Scarlott Letters

Just some stuff I find funny…


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Would that make it the 5th or the 6th annual???

For the fifth time in six years, five crazy couples will be leaving soon for a week on Tortola in the British Virgin Islands. You might have noticed that the math doesn’t work out exactly right for an annual trip. That’s because we missed last year and let me tell you, I heard about the lapse all year long.  Since we skipped a year, I’m not sure if this counts as the 5th Annual Let’s-Get-Kicked-Off-Another-Island Tour and Beer Fest or the 6th. Joe is a CPA and his partners frown upon taking a vacation in the middle of tax season, which is very small-minded if you ask me, but our goal is to leave every year as soon as the getting is good, which this year is April 18th.

Last year, my daughter Whitney was expecting a baby due on May 6th. This unfortunate date played havoc with our island vacation plans. It effectively put a big ‘ol X on anything from mid-April through the middle of May. Joe: “Do you really have to be there? It is our seventh grandchild after all. It’s not like she’s the first. You could go for a visit as soon as we get back.” Me: “YES! I really have to be there, you stupid, stupid man.” The “stupid, stupid man” wasn’t actually said as much as implied.20110428-084945.jpg

I could just imagine a conversation with Jolee, the child in question, a few years from now.  Jolee: “Honey, why aren’t you in any of the pictures from when I was born.” Me: “Well Sweetpea, G-Joe and I really needed a trip to the islands.”  As it turned out, she showed up prematurely, several weeks early. You just never know.  Anyhoo, Joe sorely missed our post tax season trip. Apparently, it was my fault that he didn’t get to relieve his stress by staring trance-like for hours at crystalline turquoise water, with a beer in his hand. I told him it was not my fault…it was Jolee’s fault.

flookThis year, we are making our first repeat performance. We are going back to Frenchman’s Lookout (https://www.inspirato.com/destinations/tortola/residences/frenchmans-lookout) on Tortola. I assume that since they let us rent the place, they have forgotten our earlier visit. It’s a beautiful five bedroom villa and comes with a cook for breakfast. Last time, breakfast was provided.  This time, the cook is provided but we have to buy the food. I guess everyone is feeling the crunch. Getting there has turned out to be a challenge, but as usual, Julia has come through in style. It’s going to be epic. And to my fellow compadres, I call dibs on our old bedroom/suite.

In conclusion, Joe thought I should remind our traveling buddies, Tres & Julia Ward, Dave & Gina Kulbeth, Eddie & Denise Holcomb and Dave & Judy Shatzer, of “the rules.”  We came up with these the first year and they still apply, although I have made a few changes on my own.  They are for your own protection, so no grumbling.

Rule #1 – Cursing is not only allowed, it is encouraged. There are only a couple of words that would earn you gasps and dirty looks…and don’t pretend you don’t know what they are. “Gosh”, “darn” and “shoot” are not acceptable and might get you bitch slapped, Tres.
 
 
Rule #2 – Drinking alcohol is not only allowed, it is highly encouraged, however, you may only drink as long as you can stay upright.  Drinking many different types of alcohol in the same day is perfectly acceptable. Any resulting embarrassing incidents will be recorded and immediately uploaded to Facebook. I am the sole judge of what is deemed Facebook-worthy…and I can guarantee nothing I do will make the cut.  I cannot make the same guarantee for the rest of you.
 
 
Rule #3 – Smoking cigars is acceptable…anything else and ‘I’ve never seen him before in my life, officer.’
 
 
Rule #3a – Under no circumstances can any female smoking a cigar be photographed…good grief, our kids could see that.
 
 
boratRule #4 – Men will not be required to wear a man-thong, banana hammock, mankini, or Speedo but will get extra attention and favors from the ladies if they are so inclined. (I just threw that one in there for myself.)
 
 
Rule #5 – Music from The Midnight Special will be limited to no more than four hours a day.  Anything by the Bee Gees will get your iPod privileges revoked.
 
 
Rule #6 – The Internet will work at all times, otherwise, your friendly blogger becomes very, VERY surly. This is non-negotiable.
 
