Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self. - Cyril Connolly
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Paradise Chronicles - Day 1
It's a theme - work with me. Unlike the China Chronicles, there won't be a whole lot to blog about on a daily basis other than: pool, beach, snorkel, lunch, beach, snorkel, pool, shower, dinner, bed. Lather, rinse repeat.

After getting up at 3:00 AM yesterday to catch a 6:00 AM flight out of Dulles, I got up at 6:00 AM my time (7:00 AM local) to make a 7:30 AM dive class. This, after I stayed up completing my on line PADI course which required 75% or better to pass, and it was hard! Actually, it was easy if I had left enough time to do it properly. It required a lot more effort than I gave it credit for (I entirely underestimated learning to read the dive tables and calculate multiple interval dives and depths), and I didn't get to bed till almost 11:00 PM. So I was draggin when the alarm went off.

I stood in the very spacious cold water only shower, and instead of turning on the water, I sprayed myself head to toe with SPF 30, waited about 5 minutes, and then donned a swim suit, flip flops, and sarong. The only outfit I plan to wear this week.

I'll post separately about where I'm currently staying (which is great BTW, although a little 2nd world). But, as a result, I had to drive halfway across the island to get to the resort and dive class, and in the village I'm staying in now, that means dodging dogs and chickens at every turn (provided you can find the road - there is a paucity of road signs on the island) before you get to the tourist area.

Anyway, I get to the Hyatt Regency - quel posh! - and because I have mild hypertension and take meds to control it, I had to have the dive doctor check me out and approve me first. I failed. Not because of the HT, although that was close thanks to flights and lack of sleep, it was because as soon as he put a stethoscope on my chest, he looked at me and said - "What have you been gargling in there? Do you smoke?"

No, I said, but I did have the flu over the weekend.

"Well, you're not done with it yet. Your chest sounds 'really squishy'" (I'm sure this is a medical term).

"Yeah, well, I am still hacking up chunks of lung, but I feel MUCH better. Can I go later in the week? "

He said there was no way he would recommend sending my spongy lungs to 65+ ft. and forcing them to drink 3 atmospheric bars of compressed air. If I thought the flu was bad, he said......

His "prescription" was at least one week of vacation. At the end of which, both my BP and lung function should be just fine and I can learn to dive some other time. Snorkeling however, was prescribed liberally, and I always follow doctors orders. As a consolation prize, the dive master felt bad for me and gave me a day pass to the Hyatt Regency Resort, which let me live among the rich and famous and take advantage of the pool, palapas, towels and drinks on demand, and lounge chairs. Too bad it felt like the vacation set for the Sopranos. EVERYONE was from NJ. It freaked me out. The accents, the bling, the noise.... Turns out all the NJ schools have winter break this week, and it's "family week" for the nouveau riche in Aruba. Ick.

Tomorrow: sleep in late, snorkel at the local beach (I've heard the fish there are amazing), hang around here all day and follow doctors orders to the letter....nap, rollover, repeat.

It's the vacation shuffle.
posted by Broadsheet @ 6:51 PM  
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