I could have played a round of mini golf in the fading light or booked a hot air balloon ride for the following day or even watched The Simpsons at the theater named after a form of Indonesian puppet theater. Instead I went to the fanciest restaurant, where TI’s signature excess is best exemplified by a corn poulard dish that comes with corn on the cob and popcorn. Over a pretty good salmon teriyaki, I watched a hairy man wearing only a speedo get turned down when he requested a table. (Shirts were required, shoes were not.) It had been a long day of doing mostly things I really like—laying around reading, swimming, eating—but I didn’t feel rested or rejuvenated. I felt restless.
I would recommend living on the beach in Srithanu (that’s where I lived and I really liked it). You can stay inexpensively at Shangri-La at the south end of the beach or ask at the Monkey Bar beside there if Kai has any places available. He rents a number of nice houses overlooking the ocean outside of town. Both those places have really fast Internet which I’m sure you will need! All the best deals can be found by going there and asking around. The stuff online usually charges tourist prices.
Your sailing and Key West snorkeling adventure begins as you board one of Fury’s state-of-the-art catamarans, part of the largest and most luxurious catamaran fleet in the Florida Keys. Feel the excitement as you sail to North America’s only living coral reef, where the wonders of Mother Nature await you. During your trip, unlimited sodas and water will be served.
Turtles swim past languidly. A ray is camouflaged against the soft sandy bottom. Reef sharks whizz by, not far from your flippers. The Galapagos Islands are one of the world’s greatest snorkeling destinations, where legends of the ocean can be spotted close to the surface. And you don’t need to be an expert to enjoy snorkeling, either. Warm and shallow waters make the Galapagos an ideal destination for both beginner and experienced snorkelers.
1,200,000 people visited last year. 40% of them stayed overnight with an average stay of 2 nights. Day ticket prices start at €33; an overnight stay in a tent starts at €150. There are supposedly 10 flamingos in residence, but I only saw 9 during my stay. I emailed T.I. reps to see if there’d been a death. A representative assured me they only had a double digit count and said, “[N]ow and then one of them tiptoes around to explore the rest of the hall.” There are 275,000 balls in the children’s ball pit and I’m sad to report that I missed something called the Space Hole at the water playground where “guests slip into a funnel that slowly sucks them down.” The hall has 50,000 plants from 600 species and the work of 1 self-described “palace-slut” who moved to Bali from Australia in the seventies, renounced his name (Michael White), and went on to become a world-renowned tropical landscape architect, designing both David Bowie’s estate in Mustique and Tropical Islands’ lagoon before his death in 2016. I lasted about 22 hours.
Photographs of Bernardini and articles about the event were widely carried by the press. The International Herald Tribune alone ran nine stories on the event. French newspaper Le Figaro wrote, "People were craving the simple pleasures of the sea and the sun. For women, wearing a bikini signaled a kind of second liberation. There was really nothing sexual about this. It was instead a celebration of freedom and a return to the joys in life."
I lived for a month one winter at Las Piramides in the mellow village of San Marcos de la Laguna. At this incredible spiritual retreat, you get to live in your own glass-tipped pyramid in the jungle. They offer excellent programs in yoga and meditation that start with each full moon and run for the entire lunar month. The spectacular main pyramid where classes are held is along the beautiful shore of the lake.
Masks come in all sizes and shapes so choosing one which doesn’t leak is pretty essential. As eager as you are to jump in the water, take the time to learn the basic principles of how to defog your mask (The spit and rub technique works quite well for masks!) There is nothing worse than a mask that keeps fogging up. Knowing how to clear your mask when it’s filling up with water is also pretty useful.
Located in the Caribbean Sea, this Dutch-owned island is perfect. Voted one of the best in the Caribbean, Curacao is like being in tropical Holland. The town is built in the Dutch style, but the surrounding areas are all tropical. Hit the beaches, lay in the sun, and party the night away. This may not be Gilligan’s Island, but what it lacks in privacy, it makes up for in romance and fun.
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