Our day begins as it does for many Americans trying to shed a few pounds and keep the cholesterol at bay: with a little nine a.m. power walk, which could easily be rebranded as simply a walk, as there is virtually no power involved at all. Only Tranbarger, a Kenyan businessman of Indian descent from Vancouver, and I turn up. We begin our morning stroll at a chitchat pace that leads us out of the resort and down Grace Bay Road, the main drag through Providenciales, the primary island of the six main Caicos Islands (which, for those who are wondering, are geographically part of the Bahamas but are a separate political entity).
Talk is centered on my multiethnic companion and on which clubs around the world he has frequented - a common thread of conversation at any Club Med. You see, the company prides itself on repeat business, and the GOs are a very big draw. Guests sometimes follow them from club to club, and there are websites dedicated to their whereabouts around the world. I get the feeling that some guests don't even care about the where of their vacation, only the who. "It's a big cult," says Tranbarger. "We all love it. Once you get into it, you stay."
We head down the road a half mile or so before turning toward the beach, part of Princess Alexandra National Park, for the final leg of the stroll back to Club Med. The water is ridiculous, a calm and pristine blue rolling slowly over cornmeal-soft sands. So far, this is cake.
Then it's right to a quick breakfast, as we're due for water aerobics at 11:15 a.m. Tranbarger is leading the charge. But first, as his main gig is land-sports manager, he must fetch water for the volleyball courts, see to it that the fitness center and weight rooms are presentable, track down the billiard balls (which end up in the pool, on the beach, in the bathrooms, and sometimes in the buffet - goodness only knows), and otherwise make sure all available sports equipment is accounted for and ready to face another day. Thus far, the work isn't too physical, but it's sweltering outside. We're both dripping sweat by 10:45 a.m. - so much for the SPF 30 - and I'm only shadowing him while he does all the work. It's going to be a long day.