Monday, June 7, 2010

Eat, Pray, Laugh and Tan?

Preparation A

It wasn't the usual chain of events leading up to our annual vacation. Steve wasn't able to go on our two week lay around the beach and eat ourselves into a coma holiday this year so I needed to find an alternative travel partner to get away with. Short of placing a personal ad in the newspaper I polled different people and ended up securing my niece who resides in NYC. She is married and seven months ago gave birth to an adorable baby boy. She was quite convincing with the idea that traveling with an infant would be a breeze. After all...what do infants do all day? Eat,sleep,poop and giggle?


For the most part that is true but babies do other things than giggle and poo. They scream like banshees and sometimes don't sleep when you want them to. Was this something new to me? No. I had three babies but I figured that while I was rearing them a part of my brain fizzled so badly that any memory of crying and pooping in DA pants went out the window. I do seem to remember keeping them inside in a dark room until they were human enough to go into society without disturbing anyone.

All in all this kid was an angel. What I did learn on this trip was that when a baby cries at 5 a.m. you are allowed to go back to sleep if you are not its mother. The issue was ...I couldn't. I was wide eyed and bushy tailed before the sun came up everyday. In fact, I watched them both sleep while I waited for movement. Its been twenty years since I heard anyone cry out in the middle of the night....ok maybe the cats make a few mew mews but this was different.

So my total sleep hours for the week coupled with the fact that I was back at work soon after the trip resulted in the tardy writing of this blog. My apologies and I missed you too so here you go....

Let's start with my flight to Aruba. I knew that I would somehow have to amuse myself for 5 + hours so Steve and YO downloaded some shows for me to watch on the plane. Oh and FYI I'm not a good flyer. I like to know what is about to transpire during the entire time I'm 35,000 ft in the air. I had to figure out whose arm I would dig my nails into during takeoff, landing and times of turbulence. On MY ideal flight I would be seated next to the pilot and near the flight recorder but instead I made my way into the body of the airplane hauling my brand new Louis Vuitton carry-on bag that weighed more than my checked luggage. Here's a list of what I NEED in my carry-on so you can understand:

1. Laptop

2. Laptop Charger

3. Phone Charger

4. Ipod Charger

5. Ipod

6. Main Makeup bag – assortment of items to make me look human

7. Secondary Makeup bag for a quick fix of lipstick so that I don’t have to pull out my Main Makeup bag

8. Pens

9. Prescription medications (which by the way I don’t need but I travel with “just in case” I get something

10. About a pound of roasted unsalted Almonds

11. About a half a pound of dried apricots

12. About a quarter of a pound of sour grape jellies (the ones with sugar which I brush off)

13. A pair of gold flip flops

14. Two pairs of sunglasses

15. One pair of glasses

16. One pair of sunglasses that are reading glasses which you can wear in the sun to read with

17. Kleenex

18. Package of Baby wipes

19. Some personal hygiene products

20. My small travel purse ( which contains $$$, Passport, loose change)

21. All the documentation that I have printed out regarding my booking over the past two months – which you don’t really need because they have it all online when you check in but I like to have Hard Copies of things just in case they don’t believe me.

22. Extra t-shirt ( don’t ask me why)

23. Hair accessories

24. Ear buds

25. Ear plugs

26. Brush

27. A Danielle Steel Novel (which I never got to read)

28. Sesame seed bagel with butter, sliced cheese, tomato and lettuce (which Steve made me and it got really soggy but when you’re starving who cares)

29. Fuji apple (sliced and sprinkled with lemon juice to avoid going brown but it did anyways)

30. Most important item? My blackberry which must remain OFF during the flight due to airline regulations.

As I approach (19C) which I hand picked when booking the flight I see that there is a gentleman in my aisle seat.

“Excuse me, I believe you're in the wrong seat” I say politely. He and his travel companion look at me and motion that 19C is the window seat. Um no. It's the aisle I explain. After two minutes of looking at seat diagrams and holding up the other passengers they finally figure out that I'm right and scoot over so I can park my butt and my obnoxious bag.

