Just Like A Second Honeymoon ...

... only TOTALLY different.

Ten years ago we went to Maui for our week-long honeymoon. We stayed at the Four Seasons Hotel. We sipped champagne pool-side. We got massages. We basked in the warm Hawaiian sun, and admired the beautiful clientele with the rock hard abs, toned legs, and bronzed skin. We oogled at the celebrities on vacation. We were awed by the staff's attentiveness, often anticipating our every need, whether poolside or fetching chaise's by the beach.

This past weekend's vacation... nothing like our honeymoon.

We stayed at the Taj Exotica Hotel in Bentota, Sri Lanka, a three hour winding drive south of Colombo. The hotel came highly recommended, though in retrospect I'm not sure why. Although the facilities were nice, the service proved less than stellar for what was touted as a 5-star hotel. Noticeably absent was the attentive staff; replaced instead by non-English proficient local employees who ignored requests for assistance, yet were quick to have their hand out for tips at every occasion.

The toned and tan bodies of Maui were transformed in Sri Lanka by fat, hairy, sunburned Russians in their too-small Speedos and thick gold chains. You know the ones... with the blond trophy girlfriends straight off the stripper poles, with $10,000 breasts and lips, strutting around in their thong-bikinis and high heels. Lounging next to them were the chain-smoking French, and the shriveled up Brits. All that was needed were some Italians in Sergio Tacchini track suits with over sized D&G sunglasses and this could have been a Eurotrash Club Med.

Another highlight was each morning's melee, referred to as the hotel's breakfast buffet. I've seen calmer $4.99 all-you-can-eat buffets at the Howard Johnson's on the strip in Vegas. It was a free for all, fighting for un-ripe fruit and stale cereal. Nobody helped clear tables, nor respond to sweep up the broken shards sprawled all over the floor from Sheridan's dropped plate.

And Matt's scuba diving trip... or lack thereof? After schlepping thirty-five pounds of dive equipment all the way from Chennai, his trip never materialized, thanks in part to the so-called concierge (who Matt now suspects was merely a bellhop killing time behind the concierge desk). The fly-by-night dive operator neglected to tell Matt that the dive had been canceled due to poor visibility, until after he had waited almost 45 minutes to be picked up. Matt should have questioned the operator's professional credentials when they misspelled the word boat as "boart" throughout their brochure.

The saving grace of this trip was that the kids had a great time. All the kids loved the pool, and the beach was pristine with calm, warm water, shallow enough for the girls to frolic in the waves. Additionally, the room was large enough to accommodate three beds and a crib, while still leaving us ample space to move about.

Of course, it wouldn't be a Perlman family vacation without a little vomit.... which in this instance, came from Sheridan an hour into our return trip back to the airport. Lucky for her, she put away the iPod mere minutes before she spewed her breakfast all over herself and the red velour seats in the taxi. Another ten minutes on the side of the road and a complete change of wardrobe later, we were back on track.

Once again, it was a family vacation filled with drama and adventure, another stamp in the passport and a little car sickness. Though not an entirely ideal location, the trip was worth it, and more importantly, so were the memories.


karey m. said...

the toilet directions SLAY ME!

and is that sheridan post-vomit? you take the funniest pictures, you know this?!


Z. Marie said...

I was about to ask whether you thought the toilet directions were necessary. But then it occurred to me that yes, of course they were!
Poor Sheridan!

Kash said...

THis post killed me because it is SO true, not only of that resort in Sri Lanka, but of so many of the so-called % star resorts in the developing world. I find its sometimes better to stay at the budget facilities where you'll actually find some interesting people...

Jen said...

Here's hoping you had a Starbucks or two! Love the toilet photo...classic!

Mom24 said...

Ugh, when will you have a vacation w/o vomit? Hopefully next time.

Glad you guys had a good time. Sorry for the not so great parts, frustrating. I'm sure you were paying for the 5 stars.

Glad the kids had a good time. Plan something wonderful for your 20th. :)

Blogging Mama Andrea said...

Yikes! It doesn't sound exactly like paradise but...I still see a few smiling faces so that's good.

I love the last picture, that's a face!

Christy said...

Oh I'm sorry but that's hysterical! You guys really can't go anywhere without someone vomiting! I love it! haha!

Your honeymoon sounds magical. This trip sounds like it was more of an adventure! The pictures are great - and glad you had a decent room!

Natalie said...

Obviously you and Matt owe yourselves a real second honeymoon, referably in Hawaii, without the kids. And sans vomit, if at all possible! :) Make a date.

The Bald Guy said...

Lol @ the Toilet picture. Even though almost everyone has said it already!


Anonymous said...

After reading your post and THEN the comments, I'm about to pee my pants.

Seriously - you are freakin' funny, Jill.

Crystal said...

You are so great, Jill!! Your are my comic reliefe in this FS life. Your descriptions about the Euro trash had me laughing so hard I was crying : )

I wanted to pass on to you, we had a mix up with our HHE shipment. ALmost half of our permanent storage stuff came instead of dishes, pots and pans and kitchen essentials. I knew you would understand. I can't say you didn't warn me ~ HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!

Crystal said...

You are so great, Jill!! Your are my comic reliefe in this FS life. Your descriptions about the Euro trash had me laughing so hard I was crying : )

I wanted to pass on to you, we had a mix up with our HHE shipment. ALmost half of our permanent storage stuff came instead of dishes, pots and pans and kitchen essentials. I knew you would understand. I can't say you didn't warn me ~ HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!

Lynda said...

Wow that post brought back some memories.. next posting after India in the late 90's was Colombo. In the middle of the civil war, complete with bombings etc. So fun. We visited the TAJ when it first opened. Sorry to hear it didn't live up to its counterparts. Must admit that our one trip to Bentota wasn't much better.. a villa filled with more mosquitos than a frogs belly... geekos galore... I thought life would have changed since the rebuilding after the Tsunami, but I guess things never really change.
Cheers L
(I have been a lurker until now.. glad to see you are posting again)

Kat said...

Has there ever been a trip without vomit?? At least your vomit was on the way home. How did your taxi driver react??

Kat said...

Ha! That toilet picture is a hoot!

Well, it may not have been as great as your first honeymoon, but I'm glad you managed to have a good time anyway. :)
Lovely pics!

Anonymous said...

Hi Jill,
This is a hilarious post...sorry the trip wasn't the second honeymoon you expected.

I just started this travel blog for women and I'm collecting photos from women travelers like you. Submit a photo of yourself in Sri Lanka or elsewhere and some tips for other women travelers who are going there, and we'll link back to your blog.

Visit our blog: www.pinkpangea.wordpress.com and get in touch at: pinkpangea@gmail.com

Looking forward to hearing from you,

Loukia said...

Hey, at least the kids had a good time, right? ;)

Foreign Service, here we come! said...

I have enjoyed reading your blog for a few months. You have a great sense of humor about all those things that happen which are unexpected and...well, unwelcome. :-) It's better to laugh than to cry!!

We're just starting our journey into the abyss.


American in Norway said...

Need pics of the EURO trash! - sorry the hotel sucked. thanks for letting everyone know.. you need to post on trip advisor.

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