Idling & Idylling in Paradise

April 29th, 2022


Staring up at what was a modest if terrifying stone tower with mere holes for windows, rife with climbing opportunities for the intrepid 7-year-old, I attempted to strike a deal with Phoebe: “If we go up in that tower, will you be calm and a good listener?”

She shrugged. “Pretty much, yeah.” But then she paused for sec… “I mean, I don’t know what’s going to happen in the future.”

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Well, we finally did it. We took a Caribbean vacation with our kids during Vermont’s bleakest month, April (fight me). And it was glorious. I feel sheepish that in all my years on this earth — all 50 of them — it took me this long to visit a US territory that is the East Coast version of Hawaii. Incredible balmy weather, palm trees outside the door of our room, yummy tostones, and just a little tiny moment of rain every day. So my speed.

Jon argues that “a beautiful beachside resort in the Caribbean is everyone’s speed” and I am not special. Fine. But for what it’s worth, I loved it. 

More importantly, my daughters had the time of their lives swimming for hours and hours a day. By my count we still have a few days until the swimmer’s ear sets in. They discovered where coconuts come from, not that they were wondering. They sniffed the raw coconut I insisted we break open and eat. In full disclosure, I bought it at the giant chain grocery store, and when Jon, noting that we were staying in a hotel room without tools, asked “What are you planning to do with that?” I replied, “I’m sure you’ll figure it out.” He did!

My daughters learned how to do underwater handstands. They ducked under a waterfall in a tropical rainforest. They skirted the city of Old San Juan on the path along the city wall, festering with feral cats and skittish iguanas, in the hot sun. They climbed to the old fortress of El Morro and peeked into a sky cell dungeon like the one in the Eyrie. Then they trudged across the town with me in search of the best popsicles in the city, which we found at a place called Señor Paleta.

But enough words. Here are some of my favorite moments. 




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