Okay, this post is a little late. It’s been almost three weeks since I returned from the vacation that inspired the idea for this post, but, as I wrote last week, sometimes life gets in the way.
This trip was my first-ever tropical vacation, and I was surprised by some of differences I discovered while I was there. They were all small things, but it’s the little details which can make or break your world-building, so I thought I’d share them with you for future writing use.
- The sounds: For the first few days I was convinced the hotel was playing a recording of birdsong as a gimmick. Of course it turned out to be real, live, wild birds serenading us each morning. And the roar of the ocean fooled us into thinking there was a thunderstorm coming more than once.
- The food: Obviously I expected the food to be different, and it was. There were lots of delicious, new-to-me rice and bean dishes, as well as new vegetable recipes, and soups. But it was the variations on standard things that surprised me. For instance, a chocolate cake that I thought was Black Forest, but which had an apple filling, instead of cherry. Or just the fact that sweet potatoes are white, pink-colored desserts (jams, jellies, ice cream, etc) are banana-flavored (gak!), yogurts only come in tropical fruit flavors, and milk is served hot for coffee, but never cold to drink (unless you’re mixing it with alcohol).
- The lack of walls: Our room had A/C, but the hotel lobbies and the restaurants were all open air, relying (quite effectively) on fans and a cross breeze to keep them cool.
- The wildlife: I’ve already mentioned the beautifully-voiced birds (some of which had the habit of sampling from the booze bottles at the bars), but there were also lizards, crabs, hermit crabs, and tarantulas (seen my uncle-in-law, not me – or I wouldn’t have slept the entire trip!) wandering freely throughout the hotel.