 
Rule #7 – Bribes are accepted, even expected, by the aforementioned blogger.  If you need an incentive, remember that I can paint you in any light I wish.
 
 
Rule #8 – We must do all in our power to have a good time and to come back to Texas as friends. If this is not possible, you are responsible for burying the bodies on your own.
 
 
P.S. Joe says that he wants a vote on the Facebook posts I mention in Rule #2. He has obviously forgotten that the British rule by monarchy…and I’m the Queen.


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Day 6- Walking On Water

We had a busy day.  Well, a busy half day.  We didn’t do squat before noon.  After lunch we drove over to Chaulk Sound and Taylor Bay.  Chaulk Sound was absolutely breathtaking!  I’ve seen pretty awesome Caribbean waters over the last four years, but nothing like this.

The water in the Sound is actually quite shallow, causing the vivid turquoise color.  Pictures really can’t do it justice.

Next up was Taylor Bay. Now this is a beach that I can really get behind.  You can literally walk a 100+ yards out into the water and still not be knee deep. This was as close to walking on water as I’ll ever get…and I wasn’t worried about drowning.

This evening we went Dewayne & Chris’ condo for drinks and to listen to some live music. Their place at the Seven Stars Resort is fabulous! We got to see a sunset for the first time since we arrived, as the sun sets behind our pool house.  After drinks it was on to a great local Italian restaurant for dinner.

The only funny thing I have to report happened early today while the housekeeper was here.  Apparently, the owner of our house regrets giving us such a good deal (thank you Master Negotiator Julia) and has instructed the housekeeper that she is not to replenish toilet paper or paper towels for us this week.  Really??!!  While she was upstairs cleaning this morning, one person kept watch while another pilfered a roll of paper towels and hid them in the refrigerator. What a lawless group we are.  Normally I would frown upon these kind of shenanigans, but he should know he cannot win this kind of battle with the likes of us.  He obviously doesn’t know who he’s dealing with.  We are Texans after all.

 


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Day 5 – Purple Toes

We had such a brief look at the marina yesterday that Joe and I decided to walk down there this morning to see what all was there.  On the way, I stopped to read the sign coming into our development.  I’m shocked that the police have not already beaten down our door since we have several “suspicious persons” in our group.  Maybe we’ve escaped incarceration because none of us is dressed in a suit that resembles the opening credits for Mad Men.

When we got back to the house, it was locked down tighter than a drum.  It seemed that our compadres had left our asses for greener pastures, namely shopping in town.  Resigned, we headed back to the marina where we could at least get a beer and some lunch.  We met the van coming back to look for us.  We hopped in and headed to the shopping district.  Wait a minute…I’m in a van, heading for shopping and I have no purse or wallet with me.  I am pretty sure that Joe paid for the scenario to play out just like this. The flaw in his plan is that he and his wallet are with me.  It must have been his lucky day because I didn’t find anything I couldn’t live without…or maybe I’m just saving myself for the diamond district in New York City in June.

After shopping, which now that I think about it, consisted mostly of Joe steering me away from jewelry stores and into a pub for drinks, we went to the Alexandria Resort.  All you at home will probably not be  surprised to learn that we ended up at their beachside bar.  All in all, it was a very relaxing afternoon.

We have had a strange phenomenon this year.  Every single guy has hurt his foot by stubbing a toe.  Two of them actually have toes that have turned purple and one of those re-stubbed the same purple toe again this morning.  Another actually stubbed a toe, cracked his head on the boat yesterday, is covered in mosquito bites and has beer-induced gout. By my count, that’s 9 injuries for the guys and 0 for the girls.  In light of this, I propose that the women stay for another week to avoid getting on a plane with the injury-prone men…purely in the interest of safety you understand. 


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Day 4 – In Memory of Tilly

I face the day with equal parts of anticipation and anxiety.  Our “boat day” is always the most fun of the trip…but I don’t swim.  I panic if I can’t touch bottom.  Since I’m five foot nothing, nearly all pools and some hot tubs meet my criteria for panic…never mind the Caribbean.  I believe this makes me the bravest of the group because every year I stare into the face of death, and have emerged the victor…so far.

