I wake up for another tour planned for this morning, and every fiber of me is screaming to just skip it. I’m a swirl of negative anticipation: The monkey demonstration will probably be a depressing experience of animal misuse, there are two more temples to tour, when I simply cannot face any more temples, and a beach stop. I’m not beachy. I’ve already been to Bangkok Thailand so it’s not a new country seen, and I feel so over it.
(Not unlike the very last day in Greece, when I really just could not look at any more ruins.)
But I’m meeting G for breakfast as usual, and he changed his tour for today just so he could go with me, non-refundable at this point — so cancelling would be a crap thing to do. I’ll go. Of course I’ll go.
And it will prove to be a wonderful day. Low expectations yields high satisfaction.
The monkey demonstration is short and interesting, and the monkeys don’t seem to be maltreated. In the end, it seems no more offensive than that we train dogs or horses. (Members of our little group who opted instead to go see the elephants, had much more mixed impressions.)
G and I have both decided to forego entering temples – we are all templed out – but the Big Buddha is impressive and there are beautiful vista views around it.
The 18-armed Buddha is unlike anything else we have seen.
But our 4th stop is the tipping point. It is a resort for lunch, with good food and cool breezes (heaven!) and a gorgeous view from the mountain side overlooking the sea.
Then we go to the beach for a short stay – no more than an hour, no time for the hoopla of changing for swimming or anything – but we find a pair of seats with shade to enjoy the sea views and breezes, cold drinks, and good conversation.
We are the last people back to the bus but we are not the last group back to the tinders and we are not the last tinder back to the ship, and we have time enough to get back to our respective places and get ourselves cooled off and dressed to meet the gang for dinner.
And when I get back to my room, the cross I thought I lost when my chain turned up broken this morning has been found by my cabin steward. Yay and thank you Lord!
At dinner, all the other women in our group are moms, and this holiday without their children – for many for the first time – has emotions running high. It’s contagious.
For me though, I’m moved for their sorrow, not mine. Of course I do miss my family, very much. But the fact that I’m so far from home, in a place so different, creates a buffering unreality… it doesn’t really feel like Christmas at all. That and the time zone offset mean I can’t really dwell on what I’m missing at any given moment.
Anyway, I’ll have my Christmas when we are all together when I get home.
We all make plans for all the meals tomorrow for Christmas, and G joins me for the Christmas Eve services, before we say our goodnights.
On arrival at my cabin, I find that cruise staff has left a little Christmas stocking of candy, instead of the usual pillow chocolates that I haven’t been eating. I’ll take them all to the dinner tomorrow to share.
Ho ho ho!