I didn't really want to start off on the wrong foot so I quickly turned on my airplane charm and introduced myself to my seat partners (19A and 19B). Lovely people from Trinidad. Mother and son duo. I noticed during the flight that the son (19B) never rose from his seat. I later discovered why.....

When he walked through to the terminal upon landing he was “shlepping” one leg after the other. “Schlepping” definition: yiddish word for dragging along. Oh G~d! I made a cripple who has a double leg shlep move seats for me! I thought for sure I would be struck down by lightening for that sin. I had to make it better in order to avoid a probable bad thing happening to me. I later approached his mom to apologize and she thought nothing of it. In fact she gave me that “are you for real” look. I'm happy to say that nothing happened as a result of my insisting a cripple move from 19C to 19B with the exception of a very strange occurrence that I have never before experienced on a flight. The Captain came on the speaker just before landing to inform us that international rules have changed and they are now required to spray the entire cabin with insecticide before landing. Excuse me? Was this a joke? In an instant the flight attendant swung open the two front drapes that separated the peasants from the first class cabin. He was armed with two spray cans in each hand and walked through the aisle spraying a soft mist of disgusting smelling raid-like crap that made everyone gasp for air. This was it! They were trying to gas me for not allowing the cripple to sit in 19C......the only thing was.....everyone else had to pay for my stupidity as well. Once they finished spraying and we finished coughing we were allowed to land. I honestly feel that this substance may have contributed to my onset of early menopause AND I have had symptoms of agent orange ever since they tried to kill us.

I had no problem finding my niece and the baby after we landed. They were standing at the luggage carousel waiting and off came my suitcase in a flash! We were whisked away to our hotel and as we were checking in the lobby lady handed us cold towels and champagne before the front desk assigned us our room. How totally 5 star was that?

We were told that we snared an Ocean Front room and both of us squealed with delight! Princesses united we made our way up to the fourth floor. Me with my light suitcase and heavy carry-on and her with her heavy suitcase, heavy carry-on, heavy diaper bag, heavy stroller and fairly light baby.

We needed to discover our new territory so off we went to find a local market for water. On our way we noticed a cool looking place next to our hotel for dinner. They advertised their specialty on a TV monitor outside the restaurant. “Stone cooking”. What that essentially means is this:

Food is prepared and placed RAW on an individual sized stinking hot stone. The stone then cooks your food. Nifty idea? Not really. Here's the situation....we arrive at the place...sit down.....order....and within two seconds a waitress descends upon us to drape RED life vest~like bibs over our heads. Immediate reaction? My niece laughs so hard she's crying on the garlic bread. This in turn makes me laugh to the point of Apnea which impedes on my ability to catch my breath. Plus we both are wondering why the hell we bothered getting dressed if we were going to be covered in red life vests during our meal? The meal arrived spewing hot smoke from the stone. Picture hot smoke, steam and chicken spew on a night we chose to sit on the patio in Aruba where it's 98 degrees. Needless to say wearing the red vest was minimal compared to what my hair transformed into after these underlying conditions.

While we were watching our breasts sizzle on the prehistoric stone we started to slice into the meat which was still raw. The concept was to cook it yourself which is not my idea of a holiday. As we slowly ate our self prepared chicken we noticed that it kept cooking. End of story? Stone dry breasts.


Dushi Bagels, Umbrella's that Consume and Lockdown in Room 468

As we walked through the main area in front of our hotel we scouted out the breakfast places for the duration of our stay. Our plan was to keep it cheap for our morning and lunch meals and blow it all on lavish dinners. Good idea since we were on a "princess" vacation and not in an all-inclusive hotel. We stumbled across the only bagel joint in Aruba and couldn't help but notice the name...... Dushi Bagel. ( Pronounced DOOSHIE ) Kind of a strange name for a bagel place but after researching this I found out that "Dushi" means "prettiest" in the language of the Arubians. If that's the case we were definitely looking the "dushiest" in our swimwear and coverups that day. So we made our way for the prettiest bagels in town and ordered our Dushi's. Two Bagels with a fried egg and melted cheese to be exact. After breaksfast we walked back to the hotel to stake our claim at the beach. Here's how it works. If you are an early riser you run out to the pool area, get your towels and set up your lounges in a prime spot. At an all-inclusive you do this by a Hyatt there is always a pool guy available to do this task for you....for a price. Tippity Tip Tip Tip. The good thing is....once you tip them the first time....they come running when they see you again the next day. One of us would run down early in the morning to grab our real estate for the day. On one particular morning I ran down without tip money by mistake. As I proceeded to try to open the GIANT umbrella myself it actually swallowed me up inside of it and trapped me. If I only had my 2 buck tip I would not have been consumed by an umbrella. I managed to back out from the bottom of the man-eating umbrella and made my way over to Juan the pool boy. "Can you please help" I asked? I think he must have witnessed the whole scene from the towel hut and was quite amused. I told him that I was Tipless today and would make up for it tomorrow......which of course I did because Juan didn't forget. He stragetically positioned himself to grab his 2 bucks the next day and the day after and the day after etc.