Early this morning, we saw this boat out in Grace Bay off our balcony.  I was hoping it was ours, but no such luck.  As it turns out, it is the “A” Hamilton and is the second most expensive yacht in the world, at a cost in excess of $300 million.  It is owned by a kinky Russian Billionaire.  We pulled up a Wall Street Journal video of it, and in addition to three boats housed in the boat garage, $40,000 shower faucets, three swimming pools and a disco <someone should tell him disco is dead>, there is a secret hidden “nookie room”.  You can’t make this shit up.  My first thought was “no way”…my second “it can’t be too secret if you can Google it”…and my third “you need a special room for that?”

Our boat was named the White Sands.  She is a 42′ four bedroom, four bath catamaran with a crew of three, which is probably slightly smaller than that of the yacht, but we don’t have to mortgage our houses to get her out of the harbor.  We did find out that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, or Brangelina as they are known by the Hollywood crowd, and all their kids, went out on the White Sands not long ago, so we are in pretty good company.  We may not be the A Hamilton, but we’re nothing to sneeze at either.

Tres is on the left in this picture.  Notice the Tilly hat he has on.  I’m sad to report that, although I survived the day and lived to tell the tale, Tilly was not so lucky.  I told you these boat rides were treacherous.  We can only hope she has gone on to a better place…like the A Hamilton.

The snorkeling was superb, or at least that’s what I was told.  One spot had a shipwreck and there were fabulous reefs all along our route. There was at least one 5′ nurse shark spotted.  I’m relieved we don’t have any nurses with us.  As far as the snorkeling went, I may not know much, but I’m pretty sure you should get rid of your snuff first.  Just sayin’.  All I can personally vouch for is the rum punch. What a great day!

 


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Day 3 – When Old Friends are New Again

I heard that the Daves went fishing early this morning.  It’s probably true because Dave K asked if I would be up at 6:50 to take them to meet the fishing boat. Only if you mean P.M., Skippy. They were gone when I got up at 9:00, so I can only assume the fish are quaking in their little boots by now.

The remaining men went snorkeling after breakfast, where Eddie and Joe learned they are no match for Tres.  I think either one of them could take him in a drinking contest, but not in the water. Tres is Patrick Duffy in the Man from Atlantis, webbed fingers and all.

While planning our trip, Julia discovered that some friends, Dewayne & Chris Travelstead, from Wichita Falls have a place here.  They came over this afternoon and we had a great time getting reacquainted. Tres and Dewayne went snorkeling while the girls hung out in the pool, where Chris gave us some handy grocery shopping tips.  Apparently, you just have to know what aisles to be on.  Who knew?  The other guys left the snorkeling to the pros and did what they do best…red solo cups. It was a lively and fun afternoon for all.

As it turned out, the fish needn’t have worried.  Every year the Daves book a fishing trip, but to date I have seen no evidence of any actual fishing. They could just as easily be attending high tea with the Queen. I could be wrong but I’ve heard that fishing usually involves either eating the catch or at least getting a picture holding up a fish.  So far, nada.  You have to give them kudos for persistence, eternal optimism and keeping the guides of several islands going in the off season. 

At this point, I have to eat my words just a little.  Apparently, Dave K caught a bone fish and has actual photographic evidence.  I think it was photoshopped.


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Day 1 – One Suitcase for Clothes, Two for Alcohol

