Sunday, November 23, 2008

BACK from Paradise a.k.a. The Curse of Montezuma

We're back from paradise. The radio silence comes to an end. So much to write about. Will do so slowly over the next few weeks. The trip cost a fortune, but even a seasoned tightwad like myself can't help but begrudgingly admit that it was well worth it, especially to mark our 10 year anniversary.

The Maldives truly is paradise on earth. Lots of beautiful little islands. Clear beaches. Coral reefs and amazing tropical fish. Most resorts are on their own little island with a hundred or so guests. So basically, you're secluded with your loved ones and get to snjoy the sea. It sounds rather confining, but it's not so when you're being pampered.

The Maldives was a fitting destination for us to mark our 10 years of marriage since we'd first heard about the place 10 years ago. I'd stumbled on a NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC filled with amazing pictures of the Maldives and used to look at it quite a bit back then when we were living in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. We've had an amazing 10 years since. What an adventure! We've been very lucky, knock on wood. Bottom line is, the Maldives trip is something we will treasure for a long long time...

We got to lounge about, eat well, read from time to time, watch DVDs, and swim in our own private backyard pool, complete with two crows who would stand guard and a great view of the moon peeking above the coconut trees. We also got to ride a little seaplane like the ones they had in FANTASY ISLAND.

The Plane! The Plane!

We got to scuba dive for the first time and even got certified. Yes, we had to sit in a classroom for a bit during our vacation and had to practice hand signals--my favorite is the one for "Out of air"-- and various other scuba skills in a lagoon, but we're PADI Open Water Divers now with four open sea dives notched on our weight belt, ready and itching to scuba again to a depth limit of 18 meters.

We also learned to skin dive with our snorkels. We'd done snorkeling before but always from the surface. We didn't know how to clear the snorkel underwater. We also didn't know about hyperventilating to expand our underwater dive time. I really like skindiving and am amazed by just how deep you can actually go just on your own lungs.

In addition, I got to windsurf again, which I'd first tried in Mexico about 2 years ago. It looked so easy then but was so hard. I'm sure there are lots of kids who pick it up easily, but it took me three afternoons in Mexico just to get my balance and be able to lift the sail without falling in the water. Three days of tenacious effort and lots of ropeburn on my hands only to be cursed by Montezuma with dead calm and no wind...

This time, there was enough wind. And despite the lapse, I was still able to stay on my feet and lift the sail from the getgo, no problem. In fact, by the end of our vacation, I was actually zipping along quite nicely with a 5.0 sail and had managed to figure out how to position the sail to control where I went and didn't look like a complete schmuck out there. Who says old dogs can't learn new tricks??

The only downside to our trip was that having been pampered and lulled by paradise, we forgot that there's crime and poverty in the world and stupidly put our laptop, which we'd brought with us to do a little writing and so we could watch DVDs-- in the checked baggage on our trip back--a marathon journey with stopovers in Colombo and Kuala Lampur--and came home to find that it had been stolen out of our luggage. It was naive and dumb of us to not have the computer with us as carry-on. Still, I guess such lapses happen after being in the Garden of Eden...

It was a sad coda and quite a big nuisance to lose a laptop, especially since it was our only computer and contained nearly all of our photos from the trip... But then again, even as our luggage was being rifled through, the universe did somehow balance out the minuses and threw us a bone--well, actually, more than a bone--a very much appreciated upgrade to business class for our flight from Kuala Lumpur to Hong Kong. I guess it was from having accumulated so many miles this years on Cathay.

And on top of that, when we got back to Hong Kong and were reminded instantly upon arrival by the decorations there and P.A. system music that it is now already Christmas, I found an e-mail waiting for me from Cullen Thomas, the author of BROTHER ONE CELL, an excellent book which I wrote about in one of my earlier posts. There's also a link to this book in my OTHER PEOPLE'S BOOKS list. He'd actually somehow read the post and wrote me to say hello. For those of you who haven't read that post, Cullen Thomas and I are both writers and share a link to the Bronx as well as to b-ball.

Anyway, how cool is that!!! The wonders of the Internet. Now if only I could figure out who the other 2.5 readers of this blog are.... More posts about random funny incidents and observations from this trip will follow in the next few weeks. Any similar experiences out there? re: airport theft?

I end this post with a photo of yours truly leaving a part of me in the Indian Ocean.


gweipo said...

oh that is so sad about your laptop. Cathay is usually incredibly good about trying to help with that type of stuff though. You never know.

Winifred said...

Sorry to hear about your lap-top theft. Glad that you're back safely & blogging.

No, I've never had something stolen from my bag on an airplane- but I've always been a rather suspicious traveler.

Only one theft (so far) and that was a back-pack foolishly left in a car outside a restaurant in a city about a 90 minute drive north of NYC.

mao365 said...

Losing a laptop is a real pain.
But people have been through much worse, so in the big picture, I guess we are lucky.

We've since gotten a desktop.

We both agreed we should read more instead of watching DVDs when we travel.

I've also found that the desktop is easier to type on. And the screen is bigger, too.

Of course, we'll never check anything of value in our luggage ever again.