Monday, April 23, 2012

Not What I Imagined

Whenever we travel, there always seems to be at least one nude beach somewhere along our journey. Like most people, and by most people I mean most men, I’m often a little intrigued about a visit to the naked shoreline.  However, the reality of a nude beach never lives up to the fantasy.  In my imagination, a nude beach is packed with hard bodied, athletic young women, skin glistening with suntan oil, playing volleyball in a wild Playboy mansion party atmosphere. In reality, the sand is strewn with bloated, lethargic, refugees from a cruise ship buffet who look like they fell overboard and washed ashore, sunburned in areas that were never meant to see the light of day, their body parts having long ago surrendered to gravity.  Nearly all who are naked should be clothed and, in some cases, tented.
During our last cruise to the Caribbean, we met a couple aboard the ship who invited us to Orient Beach, St. Maarten’s famous nude bathing spot.  Kellie pegged them as swingers on the prowl for an exchange and she declined their offer. When we found ourselves on St. Maarten again during our current trip, Kellie wanted to make a stop at the notorious landmark. 
We rented a car so that we could circumnavigate the island at our own pace, and the five dollars we paid to rent a GPS ensured marital harmony as we explored the island.  Orient Beach was our second stop of the day.  We parked in a mud filled lot behind a contiguous line of shacks that housed various bars, restaurants and tourist shops. Slipping through a narrow alley between two shanties, we found ourselves smack in the middle of the clothed end of the beach.  Orient Beach is not all nude, half the beach looks like a typical European seascape, densely packed with lounge chairs and multicolored umbrellas, leaving little sand to walk on except at the water’s edge, with everyone suited in appropriate bathing attire.  Walking south along the shore, you come upon a line of rocks in the sand that clearly marks the territorial boundary of the naked ape. 
After strolling the shoreline for about half an hour, Kellie was ready for a walk on the wild side.  
“Do you really want to visit the nude end?” I asked her.
“We’re here now and it’s on my list, so I feel like I have to go,” Kellie responded.
So we continued on towards the boarder. Close to the boundary, three of the leviathans overcame their urge to lie motionless and stood up, apparently getting ready to cool their parched, red, wrinkled skin in the sea.  We were still 50 feet from their territory when Kellie spied a large white butt crack and a pair of winkies fluttering in the breeze. With her right index finger, Kellie made a large, invisible checkmark and announced, “Check!  I’ve seen enough; we can go now.”
Men are visual creatures, women much less so.  Kellie had no preconceived mental picture of what she expected to see, but she had a very clear picture of what she didn’t want to see – naked old men waving their winkies around like handkerchiefs.  I asked Kellie why she wanted to go to a nude beach if she didn’t want to see naked people.  She said she had to check it off her list. If Kellie is willing to do something just because it’s on her list, then I want to know where it’s hidden; I have a few items I’d like to add to it.

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