Life on a tropical island resort isn’t bad at all, we decide. There’s an entire army of people looking after us. There are even people sweeping up leaves and raking the sand! Someone gives our room a quick tidy every day. The food and drink is plentiful and good. Best of all, someone else prepares it instead of me! We could get very used to this lifestyle. Though we might double our weight in a very short time. We pace ourselves and don’t go crazy at the buffet. It’s easy to eat reasonably healthily with the choice of fresh fish and juicy steaks on offer. But those desserts… I’d never have cake at lunch back home. However these delicious chocolate cakes can’t be ignored as you pass them by. And they all disappear fast. It’s our holidays, we tell each other, we should treat ourselves. It’d be a shame not to sample a little… and then they taste SO good. The next thing you know, you’re rushing to check the dessert offerings every single meal like some kind of crazy cake addict. The Rascal scoffs a banana whilst we debate the merits of each slice.
Despite some regular torrential downpours and crazy mad thunderstorms, the weather suits us. It’s generally nice and warm, but not too hot. There are some clear sunny days where we carefully ration our exposure, and some overcast ones where we can take a bit less care. Most holidaymakers here spend their days either being superman active, or doing as little as possible. So there are the diver groups waddling about, laden down in rubber outfits (the Rascal is a bit nervous when they pass by). Then there are the sun-worshippers. They get up late and spend the entire day relaxing by the pool and downing cocktails. Slowly rotating themselves under the roasting sun, to burn all sides equally. They laugh as we pass by with the Rascal covered up in his sun-proof suit. We don’t fit into either of these core groups. We’re up bright and early for breakfast courtesy of our toddler alarm clock. We hug the shade on the sunnier days. Twenty minutes is our maximum sun exposure time. Bringing home a toddler with a little colour is fine, bringing home a lobster would be embarrassing. Naptime clashes with lunch for us, so either I go and smuggle food to bring back for a post-nap snack, or we demolish the afternoon tea and cake (or cheese sandwiches for the Rascal). We miss the evening entertainment most nights. Our holiday is a very different experience to theirs.
We don’t participate in any activity that isn’t toddler-friendly. There’s plenty to do to keep us all occupied though. There are various classes in the mornings – from cooking, to fruit-carving. We speed about the island on a golf cart. We bring the Rascal to play with the giant plastic chess pieces. We inevitably go swimming on the beach or in the pool, often both. We take turns to use the island gym in a futile attempt to offset the extra food we’re eating. It’s nice to stretch our muscles in an air-conditioned room and get the heart pumping for a few minutes each day. Sometimes we even get to sit and relax for a few precious moments.
At the end of the jetty there’s a teahouse where you can sit (or swing) and watch the ocean. At night the water just beneath is lit up so you can see the hordes of fish just below the surface. Leaping and weaving between each other. At the southern tip of the island is the Sunset Bar where you can pick up a cocktail before wandering along the sand spit until it disappears into the middle of two opposing currents of water, all the while admiring a spectacular view as the sun sets in the evenings. The Rascal and I stroll along the beach, unintentionally photo bombing the pretentious couples with fancy cameras and tripods as they minced along (step step, turn and moon at camera, run back, decide to do it all again – this time faking big laughs).
Kuredu is a golfing destination. We sign up for the free golf lesson one of the afternoons. It’s a short one on the driving range with some pointers on stance and swing, and a few balls to hack at. The guys are extremely helpful with the Rascal. Offering him a ball to play with on the crazy golf green, and entertaining him in a sand bunker beside the driving range as we listen to the tips and whacked a few balls at the range (badly). On our walk back to our hut we encount most of our restaurant staff out practising on the football field as they do each day. A bunch of players detach themselves promptly from their warm-up and racedover to say Hi. The staff on the island are extremely friendly whether on duty or off. It’s nice to see how welcome all the children are made, though on occasion they can be a little too nice to our toddler.
We get mocktails for the Rascal to sip at some days. It’s more sugar than we’d like him to have ideally, but we;re also conscious of keeping him well-hydrated. Back home there’s no juice in the fridge, but it’s fine as a treat on holiday. However you never know when a friendly barman will take it upon himself to whip up a special milkshake, just for the Rascal. Once it’s produced in front of him, it’s impossible to refuse. Both because it seems rude, after someone has gone to the effort to do something nice – and because once it’s in sight, there is no bloody way the Rascal is giving up something that looks like it would normally be forbidden to him. So we thank the barman and let it slide. It’s mostly milk and powder, right? The Rascal is delighted with himself as he downs half of it in one loooong gulp. Then I take a sip of the milkshake. I nearly choke at the sugary taste, so sweet it makes my teeth ache. We agree to order future drinks with our toddler out of sight.
The Rascal is in fine form most days. If he spots a couple cooing at him from another table in the restaurant he will take the opportunity to give them a beaming smile to capture their full attention, then spits a mouthful of banana all over the place to see their horrified reaction. He’s totally unimpressed on the night of our wedding anniversary to find that someone has gone and scattered petals all over the bed. “Dirty bed!”, he cries, and takes it upon himself to remove each and every petal to the bin. He’s up late one night and gets to see the start of the ‘pool chipping’ competition. It’s quite amusing watching drunk guests try and get the golf ball onto the floating island in the swimming pool. But then the Rascal starts heckling them all, loudly. So loud that the MC for the night passes comment. Another shot goes wide into the trees . “Yaaaaaaayyyyyy!”, cackles the Rascal. Everyone turns to stare. We quickly and quietly make an exit.
Yes, life on a tropical island suits us just fine. In fact, we’re absolutely gutted to reach the last day of our holidays. We’re totally not ready to go back to home and reality. We console ourselves by purchasing the most amazing icecream cones (grateful we didn’t try them on the first day, or we’d have found them impossible to resist every other day). We’re handed an extra freebie, just for the Rascal. The three of us sit peacefully eating them in a hammock, looking out across the pristine beach and ocean. Another perfect moment. Tomorrow we start the long journey back home. Today we savour every bit of an afternoon listening to the waves crash on the shore, and an evening stroll as the sun sets for our last time on the island.