Mostrando las entradas con la etiqueta vacation. Mostrar todas las entradas
Mostrando las entradas con la etiqueta vacation. Mostrar todas las entradas

sábado, 12 de noviembre de 2016

Takua Hotel

   The premise of the island was that any person in the world could get anything they wanted there. There was no limit for what the people that managed the place could provide. It could be someone to spend the holidays with or a really great adventure, the best sex of your life or maybe something that most people wouldn’t even think about. Everything was on the table or, at least, that was what the brochure said. David was very nervous on the plane, trying to figure out if he had done the right thing by spending so much money on that vacation.

 When the plane landed, his worries were soon a thing of the past. As people descended to the tarmac, it was impossible not to see the beautiful waters that surrounded the main island in the atoll and the lush and exotic vegetation all over the place. All the people that were in the plane were also watching and even taking pictures. David was going to imitate them but then a woman that worked for the hotel arrived in front of them and greeted them. She asked everyone to follow her and so they did, to what would be the terminal of the landing strip.

 The flight that had just ended was a private one, only for the people that had paid to live the experience of the Takua hotel. The journey had been very long from home, but David was very excited now and looking forward to everything the trip had to offer. When everyone was in the room, the woman told them that all electronic devices were barred from the island in order to have a better experience. So they needed people to put all of those objects in a small locker right there in the terminal. They would be able to open them with their electronic bracelets the day of their departure.

 Everyone complied and five minutes later they were in the docks just outside the terminal. The woman told them that, as everyone hadn’t come to have the same experience, they would not be staying in the same areas of the hotel. Some would go to the lagoon, others to the main island and the forest and others to an artificial island, which was on the other side of the atoll. Three boats were ready and she called people one by one, reading from a list. Once everyone was ready she reminded them to follow instructions and to have a nice stay. The boats departed as she waved to them.

 The boat ride was short for David. Apparently he would stay in the cabins that were located in the main island, surrounded by the lush forest. When they arrived there, another hotel person greeted them. Her name was Valery and she asked them to ask any questions they could have. Someone then asked when would their experience begin. She smiled at the question and told them that it would begin differently for everyone. She gave everyone yellow bracelets with a number and told them to go find their rooms, luggage would be already there.

 David got a nice cabin that was as close to the water as it was to the forest. The only thing that he didn’t like was the fact that bugs may enter his room but he was assured, the following day, that there were no bugs in the island. He thought that was weird, but he didn’t dwell on it. The first night was great: the bed was just perfect, as was the weather. He had regained the energy he had lost through travel and he was ready to meet his experience, whatever that was. The first thing he did was shower and then go to the breakfast buffet because he was starving.

 As he was choosing some fruit, he noticed there was only one remaining passion fruit and he loved that fruit. So he grabbed it but then someone else wanted the fruit too. Their hands touched and they both recoiled as if the had been burned. He looked at the guy and David was instantly attracted to him. It was a very strange feeling because he had never seen that person before but, somehow, he felt he really liked him. David asked him to take the fruit; he could have it some other time. The guy wanted him to take it. Finally, they both had passion fruit as more was served in a second.

 They decided to sit together, as they both had come by themselves. Actually, everyone in that place was alone or meeting people there, which maybe had something to do with their desires. But David was not thinking too much about that. He was asking the guy his name and where he had come from. His name was Michel and he was from Paris but his parents were immigrants from Africa. He started telling David his story and it was so interesting that David didn’t notice all the food from the buffet had been taken away because of the hour.

 They decided to keep talking, walking around the island, discovering the place together. David confessed that he didn’t really know what he had wanted to achieve by coming to the island because he wasn’t even sure of what he was looking for or what it was that he wanted from life. Michel told him he was more certain than that but that he was open to anything that could happen in life. He wanted a better job for himself but also to please his family by getting together with someone and having a family or something like that.

 Both men decided to meet again later for dinner and so they did. The mood was strangely romantic but nothing really happened besides a lot of flirting and maybe holding hands for a short time. David was very happy, as he had not been in a long time. He felt as if he had gone back in time, just as a boy in school who is excited about meeting people and having their first crush, That was exactly how it felt and it was very strange but he intended to enjoy it thoroughly.

 His stay was of one week. And he spent almost everyday with Michel. They explored the island together by foot, kissed in the middle of the jungle and swam together in the lagoon, playing around with seashells and other things they found. David loved to watch Michel swimming and then walking towards him, dripping water. Somehow, that was very sexy to him. By the fourth night, David let Michel into his bedroom and they made love. It was very particular but even sex felt better there, it felt much more natural, easier if it makes senses.

 They both noticed it and they talked about it the next day in bed. They kissed a lot and then had breakfast in the buffet. But then, something really weird happened. Valeria, the woman who had greeted them the day they had arrived, approached them on the restaurant and told Michel that he had a “penalty point” because he hadn’t registered into his room the night before. David didn’t believe what she was saying. But then again, other people from the hotel’s staff, were apparently having the same conversation with other guests.

 Michel responded to her saying that he had the best sex of his life that night, so not following those rules had been a good idea. The woman didn’t laugh or seemed even annoyed by the comment. She just repeated that he had that “penalty” and that if it happened again, he would be “invited to leave the island”. And then she left, leaving them with their mouths open and wondering if that had been just to play with them or an actual thing that hotel had. It was a very weird situation but they forgot about it later, during sex in Michel’s room.

 They decided to respect the rules but not fully: they would have sex in each other’s rooms but not during the night. They would go have something to eat or hike or swim after that. The truth was that both of them had the best week of their lives there. When time come to leave, people from the hotel told everyone that each person would be picked up individually in their rooms with their luggage and then taken to the landing strip by boat. They came for David just after lunch, which he had with Michel. He was not on the boat and then, not in the plane.

 Everyone was leaving at the same time, that’s how it worked. But why was the plane taking off without Michel. Maybe he had forgotten to take his phone from the locker or something. But as the plane flew over the island one last time, the guy besides him smiled and asked: “¿You thought it was real, right?”. And David realized that that was exactly what had happened. He had bought into the hotel’s experience and now he had the best memories with someone that wasn’t real. Or was he?

miércoles, 1 de julio de 2015

Cruise ship

   The Excelsior was a marvelous machine. It was one of the biggest boats in the business and would carry passengers all over the globe. Each summer, the ship would do a completely different schedule: sometimes it would be sent to the Caribbean, some other times it would be sent to a very unique trip to Alaska or even Antarctica. Captain Jones had been at the helm since the ship had been operating and he never liked to be too far away from it. He was an older man now, with grown children and no wife so he could actually just live for his boat. Every morning he would do a tour of the ship, check every single section and even ask some of the passengers for suggestions, complains and any other issue they would like to communicate. He was always listening.

 The latest trip of the Excelsior had been through the Pacific, linking the US with Hawaii and then on to Japan. It was a very long trip and everyone in the crew was happy the journey was over. They could all go back home and be with their families but Jones remained in Tokyo, very close to the place were the Excelsior was under maintenance. Even in those days, he would go to the harbor and look at the ship for at least an hour. It was as if the cruise ship was his baby and he needed to know where it was and how it was doing every single second of the day. He didn’t do much else in Tokyo. His children had encouraged him, over the phone, to visit as many places as he could and to try new kinds of food but every ounce of adventure Jones had in his body was only related to the sea.

 When he was told that the ship’s maintenance would last more than scheduled, he got very worried and insisted on talking to the chief of the team that was doing the repairs. The man accepted to talk to him because he saw how much he cared about the ship and realized it was best if he knew. The boat’s engines had to be repaired as they appeared to be over strained by so many journeys. The hull also had to be reinforced due to the many voyages the ship had taken to cold waters were there was ice. The captain asked what he feared most: how long would it all take. The chief of the repairs told him that at least a year, if they were really fast.

The company then intervened and asked Jones to join other liners. He wouldn’t be captain in the next journey but they would try to find something for him to administrate as well as he had done with the Excelsior. But he was adamant that his job was to be a captain and that his ship was the one docked in Japan. They tried to convince him to take another ship but it was almost impossible. So the solution they found was to propose to him to take his vacations and come back when the ship was ready. Jones had not gone into a vacation for several years and being sixty-two years old, he knew there was not much more time to be a captain. So he accepted the vacations and demanded from the company to be notified about the Excelsior’s progress.

