So. Bad news. In exactly two months from today, I will be on a plane to Belize.
I haven’t told anybody about this, really. In fact, the entire thing is embarrassing to admit.
Because my in-laws are paying for the whole trip.
Except for the plane tickets. But then again, they sent us a check for Christmas to “help” with that. So. Yeah. Paying for the whole trip, essentially.
It sounds so chichi, huh? So pinky finger; silken goods. We’re terribly afraid we must decline your invitation to go yachting off the coast of Greece, darling, for we shall be in Belize during that time. This is how rich people talk, right? Pretty sure.
I have no idea where all this came from. One day out of the clear blue sky last summer, the beau’s father emailed him with a suggestion for a family trip. “Our current thinking is Belize,” he typed. “We would either do a kayak tour and jungle expedition with guides all inclusive or we would get rooms on an island on the reef (like Caye Caulter or Ambergris) and go on trips from there (snorkeling, fishing, diving, jungle, etc).”
He signed off with, “If this isn’t something you are interested in, please let us know.” Solemnly, your father.
Beau forwarded me this email without comment and I basically wrote an all caps reply along the lines of ARE YOU FUCKING SHITTING ME.
Internally, I worried that the beau’s parents had received bad news about their health and they wanted to take this trip with their adult children as a kind of last-ditch chance to spend quality time together. His dad has a record of being notoriously mum about medical stuff; once when we were visiting for Christmas the beau’s mother had to wait until he got up from lunch to use the restroom to sneakily tell us he’d been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. Uh, what?
He must have wondered why we were all chewing silently and staring at him when he came back to the table.
In short, this is weird, and this is awesome, and this is also weird. I’m still not quite sure how to feel about it, so I sat down and made a list of pros and cons.
Spending nine days with my parents-in-law, my near-mute brother-in-law, and his peculiar girlfriend might be trying at times.
So I think I got that sorted.
And don’t think for a second I’m taking this for granted. I’ve rarely gotten anything for free in my life, let alone a trip to a tropical oasis. During my childhood, “vacations” meant surreptitiously squirting Cheez Whiz in my mouth in the backseat of the car on some grueling drive across country and staying in discount motels along the way. I never dreamt I would just… get… to go to Belize. Just like that.
However. There is always a “however.”
I was standing in front of my closet the other day, gazing vacantly at its contents, when some thoughts occurred to me:
- This closet is very small.
- I hate all of my clothes and they should be set on fire.
- I have nothing to take to Belize.
I don’t think my ratty Asics are gonna make the cut. Or my stretch leggings and long tunics and heavy cardigans and boots, which are my usual daily uniform of choice.
Two months. That’s what I have to prepare my suitcase. And so far, I’ve got nothin’ except a swimsuit to put in it.
So, consider this my plea for crowdsourcing. I need help, guys. Have you ever been to a tropical region? What did you bring? What gear or apparel did you find useful? My best guess is that I need a combination of loungewear and activewear. We will be spending time both on the beach and in the jungle. We will be hiking and doing other active-type things in addition to sipping booze-based fruit in the sand.
In my dreamiest of dreams, I would like to collect some clothes that are:
- Cool-looking and unique.
- Not made by a minor earning pennies in an overseas garment factory.
- Inexpensive as possible.
In other words:
So basically, the best I can hope for is two out of these three things.
Tips? Advice? Recommendations? Gentle prodding? Links to where I can find this stuff on sale? Unabashed rage that I’m a lucky, lucky bastard?