TUESDAY, DECEMBER 20, 2016
It was already Tuesday, and I was nervously recounting the days remaining for this trip. I didn’t feel like I had been there long, but I also felt that I had all the time in the world, and I knew that couldn’t be right. TUESDAY- WEDNESDAY- THURSDAY- leaving FRIDAY. Ok. 3 full days. I snoozed a few times, and then realized I was fooling myself. Eventually I got out of bed, looking forward to another day of blue skies, and even bluer, azure waters. And by now, I had already created a daily routine for myself. Wake up, walk to the sliding glass doors, open the curtains, survey the land beyond the balcony, all grounded by deep breaths of feeling grateful to be there.
Image courtesy of http://dushibagelsandburgers.com, IF YOU ARE EVER IN PALM BEACH, ARUBA - YOU MUST GO
I neatly excavated my suitcase since I don’t like to unpack. Anytime I put something in a drawer or closet, I have this underlying obsessive-compulsive fear of leaving something behind. Tuesday’s bathing suit was selected, and its companion cover-up. Slowly, but surely, I got myself together and collected my beach bag and left for the morning. First stop was an, " Hola, como estas?" Followed by a flirtatious conversation at the towel hut to trade my towel card for 2 clean, fresh, white and blue striped towels. Once they were tucked into the beach bag, I retraced my steps from the day before: past the pool near my tower, the Seaside Restaurant, the main pool that was always much busier with families and kids, the outdoor bar and grill, left at the Relaxation Zone, through the breezeway, and out of the front entrance. This morning I was ready to beef up my breakfast, and decided to check out a place called Dushi’s Bagels & Burgers (plug), where I got a crab salad the night before for dinner. Ironically, after I surveyed the menu board, I ordered the “Favorite” breakfast sandwich. The "Favorite," is a simple, fundamentally sound breakfast in your hand of bagel, egg, cheese and meat. Any kind of bagel you could think of, they had it. Asiago please! There was no reason to look elsewhere for breakfast after that. Next, I went across the street to buy a Starbucks coffee to wash it down with.
Happily, I glided back down the street to the resort. Although the sky was clear and void of any clouds like the day before, I still opted to sit under the same gazebo. Being able to spread out made me feel more comfortable. Everything was placed out neatly. This was a wonderful way to start each day - I could get used to this. While I sat back into the cushion of the chair, my green legged, scaly friends came back. Again, I was not going to wig out over these guys. There I was, minding my business, and they had me surrounded. There was this one that was smaller than the rest. His coloring was more of an iridescent turquoise. He didn’t seem as pressed, but his iguana pals are the instigators. I didn’t really have a plan on how I was going to bounce them out of the breakfast party because today they were too close for comfort (three’s company, five or more is a crowd). What’s the worst they could do, I wondered. I have never heard of any iguana - human accidents anywhere, but one of them got close enough that there was hardly any space between him and me. At that point I had to get physically assertive and kicked my foot at him, but not with the purpose of making contact with him. He needed to know that I was more serious about my breakfast than he was.
I finished my breakfast as peacefully as I could with the leaping lizards. I made my way to the plot of beach that I had claimed as my own, and grabbed a chair. This new routine of mine was growing on me; a massive improvement to the one that involves me driving to work through silly traffic to sit in an even sillier office, inside. The sun was hot and without shade. Me, I was warm, and relaxed as I manually turned myself like a human rotisserie on the plastic lounge chair. There wasn’t much else happening, and that was wonderful. Walking into the refreshing water, I felt free. Free of my worries, free of anxiety, free of the burdens I brought with me from thousands of miles away. Gradually, I would wade out further and anchor myself before I fluttered my arms back and forth to balance myself as I brought my legs up. Floating on your back is weird mix of survival tool and holistic sensory deprivation. When your head is half submerged, your ears are below the surface, and things sounds muffled and the world disappears. It is almost as if you temporarily vanish in that very spot. Your surroundings are out of sight as you stare at the sky, and your body becomes weightless. This could be the closest thing I’ve known to be true meditation. I often wanted to challenge myself to see how long I could stay put, and test my survival skills. In the end, I opted out, and eventually went back to the sure footing of my chair. The quiet that I was enjoying was briefly interrupted by the sound of a jet ski that approached, but not at top speed. He was not alone. Tethered to the jet ski, was a long black tube that was connected to something that resembled a skateboard on its side. Standing on top of, in boots, was a person with a jet stream of water propelling him high in the air. This must be the newest rage in water activities. Everyone on the beach stopped what they were doing and stood along the shore as we rooted on our new water rodeo cowboy to do his best to fight the unpredictable, horned beast of gravity (research confirmed this called Flyboarding). While he was teetering, trusted in the air, we were all holding our breath. He wobbled from side to side and began to lose his balance. He corrected himself, but it was too late. His momentum brought him crashing down. Splat! We all went back to our beach business now that the show was over.
