Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Lessons from Vacation

I spent four days last week in St. Thomas. It was absolutely beautiful and I'm wondering why it took me this long to take a trip to the Caribbean.

Here are the lessons I learned during my vacation: 

1. Obsessive sunscreen application really does work. I used a combo of styles and strengths, and reapplied several times a day each day and amazingly enough my pale skin stayed burn free in the tropical sun! In fact, I'd say my face, neck and chest actually look a bit tan. 

2. Snorkeling is not for me. The resort offered free use of snorkel gear, so I decided to give it a try on our beach. I put my flippers on and not so gracefully walked out into the water, put the mask on and the mouthpiece in and then put my face in the water. And pretty much immediately went into hyperventilation mode. The fact that this was in waist deep water where I could easily stand up and breathe was apparently meaningless to me. I tried a few more times, and attempted to keep going through the panic, but it just didn't work. The next day we went to a different beach on the other side of the island and my friend wanted to take snorkel gear with her. I decided I'd try again, and did have better luck. I think the calmer waters at the cove we were in that day helped. I was able to successfully get a handle on the breathing, and did a bunch of exploring in the cove, but... the fact that snorkel masks require my glasses to be off means I couldn't really see much anyway. So, in the end I'm sticking with other activities in the water and leaving the snorkel gear behind. 

3. While I enjoy traveling, I'm not actually good at it. Between work trips and personal trips I fly around 8-10 times a year. Yet it's pretty much a guarantee that I will wake up with a bad headache the day before a trip that won't go away until I'm through security and at my gate the day of the flight. I don't usually get motion sickness on flights (anymore), but cars, buses, taxis, subways, etc still can do me in quickly. St. Thomas is filled with curvy, mountainous roads with lots of switchback turns and up and down hills. I liked the time spent exploring the island, but it left me feeling completely and totally sick and dreading the next time I'd have to get back in the car. 

4. Pina Coladas taste even better when ordered from a swim up bar. No elaboration needed. 

5. Maryland crab cakes are apparently quite famous. I was quite surprised when dining at an Austrian restaurant on a Caribbean island to see Maryland crab cakes on the menu. They were available as both an appetizer and an entree and I really should have ordered them just to see how they compared to the real thing, but I didn't. The rest of the food we had at Bella Blu was great, so I'm hoping their version of a local favorite was good as well. 

6. I need more of this in my life. I'm thinking trips to the Caribbean need to become at least an annual occurrence. It really isn't that expensive (especially when you go during hurricane season), and with views like this, it was worth every penny. 

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