Goodbye Turks and Caicos, I barely knew ya! And yet, for the past four days, you welcomed me with open arms and beckoned me with your hedonistic calling. I fell in love with all my sunrise runs along your lonely stretches of palm lined beaches, snorkeling amidst your colorful coral reefs, and eating your delectable cracked conch and grilled lobster. I adored cavorting with your friendly residents and drinking your Turks Head lager while dazzled by another enchanting Caribbean sunset. Alas, I’ll always cherish doing yoga by the sea and dining beachside with my feet buried in your pristine white sand. The slightly inebriated Canadian couple who had been returning to this paradise for thirty consecutive years told me on the plane coming over, “You won’t want to leave.” They were right, but leave I must—for every Fantasy Island tryst reluctantly ends when the credits roll.
I arrived in this British Overseas Territory to meet my daughter Katie and her boyfriend Nick. Nick’s a deejay/music producer who’ll be playing a couple of sets at the Tropi Beach and Pool Parties held annually on the island. We’re staying at the brand new luxurious Shore Club Resort right on Long Beach Bay. Most of you know that I’m normally too cheap to pay for such outlandish accommodations but don’t you worry, I’ve been partially comped as part of the official performing party. I’m a two-star retiree hanging out at a five-star celebrity venue.
Contrary to what you might think, the people of Turks and Caicos want to avoid the hard partying atmosphere adopted by some of their Caribbean brethren. There are no “spring breakers” here and consequently, these types of musical events are rather scarce. It’s up to Katie and me to get these people grooving to the beat of Nick’s music. Nick knocks it out of the park. Fueled by our outlandish ministrations together with some timely liquid courage, visitors and islanders alike are soon busting out moves worthy of any Cancun nightclub. Afterwards, I’m exhausted—forsaking any post party carnality for the sanctity of the espresso coffee maker, fluffy pillows, and Andy Griffith reruns back in my luxury suite.
I’m not the only parent along for this ride. One of the other deejays happens to be traveling with his in-laws also. We get to talking and learn that we both love to write. He’s Matt Williams, writer and producer of such hit sitcoms as Roseanne, Home Improvement, and the Cosby Show. It’s a bit awkward as I never really watched or liked any of those programs. But he’s never heard of my Huangswhinings blog either so we’re on equal footing, content to lament the perils of having our daughters fall for up-and-coming musical vagabonds.
At least once a day, I’ve been offered weed on this trip. I’m told by one of the party goers that I give off the vibes of a pot smoker. Come to think of it, I do always have the munchies, and my short-term memory is frequently shot. My lack of motivation or coordination also could be dead giveaways. Or maybe it’s just the ponytail. It is somewhat amusing because it’s not exactly the aura my Sunday School class would want me to project. I guess you don’t really want me going on any mission trips in the near future.
As I venture back into the real world, one thing’s for sure about this marvelous experience. It’s not the beautiful scenery that stokes my wanderlust. If you’ve seen one beach, you’ve seen them all. You can find fine sand and blue water and swaying palms everywhere. I’ve been to the South Pacific and the Gulf of Thailand. I’m about as jaded as an emerald Buddha when it comes to natural vistas. For me, it’s the experiences along the way that you simply can’t duplicate, that keep bringing me back—those personal interactions and precious times shared with friends and strangers alike.
Whether it’s the Jamaican ex-pat bartender, content to forever serve fruit flavored libations at the swim up bar to sunburned German tourists—or the Peruvian born photographer with her Buddhist reincarnation rantings—or the playboy from France with “orgy” painted above his crotch and currently living on a sailboat, I want to discover what makes people tick, and there’s nothing like international travel that’ll quickly open your jaundiced eye. Wherever I go, I’m always fascinated by God’s creation and his wonderful sense of humor. Being reunited with Katie also makes me happy.
Goodbye Turks and Caicos. I’ll be back soon.