Lunchtime was calling my belly, which meant it was time for some grub. Now that I realized that they made the pizza right at Seaside Restaurant, I simply walked around the corner and placed my order. During my wait, I watched tv and talked to the bartender. As we were talking, he told me that he was born and raised in Aruba, and that alone was a novelty. Most people that live in Aruba are from Venezuela, Ecuador, the Dominican Republic and the Netherlands. I imagine our stateside equivalent would be meeting someone that was actually born in New York City. For a moment, I couldn’t believe that this was my life right now: no work, beautiful ocean, casually talking to new people, and PIZZA. When my food was ready, I took my box and cold beer topped with a lime, and walked back down the wood planked ramp back onto the sand, and in my chair.
Today, I would not be able to stay out as long as I had the last 2 days to catch the sunset. Before I left for the trip, I did some research about potential activities in Aruba, in case there was something that was a must do while I was there. Of course there were listings after listings. Yet, as the queen of lollygagging, the last thing I wanted to do was fall victim to overbooking myself or become stressed out over a self-imposed schedule. With that being said, there were only 2 activities officially on the list. Activity #1 was a massage and #2 was to snorkel. My massage was booked for tonight and I wanted to shower off the day before I went to the appointment. Making the appointment was difficult in itself because I hate missing out on beach time, but I knew that it would help soothe my soul. When I arrived, the spa seemed pretty quiet. I was probably the only, and last client at the time in the early evening. I was curious how much business a spa could get at a place like this since I imagine most folks might feel like me, and have a severe case of FOMO (fear of missing out). My masseuse introduced herself, and led me to the room in the far back of the spa. In a heavy accent, she gave me the typical massage speech regarding removing your clothes, and lying under the sheet. She left the dark room and gave me time to undress and returned. The sounds were hypnotic and the smells were of lavender and jasmine. She asked if there were any places in particular that needed more attention or were bothering me. Adjustments were made to the bed as we talked. Here was my moment to let my mind silence itself once and for all, but instead, it managed to do the opposite. In that forced silence, it revved up, non-stop, driving me crazy. There were 50 minutes dedicated to the internal dialogue, and perhaps only 5 - 10 minutes of this time did I find that my mind was in the quiet place it should have been all along. Let this not be any indication of the success of the massage. She was doing a fantastic job; it was no fault of hers. I have had several massages before, and this was the first time that the masseuse massaged my head, including my face, and it felt extremely personal. Her age and tenderness felt maternal, and her tenderness almost made me weep. At its end, I was extremely disappointed with myself for not allowing my mind to properly settle. It was an absolute battle of wills. Nonetheless, my body felt relaxed, and I slinked back to room after paying her for her service. I retrieved a few more items and went out for dinner and enjoyed the holiday sights. The entire time, I still fumed about not being able to be more mindful and shut the nonsense chatter off. I have to make a serious effort to work on this, or I am doomed, for certain, the dushi.
*Dushi has variety of meanings: "sweetheart", "babe" or even "sexy," or it can also be used for tasty foods or to describe good things in life.