After a long day in the sun we wanted to treat ourselves to a nice seafood dinner at the Aqua Grill. My niece thought it would be a great idea to feed Baby G. in the restaurant BEFORE we ordered our meals. She dressed him up in a stunning crisp cotton Ralph Lauren jumpsuit and off we went looking like three dushi's from T.O. & NYC. Once we hit the restaurant we asked for a highchair. The result of this FEED THE BABY BEFORE WE EAT was this......- Mr. Lauren ralphed on his crisp jumpsuit and for the rest of the meal he tried to steal his mother's shrimps. How could you be mad at a face like this?


Ramp it up with Latin Music...

I noticed that traveling with a baby is like traveling with a disabled person. Everywhere you go must be wheelchair accessible due to the stroller issue. Instead of taking the stairs you are required to find a ramp or an elevator. On a few occasions I found myself sans stroller in the resort. I discovered secret  ways to get places so quickly by using the simple method of stair climbing. I actually started to miss stairs by day three. I wanted to run up and down stairs so badly I developed Stair Envy. I even found a cool set of stairs that led to our room and snuck up those when I came up from the pool alone on occasion. I had become a STAIR GAZER.

So our usual routine in the late afternoon would start with a bath for Baby G. My niece would go up early and give him a nice cleansing. She would then place him in a towel, fluff up his blonde locks and dress him in something spiffy for the evening. I got my turn to shower and then once I was ready I let her take her shower so I could watch Mr. Baby. By the way, he loves his Auntie D. For some reason I make him giggle. I am not sure if it is because I am funny or funny looking. The thought that was probably going through his little baby head was this....."when I landed on this G-d foresaken island I saw a blonde lady with straight flowing hair in the airport, she kissed me hello and a day after we got here there is another blonde lady who is staying with me with "medusa like" scary frizzy hair but she really is quite amusing and makes me laugh at her....where's the first lady? ".

My niece brought her ipod and speakers with all of baby G's favorite tunes loaded on it......this of course leads to dancing......all around the room in circles.....and if you stop dancing.....he starts we continue...dancing. Our reservation is at 7:30 p.m. at a Steakhouse tonight. Why a steakhouse when I don't eat red meat? My niece and the concierge were now bff's and they made these decisions behind my back.  I totally trusted them and concluded that I'm always bound to find a food that has feathers or gills in any restaurant. Baby G. was fed before our departure (smart move) and was tucked into his carseat with his foo foo. What is a foo foo you ask? No, it's not an item on a Chinese menu. A foo foo is a security blanket which is designed to comfort a baby when they are tired or cranky. A foo foo is a piece of fabric with magical powers. I have actually never had foo foos for any of my boys but now that I have witnessed this phenomenon I wished that I had giant foo foos back then. It works like this - Baby G cries, you throw the foo foo blanket at him and he puts his thumb in his mouth while snuggling the foo foo and settles down. HOW the FOO does that work? I'm thinking it has some sort of reverse catnip effect embedded inside of the fabric. Once you have touched a foo foo you will want one too too.

