not a hardship

On Saturday, we lay on the beach emailing our daughter. Our daughter was on the phone to our travel agent. The agent could not get through to Sunwing. From what started in the morning email to investigate if we can get an earlier flight home (we were supposed to fly home on the 22nd) to afternoon instructions that if the agent got through, tell her to book us on the next flight home.

We ordered another Margarita and went for a walk to the hotel lobby where the tour guys sell excursions. We approached the Sunwing guy who was sitting alone, obviously bored stiff.

Us: We would like to change our flights and leave.

Him: Why?

I held my phone out to show him the Gov’t of Canada bulletin to get home.

Us: Because our government is warning us to get home while we can.

Him: Because of the virus?

Us: Yes Him: That is fake news.

Choosing the calmer option of sipping my drink rather than jumping over the desk and wringing his neck for speaking those words to me, I responded

Me: Be that as it may we would like to go home.

So he got on the phone and changed our flight to the next day. He got straight through, had no trouble. There was no change fee but he made us sign a form refusing a refund for the lost week before he would change the flight. He crossed out the line on the form which stated quite clearly that we would receive a refund. We signed the form, knowing our travel agent could deal with Sunwing at home. This guy was not worth arguing with… We went back to the beach, told our kids we were sorted out and ordered a Pina Colada.

Sunday night at midnight our son picked us up from the airport and got us to our car. He had filled the car in advance with food and staples. On the ferry we stayed in our car. My brother met us in town with our dog. Our friends had our boat waiting for us and our other friends, who were house sitting, graciously allowed us to kick them out early.. Sorry!!!!! In forty eight hours our plans went from laying on the beach for ten more days to home and unpacked.

Yesterday, after unpacking, we phoned all of our kids to tell them we were home. We thanked them for their concern and help. We had to hang up early on one of our kids cause E noticed there were whales behind me.

We started planning a celebration for E’s 20th heart anniversary in June with a trip to Asia. In January we cancelled Asia and booked Mexico. In March we rescheduled Mexico and accepted that we would be celebrating alone at home on the island. It is

not a hardship.




On the beach

E and I are essentially lazy people. Sure it seems like we work hard on the island but deep down our preference is to do very little. We have, it seems, an infinite capacity for staring motionless at the ocean for hours and hours.

I have only read one book. E has read none. We have our head sets on with hours of prerecorded music. Our current favourite pastime at the beach is a game I like to call Spot the Canadian male. It is only for fun. No wagering is involved. Unaccustomed as I am to unreasonable generalizations, the Canadian male it seems has an easily identifiable uniform. Midcalf length shorts in a solid neutral colour. His shirt has no collar and is usually in a coordinated solid neutral tone. If there is a logo on his shirt at all, it is small or of an athletic genre. He is then usually of a fairly, trim build wearing a baseball hat. The hat if it has any logo at all, might have a small athletic logo. Some guy in a shirt emblazoned with Calvin Klein shouting at us or in an orange speedo is likely a very nice fellow but probably doesn’t know that it is perfectly acceptable to drink beer before ten am.

I have on occasion, for seemingly altruistic purposes, offered to take a family’s picture or complimented perfect strangers on their well behaved children. In actuality I am confirming by their accent a guess as to their citizenship.

There is a machine which I call the mexican zamboni. In the morning it scoops up all the seaweed on the beach. I have heard people complain about the seaweed. Not me, living on our island we know seaweed and all I can think of is what great compost it would make in my garden.

Don’t get me wrong, many men of all different nationalities on occasion may wear the uniform of the Canadian male and really, why shouldnt they. It’s a good look

on the beach.

To be thorough

Back in the day, travel agents were sent on Fam trips. Free trips to familiarize us with vacation destinations so that we could go back to the office and sell the packages with some personal knowledge. We would have to write Fam reports when we got home to better inform our fellow agents. I was a corporate agent so I didn’t go on many but for your edification here is my preliminary Fam report for this resort.

The resort where we are staying is gorgeous. We are enjoying it even more so because it seems unusually quiet. Although it is still spring break for many, the resort seems to be maybe two thirds full. As guests finish their weeks, which could be on any day of the week, it doesn’t seem like new guests are replacing them. As we are here for two weeks and most guests seem to only come for one, I am thinking due to the virus, the place will be practically empty next week.

