"They're going to burn to death," says Pickle without looking up.

"Too true," I say.

The ambassador arrives and asks us what we'd like to drink. This is a pivotal moment. Pickle and I look at each other.

"I'd like a piña colada," she tells the ambassador. I acknowledge that I would like one too.

A half hour later, our glasses are empty and we're both passed out.

It's almost sunset when Pickle awakes. "We are so behind schedule," she laments.

That evening, we dine next door, on the patio of Daphne's, an elegantly lit Italian restaurant. The British couple is two tables over from us, just behind Pickle. I don't tell her that they're in fact nicely tanned.

"Okay, that's charming and all, but …," says Pickle. She makes an exasperated gesture, and I realize she's referring to the encompassing chorus of crickets. Pickle has never lived outside of a major metropolitan area.

I pour her another glass of wine. "Think of it as the sound of a hundred Black­Berrys going off at once," I suggest. She is not amused.

The first morning, Pickle sleeps through breakfast. I dine alone in the open-air bar, chewing on a muffin while I marvel at the 10 or so other couples at this 34-room hotel, who, like us, have thoroughly sequestered themselves and seem oblivious to each other's presence. Everyone's friendly enough. We all greet each other at the juice bar. But the House is not about fraternity. The volleyball games are farther down the beach. Here, our agendas are our own.

After breakfast, I bring Pickle tea, and then we slip into our swimsuits, grab copies of the Washington Post, and take our places under the canopy, where we become zombies marinated in sunblock for the better part of the day. Our laptops sit forlornly in their cases. We are taking a vacation in spite of ourselves.

The next day, Pickle and I achieve mind meld. We're in our suite: She's on the phone with her editors in Washington, and I've taken my laptop out to the balcony. Guilt has gotten the better of us. We cannot let this working vacation go to waste on fun!

Pickle and her laptop join me and mine outside. "We need set hours," she says as she inclines her chair toward the shade.

"Structure," I agree.

We will lose this noble battle - we both sense it: The waves will mesmerize, the sun will stunt our energy, happy hour will draw near, and then we'll interrogate the ambassadors about which restaurant has the deepest reserve wine list. But on day two, we make an effort to strike a balance.