Day 1

Ah! This is what the locals mean when they call this island “Paradise.” Everything here is truly extraordinary. I am without words when I even consider describing the outgoing and positive atmosphere everywhere I turn on this lush tropical heaven.

I arrived on the plane from the states just after midday local time. There was a nice and friendly reception at the airport, greeting everyone as we disembarked from the aircraft. Once or twice I thought I saw a camera, but either I was totally mistaken or indeed it was a camera, but just another tourist.

A taxi service for the hotel where I am staying was waiting for me. The driver helped me navigate the cramped airport and successfully locate my luggage. Thank God it was all here. I mean, I paid fifteen dollars just to get it on the plane. The least they can do is get it to its destination with its owner.

I helped the driver load my sizable, but not too heavy suitcase in the back on the van. For a brief moment I thought I’d be riding solo, but just before we left the loading and unloading zone, two couples flagged him down and said they were heading to the same hotel. They already had their bags, so they simply needed to be loaded before we were ready to go.

I’ve been to other islands before, but each one has its own distinct flavor. This one was no exception. The meandering road leading to the hotel was scenic and breathtaking. Even though I’ve seen similar locales before in real life and in pictures, I still have trouble grasping the reality of so much beauty. Amazing! There’s so much exotic vegetation and wildlife everywhere. I even saw this huge parrot (or something like that) just sitting in a tree down town! Now that’s something I would never see at home!

Upon arriving at the hotel’s entrance, four men and four women formed two lines of four with those closest to the doors theatrically opening them. It reminded me of a lavish MGM musical number. I halfway expected to see synchronized swimmers in lobby pool perform a flawless routine. It wasn’t to be. However, each person in the two lines gave each of the arriving guests a lei (ha, ha, ha, island humor) and a modest kiss on each cheek. Of course, it was the men who gave the women leis and vice versa. Otherwise, that would have been awkward.

We entered the pristine lobby, suddenly bathing in the coolness of central air. I was really wondering what it would be like here and whether they would even have air conditioning. After stepping into the lobby, I realized how hot I was. The windows were rolled down in the van, so a refreshing breeze of fresh air filled our senses. After the long flight, the tropical air felt nice on my face.

Check-in was speedy and efficient. When I stepped up to the desk, the clerk looked around for a companion with whom I had traveled. When I told her that I was alone, she gave me a secretive smile and said, “Oh, I see,” with her heavy islander accent. I couldn’t help but blush (and wonder what was up with the big grin). As she took an imprint of my credit card and finalized everything for me, the clerk handed me a stack of brochures and reading material. I noticed that everyone else was receiving the same information too. I guess they don’t want us to get bored while we are visiting. At least I can accurately plan an agenda now.

Wow! As I sit out here on my veranda writing down my initial thoughts, I can hardly contain my excitement. It’s sheer will power (and some jet lag) that’s keeping me here for the time being. I’m ready to see the island, explore what I can, and experience all that I can, but I promised myself that I’d write down all my thoughts and observations on this vacation so that I can look back on it someday when it’s cold outside and remember all the warm weather and wonderful sights. I will document everything.

So, despite the fact that I have a lot of fun stuff that I want to do, the jet lag is numbing my senses. I have to rest for a little while. I think I’ll just sit out here and stare at the breaking surf. Maybe I’ll take a nap. The possibilities are endless.

I also brought a book with me. I haven’t had any time to get any reading done lately, so I’m going to make time just to sit at the beach, relax, and read. But for now, I am going to do some serious sleeping. I am not going to sleep very long, just an hour or so to recharge my batteries. There’s just so much to see and do that I can hardly wait, but my eyes are heavy, so (I know, I’m babbling) I’ll write more later from my tropical paradise.

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