Last night we had reservations at the seafood a la carte down on the beach. When you are considering transitioning to a more vegetarian type diet like we are, coming to a resort like this makes the choice easy. Prawns in garlic sauce, Calamari, Mahi Mahi… I’ll have to see if one of the Chefs would like to come home with us. You know, to stay away from the virus… and in return he could keep cooking meals like last night’s for me.

The resort grounds are very secure. We have yet to hear any gun fire and contrary to warnings from my readers, bedlam has yet to ensue. I can’t imagine the ne’er do wells want to hurt the tourist industry. This resort seems to employ hundreds and hundreds of very pleasant men and women. At any given moment a staff member drops what he is doing to answer our questions or escort us to our next activity.

Honestly , we feel like we are in the Fawlty Towers episode when Basil mistook a regular guest as the secret hotel inspector.

There are no issues with getting lounge chairs on the beach in the areas we like or on the pool deck in our favourite spot. Drink service to our chairs is frequent. We don’t bother making reservations at the a la Cartes. There are many choices and they are all free. We have had Italian, Spanish, and seafood. There is still a Brazilian, Japanese, Mexican and Thai restaurant to try. Although admittedly we eat probably earlier than most, we haven’t had to wait more than ten minutes in the bar for a table.

The other guests are mostly Mexican, European or Canadian. There are very few Americans.

I feel all of these observations should be examined more thoroughly through a comparison visit next year. I am not a scientist but perhaps the data should be collected over a ten year period. You know,

to be thorough.

To our room

First sentence I learned while in French Immersion at Dalhousie was … J’ai besoin de cendrier. (I need an ashtray). My first attempts failed when my new Québécois friends couldn’t understand why I kept asking for Cinderella. (Cendrillon)… I was nineteen and haven’t smoked since I was twenty two.

I dove into the pool yesterday and was quite delighted/surprised to discover that the shoulder replacement surgery I had in 2017 is a success. My arm works. I can swim again. The pools are huge and I had one of them all to myself for hours. Sure, there were guests in the chairs suntanning but no one was swimming.. Honestly, at one point I floated on my back staring up at the sun imagining this is what heaven must feel like.

Everything you could want or need is included at this all inclusive resort…. Every imaginable type of drink and all the house wines you want… But I drink enough cheap red at home. I want something special and there is a cost if you order decent wine. We have made friends with the sommelier we met the first night at the Italian a la carte restaurant and have been getting nice bottles of red with our dinners. But over two weeks it could be expensive.

We decided this morning to take a cab into town for a few bottles of wine for our room. We brought back four bottles and still made it to the pool by noon. But we are idiots and didn’t get screw tops.

I phoned the front desk and asked two different people for a sacacorchos. (Cork screw). They had no idea what we wanted. So we went to the in house store and they said they didn’t have one either. So we went to the front desk in person.. He assured me there would be one sent to our room right away.. We came back to our room at 4 pm cause Mama needs her 4 pm wine. But no cork screw had arrived.

So we went to an early dinner at the Spanish a la carte and who should be the sommelier but our guy from the Italian restaurant. We told him our problem and he happily gave us his corkscrew to take back to our room.

There is something pretty awesome in life when your only problem is the lack of a corkscrew.

I’m still kinda worried about what or who for that matter, they thought we wanted sent

to our room

going swimming again

I have many fond memories of taking the two hour bus ride to summer swim lessons at UBC’s Empire Pool with my siblings. Mom insisted that we all learn to swim. In high school, I spent my Wednesday nights learning how to teach swimming and my Saturdays teaching swimming with my girlfriend at the Y.

Although I always seemed to be on my way to a pool or just coming home from a pool, I wore a one piece Speedo bathing suit while in the pool. I didn’t buy my first bikini until my honeymoon. I was twenty five.

In my thirties I swam lengths after work. In my forties my wrist bones disintegrated and I stopped swimming. In my fifties my right shoulder disintegrated and needed to be replaced.

I haven’t bought a bathing suit for twenty four years. I bravely logged on to a bathing suit buying web site from the comfort of my own home and pressed the purchase button for not one but two bathing suits. I paid the extra surcharge for expedited shipment which allowed me to keep track of the exceptional purchase as it traveled to my island.

