A blog of general comment by one of L.A.'s best known commentator/essayists. Humor, drama, pathos, satire and, well, everything else.
Every once in awhile I close my eyes and conjure up an island in the Caribbean where the beach is composed of gleaming white sand, the surf is gentle, the ocean is aqua and life moves at the pace of an iguana. It is an image not created by a dreamy inclination of the mind to wander but a memory based in reality. We have just come back from Aruba.
For those unfamiliar with the geography of our ocean to the south, Aruba is a small island 15 miles off the coast of Venezuela. It is just 16 miles long and 9 miles wide in a vast terrain of water, calling in the whispered voice of Bali Hai, Come to me, come to me…
Cinelli and I spent four days in Aruba embraced in the comforts of the Bucuti Beach Resort, a small hotel and spa that sits on the shoreline of the whitest sand I have ever seen. While the brilliant colors of the Aegean may be the glory of the planet’s oceans, Aruba has to possess the most glowing of beaches.
Let me make clear that I am normally not one to spend my days lying on the sand sipping a Mai tai while the surf sings me to sleep. I am accustomed to an edgier life of push and shove where freeways are clogged, tempers are explosive and trouble is just around the corner. The music of my world is shrill, but I have chosen that tune and live with its discordance as I poke into dark corners of a city’s soul. This is my job. This is my inclination.
But everyone needs an island or a mountain top occasionally to hide amidst the silences. Drums must be muted and horns quieted before a permanent kind of madness sets in and we lose whatever perspective we possessed in the first place. We need time and we need roses.
It was why I was able to lie on the beach and sip a Mai tai when I was once heard to declare that I would rather drink battery acid and sleep on a bed of nails than roast in the sun sipping a pink doo-dah with a paper umbrella floating around in it. It was the tranquility that changed me. I was submerged in it.
Cinelli used the phrase walking on cotton to describe the subdued tone of our experience on Aruba; not just its lack of calamity, but the softness of its atmosphere and the warm enclosure of its starry nights. There were places within reach where one could dance, snorkel, gamble, sail or paraglide high above the light blue sea, but that’s not why I was there. You know why I was there.
Will we ever return? Probably not. A second look is rarely like a memory embellished by time and emotions into a high state of perception. But we will always have Aruba in a quiet place in our dreams, lying in the ocean sunlight, remembering us.
Now pour me a martini and turn up the music. The honeymoon is over.
Al Martinez is a Pulitzer Prize winning essayist, former columnist for the Los Angeles Times, author of a dozen books, an Emmy-nominated creator of prime time television shows, a travel writer, humorist and general hell-raiser. Try him. He's addictive.
Joanne Cinelli Martinez is composed of artist, poet, gourmet chef, interior decorator, photographer, volunteer, and all around intelligent person; also the life long partner and care taker of the simple but happy little man who runs the blog. She views him with suspicion and uncertainty. It is a cautionary love story.