Hot, bitter coffee, espresso. I finish The Secret Chord this morning, on the settee on the porch. I feel rinsed, wrung. I have to be dragged back here, to this tropical island, from the scrubby, brutal, bloodwashed Israel I have occupied. I immediately download Swing Time, by Zadie Smith. Only a few more days to read for pleasure.
Last night we played cards on the little wooden table on the back deck – Spit, and Rummy, in the fading light. Then we headed over to the open air bar for a quick drink – eighteen dollars apiece, these drinks, and we have limited ourselves each day to just one. I got an espresso martini – it tasted like iced coffee, truly, although it was beautifully presented with a head of cool foam and five diagonal perfectly placed coffee beans. Above us we saw at last the stars, which have been hidden by clouds the past two nights. The lighting was low – they make a point to minimize light pollution here – so we saw more than we would at home, in the city. I settled into a long, low couch full of pillows, the Prof across from me in a low wicker chair. Behind us, at the bar, four people lined up on stools and enjoy whiskey, cigars. Across from us were several employees on a night off, enjoying a drink, dressed up. Above us was a pergola with no vines – the bar is new, I don’t know if they will plant anything here and train it up the sturdy poles or not, but it seems a little funny to build a roof that is not a roof – slatted, keeping off neither rain nor sun.
Back to the room, I read some more. I skimmed through a few work emails, nothing substantive, but enough to note that we lost a big appeal. I put it out of my mind. Then I slept, in the four poster bed, surrounded by sheer net curtains. They turn down the bed each day and untie the curtains, then tie them back up in the morning.
Now it is morning on our last full day, and the wind is gone at last, the sky seems clearer. Perhaps we can go to the beach without being sandblasted today. My muscles are somewhat sore so I do some yoga on the damp wood of the porch. Breakfast soon.
Yesterday was a fairly lazy day. After breakfast – over easy eggs, sausages, bacon – we started the day with pooltime. Relaxing – still windy, but still enough today that we can open an umbrella and not be fully cooked under the sun. Some trailing through the water, I swim a few laps. There are children this morning, noisy and splashing.
I read a little of Swing Time, stare out over the ocean, doze.
Midday, after a quick and very hot run through the plantation path, we move to the beach. I kayak once more. We lounge. We walk out to the shallow sandbar area – the tide is in, and the water comes up to our waists, but no higher. I see someone taking instagram pix on the shore – I see lots of this, posed pix. I mean I’m taking pictures, don’t get me wrong, but it’s funny to see women (always women) splaying their limbs and looking dramatic, all over the place. They are all very pretty.
That afternoon, we retreat to the room and I watch a show on Netflix, taking a break from the hot sun. We have afternoon tea – peanut butter and chocolate cakes, passionfruit macaroons, Darjeeling tea. Then a bit of snoozing before drinks and dinner. They serve complimentary drinks and appetizers at the beachfront bar – a “Drink with the Manager” type thing. We have oceans of wine and lots of delicious bites, then head over for our dinner reservations. We share a bottle of Spanish red wine, a salad, basil and mozzarella pizza and a lamb ragu with pappardelle pasta. Nothing stunning here but good, just the right amount. Then to bed.
This morning, we go to breakfast, then take another walk along the plantation path and run into an Earth Day celebration of sorts. We hadn’t intended to participate in this, but are greeted so warmly that we pretend we meant to join them all along. Some staff have gathered a few guests and we are planting trees – except we are permitted to do the bare minimum of work. Someone else dug the hole, unwrapped the coconut sapling, piled dirt – we literally pick the little tree up, put it in the hole, and then kick some dirt in. It all felt a little silly, but we were good sports I think.
After this, we walk down the path behind one of the plantation workers, and he takes us to a little table where he uses a machete to cut a hole in some coconuts so we can drink.
Then he carves me a little spoon out of a coconut hull, so I can scoop out some of the flesh. It’s lovely. The staff tell us some ways that coconut can be prepared – a way to make a sort of peanut brittle out of it, in a skillet. After enjoying some coconut delicacies, we head off down the path and say good-bye to the group, and I show the Prof the stream I ran by the other day.
Then it’s time to go back and pack up, take the ferry boat back to the main Cay where the airport is. It will be good to see the boys, but tough to leave paradise.