 Once he realized he was free to do whatever he wanted, he realized he had no idea about being free from duty. He had always being such a dedicated person but only regarding his job. There was nothing else he actually did that well and he needed a distraction for at least a year. He tried to get a job in another cruise line company but apparently they all knew about the Excelsior and about his love for the ship. And they were right; he wasn’t going to be at the helm of any other liner until his ship was out of repairs. He even tried getting into fishing companies but it wasn’t the same.

 He finally realized he had to take the vacation period seriously and decided to call one of his sons and ask him if he could stay with him for a couple of months. At first, his son was reluctant, telling him he had to ask his wife and children and that the house they lived in was too small. Jones knew for a fact that wasn’t true as his son was a lawyer for a large company and made tons of money, enough for a large house where his own father could spent a couple of months as he waited for his big baby to be ready. Some days later, his son called him back and told him he could come right away. Jones bought a ticket to Germany and went there immediately. During the plane trip to his son’s home, he realized he hadn’t ben in an airplane for several years.

 His son Robert picked him up at the airport and did a nice job welcoming his father into his house. They had prepared fruit punch and the children were all hugs and questions about Jones’s trips around the world. That first night, they went to bed late because of him. The following days were not as nice as that evening as the children were at school, Robert in his office and his wife would come and go many times during the day, despite not having an actual job. For a time, Jones thought the women was having an affair but he soon realized the real thing happening was alcohol. The woman reeked of it.

 The children’s interest started to decrease as their grandpa was seen more as an invader than as a nice guest. As he was always there, they were no longer interested in him. So Jones decided to take longs walks, at exactly the same time his son’s wife decide to take her alcohol fueled lunches with her girlfriends. He walked many kilometers in a day, checking out the stores in the way and the architecture. But he felt a little bit choked. He tried to sit down to get some air but that wasn’t it. After some more walks, he realized his body missed the ocean and its air. The city were his son lived was inland and there was not even a lake to go to. And the truth was that Jones felt alone everyday, as he had never felt before.

 So he decided, after only one month, to call his daughter Julie that happened to live in Panama as an artist. That country was surrounded by water and there was the canal where he could see large ships, something he loved. He had being then in his journeys many times but he had never touched the land. So he announced his decision and told the family he would leave them in a couple of days. They didn’t say much but it was obvious they were not very sad about his departure. They didn’t even take him to the airport and it was then when he realized he had never been close to his son. It wasn’t because of him that he was who he was. But that was ok. Jones didn’t want to ruin the last years of his life only to be liked as if he was a twelve year old. He just packed and moved on to the next adventure, as he always did.

  When he got to Panama, his daughter greeted him with a nice dinner and lots of kisses and laughs. She had always been a cheerful girl and had always been close to him, being the only one that called him at all during his journeys. It wasn’t something often but he loved when she did. She had married a photographer but then divorced him because he cheated on her so much. During dinner, he told her father that she had found out about so many women and some men that it had become unbearable. So she divorced and decided to pursue her passion of sculpting and she was doing very well for herself, doing works for many prestigious clients are the world.

 Jones stayed there for about four months. He loved the weather, which was very humid and very hot. He loved to walk around even if the city wasn’t made for it and, mostly, he loved to see the boats making line to enter the canal. His favorite thing was to go to one of the locks of the canal and check out every single boat that passed through. That easily became his favorite pastime and the people that worked there grow accustomed to his presence. He just wanted to be in a boat soon and the next best thing was to be there, watching every single one of them that passed through the country. It was kind of sad but he knew he had to be patient and just wait for the time he would be able to go back to Japan.

 One day, he thought about visiting his third child. His son Marco lived in New York and they hadn’t talked in several years. That was because his son had left home after high school due to Jones’s stubbornness. But it was right then when the company called and they told Jones the Excelsior was much worse than they had anticipated. The ship had not being properly repaired in the past and now it was beyond anything they could do. They would only lose money if they keep up the work so it had been decided it was going to be decommissioned. Jones was speechless and did not say a word for the next full day.

The following day he bought a ticket to Japan and told his daughter he was leaving to say goodbye to his ship but then they got into a fight because Julie thought the best thing to do was for him to go to New York and make amends with Marco. But his father was, once again, stubborn and putting his job first, as he had always did. She decided to let him do what he wanted and took him to the airport where they bid farewell. Jones thought about his daughter’s remarks but his life, and he was honest about this, had never been his family but that damn ship. That was the awful truth.

martes, 25 de noviembre de 2014

Tropical nightmare

The beach was perfect, like the ones in movies or on brochures. Most times they are just less attractive, filled with smashed sea shells and lots of leaves laying around. Not this one though. It seemed it was cleaned every single day because it was impossible it was naturally perfect.

