“I have an interesting idea for our last day in Grenada.” Victor said, “Our flight is at 3 pm and the airport is located right next to a beach. How about we go there early in the morning, spend a day at the beach, and then just… walk to the airport for our flight?”
It sounded crazy. I’ve never seen an airport you can walk to. Every airport is always seemingly surrounded by highways and giant parking lots and fields, making it unapproachable on foot. I checked Google Maps and there it was, Magazine Beach just 0.4 miles from the Maurice Bishop International Airport entrance, or an eight-minute walk.
“Let’s do it!” I said and after a little consideration added, “Let’s try to do it!”
And so, on the last day in Grenada, we checked out from our Airbnb, got our luggage all packed up, and took a taxi to Magazine Beach.
“Take us to the Aquarium Restaurant, please!” Victor said and turning to me, explained, “It’s right on the beach and attached to a hotel. We should be able to leave our luggage at the front desk, eat breakfast and maybe lunch, and spend the day at the beach.”
Twenty minutes later, the taxi dropped us off at a sprawling luxury resort composed of beautiful villas set on an immaculate slope, providing panoramic views of Grenada and the Caribbean Sea. There were tropical gardens, stone pathways, a turtle pond, a large restaurant with a wooded deck, and stairs to the beach. There was one thing missing. People. All the resort doors were wide open, but the front lobby was completely empty. We walked through, into the deserted restaurant and further on, to the vacant deck. Beyond the deck, set up with heavy wooden chairs and tables, was an uninhabited beach, tall palm trees, and gorgeous water. We meandered around, unsure of what to do.
“Let’s just leave the luggage in the restaurant, where it’s cooler and all of our Grenadian chocolate won’t melt, and let’s go on the beach!” I said, “Eventually someone will show up and we’ll ask to store our luggage somewhere safer. And order breakfast!”
It was 8 am and I wasn’t worried. Things in Grenada never seemed to function on a rigid schedule, so clearly the restaurant would just open later, probably at 9 am.
We changed into our bathing suits in the restaurant’s bathroom and went to enjoy swimming in the clear warm Caribbean water. 9 am came and went, with no sign of anyone. There was still no one on the beach as far as the eye could see and we didn’t see anyone in the lobby or the villas of the resort. I checked my phone and saw that there was public Wifi for the restaurant and joined it. I went to the restaurant’s website and saw that lunch is served at noon and no mention of breakfast. No problem! We weren’t that hungry yet anyway, we’ll wait to eat until noon.
We had swimming goggles with us, and Victor found plenty of pretty rocks, underwater plants, and colorful fishes to keep him occupied in the water for hours. We swam, relaxed on beach lounge chairs, walked the beach, and enjoyed the views.
“Shouldn’t the airport be less than half a mile away?” I said, “I haven’t heard or seen a single plane land or take off! I see more planes every day at home and we live seven miles from O’Hare!”
Little by little, I was starting to feel a little creeped out. We were surrounded by white sand, blue water, bright sun, and endless skies. Surely, a paradise! But the villas where no one lived, the restaurant where no one ate, a beach with no swimmers or sunbathers, the airport with no incoming or outgoing flights… Where were the people? This was starting to feel like the beginning of a horror movie. Any moment now we were going to find out what happened to all the other people… I shuddered.
I looked at Victor, but he was sharing none of my concerns.
“I am going swimming!” He called out and ran into the water.
Noon came and no lunch was served, despite the website’s claims. I looked over the deck, the restaurant hall, and the hotel lobby carefully. None of the rooms or furniture looked abandoned or in any state of disrepair or closed for construction. It looked like employees cleaned up and left yesterday, and for some inexplicable reason didn’t arrive today. I checked the website again and found that the hotel and restaurant were to be closed for “off-season maintenance” two weeks from now. This in no way explained what was happening now.
By this point, the lack of people wasn’t bothering me as much as the lack of food. We finally realized that if we wanted to eat, we would have to serve ourselves. We pulled out our bag of treats we bought for our friends and family at home – nutmeg, chocolate tea, hot chocolate, and finally, a whole bunch of chocolate bars. I also found a stray apple and a small mango on the bottom of my camera bag, leftovers from a trip to the market a few days ago. We split the fruit and one chocolate bar and called it lunch.
“We’ll eat at the airport!” I said cheerfully. Partly because I really did believe at that moment that we would eat at the airport, and partly because we finally saw the first plane of the day approaching from the sea and landing on the hill above us. Victor also spotted a few beachgoers further down on the sand and even a few snorkeling kids. It seemed that my theory that we were the last two remaining people in the entire world didn’t pan out. Which was fine by me.
We changed, packed our wet swimming suits into backpacks, and took off for the airport. We didn’t pay a single cent to spend half a day at the beautiful deck, using their bathroom, WiFi, beach chairs, and generally acting like we owned the place. To this day, we have no idea why the whole resort was empty and will probably never know.
The walk to the airport really was around eight minutes, but as soon as we approached the airport, it looked like we would need to take a detour through a long parking lot or simply cut through the bushes to get quicker to the front door. We cut through the bushes and emerged right next to a line of taxis. The drivers, initially confused by our appearance out of the shrubbery, nevertheless quickly regained their composure and started calling out “Taxi! Taxi to town! Where are you going?”
“We are here!” I laughed and we headed for the doors. The airport was tiny with the arrivals display showing only 4 flights. There were only a few stores selling the same touristy trinkets and chocolate bars. There was no food. Just as there was no food served on the plane. We finally got to eat at around 10 pm in Toronto, during our layover. I am ashamed to admit - I’ve never before or after enjoyed Starbucks food this much.
That was a strange end to a great vacation. The resort with no people, the airport with seemingly no flights, and the whole day without food, it was confusing at the time and seems almost like a bizarre dream now. Back at home, in the midst of the daily mundane routine of work and chores, I sometimes close my eyes and think back to that empty beach, the endless sky, and the warm water. I wish I could go back, but this time I would pack my own food!