28 May 2007

Pay for Shade?

Last night we returned from 9 days in Hawaii. I didn't mention it before because I have this thing about announcing to the world that we're going out of town. My husband is that way when I shout it across the street so the neighbors know to look out for our house. He is sure some opportunistic robber will over hear. I think he's too paranoid about the street thing. But I'm like that in my blog. Crime is up in our hood. We're both a little jittery.

Anyway, Augusto had a conference at the Ritz in Maui. The Ritz- I KNOW, what luck?! How could the kids and I not tag along? By coincidence, friends with kids the same ages as ours were staying nearby. A few of the days we all went to the beach as one gear-toting hoard and took turns with the kids. Travel with other families is fantastic. Every time we've gone somewhere with another family or more, it has been a huge success for all involved. Even when the kids aren't playing well together, we adults can share responsibility for redirecting, imagining creative games, cooking and all the other parenting jobs. It also shakes up our own family dynamics, so we end up having less stupid bickering and more overall quality adult time. I can't recommend it enough.

Hawaii was lovely. The sun was out. The views were stunning. Our marble bathroom had a separate room for the toilet. The ocean was warm and seemingly stocked for our snorkeling pleasure. There were two major exceptions to the loveliness: 1. the food and drinks at the resort are too expensive for a person of regular means to consume on a daily basis; and 2. guests are expected to pay for shade. Yes, I said pay for shade. So we tired of kid grilled cheese (pool bar, $5), instant oats (brought from home), and baby carrots (Safeway in Lahaina) while we kept moving to stay in the wispy shade of the tall palms. The Ritz has cabanas for four people and pairs of lounge chairs with awnings. These can be reserved for $75 and $50 per day! They do not provide any other umbrellas at the pool or beach. I can't get over either of these ridiculous features of the Ritz. As I nursed Otto under a shade tent made by stretching a kanga from my Oakland baseball cap to my knees, I scanned the pool menu thinking I must have missed the one affordable item (chips and salsa $11, chicken sandwich without fries $16, cup of coffee $5). I imagined the staff gathered at some planning meeting, wringing their hands, whining and cackling..."If they'll pay $300 and up for a room at a resort a 10 minute drive from the nearest hotel, we can charge $13 for a Mai Tai and $15 for a mediocre Pinot Gris no problem. And why the hell not?! Get 'um for all they're worth. Hey, let's charge for SHADE while we're at it. It'll be hilarious!"

No comments: