Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Metaphoric Resonance of Straws

One of the things that I learned while at the Anantara Resort in the Maldives is that straws are a great equalizer. At this opulent, luxurious hotel situated on a private island with individual villas that cost upward of $1500 a night, they’ve improved on everything. The sheets are smoother, the temperature is more bearable, the doughnuts are squishier . . . They’ve even managed to make the whole freaking island smell nice. But as I sipped my freshly squeezed fruit juice out of a colorful glass, I was using the same type of straw that every fast food chain dispensed with their mega-size soft drinks. Now, either straws are just so perfectly constructed that they can’t be improved upon, or, as I mentioned, they are an excellent equalizer. The reason I was musing upon straws’ deep, metaphoric resonance was because I was ridiculously relaxed and also considering the fact that I might have been born for the life of a millionaire.

 In my last blog post, about traveling through Sri Lanka, I mentioned that I had been awarded the nickname ‘Five-Star’ when I complained about sleeping on a brick mattress. However, now, I was traveling at the other end of the spectrum. And I was completely fine with it. My mother, as some of you might know, is a travel writer. And that comes with certain perks. For example, staying at an awesomely fancy resort and getting free food.  Sometimes, I even get to come with her. LIKE NOW.

Note the mattress is not a brick
We arrived late Monday morning, and were greeting by the marketing coordinator and our villa lackey. We were handed cold jasmine scented towels and walked through the warm perfumed air to the restaurant, where we were offered fresh juice, small pastries and champagne. Then, we got on a golf cart and were driven to our over water villa, while sipping our champagne and admiring the scenery. I hopped off the golf cart and entered the large villa. Our villa lackey handed us the itinerary, the keys and a map and told us to enjoy our selves. I ran around in the air conditioning happily. We had a private infinity pool, a huge glass bottom tub, a patio, foot baths and a fresh fruit welcome platter. I couldn’t decide if I was more excited about the fruit or the bath. I wandered into the gigantic, airy bathroom, complete with day bed, and ran myself a bath. For those of you who might be wondering, I have literally not taken a bath in years. I’m not even joking. Years, I tell you. The tub even had a bath pillow. I didn’t actually know bath pillows existed! I splashed in the tub for a while, went for a swim, drank some tea and had a foot bath. Eventually, we all meandered through the shade to the restaurant for some lunch. Now, we got free food at a fancy, expensive restaurant. You’re probably all thinking that I got some tiny, gourmet, hard to pronounce dish. Heck no. I’m fine with that when I’m in a city where there’s a wide selection of food. Not if I haven’t been to a big grocery store since Bali. So I got a burger. Of course, it was still a gourmet burger. It had imported mustard and fancy cheese. Dessert was the tiny gourmet part. Anyways, enough about the food, I could go on for days.

After lunch, my parents went off on a tour of the resort, but I declined. I went back to the villa and lazed around in the pool for a while until my parents got back. We all lazed around collectively for a bit, until it was time for the cocktail party celebrating the Thai New Year. I got an elaborate fruit juice and a massage from the masseuses that were there to ensure everyone was appropriately relaxed and also to give everybody a sneak peek of the spa. We hung out there for a while and released a candle shaped like a flower over the pool in a coconut shell. Then it was time for the main event. The one you’ve all been waiting for. Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls, I give you dinner! At! Sea!

Now Sea is a very special restaurant. It's gourmet, and expensive, but there are a lot of restaurants like that. No, Sea is special cause ITS UNDER WATER! I bet your jaws just dropped. Ha. Its one of only a few underwater restaurants in the world, it has eight tables, five course dinners and it costs $370 per person. We were the only ones there when we first arrived, and we were sat in the cool blue lighting next to a large observation window. It felt like a high end ‘Restaurant at the End of the Universe’ to be honest, what with the mirrored ceiling, the blue light, the crazy carpet and the colorful seat pillows. The waiter arrived and handed us giant menus, complete with pen light, due to the dim lighting. He explained that there were five courses with two options for each course, and each course was paired with a wine. Of course, seeing as I wasn’t drinking, he would be happy to get me a juice or a mocktail. We picked the first four courses, except not the dessert, and he bustled off, leaving us with some beautiful fish books to attempt to identify the fish swimming by. I won’t go into details, because the meal took three hours and any attempt to describe it would take longer, but I will say that it was fantastic and wonderful and is something I will remember for the rest of my life. I also met a lovely moray eel named Derek.

We waddled back home and tumbled into the intoxicatingly smooth sheets. I don’t know what it is about hotel sheets, but somehow they always seem softer, cooler and cuddlier then any other sheet anywhere. Needless to say, I adore them. The next morning we moseyed on down to the breakfast buffet, where I promptly gorged myself on doughnuts, leading my mother to suggest Doughnuts Anonymous. I’m still laughing. Ha. Ha. Ha. After relaxing in the villa for a while longer and taking another bath, we packed our bags sadly and called our villa lackey to escort us to our Maldivian cooking class. I sniffed and dabbed my eyes as I bid our villa a fond farewell. Ah, to be a millionaire.

The cooking class was lovely, except I was still stuffed with pastries so I was only able to manage a bite of everything. We were then walked down to the dock and waved back to Ceilydh and to our non millionaireesque lives. Which is perfectly perfect.