Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Vacation Time and the Living Is Easy

Husband and I are headed for our first non-kid vacation in fifteen years soon and it is to our favorite place on earth (besides home sweet home, that is), Bermuda. We went to Bermuda three years ago with the kids, fell in love with it, and made a promise that we would return, alone, when we had the chance. We are so looking forward to the trip.

Now you may be asking yourself, why would a melanoma survivor—and someone who assiduously avoids the sun—pick a tropical locale so close to the equator to vacation? First reason is that despite the fact that I can’t swim, I love to swim. And I use that term loosely. My idea of swimming is a spastic doggy paddle/treading water/half American crawl that if you tried to replicate, you might pull a disk out and require immediate surgery. But it has been working for me for years and I’ve learned not to make too many waves with it, so once the other swimmers get used to a middle-aged woman in ankle-length, UV protectant swim tights and a mock turtleneck UV protectant swim shirt flailing about next to them, and are convinced she isn’t having a stroke, everyone has a great time. We also have hats, sunscreen that was created for when you’re actually standing on the sun (ok, not really, but close enough), and swim shoes to protect the feet. Guaranteed, I’ll be the palest person getting off the plane at JFK when we return from the island.

We picked a hotel with seven restaurants because another thing we’re not is intrepid travelers. If you all recall our honeymoon story, we once went off the grid for “authentic” south of the border food, only to have me pick up a parasite, which I’m pretty darn sure still resides in my lower intestine and makes an appearance every once in a while. I’m also pretty sure that it has created its own parasitic family, one that enjoys making me sick every few years or so. So, once we park ourselves at the resorts, it’s where we sit, eat, sleep, “swim”, and lounge for the next week. We’re also not motor scooter people (Dad once forbade me from riding them and I obeyed him—my sister, not so afraid of authority, rode them all through her high school senior year trip to the island and even flashed pictures in his face while I said a silent prayer in the corner; she was, in the words of my grandmother, “bold.”)—but we’re not averse to getting on one of the clearly-marked pastel Bermudian buses and riding into Hamilton for a little shopping and dining. I will resist the urge to buy a “Bermuda bag.” Remember those? They were big when I was in high school. They had a wooden handle and were oval shaped and you could change the fabric on the handle to one of a thousand pastel or paisley selections. I couldn’t carry one off in 1985 and I certainly can’t now. But I often get caught up in the local color and think that I must have whatever it is that they’re selling. A Bermuda bag, though, doesn’t go with my clogs and recycled grocery bag lifestyle. I think I’m old enough and wise enough to realize this but only time will tell.

This time, though, I’m determined to get to St. George, which I heard is an historic part of the island and where you can get a drink called the “dark and stormy” that is sweet but deadly. My kind of drink exactly.

We have plans to partake in some kayaking while we’re there, but I’ve also learned that once we settle in somewhere and regard all of the activities that other resort-goers are undertaking, we just live vicariously through them. We’re both so tired from the school year and my work schedule that while we have great hopes of kayaking, scuba diving, and other water adventures, I bet you anything that the most we’ll do is raise a hand to the bartender to bring us another rum swizzle. That will require most of our energy and we want to make sure we don’t run out of steam too early in the vacation.

I’ll give you a full report upon my return. I plan on returning parasite, and sunburn-free. What are your plans for the summer, Stiletto Gang readers and posters? Will it be full-on relaxation or an adventure vacation? Write in and let us know!

Maggie Barbieri


  1. Just to correct some misinformation - although I flashed pics of myself on a moped in Bermuda, I did NOT actually ride one. Although I have always been considered "bold", I also am very superstitious and had visions of breaking a bone (or more) if I dared disobey my father's orders.

    Trish (The Author's "Bold" Siser)

  2. I'll take a couple of weeks off my day job at the first of August. Won't be travelling too far. My personal economy is not that great right now. I'll enjoy just having the time off.

    aka The Southern Half of Evelyn David

  3. We're going to northern WI for a couple of days in early August to visit my husband's grandad, who is turning 96.

    I'm going for a weekend somewhere in the midwest, probably near our alma mater of Indiana Univ., with my best friend from college. Not sure when, yet.

    But, the big vacation and the one we're very excited about will not happen until late September, when the spouse and I head to DC for 10 days! This is one of our expensive five-to-ten-year-interval vacays. Neither of us have been there and we're really jazzed about it.

    Enjoy, Maggie and Jim! You guys deserve a FAB vacation and I will be eager to hear more about it soon. It sounds very nice--I am also not a sun-bunny, but I like the sand and water, too. And the liquor and food (love an all-inclusive beach vacation, myself!).

  4. Maggie, have a GREAT time! Bring back pictures, please, and blog about how it went. BTW, I am chronically as pale as a vampire due to sun avoidance. So Power to the Pale! ;-)


  5. Have a great time! I remember those Bermuda bags in high school too. I hope to go there one day, right now my husband's been laid off and I'm just starting to get to the point where my writing is paying, so the trip will have to wait. I can't wait to hear about your adventures, Maggie!

    Marie :o)

  6. Sounds great, Maggie, do enjoy yourself.

    My vacations are all something to do with selling books. Next up is three days in Santa Maria at the fair. I'll have a table with my books and do a reading from 11 to 3 each day. But, we'll be away from home, Santa Maria is a lovely place, we plan to have some wonderful seafood dinners (it's near the California coast) and maybe take in a movie or two.

    Marilyn a.k.a. F. M. Meredith

  7. ....and I get to go to Sunny Hill.........