I should probably take this opportunity to reintroduce this year’s castaways.  Tres and Julia are with  us again, which is good considering Julia did all the planning for the trip. We would have ended up in a tiki hut with a port-a-potty and no refrigeration for beer if I’d been in charge, which is why I’m not. Tres, well I’m not sure exactly what his role is, but if any of us has an island vibe it’s him.  I’ve owned recliners that aren’t as laid back.  Dave and Gina are back again, each providing essential talents.  Gina is our own personal Martha Stewart.  Her suitcase is somehow magically bottomless.  Whatever you need, she’s got it…sunscreen, a hat, 30 lbs. of tenderloin (no kidding), a Jet ski, no problem.  And without Dave we would never get to drink.  No one breaks the alcohol barrier until Dave K has his first Bloody Mary in hand.  It’s a rule.  This is the third year for Eddie and Denise.  By the end of the trip, Eddie will have filled up at least ten 32G SD cards, which will each hold approximately 10,000 pictures.  You do the math.  I might look good in one of them.  Denise is a riot.  She is one of the few people I know who can match my level of sarcasm, which means she has a black belt.  Dave and Judy are our only non-Turks-virgins.  Having been there before, Dave S will be our own Frommer’s travel guide, but better. Judy is funny in her own right and will help us get on island time because that’s her normal time. Then there’s Joe and I.  Enough said.

In case I’ve already pissed off a traveling companion, or a reader, I should probably take this opportunity to give you my blog guidelines.  First, I love all these people.  Anything I say is in the spirit of fun…and might be slightly exaggerated.  That’s called artistic license, which is a real thing.  You can look it up.  And it pretty much gives me free reign to say most anything, which brings me to my second point.  I apologize.  I figured I might as well get that out of the way. My humor and language can be crude at times, so if you’re easily offended, quit reading right now.  If you’re still here, I’m pretty sure it’s legally binding that you agree not to get your panties in a wad at anything I might write. Now that my attorney/nephew is satisfied, I can get on with our trip.  <Joe says he doesn’t think I need the disclaimer. I told him it was mostly for my readers. He said, “Don’t they know you at all?”  Good point.>

We all met bright and early this morning at DFW Airport.  Over breakfast Dave K got us started right with a bloody Mary, which was a good thing because it reminded us that we needed to get ourselves to the duty free shop to buy a cart load of alcohol before departure. I have included a picture of our actual cart.  I’m not sure that’s enough to last the week, but fortunately we have rum waiting for us in Turks.  As it turned out, we had to pay customs coming into Turks for excess alcohol.  I don’t know whether to take that as a bad sign or a good one.  The jury is still out.

Our plane left right on time, which can only mean one thing…American is having an off day.  This brings me to traveling first class. Yeah, if you ever have the opportunity to ride up front, do that.  Not only do they bring your nuts to you hot in a crystal dish, but you even get cashews and almonds in the mix.  Plus we got a full meal…and free drinks…and the stewardess fixed me fresh brewed ice tea…and the very best thing about first class, fresh baked chocolate chip cookies, which must drive the people in coach crazy. Our upgrade to first class is still not confirmed for the return flight and if we don’t get it, I’m gonna be bummed, but the rest of the group would probably get a chuckle out of it.

I see pictures from our previous trips all the time, but every year I forget how beautiful the water of the Carribean is until we’re flying over it. Villa Paprika is gorgeous.  There’s not a bad room in the house, all with great views.  I’ll be posting some additional pictures for your viewing pleasure once I’ve got daylight.

After dinner, a trip to the grocery store was called for.  Apparently, $200 worth of mixers and beer were also called for.  Beer is $48/case here, in case you’re wondering.  Of course, a jug of OJ is $11…but you do have a great view while you drink your screwdriver.  I think Turks & Caicos is one of those places that proves the adage “if you have to ask, you can’t afford it.”  

As I finish up, we are sitting poolside. Our bellies are full, drinks have been poured, cigars have been smoked, lies have been told and I’ve run out of funny.  Stay tuned for tomorrow’s adventures.

 


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Say Hello to My Little Friend

Meet my friend Ben.  Ben is very well traveled for a bottle of topical analgesic.  He came home with me last year from the Bahamas after valiantly waging battle against the nastiest of all insects, no-see-ums.  Oh, the no-see-ums won handily, but I brought Ben home with me in spite of our crushing defeat and the 100+ bites on my legs and feet.

Julia has run recon for us and supposedly there is not a problem with no-see-ums on Turks & Caicos, but tiny mosquitoes are another thing.  So, Ben will be flying to the Caribbean with me on Saturday…along with Woody, my new friend, who happens to be a can of Deep Woods Off.  I can tell you from experience, if you need them they are worth their weight in gold.