GRAND TURK BY MICHAEL DE LA MADRID
One of the most remarkable places I've been to, is the Island of Grand Turk. I recently visited this Caribbean island on a vacation cruise to the Eastern Caribbean. I boldly remember my first steps onto Grand Turk. My skin was met with the blazing rays of the Caribbean sun, accompanied by the breezy air saturated with high heat. Despite the temperature, It wasn’t long before the sweat that crossed my face, no longer crossed my mind. As I looked upon the horizon and gazed along the timeless palm trees, I knew how paradise felt. Prior, I had no planned excursions on this island. Like most of the islands I visited, I merely went with the flow. My only dominant goal was to visit the town, a petite town, in the heart of Grand Turk, called Cockburn; Small, though dense with culture and way of life. Locals here are polite and very well accustomed to the heavy tourist traffic that swamp this picturesque island. It’s near impossible not to leave Grand Turk with a little something to bring back home. If the locals fail to persuade you to purchase a souvenir, the land itself will not. I came home with a jar of the soft white sands that blanket the island, to remind me of how beautifully the bright blue waves crashed against it so harmoniously, while at the same time creating a visual contrast between land and sea, that eyes fortunate enough to witness, would by no means forget.
My most profound memory of this island was the culture. The locals of the land constantly wore a smile that was contagious. I don't blame them, because just being atop this sandy land was so enjoyable, so different than what I am used to. The city life is one thing, but Turks and Caicos is everything. The culture there is so raw and genuine. In addition, one of the most interesting and slightly amusing things I remember clearly, is that the islanders (only the women), call everyone "baby". Going through the town, where locals sell hand painted art, objects, and all types of memorabilia, all you hear is "hey baby, come buy this baby". It gives you a peak into the way of life you only see on travel channels. Turks and Caicos provides just the right amount of "wow", that everyone needs in their life.
As for island eats, I would recommend going local. Hole in the wall spots are always the best choice for adventurous foods, and you wouldn't make a mistake checking out a local spot called "Da Conch Shack". From the smell alone, you could taste authenticity of the conch fritters.
A nice little gem worth visiting on the island would be "Governers Beach", you can literally see straight through the caribbean water, easily one of the cleanest beaches i've ever encountered. It's a great beach for snorkeling too because there's an amazing reef, close to shore, that an abundant amount of diverse species of fish call their home. You'd have a happy camera if you could get some under water shots. Just adjacent to this reef, there is an old abandoned ship that's sitting pleasantly ashore. Sticks out like a sore thumb, yet shines like a diamond. This rusty, beaten ship that you can swim around, can act as a marvelous backdrop for one of many photo ops. Being on this beach, you completely escape into freedom and become one with the beauty of nature.
An escape to Grand Turks is a must. No itinerary needed, just listen to the whispers of the wind and let it lead you. If you have available time, don’t hesitate to try the conch fritters, famous to the island. I had no time to experience the tastes of the town, but if there’s one thing that’s unpleasant, I assure you, it won’t be the food.
A piece of advice I’d give to other adventurers is: don't always try to be so comfortable.. Break out of your shell and do something that surprises yourself. Go out and break the rules because the boundaries that you set, only confine you. Be unlimited and let your eyes be the map. Follow those directions because your eyes subconsciously tell you what you enjoy and where you want to go, faster than the realization even enters your conscious mind. Believe in what you want and all unexplored aspects in your life will be that much more enjoyable.
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