You swim up to the surface of sleep, only aware at first that you’re not in your bedroom at home.
The gentle whup whup whup of a ceiling fan and a sliver of pale mango light push through the hotel balcony black out curtains. Then you remember. It’s the first morning of your tropical vacation.
Your traveling partner sleeps on. You toss back the bedsheet and peek through the curtains. Waving palm trees. White sand beach. Still blue swimming pool.
You congratulate yourself for remembering to pack the only three items of clothing you’ll need for most of the day in an external pocket of your suitcase: Swimsuit. Coverup. Flipflops.
You close the door to your room behind you as quietly as you can. Morning warmth puts its arms around you. Tropical plants line the path that leads you to a row of empty beach chairs and a little rock retaining wall between the pool deck and the beach. You sit on its rough ledge while you take your first look around.
Off to the right is the hotel’s dock and outdoor kitchen. You remember from the online info that you can catch the shuttle to a neighboring island from there, and that the hotel hosts dockside cookouts on Sundays.
To the left, the dock and outdoor kitchen of a neighboring hotel. Beyond it, a few sailboats riding at anchor. On a short land peninsula, you notice a little white delivery van pause at an electric gate before gaining entry and disappearing into a grove of trees. Who lives out there you wonder.
And then there’s the beach, accessible down a few steps from where you’re sitting. You’ll save a stroll for later in the day.
By now, the hotel breakfast room is open. You haven’t quite finished drinking in your surroundings but a cup of coffee might be nice.
Mug in hand, you settle in to one of the poolside loungers, content in the delicious realization that you’ve got six more mornings to spend exactly like this one.