Off we go to El Goucho's Steakhouse......elevator, ramp and into the taxi.  Baby G. is sound asleep in the carseat which is hooked inside the stroller as we arrive. As we sit down at the table we notice the unthinkable. There are strolling musicians in the restaurant who are heading right towards our table. My niece starts waving her hands above her head as if a train is about to hit her on a railway track. The musicians slowly move past our table and try to perform for the other table next to niece is still waving like an air traffic controller on crack.......GO AWAY PEOPLE.....there is a sleeping baby here!
We ordered our meals.......steak for for me. I instruct her to quickly slice her meat when it arrived so that she is prepared for the worst case scenario. She follows my instructions. Just as she takes her first bite of mouth watering meat the stupid musicians BREAK OUT in the song VOLARE in the next room causing the crowd to cheer loudly and resulting yes.... in Baby G. getting up and wanting to do guess what? DANCE!

Our mission that evening was to eat, throw the baby back in the cab and make our way to our hotel in time for the season finale of Desperate Housewives. Ideally we would have around 30 minutes to arrive, go to our room and get the baby settled into bed. As we made our way to our room the key card failed on the double entrance door that separated our room from the suite next to us. Hmmmm....interesting. After being trapped outside of our room for what seemed like hours and me running up and down the side stairs (which I am obsessed with) to the lobby we managed to get a Hyatt repair guy to establish that our neighbours must have double locked the door from the INSIDE. Now who would do such an idiotic thing? Well, I'll tell you who....people who wanted us to move to another hotel probably. So what if the baby cried "a bit", does that make it okay for someone to intentionally want to lock us out? Well hell ya. We heard them try to do it again the next night but we were already safely tucked in our room. Did we get to see Desperate Housewives? Yes, barely. Did I get compensated for sitting in a hallway waiting to get into our 5 Star room? Of course. The front desk manager gave us a $50 food credit on our bill....which in Hyatt's terms translates to this: 2 eggs, sausage, a juice and some dry toast each. Yes folks $51 exactly to eat breakfast with black swans floating by us. Well? It was free.... and all we needed to do was sit in a hall.


Hot (fat) men - Cleopatra style and floaties

Steve was a bit concerned about me going away alone without him. He tends to be a little jealous sometimes but I assured him that he had nothing to worry about. I was in good company. A niece and a baby....we were safe from being approached by gigolos. On day four, I was lounging around the pool waiting for Baby G. to wake up from his morning nap when out of nowhere I felt the sun go behind a cloud. Or so I thought. There wasn't a cloud in the sky. I placed my hand over my eyes to see what was causing this darkness and before me stood a giant man who weighed give or take 450 lbs. He was instructing Juan the pool boy on how to set up THREE, yes three stacked chairs next to me so that he could easily slide himself on and off them throughout the day. I'm usually a social person but I had my eyes closed when the "friendly giant" struck up a conversation with me. My niece found this quite entertaining and for the first time in 4 days I wished that Baby G. would wake up and get me out of this scenario. I couldn't pay attention to anything he was saying because as he maneouvered onto his three stacked chairs I was picturing the Fairy Tale the Princess and the Pea. Remember that one? Needless to say, the baby took an extra long nap that day while I listened politely to his recollections of buffet food feasts. For the balance of our vacation we checked out where Juan prepared the three stacked chairs and ensured that we went North of there.

We spent quite a bit of time in the water because it was scorching hot in Aruba. Who goes there in May anyways? My niece was prepared with pool toys for the  baby, one of which was a floatie. Backtrack to day one for a second. We are armed with sunscreen, a scuba-like suit for the kid, tiny animal shaped bath toys and THE FLOATIE. The floatie was a gift from my niece's two best buddies who are referred to as "the guncles" which translates to gay uncles. The floatie had it's maiden voyage in Arizona when she went to visit her friend there and it seemed to work well. It was a really cool device that folds up and is easy to travel with. There are only two problems with it when you give us the responsibility of using it.
1. We had no idea you had to blow it up
2. Once we blew it up we had no idea how to deflate it.
End of story?  Babies don't float well without air and mother's don't cope well with 5 easy step instructions on how to store your floatie. It took every last ounce of restraint not to stab the living daylights out of the floatie in order to fit in back into the minsicule plastic bag from which it emerged. This was after my niece decided to waltz around the room wearing it on her head like a huge sombrero and freaking out the baby. Give me strength.

