Thursday, August 7, 2008

Windows into my holidays

Decided to take a break from the good life - sunbathing, jacuzzi, massages, cocktails by the pool - to fill you in on the holiday bliss. Ha! Gotcha! Bet you believed me. None of the above, except for the good life & holiday bliss. I'm having a grand time, much of the same routine as in the past 7 years, but enjoying every minute. Specially getting a kick out of watching the little guy have the time of his life. He's got lots of new pals, into surfing now, and learning about the facts of life as he watches the girls waltz by in their skimpy bikinis.

Spic & Span

I asked for a 5 star hotel with room service et al and what I got was a cottage by the sea, where I do all the cooking, cleaning and even have to do laundry by hand. Hear me complaining? Not at all. For somebody who hates domestic chores and is not in the least bit house proud, summer holidays is the time of year where I get on my best apron and throw feminism out the window. And it's not because I have to (actually I do) but because I really enjoy it. 2 out of 52 weeks you get the best housewife & mom any big or little guy could ever dream of. One of my many quirks & twists. But one thing I can say for washing clothes the old-fashioned way is that it does wonders for the skin. Forget 40, I have the hands of a 20 year old from using a Portuguese variant of marseille soap.

Scents & Sensibility
Daily routines consist of long walks or bike rides in the morning along the coast before heading off to the bakery for some hot buns for breakfast. An hour on the beach is as much as I can take - lying on the sand & roasting in the sun is simply not for me - before heading off to the main headquarters: my kitchen! That's where the action begins. Excitement builds up inside me as I get out the pots, chop the vegetables, select the herbs, add the seasoning. Ahhh...and then the scents invade my kitchen and I'm in heaven. Moments like these I'm reminded of Triton, a character from Romesh Guneskera's magnificent book "Reef", both of us revelling in our culinary heaven.

The birds & the bees
Two days ago a few colleagues of mine and their offsprings came up for a visit. We're talking 4 adults and 8 kids, 7 of which were boys all around my son's age. I have a rented beach hut which I thought was about to collapse with all the junk piled up inside, surf boards, balls, towels, beach toys, not to mention kids & adults running in and out. Then it was the kids walking over people, sending sand in all directions, hitting people on the head with the beach ball...all hell broke loose! And hysterical moms shouting at the top of their lungs trying, without any luck, to keep things in control until two angels from heaven dropped out of the blue. Next to our beach hut were two girls lying topless in the sun. The boys jaws just dropped when they realised the magnificent sight of flesh they had before their eyes. And they just lay there on their towels, completely speechless, eyes about to pop out, elbows firmly on the sand, chins resting on their hands, feasting their eyes on the girls' boobs. A boy's dream-come-true. I managed to snap a photo of them for prosterity.

Reading Rush
And the cherry on the cake these holidays is plenty of reading time! Managed to read 3 books in 6 days:
  • Anne of Green Gables - I'd been wanting to re-read this book for the millionth time to see how I could exploit it with my students. And for the first time I wasn't really interested in Anne, my childhood heroine. My attention went to Marilla. As a mom now I could relate to her for the first time. I really enjoyed reading it from a different point of view
  • 26A by Diana Evans - This book had been a birthday present some time ago but I could never get past the first page. This time I was determined to read it and so glad I did because I absolutely fell in love with the twins Georgia & Bessie. The part set in Nigeria reminded me so much of Ben Okri's The Famished Road. Ligaya Mishan sums it up very well in a New York Times review "...a glimpse into the lost country of childhood, of which we have all been citizens and to which we can never return.
  • Knots and Crosses by Ian Rankin - An unputdownable thriller! How can you not love Inpsector Rebus!
  • And now have two James Patterson "Alex Cross series" books waiting for me: London Bridges and Cross.
And that's all, folks! Another week of holiday bliss awaits me.

By the way, those windows above are from a very pituresque little town just north of where I'm staying, right across the river from Spain.

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