So it’s been difficult to know how to write about this. Four weeks ago I went on vacation for the first time in 8 years with a woman other than Ann. Her name is Lynn and we have been seeing each other for four months now. If you are one of the five readers of this blog, then you probably know that already, but some important life steps (like seeing someone new) deserve a little formality.
Going on vacation with someone new is one of those rites of passage that inevitably gets more scrutiny and analysis than is really healthy. What makes it particularly difficult though (for me) to write about is reconciling the selfish desire I had to take this vacation, with the hurt that I knew it would cause Ann. I accomplished this by mainly putting the negative aspects out of my mind and thinking about the trip as a kind of therapy.
If you want therapy, then I have to say that the Maldives is one place you can get it. I always liked to reduce the experience down to its simplest: “You’re on a tiny island in the middle of the ocean. Where they serve only gourmet food.”
The place we stayed at was called the Taj Exotica, and it’s one of those ridiculously expensive resort islands that’s about 25 meters across, 500 meters long, and contains only luxury villas, palm trees, sand, and five star restaurants. I was worried before going on the trip that I’d get bored by the lack of facilities to do, well, anything really. But once I got there (arriving into Male, the capital, at 7:00am after a thirteen-hour flight from Amsterdam), laying around on the beach and staring at the beautiful turquoise water, I was immediately satisfied.
We did some fun things like learn to windsurf, go snorkeling, catamaran sailing, and making fun of the other Dutch couple on the island. But we also just did a lot of generally pleasing activities like swimming in the warm Indian Ocean, sitting on the beach reading books, sleeping, and eating.
The cuisine was Indian with a sprinkling of Indonesian and local seafood dishes. The prices were outrageous ($6 for a Coke), but then you have to expect that at an exotic island resort.
The view from our back porch (which had stairs down into the lagoon) was fantastic, and I even got up at 5:30am twice to see the sunrise. The room was fabulous, and the entire place was extremely well maintained. The staff were always fantastically pleasant and called you by name and always said “wonderful” or “fabulous” after everything you ordered (“I’ll have a Coke please.” “Wonderful.” “And an iced tea please.” “Fabulous.”).
There was an infinity pool, baby sharks, crabs, beautiful clouds, warm water, everything you could ask for from an island holiday. On our last day there we were both a bit depressed at having to leave paradise to return to the Netherlands.
But now we are back and life continues I am happy to look at the pictures, think back, and enjoy the memory of walking along the sand under a full moon that shone so bright it cast crisp shadows on the white sand.