Not soon after my conversation with the next Biggest Loser contestant, Juan the pool boy appeared from the bushes with a beautiful arrangement of fruit on skewers followed by another pool guy who was holding a plant mister in his hand. Fruit followed by a cool shpritz of water. We both looked at each other and decided that we could very well be the next Real Housewives of Aruba.

In keeping in tune with our concierge line-up we had a reserved table at Madame Jeanettes for dinner that evening. I was really looking forward to trying this place as I heard it was quite popular. Last night we went to a nice Italian joint within walking distance of our hotel. Baby G. was in a great mood after his supper of parsnips, pears and gruel and we were hoping for a peaceful dining experience on the outdoor patio of this establishment. Once we hit our seats the waitress came over and poked her head in the stroller to goo goo gaa gaa at the baby. Why do people feel that this is necessary to do? If the baby is half asleep he won't be after some stranger sticks their head into the stroller to scare the shit out of him. I believe this type of behaviour should go with the same rules that apply in a fine china store. "YA BREAK IT YA BUY IT". So in turn IF YA WAKE IT YA TAKE IT  because you are a bumbling imbecile you are then required to care for the child for the rest of the night. Unfortunately, the waitress left with our order in the nick of time and just before Baby G. screamed "lemme outta here"!!  For some reason I felt that I should be ordering a drink that night so my niece convinced me (the cheap drunk) to join her with a Sangria. Here's timeline of what transpired during that meal:
7:12 p.m. - cocktails arrive at the table (Baby G. also arrives on our lap)
7:13 p.m. - appetizer of Buffalo Mozzarella arrives (waitress convinced us to upgrade to the Buffalo cheese unbeknownst to us that it was $26 instead of $12 for regular Kraft mozzarella)
7:17 p.m.- Main course arrives
7:20 p.m. - Bill arrives
7:22 p.m. - depart restaurant
7:30 p.m. - I'm dancing drunk in the street
7:33 p.m. - I can't remember what I ate for dinner
Within 20 minutes we ate, drank and dropped over $120 on the meal. Impressive eh?

So on this night, we got very very lucky - Baby G. fell asleep in the taxi and stayed asleep while his mother and aunt stuffed their faces like we were going off to war.

We had a blast and thanked Baby G. for letting us finish our meal in OVER 20 minutes.
I'll have a number 57 with a side of Clooney

We were all sailing through the holiday without any major glitches until today. My nieces blackberry decided to stop functioning. Now I know what I would be like if my blackberry didn't work - I would rather have a front tooth pulled. We had an issue. How do you get tech support on a desert island? Thankfully she had her computer and I suggested she email Verizon to see if they could give her some assistance. After a day at pool and talking to some schizohrenic parrots who loved to whistle at us we were prepared for another wonderful meal at a Chinese joint in the Westin Hotel just down the street from our place.  As usual our evening had to be planned precisely due to another Season Finale.....Grey's Anatomy. Once we reached the hotel restaurant we couldn't help but notice how beautiful it was. I spotted a table near the fish tank so that Baby G. would be occupied by the sea life. They served both Chinese and Japanese food there.....I guess you could call it a CHAPENESE restaurant? A nice waitresss took our order and loved how cute our dinner companion was looking in his Lynrd Skynrd one piece outfit. When the meal arrived Lynrd, his mother and his aunt (me) were served by a waiter who looked kinda like a young George Clooney (more like a Jorge but still cute). We loved Jorge because he made a point of serving the Real Housewives of Aruba our food and then posed for pictures with us..a big improvement over the 3 stacker chair Michelin Man. So while we dined on Orange Chicken and Noodles, Lynrd found his mother's necklace more pleasing to his palate.

