Thursday, April 7, 2011
It’s funny how it always happens; you’re thrown into situations that you might not ordinarily choose. Such is the case on a trip that our family took to Cancun. I’m not talking about the life-size iguana family that congregated outside of our bungalow and scared my wife and kids, or the hundreds of sea turtles that hatched and ran for their lives one night as we walked on the shore of our hotel. Both of these events were pretty exciting.
No, I’m reminded of another event that we stumbled onto during a daylong excursion to La Isla Mujeres, one of those islands that has retained the natural beauty that you only see in travel magazines.
We rented motor scooters, and had the opportunity to travel around the entire perimeter of the island at our own pace, stopping only to taking pictures and admire the scenery along the way. We decided to take a lunch break at a seaside restaurant, where we could eat and drink right on the shoreline. Our waiter walked us out to an umbrella covered spot with a couple of lounge chairs.
As any human would, I glanced around to familiarize myself with the surroundings. The person lying on a chaise lounge to our left, who I first assumed was a man – due to the fact that he (turned out to be a she) wasn’t wearing a top. My youngest daughter looked to us (the parents) with a puzzled expression. “Mommy,” she said, “that girl’s not wearing her bathing suit.” I quickly and quietly pointed out to Mommy and my daughter that we should act with a little discretion because this woman was sitting right next to us.
Suddenly, we all had to make a mental note not to look to the left anymore. So we gazed ahead, while still trying to process the new circumstance in which we were thrown. It didn’t take long for my eyes to focus on another person; yes it was another woman and yes she was also topless. This one was sitting at the edge of the sandy shore reading a book. I obviously didn't get the memo, nor did I see a sign, stating that this was a bathing suit optional beach. This was a little detail that, as parents, we might have wanted a “head’s up” on before settling into a public restaurant on an open beach. We eventually got acclimated, though, and were able to just relax and enjoy the afternoon.
My strongest memory of that afternoon is not of the two women in their one piece swimsuits, although I do have to say that my wife and kid’s reactions to them were somewhat priceless. No, it was just the family, being together on that warm little island: exploring, eating, relaxing and swimming. We were able to walk endless distances out into the ocean, with the water level never even reaching our waists.
I think that I’ll have to pause briefly the next time that one of my daughters mentions something about wearing a one piece swimsuit. A properly worded follow-up question might be in order. I’m a man, but I’m also a protective dad. Swimsuit styles may come and go, and body parts may present themselves in different shapes and sizes; but there is a time and a place for everything – except for my daughters, wearing a “one piece” swimsuit at the beach.