Turks and Caicos? Book it!



My wife and I went with family to Turks and Caicos (TCI) from November 23rd – November 30th.  Calling this place “beautiful” is an understatement. 

This is a place you could really love if you’re from our part of the country – Newburyport MA.  The weather?  Think June around here.

We were situated at a resort that had the Caribbean in the front yard and a pool in the backyard.  It took me a while to come to grips with the fact that I could get into outdoor water in late November and not risk a heart attack.  Once I got beyond my fears, I was in both water options several times each day.

One thing I didn’t do was parasail.  They were offering it and doing it right across in front of our resort.  I’m not crazy about heights and they sent you up about 80 feet or so it seemed.  My two granddaughters (aged seven and ten) did parasail with their father.  Maybe I’ll try next time……….don’t count on it.

TCI is located south of the Bahamas and is part of the British West Indies.  Most of the people we ran into spoke English although at the resort, some of the employees were speaking another language and it wasn’t Spanish or French. 

My wife and I got up early on a number of mornings and walked the beach. I was pleasantly surprised that no matter the time of day, or the brightness of the sun, the sand on the beach was never hot.  Any of you who have ever been on the beaches at the Salisbury Reserve or Crane Beach in the summer know how hot the sand can get.  Not at TCI, though.

One constant at TCI was the wind.  It was never a matter of, would it be blowing, but of, how strongly would it be blowing.  Those winds brought out the wind surfers, kite sailors, as well as catamaran users.  I watched those folks in action with great envy.  I tried to convince myself that under different conditions I would be right out there with them.

The prices in TCI will get your attention.  Not surprising, however, since almost everything they have has to be imported.  I believe that I saw gas being sold at $3.99 a gallon!  Eating out or buying food to cook at the resort was a real financial revelation.  I heard that the locals bring back coolers of food when they return from US visits because of the prices.

Another thing that caught me by surprise was the lack of birds.  I’m so used to being places where birds are plentiful.  I did see a few sea gulls but not many.  I also saw a couple of pelicans. 

The flowers, on the other hand, were numerous and gorgeous.  The hibiscus and bougainvillea were especially noticeable.

We got to and from TCI by air.  I had not flown anywhere for a number of years and had forgotten that almost every flight leaves stories behind.  They still are allowing crying youngsters to sit near you.  You can also plan on some sort of glitch to occur before departure or before you can actually get off the plane.

We prepared for the warm weather ahead by wearing only warm-weather clothes to the airport at Hartford (CT).  We got onto the plane with temperatures outside probably in the low 40s.  They did not close the door to the great outdoors for a while because of some malfunction.  Being dressed in warm-weather clothes became a bad idea as the minutes wore on.  Once the malfunction was fixed and the door closed, we taxied out to the runway.  The pilot then informed us that some light wouldn’t turn either off or on and we would have to return to the terminal.  We then learned that this problem could be fixed by airport maintenance if they had the part. If not, we’d be taking other flights.  TCI started seeming like a long way’s off to me.  Fortunately, the part was found and installed and off we went to Charlotte.

The pilot for the Charlotte to Hartford trip on our way back was actually quite gruff insisting that people get down the aisles in a hurry and get out of the way of others trying to pass by.  I liked that because it sped up the departure time.  However, just as most of the passengers were seated he announced, “Hurry up, get out of the way so that the mechanic can get to the back.”  I tried to imagine what that was all about and none of my imaginings was comforting.  Nothing came of it, as far as I know.  Maybe the mechanic needed to use the bathroom? 

We departed Charlotte and as we leveled off the pilot told us, and I paraphrase, “There’s good news and bad news.  The bad news is that because of the weather the trip will be quite bumpy.  The good news is that we have a tailwind and we’ll be going very fast.”  The bumpiness was such that they didn’t serve beverages during the flight.  The speed?  When we landed and were moving very fast down the runway the pilot said over the intercom, “Whoa, big fella, whoa!”  I had my own brakes on trying to help him.

However, we walked away from every flight in one piece and really enjoyed our time away in wonderful Turks and Caicos.

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