For my second installment of Revenge Travel, I chose Providenciales, (Provo) Turks and Caicos in the Caribbean. If you haven’t read Part One, you can read it here.
I wanted an island experience; an island where I had never been to before, and where I could read, relax and feel clean white sand between my toes.
It’s important to note that the Turks and Caicos only came onto my radar because American Express Travel sent me an e-mail offering a sweet deal at the resort, in the time frame that I was looking for.
My plans came together pretty quickly once I had made my decision, and so naturally I took it as a sign; a positive sign. A sign that said, yes, this is where you should go next. I thought it was a good idea to be away for my birthday, as it was the first one after my break up.
Somewhere between thirty-thousand feet over the Atlantic Ocean and waiting forty-five minutes in line at customs, I remembered that I actually didn’t want to be traveling. Instead, I wanted to be still. I wanted to address the trauma of the demise of a seven and a half year relationship, and it’s by-products, and fall-out, including, but not limited to, how I was going to see the kids.
However, after I found out that my ex had taken off to Europe (how original… I said to no one), I was compelled to take my passport out of the drawer.
I felt old and lost among the hundred or so tourists whose vacations had begun on the flight from New York and who were already wearing their sarongs and Kappa Sigma muscle T-shirts, in line at the Provo airport.
Fully dressed from head to toe, I waited for my passport stamp. Trust me, it was the only thing keeping me alive. Anyone looking around the hoards of people in customs would have easily picked out which one of us did not belong, due to her, I am not in a vacation mood, puss on her face.
What was I thinking? Revenge be damned. The last thing I needed was to lie on a chaise lounge with a drink in my hand, watching lovers frolic in the sea while I contemplated my navel. I had spent more than enough time in deep contemplation, and the only thing that my navel yielded was a lint.
Unfortunately, these admissions were late in coming, and instead I smiled up at the passport stamp man.
I was now stuck on an island with college kids, the recently engaged, honeymooners, and parents who had escaped their asylums for a few days—and each and every one of them were drunk. It felt eerily similar to being at one of my brother’s parties that he’d have at our house in high school, while our parent’s were away. I stayed locked away upstairs in my room, studying, writing sad poetry, or composing love letters to Bobby Emerson. My point is, I was profoundly out of place.
I checked into my hotel, and I was instantly upgraded to a spacious suite with an ocean view. This would have been a wonderful surprise, had I been on tour with The Partridge Family, and Reuben, (including the musical instruments). I did not need that much room. It only depressed me further, and I felt even more alone than I already did.
I went through the motions of being on vacation, which was a lackluster attempt at best. I walked into breakfast each morning, and quietly sat at a table set for two, pretending that my non-existent companion had the shits, due to a contaminated lettuce leaf, and couldn’t leave the suite. Telling myself this story made me feel only slightly better, as it was like acting in a play.
I read several books on the beach, and romped in the ocean on a paddle board until my skin shriveled up like a prune. The hotel staff was scattered and inattentive with just a hint of rudeness. I was convinced that it was because I was flying solo.
On the afternoon of my birthday, there was a knock on my door. I had no idea what or who it could have been. I didn’t order room service, and no one, including my parents, even knew where I was staying. That probably wasn’t a good idea. If there was an emergency, or a hurricane for instance, and the resort was washed away, nobody back home would have known that I, too, had been washed away.
For half a second, I thought that perhaps my ex had hired a private investigator, or had done his own sleuthing and had found me. Yes, I was still romanticizing, and the hot sun had made me loopy.
I opened the door to find a staff member holding a tray with a piece of chocolate cake on a plate. “Happy Birthday” was written in white frosting along the rim. What? How the f’ did they know? He came into my suite and placed the tray on a table in the entryway, and looked around the cavernous room. “Oh, no family?”
Was he kidding me? How did he know that my family wasn’t frolicking in the ocean or rehearsing in the beachside cabana? How rude, Mr. Cake Man. Now if you don’t mind, please extricate yourself from my presence.
The pit in my stomach, which was the size of Toledo, never dissipated the entire time I was on my dreamy Caribbean getaway. It was a dreadful experience, and I was miserable. Taking a trip alone to a resort that mainly catered to couples certainly was not the healthiest, or wisest, decision that I had ever made. And if I were to guess, it probably wouldn’t be my last.
The experience reminded me of the time that I went to a podiatrist because I got a coupon in the mail. I was shocked and dismayed when the doctor (and I’m only guessing that he was an actual doctor, because I never actually saw a framed degree on the wall) said that I needed surgery to remove both of my bunions, when I only had one.
I guess sometimes a deal isn’t. And sometimes what you think is a sign, isn’t.
When I returned home, I put my passport back in my drawer, hoping that I wouldn’t have to use it for awhile. And I didn’t… until I did.
Revenge travel would see more miles and more stamps.
To be continued…