Monday, May 31, 2010

"People are strange"*

This is the first installment of my People As Characters series.

The hubby and I met Christina and Don on a recent vacation in St. Lucia. I guessed Don to be in his sixties. He has a big belly, a loud, friendly voice, and graying hair, which he covered with a baseball hat that had some sort of presidential seal on it. He claimed that it had been given to him by President Bill Clinton. Christina appeared to be a bit younger. She's Portuguese and her soft, musical voice has a noticeable accent. They've been together for 10 years.

The hubby and I were on an open-air jeep/catamaran tour of the island with Don and Christina. Unfortunately for them, they had spent the first day of their vacation out in the sweltering St. Lucian sun...we're talking a mere 13 degrees north of the equator. Not only did they not wear sunblock, but they lathered themselves up with oil. Apparently they have an old-school view of proper sun exposure. Needless to say, they resembled a pair of lobsters.

Christina spent most of the day shrouded in light-weight shawls and a giant hat, shrinking away from the sun and rolling her eyes at Don. Don spent most of the day talking. He was good at pointing out the obvious, telling stories and jokes that nobody really wanted to hear, and spending his money (which no one on the island wanted to take because who has change for a $100 bill when you buy only a pack of gum and some suntan lotion).

I got the feeling they spend a lot of money on vacations because they were staying at an nice, but overpriced resort, most of Don's clothing was from a previous vacation destination (his sandals had the word "Hawaii" printed on them), and they bought everything from tropical trip essentials (like suntan lotion and shawls) to cheesy souvenirs while on the tour.

At one point, Don's special presidential hat went flying off his head and into the street (luckily it didn't fly off the side of the jeep and down the giant cliff that bordered the side of the road). Thomas, our good-natured guide, yelled to the driver to stop, jumped off the back of the jeep, and retrieved the hat...I hope Don used some of the change from his $100 bills (if he had any left by the end of the day) to give Thomas a good tip.

Despite Don's bad sunburn, he seemed up for anything. He was one of only a few people who actually stood under the big waterfall at one of the stops and he bought a giant conch shell and learned how to blow into it to make a loud horn sound.

Don works for a juice concentrate company, but he loves fresh-squeezed juice. I'm not sure what Christina does, but she has an apartment in Manhattan. Don has a house in New Jersey, where he grew up. Neither was willing to give up his/her residence since they've been together, so they kept both and share time between the two residences (like some sort of split-custody living arrangement).

Don and Christina were really fun to observe because they were just so full of personality.

*The Doors