Clippings: Child-free zone marred by adults

My wife Dottie and I were positively giddy.
Our first vacation sans kids (no offense, Diane and Mark) since 1998. So we booked, rather late in the game, a six-day stay at a resort in the Bahamas operated by a certain company named after casual, summertime footwear.
The promise: Plenty of peace, pampering and sunshine in a couples-only environment devoid of sippy cups, high chairs and pre-pubescent meltdowns.
Truth be told, Dottie and I had not placed “child-free zone” at the top of our vacation prerequisites list. But we were curious about how such an ambiance would play out after having taken family trips pretty consistently since the early 1990s.
It indeed proved a shock to the system soon after arriving at our destination early last week.
After unpacking our suitcases, we wandered throughout the sprawling, opulent resort festooned with sculptures, a variety of ethnic eateries, beachfront on the Atlantic, and two pools so cold they were only used by the very brave or seriously inebriated.
Enjoying the amenities with us were a rainbow of adults of different colors, religions and nationalities from throughout the world who shared a common bond for the week — no children. Clients of this resort had collectively sought a temporary reprieve from changing diapers, preparing bagged lunches, parent-teacher conferences, and (hopefully not) juvenile court paperwork.
The child-free panorama was — at least at the outset — as eerie to me as the scene in the movie “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” where the lead characters land in a village in India to find that all the kids had been stolen.
But we found as the week progressed that some of our fellow adults were only too happy to take on the stereotypical behavior of children amped up on Kool-Aid. But the tonic of choice for the adults proved to be alcohol — and a lot of it, since it was an open bar.
The sideshow antics included a couple of gregarious Canadian men flexing their beer muscles at the piano bar. One toppled the other, who was told to leave. And leave he did — at least for a while, before returning for another round. They were apparently too old to be put in “time-out.”
A few days later, the serenity of an ocean sunset vista was shattered by a blitzed couple whose booming voices reverberated throughout the resort. The couple’s voices suddenly diminished as the Jack and Cokes took their full effect, and we were relieved to see them make it out of the pool. We still aren’t sure how the new bride — who had collapsed on a poolside chair — made it to her room.
A day later, we passed by a staggering 20-something asking where she could find the nearest casino. When one of the resort workers politely suggested that she was in no condition to roll the dice, the woman berated her and weaved her way through the courtyard.
I am no prohibitionist and certainly imbibed a few adult beverages during the trip. But it was interesting to see how some of our fellow adults began to exhibit the very behavior they thought they were escaping after they had consumed one too many cocktails.
We had a good time and were ready to return to our own “kids” — now 18 and 20. Dottie and I agreed that when we are fortunate enough to embark on another expedition, it needn’t be to a kid-free zone — though I found myself wavering on that policy during our flight home. I think the kid in seat 22B broke my eardrums.

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