Many years ago, my friend and I traveled to a small island off the coast of Venezuela for a girls get-away. Our all-inclusive package promised pristine beaches, deluxe accommodations and five-star dining. It was the vacation from Hell.
Upon arrival we discovered our “deluxe accommodations” were a dimly lit room with cinder block walls, frequented by gargantuan sized roaches. The “pristine beach”, located across the street from our resort required mukluks, if you didn’t want to lose a foot. As far as we could see, the beach was covered in broken glass, cans and other waste. It started to rain and we wanted to cry.
Back in our room, which reminded me of a jail cell, I tried to make contact with our tour guide. We hoped the bus we took from the airport, with a grass-thatch roof, had dumped us at the wrong resort. Unfortunately the guide only spoke Spanish. He had difficulty comprehending my attempt to recall four semesters of college level Spanish many years earlier. No one on staff spoke English. We later discovered we were the only American guests, everyone else was German. We were on our own, but at least we had some five-star dining to look forward to.
We never figured out who rated this resort five-star dining, but I lost ten pounds out of fear of eating. Living with Crohn’s Disease, I have to be careful. My adventurous friend tried a little of everything and raced to the bathroom after every meal. As the week progressed, her clothes became loose and she ate less.
The first night in our room we turned on the TV hoping to find something in English, instead we found snow. Every channel was fuzzy, white static. We decided to call it a night.
As I finally drifted off to sleep, following hours of bug patrol with my Mighty Bright Book Light, I heard a loud explosion. The ceiling fan that once whirled over my bed stopped as did the air-conditioning. In the other bed, my friend, the deep sleeper, was oblivious.
I jumped from my bed and took a peek out the window. The entire complex was black. I heard voices in the distance, but they were getting close. They yelled in Spanish right outside our door. My stomach turned over as I realized, the resort was under attack.
I vaulted onto my friend’s bed to warn her of the impeding attack. I told her there was an explosion and men were right outside our room getting ready to take over the resort. Half asleep she rolled out of the bed and headed toward the door. I thought she had lost her mind when she opened the door and stepped outside.
Huddled on the floor, behind the door, I feared for my friend’s life. Within a few seconds she came inside and rolled her eyes. “You’re so paranoid. A transformer blew, it’s on the side of our building. They’re maintenance men trying to fix it.”
Back in bed, I once again went on bug patrol. Moments later, the ceiling fan began to rotate and the air-conditioning began to hum. I thought about my reaction to the blown transformer and smiled. I do have a good imagination.