Monday, May 15, 2006

Valentine's Day On Grand Cayman - Part 1

It was well before dawn, February 12, 1996 and the snow was flying all around the car on the way to the airport. A couple of inches were on the ground already and a blizzard was forecast for the day. I just couldn’t wait to get away from it all.

We had planned the trip the past spring as is needed when planning any trip to the Caribbean. We had had a good year and decided to splurge. The LOML, whom we shall call Sean from now on, was interested in SCUBA diving and wanted to learn. Grand Cayman had the best water clarity (visibility to 80 feet) in the entire Caribbean. Also, a couple of project leaders where I work who frequented the Caribbean gave the island high marks. One of them was a diver and said that the walls were the best and Grand Cayman in particular was best for SCUBA in the Caribbean. A secretary in my department came up with a secluded place to stay, the Cayman Kai Resort on the north shore. We certainly didn’t want to stay on the busy and popular Seven Mile Beach in a high rise hotel with hundreds of other tourists! So we booked our Valentine’s Day vacation. Actually we were going to spend a glorious 9 days there!

We boarded the plane, taxied the runway and as we took off I was thinking, “Bye, bye snow and cold!”, as the flakes flew past my window and then turned to water as they do when taking off. Later, we landed in Miami and waited to board our connecting flight to Owen Roberts International Airport, Grand Cayman. That flight took off and we flew directly over Havana and then greater Cuba. For those of you who do not know, The Cayman Islands, Little Cayman, Grand Cayman, and Cayman Brac are sheltered to the northeast by Cuba. Cuba kind of arches over them, as if protecting them from the lunging Florida. As we flew over Cuba, I was struck by how pristine, undeveloped and environmentally undamaged the inland forests, lowlands and coastline appeared. There was also no smog to be seen. This added to my yen to visit Cuba someday. But the US government just keeps making it tougher to go there.

Then the plane quickly came around and we landed on Grand Cayman soon after passing Cuba. The passengers were very impatient to disembark and straight away got out of their seats, grabbed their luggage, unzipped their pant legs off into shorts (got to get a pair of those) donned sunglasses and hats and headed for the exits. What I didn’t know was that there were no jet ways to taxi to. The plane just stopped, the main front and back doors opened, the cold air of the north was released, the warm, humid tropical air streamed in, fogged up my glasses and people surged for the bright light of the exits. Delicious tropical air!

Sean and I got our things together (I had to stuff my winter coat into a bag; I am always cold on planes) and followed the rest. It was so bright and sunny and hot outside and best of all, I could see palm trees right away! I love it when I can see palm trees! It’s a big selling point for me. There was quite a line for customs, but once there it was a snap, since the Caymans are a British Colony. We had arranged to rent a Jeep nearby and we walked there with our luggage to do the paper work.
Our Jeep was a metallic blue with the windows removed and the steering wheel on the right. So, that meant that Sean was driving. Like the UK, traffic was to drive on the left not on the right as in the US. In went our luggage, and off we drove to our hotel, the tropical breezes blowing our hair, towards Cayman Kai on the secluded north shore.

We found the hotel with no problem, since the island is only 22 miles long with one road going the around the circumference and one cutting through south to north. Grand Cayman is a desert island with scrub trees for foliage. We were very pleased with the resort. It was quite secluded; we could see no other structures around it at all. There were little, attractive white bungalows right near the water on well tended grounds. The sand was white, the water that aqua blue, I was so there. We found the lady manager and she showed us to our bungalow, one that was right near the water; I would say our porch was within 30 feet of it. The interiors were adequate, nothing fancy, but the place was used like a time share, so with people coming and going, the furniture had to be sturdy, and it was. We stowed our stuff and went out to explore.

The resort had a swimming pool, but who would
want to use it when the Caribbean was just right there? There were the obligatory palm trees, seagrapes, lagoon encircled by a reef upon which the waves were crashing, stone sea wall, and restaurant.

I couldn’t wait to get into the water. I donned my new metallic sparkly Speedo and my sister’s snorkel gear (coordinated in hot pink of course!) and lots of sunscreen and headed out for the lagoon. Sean got his camera. To be continued...


Ryan said...

now that puts a happy smile on my sick face! awesome post!

Sue said...

Glad you were able to stop by Ryan. It was paradise there. Sorry I wasn't able to post today, probably not tomorrow either. :(

mr tickle said...

Wow, sounds fantastic. I wanna go there... someday!

Sue said...

Places like Grand Cayman just make life worth living!

Brad said...

there is nothing like the carribean! So did ya'll do any skinning dipping? hehehe

Sue said...

Ya know Brad, in retrospect, we could have! The whole time we were at our resort we only saw one or two folks on the beach, and there were a couple of nude beaches around. Unfortunately, I burn really easily and ended up wearing more than a swimsuit in the water. It was plenty romantic without that!

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