I ordered it on February 2nd and paid $16.00 for it to be delivered within 3-5 business days. Chinese New Year celebrations considered, the earliest delivery date would be Feb 14 and the latest, February 20. The tracking link they sent me clearly shows that the package left on February 24th and is still somewhere over the Pacific Ocean.. I suspect the coronavirus has again disrupted my plans.

So yesterday I went into a swim suit store in Nanaimo. If I had two choices yesterday, one to walk through a mile long tunnel infested with spiders or try on bathing suits I would seriously have reconsidered my life long arachnophobia.

There are no buttons or zippers or bows provided on women’s bathing suits. They expect you to pull a flowery sausage tube over your head and down your torso. Then, you somehow have to get your girls squeezed into that sausage tube. Getting out of the tube is even harder. If you have ever seen a baby cow birth you might have an idea.

You need to stuff that sausage five or six more times before you are finished, ’cause, god forbid you like the first four or five bathing suit choices.

But I did it. I now have steel plates on my wrists and a brand new titanium shoulder and a bathing suit. Look at me Mom! I am

going swimming again

do your research

The last really big (read expensive) trip we took was New Years 2001 with our whole family. A two week Caribbean cruise to celebrate E’s new heart. The kids were under fourteen, E wasn’t really drinking and yet our (?) bar bill was 1200.00 USD. Favorite drink when not ordering bottles of gorgeous red wine was a Bahama Mama.

There was very little rain here on the island in February. We had a great January but it wasn’t enough. We are only sitting at 4300 gallons. Admittedly I have used a ton cleaning and tidying. But still it is disappointing.

There will be a point near the end of March when we have to close the rain catchment system because there will be pollen in the air. We. can. not. get. pollen. in. the. tanks. It will turn all of the water into yellow sludge.

4300 gallons sounds like a lot of water but it is never enough. I want a gorgeous garden. I would rather a gorgeous garden than a daily shower. (sorry TMI??)

This resort we are going to has 14 restaurants, swim up bars, beach side bars, daily stocked room bars, bar bars.. Free snorkeling, kayaking, sailing, miniature golf, and tennis. A bunch of pools and a 24 hour bar on the mile long beach. There will be a jacuzzi tub next to our bed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have yet to find out how we get our firewood to the suite or our water down from the well. I don’t think there will be whales but raccoons and dolphins are a thing.

We are having some weird ass dinners as we try to empty the fridge. One night I had carrots, tomatoes, humus and fish crackers. Tonight it was meatballs and scalloped potatoes. Sigh. I am looking forward to someone cooking a nice piece of white fish for me.

My diet has gone for shit lately but I felt I should make an effort to establish the caloric values of potential drink options at the swim up bars.

  • Red wine 85
  • Gin and Tonic 115
  • Martini, no olive 125
  • Bacardi and Coke 130
  • Pacifico beer 145
  • Bahama Mama 169
  • Strawberry Daquiri 220
  • Strawberry Margarita 340
  • Dirty Monkey 348
  • White Russian 500
  • Mudslide 820

The Bahama Mama’s are looking like a very reasonable option. Before one travels, it is always important to

do your research

it for yourself

We received a call this afternoon that there was a dead deer on our lane. E walks that lane every morning and it wasn’t there this morning. We went to check it out.

As I have mentioned before I have seen more dead deer this year than ever before. But this one was, although sad, not upsetting. It died a peaceful death. There was no visable reason for its death, Whatever, the deer was beautiful.

We put it on a tarp and carried it deeper into the forest where the eagles, and vultures could have a feast. Circle of life and all that. Maybe if the eagles have some venison they will leave the pretty geese, who are nesting near me, alone.

This living on the nature channel has been quite the learning curve for me. Eight years ago, the idea that I would touch a dead deer, or then carry it to feed eagles was, well, to put it mildly .. unlikely….

There was something going on in the waters in front of us all day. Seagulls, scoters, and eagles, all feeding in the middle of the channel….. there was definitely some fish there of a sort. Herring???

I do hope our friends are treated to a real show when they are here. It’s one thing for me to tell you that I looked out the window and an eagle was swimming in front of the house. quite another to see

it for yourself