Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Pickleball in Paradise

Sandals South Coast
As mentioned in the last post, we went to Jamaica on November 7th for a week-long stay at the Sandals South Coast. There were over 30 of us from the greater Charlotte area on the trip for this pickleball adventure. Sandals is an all-inclusive, adults only resort. The only negative is the hour and a half bus trip on precarious roads to get to the resort. 

The grounds of the hotel are fantastic, resembling a botanical garden oasis. There are numerous restaurants and swimming pools, and of course multiple pickleball courts. Though the courts are striped on tennis courts, they functioned well for our purposes.

Due to the heat and humidity, we limited our play to several hours in the morning. This left the afternoons and evenings free to swim in the ocean or pools, rest on the many loungers, or take advantage of the water sport options. We did drills and had coached play, and the week culminated with a round robin tournament on Saturday, followed by a banquet that evening. All the people in our group were super-nice and we made some new friends that we will continue to see in Charlotte. I feel like I learned some new game strategy, and hope to put those into play.

On Friday (two days prior to departure), Sandals provided Covid tests to anyone in our group who had been fully vaccinated. Those who had not been vaccinated had to wait until Saturday for their tests per new United States entry requirements. Our appointments were at 11:15, and we were able to walk right in to the testing room. This test was very different than the one we completed prior to travel. It involved the long testing stick, which felt as though they were literally picking your brain. It definitely brought tears to my eyes. Later that evening we got our negative test results back, thankfully.

flying home
On Sunday the same bus and driver repeated the harrowing drive back to Sangster International Airport. The checkin line at the airport was pretty long, but moved quickly. Our plane boarded on time, and again we had a very civil group of passengers on the flight. With all the horror stories of passengers yelling and even striking flight attendants over the mask mandate, you never know what might happen. But while this trip went fairly smoothly, I am not in a hurry to leave the country again anytime soon. It's just a lot of hassle right now.

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