After being on the island for eight months straight, I broke down and left for Toronto a couple of weeks ago to renew my passport, the only thing that could force me out of here.
I was warned that there would be culture shock, going to Canada’s largest city from an island of 5,000, and there was.
The big city was stressful, and I gained eight pounds in less than two weeks because there was just so much food available. Too much, really.
The island brings me back to a simpler time. You don’t need much to feel good: that’s one of my Exuma lessons learned. This is an island where its imperative to shop on Tuesday when the mail boat comes in, if you want the freshest produce – organic veggies, berries, and the like. Fresh milk? You’d better get it in the next 48 hours. And just getting a drive to the store can be a hassle, since my only mode of transportation is a golf cart, so I often do without, making sure that the food I do have lasts, as in not eating like a pig, for a change.
I bought some clothes while home, as there are few shops on the island. But it was more fun stapling my favorite sandals together while marooned here, and wielding the scissors numerous times to redesign old clothes.
My poor Canadian body, always so accustomed to the cold (I was known for running around Toronto without a coat, even in winter) felt frozen this time in Toronto, even though it’s June! Back in the tropics, where, a year ago, I felt too hot on summer days, the sun’s warmth now feels just right – my blood has acclimatized. As usual my blood pressure immediately drops 10 points when I land in Exuma: it’s good to be home.
Okay, so I’m making it sound like Gilligan’s Island, with no phone, no lights, no motorcar, and okay, it’s true that when the fridge is empty, all I need to do is slip down to Palapa Grill for lobster, grouper, or a great steak. In reality, this place has everything you need, including precious time to catch your breath in clean warm air, and silky, tepid sea water. Grand Isle Resort, Exuma – life’s ultimate reward, and I’m not the only one who thinks so.
Crowded in summer, management says we’re looking at smashing all of last season’s numbers. Long gone are the so-called slow months. Smiling legacy owners say they haven’t seen anything like it since they bought in 10 years ago.
Exuma and Grand Isle are in demand. There are still some great deals on villas, but they’re being picked up quickly. The hotel is making money and villa owners are now also hotel owners, so voila! Buying a villa is not just for fun anymore: it’s a great investment!! Call me anytime, and I’ll give you the details.
See you in paradise.