All we did yesterday was lounge. It was great. We've been in the middle of everything the previous days of our vacation, in the midst of crushes of people, being grabbed at and having things shoved on us, and I really needed the day of peace. I've been having nightmares of being torn apart by dogs, of being unable to get away from being torn apart, which I think stem from the constant experience of having hordes of people swarming around me clutching at me shoving things onto me not letting go. So a day of lounging was so perfect, and the weather was wonderful.
We spent the afternoon at the pool and the evening on the beach. Marc has olive skin so he lightly burned and is turning tan, but since I'm so pale I got a bright pink burn that will probably not turn tan. It feels good, though. The resort was fairly empty until last night, when two conferences brought busloads of conference folks in, so it's now bustling with people wearing matching shirts and carrying notebooks. But yesterday, the pool was relatively empty and quiet, and we swam and lounged in the chairs and talked and laughed. It was lovely.
Then, near dusk, we wandered down to the beach to see the sunset. We have a western horizon, here on the Arabian Sea, but there was a pretty large cloudbank building up so we didn't know if the sunset would be spectacular, or not very visible. There were moments of both.
The two women in the top photo are always on the beach, with a small group of other women and always one man with a duffel bag. When you head down to the beach, they swarm around you trying to sell you cheap, flimsy saris and scarves -- transparent, nearly, the cloth is so thin. They stand there on the beach, letting the breeze blow the fabric out, and it's really beautiful until they surround you. The top photo (you can click on them to see them better) also shows the reflection of the sun at the edge of the water.
We finally found someone to take our picture together, in front of the sunset. Unfortunately the wind was whipping our hair around, covering our faces, so the picture up at the right (under "Who are the travelers") is the best one we got so far.
Maintenance of the grounds of this hotel is really done on a minute scale; there is a woman who walks the sidewalks all day with a scrub brush in one hand and a watering can in the other. She walks along, sprinkles some water on a stain on the sidewalk and scrubs it, then continues walking. We see her all day long. And this morning, people were squatting around a tiled sidewalk, painstakingly inserting new blades of grass between the tiles. There are people who walk the lawns all day with small brooms of twigs and branches, sweeping the leaves and fallen flower blossoms away.
For the most part, except for the people who are trying to sell us something, people do not smile or engage us in any way. It's kind of surprising, especially at this fancy resort, where part of the whole deal is that you are (or usually are) pampered and your needs anticipated. At the Ana Mandara, everyone who worked there made us feel like we were being taken care of (note, this isn't always good -- I didn't need my glasses cleaned for me at the pool!). They smiled at us and made us feel welcome, and for the most part they weren't intrusive about it. Here we feel like everyone dislikes us, or is irritated with us. It's really weird.
So today, our mission is more lounging, and tomorrow we leave for Udaipur, in Rajasthan. There, my sweet friend C, we may see more elephants and we'll be sure to take pictures. We may also see camels, so if we do, so will you. The wildlife we see here in our resort comprises birds, lizards, and crabs. And fish in the reflecting ponds around the lobby.
What is this strange thing I'm feeling? Oh......relaxed.