Developing Community While Travelling
Do you remember summer camp? This winter I discovered that resort living is like summer camp. Most people go to camp for a week or two, we went for eight weeks and stayed in a variety of three, four and five-star resorts in Puerto Vallarta.
Developing a sense of community is important when travelling. As a long-term guest, you can feel community develop within the resorts. One of the most interesting parts of this community is the securing of the daily pool lounger.
The lounger community falls into several categories. There are the early birds - I met people who woke up at three thirty in the morning to go down to ‘reserve’ loungers by placing towels on the chairs and scattering personal things around. The other early bird reservers are down at sunrise and we would see some sitting in hoodies and wrapped in towels holding a steaming cup of coffee as they waited for the sun to heat up the day. These large groups that came together take shifts holding their eight or ten loungers while the others go for breakfast.
If you have not reserved your chair by seven thirty at the latest, you become one of those poor souls carrying towels wandering aimlessly around the poolside searching. People with loungers give them that sympathetic look followed by a small smile of satisfaction that their holiday is going to plan. If they had only gotten up earlier they too would have a lounger...
There are also the selfish early birds who reserve loungers and go away for the entire day. Each lounger community has their own ways of dealing with the selfish people in the community. In the three and four star resorts this nefarious activity is policed by the guests. In-three star resorts the guests will give away the lounger to people looking. They will tell them that no one has been there for several hours and for you to take the lounger. In four-star resorts the guests tell the staff that no one has been there for quite some time and the staff take the towels away opening up the loungers for other guests.
In the five-star resort the staff notes when you leave and if you are gone for more than twenty to thirty minutes the towels are removed along with any personal stuff you have placed on the lounger. There is no saving at the five-star resort. If you want your lounger you have to stay there and only go for bathroom breaks.
No one actually goes to the pool until after breakfast. When you go down for breakfast you can see every lounger has towels and books on them. After breakfast everyone settles into their loungers comfortable in the knowledge that they got their lounger. Within a half hour, the loungers are full with people reading, playing cards, or getting up and down doing things.
Within each resort a collection of neighbourhoods develop within the various lounging area as the guests go back to the same lounger day after day. Many friendships are made and promises to stay in contact after resort camp are made.
Within the resort community there are also sub-groups. There are the owners, guests and staff groups, each with its own nuances. Like any community, within the resort community there are protocols to learn and follow. That is how community is built.