Truth be told, it wasn't very close to the road and tourists hadn't invaded yet. Only locals, like Pat, knew about these natural beauties no one else knew about. And that was the reason why I had come here with Kevin. We wanted an adventure but also clean bathrooms and a comfy bed. Well, we got it.

It was all Pat's doing. She was a native Hawaiian Kevin had met in work. He worked in a travel agency and many people were very interested in visiting Oahu and all other islands. Pat had been to Kevin's office offering the services of her family's company: they provided personalized tours for small groups or couples all over the state of Hawaii. They only asked for the visitors to fill an online survey to know their tastes and schedules and then the perfect tour would be assigned to them.

And up to know, it was perfect. We had visited pineapple crops and the most interesting sites of Honolulu and its surroundings.

Today, it was Maui's turn to amaze us and the beach had done just that. Pat told us she would leave for a couple of hours to visit a cousin not very far. That would give us privacy and time to enjoy the beach. We only saw couples there and not that many. We held hands and walked on the soft sand. After a while we took off our clothes and jumped in the water, leaving our things hidden behind a coconut tree.

The water was also perfect. We swam a lot, for a hole hour before we went back to the beach. We had something to eat and looked at the ocean, dreaming of one day leaving in or near a place like this.

Then I realized my phone and Kevin's were not in the backpack. I checked two, three times but could not find anything. We worried, as Pat had told us to call her at 4 PM, but how if we had no idea of the time of day. Actually, we had no idea of what her phone number was. I looked around for the cellphones as Kevin went to look for someone to lend us a phone to call but I found nothing and he found no one.

We put on our clothes and walked back to the road. It was a long trail through the trees, but Kevin said he remembered the way so I followed him, holding his hand but in silence. After 45 minutes of walking, we finally got to the road but it too was deserted. Something felt really wrong.

We waited and waited and the sun was going down and we worried more and more. We were supposed to be in a boat back to the hotel by then, but instead we were standing by a lonely road and darkness would settle in no time.

I told Kevin that we should walk, at least to be closer to a town or something and he agreed. Not much time passed when a car drove by. We made signs for it to stop and it did. We both jogged towards it but then I saw who was driving and who was sitting in the back.

I tried to pull back but someone grabbed by the arm and made me enter the car. Some other guy did the same with Kevin, forcing him into the back seat. The car drove off and we were not saying a word. We both knew what was happening but did not see it coming. One mistake, and we would be done for good.

I should mention I am a police officer. As such, I have captured and sent to jail hundreds of thieves, murderers, con artists and so on. The man that was driving was a drug lord who people thought had died in a helicopter crash. I saw the explosion myself and that was another reason for my silence.

Kevin also knew who he was because I almost died the day of the helicopter accident. One of the drug lord's men shot me but thankfully I received no serious damage. But Kevin was not fixed on that man. He was looking at Pat, who was sitting there, next to them. She just gazed at the window, as if she was on a car with friends.

Already dark, the car pulled off by a small house by the road. We were forced to enter, as well as Pat was. The drug lord then started talking about revenge and intelligence. Pat had led us to a trap, set by him to kill me. I had been a key member in the investigation against him and it was my testimony that had sent his wife and son to jail. Now, he wanted to get "even".

He thanked Pat for her help but stated that he couldn't leave any witnesses. She went mad when he said that and tried to attack him. One of his men grabbed her and the other shot her in the head, in front of us.

The man continued, telling us the house was soaked on gasoline and that we would die as he had supposedly died: on fire.

Before leaving, of the thugs, the one that had killed Pat, turned around and shot me in the right thigh and Kevin too. They weren't going to tie us but wanted to be sure we wouldn't escape.

The house rapidly caught fire and, before the smoke began to be unbearable, we heard them drove off.

The pain was too much and I had to drop to the floor before I fainted from it. Kevin had been shot in the waist and begged me to do something.

The fire was everywhere and we were already coughing and pulling back from the flames but it was futile. The place was made from would only and it wasn't a very big house. Options were scarce.

We were going to die.