There is something surreal about being surrounded by ice and snow, driving through freezing rain to get to the airport and then sitting on the tarmac for almost two hours waiting for the airline to de-ice the plane so that it can take off, only to de-plane less than 3 hours later in sunny 82 degree weather, surrounded by palm trees, white sands and the clear blue water that reigns in the Carribean sea.
We are staying at the Atlantis Resort, which is a little like Ceasar’s Palace South; it is a completely self-contained place, with everything from the famous 141 acre water park to its’ own movie theater, casino, upscale shopping, food and (thank god) a Starbucks! Upon arriving we changed from our long sleeves and jeans into bathing suits and headed out. The room key card gets you everything here, and in the water park all of it is free except for the food. We headed first to the Mayan Temple, which boasts 5 water slides – one ominously named the “Leap of Faith” – and tried them out. Ben opted for the less intimidating Jungle River slide, which is a slow descent filled with twists and turns, while Maya and I did the challenge run, where you ‘race’ each other to the bottom. Average time is something over 5 seconds, and you zip into the water like a bullet. The first time I did it I completely overshot the rubberized area on which you are meant to land and came up with two scraped knees from the bottom of the 3 foot deep pool. (Mostly because I couldn’t stand up immediately. The other side effect of such height and velocity is that you tend to wind up with a massive wedgie. Makes you wish you were already wearing a thong bikini, because then you wouldn’t have to try to daintily pull all that spandex out of your butt!) I did try the Leap of Faith later, and it is aptly named, being a 60 foot almost vertical drop that then flattens out, shooting you through a plexiglas tube that runs down the middle of a shark tank and empties you out into another pool just beyond. I saw no sharks, as the spray that flew up from my feet was too intense and I had to close my eyes for the last half of the ride. Tomorrow I will try again while wearing goggles.
The coolest thing that happened to us was on our way back to our section of this massive hotel. There was a guy with a cart selling coconut drinks to people walking by. Ben asked if we could get one, so we stopped. This guy took a coconut and hacked the top off with a small knife. Then he asked if we wanted to try the coconut water, which Maya and I did. We drank about half of it and then he tossed the rest out behind him in the sand. (I almost gasped out loud. Do you know how much money people in New York pay to buy tiny little bottles of coconut water at their local deli’s?) Anyway, then he filled the coconut with ice and, for the kids, made a virgin Bahama Mama. It was $7. I had a $20. He re-filled the coconut for them when it was almost empty and told me to make it an even $10. I still only had a $20. So I asked the family who was still standing nearby with their drinks if they had change for a $20. The husband walked over with a $10, looked at me for a second and then just handed it to me. “Here. Enjoy your drinks. Just buy one for someone else before you go home.” Wasn’t that cool? And we will buy one for someone else before we go.
I’ve never been a huge fan of hot and humid weather for months on end – but 5 days in mid-winter when it’s been super cold and unpleasant for what feels like a very long time? I can almost hear my skin sighing in relief at the influx of Vitamin D…