September 13, 1994
Would I Write About Anything Other Than A Vacation?

Afterall, it is that time of the year for my diving vacation story. But for a change of pace, I decided to dump the 12 BSGers from my last vacation (or more realistically, they dumped me), and head out on my own for some calm serenity in the tropics. Destination: Club Med Turkoise, British West Indies.

The charter flight from NY was completely full. I was surrounded by New Yawkers, the very essence I was trying so desperately to escape. So there I was spending all this $$$ to be with them on a tiny island. I guess I should've brought my switchblade. At least we weren't going to be fighting over cabs. On top of that, our flight was delayed while they tried to load extra musical equipment. Hmmm. Club Med doesn't normally book bands. Something was up. Upon arriving, we were informed that it was a special Seventies Week at Club Med. The planned events included shows by Barry Williams ("Greg" from The Brady Bunch), The Village People (hence the flight delay), Ron Pallilo ("Arnold Horshack" from Welcome Back, Kotter), and more 70s music than you wanted to hear. Too late, now there was no escape.

The diving was pretty good. Sharks, dolphins, sea turtles, large crabs, all the basics. I won't bore you, but I did lose part of a leg to a black tip (no, just kidding). And the night dive was more like bumper cars. And interestingly enough, Barry "Greg Brady" Williams was one of my dive buddies. My own brush with greatness. It has always been my dream to hang out with one of the Brady kids (The Fonz is a close second, and there's always Lenny and Squiggy. Still kidding).

At one point, Barry Williams and I were playing tennis, and a crowd had gathered to watch... I assumed him. Afterwards, I was informed that they were watching me, believing I was a famous tennis player. Let's analyze this: Okay, I look like Michael Chang, but I'm not as good (tennis-wise) as him, I'm left-handed, and he was currently playing at the US Open. These people were desperate! In any case, rumors quickly circulated at Club Med that Barry Williams and some famous tennis player were hanging out. And would you believe half of the curious were inquiring at the front desk about a tennis player named "Michael Bang"? Not, Chang? Even Barry's agent wanted my number since he did work with lookalikes in Hollywood. Stardom vs BluePrint. Tough choice. Maybe I should ask for a raise. Actually, after hearing about my vacations and consulting lifestyle, Barry offered to switch careers with me. Hey, are we still hiring?

I didn't know what to expect at first, but dancing all night to The Village People turned out to be a highlight. It was like being catapulted back into the 70s again. It was just slightly a better performance than the one at Dave Rocknic's 70s party last year. Sorry, Dave. Philippe (the Indian) was later throwing people into the pool for not mastering the "YMCA" dance routine. At least I beat him out at the beach party limbo contest.

Of course I didn't socialize only with Barry Williams. There were others around. Like the sports teams, dinner/wine parties, the GOs (Club Med Activity Organizers) and the bevy of topless bathers who threw me into the ocean one night. One day, a group of us rented mopeds and toured the island. Barry wanted to find his friend Dick Clark's vacation home. With the help of some locals, we found it, went in and quietly tried out the jacuzzi. Later, most of us lost big at the local casino. Even later, someone convinced me to drive a moped into the pool. To our dismay, it stalled on take off, and our helmets were confiscated.

On the last night, my new friends and I danced/swam until we couldn't move and then plopped down on the beach to watch the sun come up. Most of us made plans for happy hours in NY. Barry Williams is even going to drop in from LA. I'll have to take him to Polyester's (a 70s club in NYC) where they've got a Brady Bunch mural. And it looks like I've got a place to stay in Beverly Hills.

Whew! What a vacation. Constant activities and at most, 4 hours sleep each night. It's nice to be back at work, to recover before hiking El Capitan in Yosemite in a week. Did I say calm serenity? I guess it's all relative.


Posted by mbang at 01:19 PM