Once we left the restaurant we needed one more photo-op in the lobby of the Westin. Why the doorman felt that he needed to be in the shot I'm not sure but when you are a Real Housewife of Aruba it's rude not to pose with...... your fans! Once we finally got going we bee-lined it back to our hotel to get ready for what turned out to be the most riveting Season Finale of Grey's we've ever seen. During the last 10 minutes of the show (which were the best by the way) the phone rings and my niece answers it. "Hello Mrs. K., this is Verizon Tech Support, can I help you solve the issue of your phone not working"? To which my niece replies, "Thanks for getting back to me Brian but I have a little issue here, it's the Grey's Season Finale and you called me with the last ten minutes left in the show". I looked at her and said "did you just tell tech support to HOLD?" She then continues to let Brian the Verizon guy talk while she is not listening to a word he says. All I can hear is this "um what?" "um ya", Um what? Basically Brian was being ignored by Mrs. K. who was more interested in whether or not Dr. McDreamy would live or die. At that point did it even matter that she received this type of customer service on an island for her blackberry? No. Just as we started to give up hope ( like we almost did for Dr. Shepperd) the phone made a miraculous recovery and all was well on the island again.   


A Farewell to Mocktails, Babies in Burkas and The Last Supper

During the week we introduced Baby G. to the good life. We called it mocktail hour. Auntie D. went to the KaDushi Bar by the pool and had them whip up a couple of fruit smoothies to quench our thirst. Price for two smoothies? 18 bucks. Worth it? YES sir. They were seriously the best drinks we have ever had and Baby G. thought so too. He practically dove his entire body into the cup, shlurpping and guzzling his way through the sweetness of the fruit and loving the icy coolness against his sore teething gums.
Since we found this to be theraputic for all of us we made it a ritual of ordering these mocktails everyday without hesitation. My fear was what happens if Baby G. goes back to NYC and starts going into mocktail withdrawal? Is there rehab for smoothie addicts?  I wonder.

Coming into the final stretch of our vacation we needed to ensure that Baby G. had a taste of the ocean. He had already become accustomed to the pool and it was time for the big leagues now. My niece and I pretty much see eye to eye on most subjects so we found ourselves quite compatible on the trip. When it comes to the ocean we are both pretty narrow minded. If we can't see our feet we're usually quite squeamish on going into the water due to the possibility of coming in contact with gross sea creatures and seaweed. The issue was we could not leave Aruba without dipping into the beautiful blue waters with the baby so we ventured out to the beach a couple of times. On one occasion we started wading in slowly, barely got in a few feet when something touched our legs. Not knowing what it was attacking us the immediate reaction was to:

A) scream

B) jump

C) run out of the water while simultaneously yelling EW EW EW EW EW.

So maybe we are not cut out to be the next Jacques Cousteaus of the world but then again is he still alive or was he eaten by a shark? I seem to recall something inevitable happening to him along those lines. I mean really...if your career is to play with sharks, alligators or white tigers one day you are bound to become their appetizer...come on people.

Our ocean time was always short but we managed to dip the baby in enough times to ensure he was kosher via the salt water. Once we finished our two second ocean dip we prepared ourselves for lunch. While walking down to the pier for a bite we discovered that there was no sidewalk leading to the bar and grill located at the end of the pier. There was only one choice. Shlep (drag) the stroller through the sand. For the past 6 days I had not even seen the inside of a gym. Mostly because I was too tired to even lift my fork and also because I didn't want to miss a second with Baby G. After all, I was on this holiday to bond with the two of them right?

Let me tell you what's its like to drag a stroller through the sand backwards with a 14 pound baby strapped into the seat. Uh ya.... Its a helluva workout. Once we reached our destination we found ourselves seated in a crowded restaurant directly in the sun. Not good. We melted into small puddles within seconds so I asked to be moved. They allowed us to sit in the outdoor bar area even though we were underage.....I mean even though the baby was underage. It was loud, noisy and full of cruise ship passengers. Well this didn't stop him from enjoying the view and of course the loud reggae music led to...what else? DANCING! Once our lunch arrived Baby G. was given his first taste of fried heaven. We gave him a fry. Boy was this kid loving it. He danced, drank and scoffed down an entire french fry. Yes ONE Fry seemed to go a long way for this child. We finished, paid the bill and hoped that all this fun and excitement would tucker the little guy out BUT no...he wanted to be carried back to our hotel. The problem was he wasn't wearing enough sunscreen or his hat so we needed to come up with a solution. Thankfully Auntie D was smart and there was a large beach towel lining the stroller. Here's what you would have witnessed if you were there with us. Two Caucasian Jewish women running through the sand with a Taliban baby dressed in a light green burka.

