedicure.
- Get an aromatherapy full body massage under a thatch hut.
- Take a nap on a beach bed.
- Chill with a cocktail.
- Write in your journal.
- Take pictures.
- Look at tour brochures.
- Eat local food you haven’t tried before.
- Write postcards.
- Or, meet some interesting folks along the way.
Be forewarned. Your hubby might get a little jealous!! LOL!