Island Life

Trip Start May 04, 2011
Trip End Feb 20, 2014

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What I did
Beach, Scooter, Not much at all

Flag of Turks and Caicos Isl.  ,
Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Typing this while sitting in the deserted Turks & Caicos airport terminal. Seems 2 hrs arrival before a flight is completely unnecessary on the islands. 15 mins would suffice. Anyway, gives me time to reflect on my all too short time here in this beautiful place.

My flight did not leave Cancun until 1:45pm, so had some time to wonder the shops and satisfy my McDonalds craving – partially, breakfast menu goes til 11:30am here. Wow. The shops were quiet and then I realised it was a Sunday. There are more Mexicans in Cancun than expected, but I would not consider this much of a Mexican experience. Most of the time it felt like I was in a US state. I had some minor trouble at the airport check-in counter when told that my tickets had not been issued because my credit card payment from a month ago had not gone through! My heart beat faster until she clarified that my seats were reserved, just not ticketed and fortunately I was able to pay at the counter after I double checked the payment had not gone thru. Phew. I had a 2 hour stopover in Miami and this is a mega airport with loads of shops/food and trains connecting u to gates within the same terminal. I hate that the US requires you to collect your bag and go thru all the check-in/security procedures even though I'm just connecting on the same airline. And get passport stamped when you’re not even staying in the USA. Irritating.

It was after 9pm and dark by the time I got to my hotel in Turks and Caicos, so I didn’t see much from the taxi ride or when flying in. But waking up late the next morning and looking out from my balcony, I was not disappointed by the hotel complex and the indirect view I have of the ocean. Hotels are ridiculously expensive in the Grace Bay area of the Providenciales island. Guess u can charge what you like when your beach is rated #2 in the world. I couldn’t justify the absurd amount of money required for a beachfront room and was quite happy with my room and view, which included kitchenette and washer/dryer. So I took the hotel shuttle to the IGA (!) and got some groceries to make the most of my room facilities. $10 for a pack of 4 choc-chip muffins! $14 for a souvenir tea-towel that I saw but did not buy!

The beach water is sensationally clear and turquoise, although not as warm as I’d expected. I wandered along the beach and think that my hotel has one of the better beach fronts. The Beaches Mega Resort next door which I was tossing up between has a skinny beach and loads and loads of families. It is All-Inclusive with 16 restaurants and 4 different pools. I would like to stay in one of these places one day, but think it would be a bit daunting solo. The hotel I am in is the only one on the island that is time-share. I still don’t fully understand this concept but I met several people (US Americans, Canadians) who have been coming here for a decade or so cause they time-share and have the same 2 weeks allocated each year to return. I personally wouldn’t want to come back to the same place every time, but if u love it, why not. I was the only Australian on the island I think! The first reaction is always "oh wow, you’ve come a long way" and then “so how long is it to fly from Australia to here?”...the last question is not so easy for me and to avoid explaining the Ghana work thing, I just make up a number...the bigger the better.

So, other than lazing about, on my final full day I debated whether to go scuba diving or take a vespa scooter tour of the island. I went for the latter and heaps of fun. Having done this once before in the Tuscany region of Italy and really enjoying it, I thought it a great way to get a bit of island life and see the other beaches. And compared to Tuscany where I had to buy gloves cause it was so cold, this was warm although very windy. Plus this time it was left hand lane driving, however some cars have the steering wheel on the left, and drive on the left. Confusing. I still have trouble on big turns or round-abouts and crossed 2 lanes of traffic and nearly rode up on the footpath at one point – oops! It was a big group and very relaxed tour with history of the islands along the way – their Parliament was dissolved by the British in 2009 due to corruption and brought back in direct command by a Governor and reinstated as a full British colony! Only problem of the tour was that we waited 2 hrs for lunch and in the end walked out cause others had another tour to join at 3pm. Shame cause after touring a conch farm, many looked forward to tasting the conch sampler platter at the restaurant. Probably for the best cause these things look a lot like giant snails and after the farm tour I was a bit grossed out by the thought of eating them. So with empty stomachs 3 of us continued the tour while the remaining 8 headed back to get their sunset cruise. Chalk Sound was what we saw next and a highlight for me. Spectacular water colour and an inspiring natural view.

I could’ve done with another full day in Provo and would’ve definitely done the scuba. Glad I came all the way here. I can see why a lot of retirees visit. Prince even has a mansion here. One day I might buy it off him :-) 
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