Friday 11th was the first day I have felt better for the past week so up far too early but strolled down to the beach before 6 am.
It was a delightful morning and the hotel staff were cleaning up the sand which runs from the hotel foyer to the sea. I haven’t ventured the short distance down to the sea, and it is only yards, because the humidity has snookered my breathing. However the week of Ayurvedic treatments has not got me right, but back on the track to being right, but a way to go yet.
There were four or five men on the beach, tourists, all clutching cameras, waiting for the sun to break through the misty clouds which looked light enough but they were not moving with any speed. I walked along the beach at the water’s edge, past the next couple of hotels, but I much prefer this one which has been sensible enough not to shroud the view of the beach with trees and shrubs. In fact as you walk into reception the vista is amazing. You look straight through to the infinity pool, the golden sands and the sea. What more could you ask for?
I was a bit afraid to walk too far because I tend to run when I feel a bit better and suffer from the consequences. I turned back, took the sandals off and tucked my mobile and room key in my bra, hoping I wouldn’t slip and fall in the waves.
It was delicious. Warm frothy waves gently rolling back and forth. I couldn’t see any great tidal affect and grew more confident. Too confident of course because one wave had to be higher than the rest and my blue and white striped shorts (knee-length pyjamas but they are all I have with me) were soaked to a depth of about four inches. But there was no harm really as they were soaked with warm water. Really warm water.
I don’t know when I have paddled in water so warm or swum in water so warm. Daren’t swim of course because that would be tempting Providence with my asthma as it is.
I sat down on one of the sun loungers and added a wet bottom to the wet knees but it doesn’t matter a jot. The would-be sunrise photographers waited patiently and just as a tantalising crisp of fiery orange sun slipped out of a cloud, it slipped back again. The photographers dashed off to snatch breakfast before their 6.30 am departure.
I had an early breakfast. There were only a smattering of fellow guests. Some children for a change and one gorgeous little Sri Lankan boy – too beautiful to be a boy really – was playing up mum and dad. He swung a knife around that he had snatched off the table quick as a flash. When the dad persuaded him to hand that back he snatched mum’s mobile phone in the blink of an eye. I laughed as it is a scene played out in every other home these days.
However, dad, said, ‘Here’s Aunty.’ And the little lad looked at me in horror. He expected me to tell him off and he quietened down immediately. The whole breakfast time, I could hear the parents say, ‘Look out. There’s Aunty.’ Or similar warnings. The parents work in Saudi and are here on holiday but a touring holiday.
Later on, by the swimming pool and bribed by the Polo mints I always carry in my handbag, the little lad, two years five months, blew me kisses, and was carried away in dad’s arms calling, ‘I love you Aunty. I love you Aunty.’ Amazing what a two or three sweets can do.
During breakfast there was a mum with an older boy who sat politely at the breakfast table with his father. There were two little girls, one around four I would say and the other a bouncing ball of energy around 18 months to 2. They were both gorgeously dressed and had been up and full of life when I was walking to the beach just before 6 am.
Mum was conscious of the other hotel guests and was patiently shepherding them from reception, back down the steps to the slatted wooden boardwalk.
As it was early all the housekeeping that you never see was being dealt with. There are black cauldron like pots which flank each side of the boardwalk, probably nine feet apart along each side and they are staggered so there is one every four and a half feet one side or the other. They are filled with yellow flower heads so arranged to encircle a white flower in the centre of each pot although some have white flowers in a heart shape surrounded by yellow flowers.
The girls were running ahead of mum when they stopped to look at the member of staff who was kneeling in front of each pot, one by one, carefully picking flower heads from the wicker basket on his arm, and completing his arrangement.
Suddenly he had two willing assistants whether he wished for them or not. It says much for the patience of the workman as he explained what he was doing and handed flower heads to the little girls so they could help? him with his task.
It became a race for the girls as to who could complete one arrangement and run to the next. The smaller girl could not keep up with her older sister and of course she was not to be beaten because she retraced her steps and rearranged flowers in already completed pots to her own satisfaction. I would imagine she will go far in life. I have never seen her walk, as she bounces in a half-run everywhere. Remind you of anyone?
And as half the world goes mad, there’s a workman here, who has the patience and generosity of spirit to keep two little girls entertained for a while, and allow their mother a bit of respite time. I am told from other would-be employees of Theme-Resorts that they are good and fair employers and the rate is better than most.
Maybe that is why I have found everyone so at peace with what they are doing, whether it is the waiting staff, cleaners, chefs. There are no unhappy employees here which speaks for itself.
And as a footnote to the day as dusk started to fall around 5 pm there was an impromptu ball game on the beach with the players all members of staff. I am going to ask for a job.