We looked like we had kidnapped him off the streets of Kabul. We made it back to our 5 star shvitzing (sweating) like pigs. Boy, this business of stroller shlepping and baby snatching was hard work.

We needed a reward for this and tonight was the night we pulled out all the stops. My niece and her concierge buddy made arrangements for dinner at an exclusive restaurant nestled up on a hill. It overlooked the pristine aqua blue waters of the island. I believe it was called La Trattoria and it was right beside an old lighthouse. So picturesque. So beautiful. So dam crowded with a Wedding party! When we arrived Baby G. was sound asleep in his stroller. The Maitre D informed us that there would be a wait for a table so we ordered some drinks and soaked in the view. I had no idea what was on the menu or what the prices were but all that was going through my brain at the time was this.....even if the meal was $500 per person it would have been fine for the view alone. We both ordered the house special.... Lingiune with shrimps in a rose sauce.

The meal wasn't even that high priced even though this was one of the most breathtaking places on earth. On our way to the restaurant we noticed a tour bus parked outside the lighthouse. On it was written ~ Kuka Kanuka Tours: pronounced (cooka kanooka). We concluded that we were definitely three dushi kuka kanukas enjoying ourselves in paradise. Tomorrow it will be back to reality. My niece and Mr. Baby in NYC and me back in the T Dot.


Swans for breakfast, Can I "turndown" Chocolates and 19C

Luckily for the two of us we had our flight times pretty much synchronized. My niece's departure was within 20 minutes of mine.

Before we left our hotel we had a lovely breakfast by the pond while watching black swans float by us. Remembering back to my first honeymoon in 1981 in Maui there were always these types of birds and wildlife at Hyatt Hotels. The only catch with this type of Shangrila atmosphere is you PAY for it. As I told you before we had a minimal meal of eggs, toast and juice for a whopping 51 buckaroos! Was it worth it? Of course! Would we do it again? Not a chance... unless those stupid swans laid golden eggs. I almost forgot to mention the famous Hyatt "turndown" service in the evenings. I noticed that our room was always left out when the evening chambermaid was doing her rounds. An entire week went by before it dawned on me that we were missing out on "turndown" service. I approached the front desk lady ( who was starting recognize me by the way) and asked why we were not getting our beds turned down and fresh towels left in the washroom. Her answer was simple. "You didn't ask for it". HUH? I didn't ask for it? What do you mean didn't ask for it? Isn't it part of the Hyatt 5 Star ritual? She explained that "turndown" service must be requested by the guest. She also said that some guests prefer not to have the service as it can be "interruptive". Interruptive? We spent an entire week in a resort with a baby and she was worried that we would be interrupted by a chocolate and a clean towel? I requested the turndown service for our last night.  This is what we got. A couple of chocolates and our remote control on our bed....I guess in case we couldn't find it? And what did we do with our chocolates? We turned them down and went to sleep.

4:45 pm (Aruba Airport Terminal)

We hugged and kissed goodbye ... I watched as her American Airlines jet took off and moments later I was boarding my Air Canada flight. I spotted my crippled friend and was certain that I could redeem myself by offering him my pre-arranged 19C aisle seat. He declined as they had already made a request to sit in another row. Did this mean we were no longer BAFF's (best airplane friends forever)? No such thing. We chatted again a few days later when they called me at work to say hello.

I made my way to 19C and this time there was a large purse in my seat. I asked the pretty young lady in 19B if the bag belonged to her and she said NO. It seems that 19C always wants to be occupied by a human or inanimate object. I lifted the purse up and said “anyone here own this bag”???? belonged to the lady in 18C. I gather she felt that it would be a convenient place to store it during the flight or what?

I sat down once again with my big obnoxious carry-on, turned to my new BFF airplane friends in 19B and 19A and said..

"Hi...I'm Debi and you're stuck with me for the next 5 and half hours"

Lucky them.

*Post note to this Trip Story. I arrived home safely at 10:30 pm on Saturday night and woke up for work on Tuesday morning. I'm unsure of what transpired during the two days in between.

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