Thursday, December 25, 2014

Junior Santa In FlipFlops

25 December 2014

We had a Merry Christmas on the beach - the logs from last night's bonfire were still smoldering, and the staff kept moving around the glowing logs and adding fallen kindling to get things burning again.  I guess throwing water on the logs would make them unburnable, so they just kept trying to burn them up.  (You can see some of the smoke drifting by the base of the thatch umbrella in this picture.)

After breakfast, I walked to one end of our beach - and quite a beach it is!  First, I encountered a resort with a small concrete version of the Kuala Lumpur Petronas Towers - small being relative, since these were still a good 10 or so feet high (3 meters or so).  The resort also had concrete versions of a Thai golden stupa (the temple free-standing tower that looks something like a chess pawn), the Sydney Opera House, and other strange and sundry architectural wonders.  In painted concrete.

On the water side of the beach, there was a strange cement statue of frolicking dolphins.  But the dolphins didn't look very happy or friendly, despite being mid-frolick.  It may have had something to do with their dolphin friend, who had fallen off the statue base and was nearly buried in sand, just a little grumpy dolphin face sticking up out of the water.

And then a giant mermaid, another creative use of cement, trying to look demure by the half-sunk fishing pier.  In (you guessed it) cement.  Or concrete.

Beyond all the concrete craziness was a rocky headland sticking out into the water.  This pile of rocks marked the end of our beach, and there was another scallop of golden beach on the other side of the tiny peninsula created by the boulders.  The rocks were worn into weird organic shapes, sculpted by the natural erosion of the sea.  Rocks like this always look something like a moon scene, the shapes are so strange and almost un-rock-like.

On my way back to our place, I saw several vendors walking up and down the beach, selling fruit, drinks, baked items.  It looks like such difficult work, walking through sand carrying the buckets on a yoke across the shoulders.  The women in particular are all bundled up with long sleeves, long slacks, gloves, and hats - I had heard that light skin is prized here, and we've seen all kinds of lotion with "whitening" in them - so I think the women are covered to avoid tanning.  In contrast to the resort guests who are lying in the sun wearing the skimpiest swimsuits possible, trying to get as much tanning in as they can.  

Well, not ALL guests, we aren't out there laying around in the sun.  We aren't swimming around in the water, either.  Every time either one of us tries the water, maybe ankle deep, it just feels way too cold.  As Richard said, it feels like refrigerated water.  We've been spoiled by our years in the Caribbean, where the locals didn't swim between December and May because the water got too cold.  That's us.  This water is way too cold!

We found out there's a night market, and that's where we went this evening, via taxi.  The front half of the market is a series of seafood restaurants, with huge tanks of clams, scallops, giant prawns, lobsters, crabs, baby sharks, eels, squid, grouper, other unidentified fish, cockles and mussels alive alive-oh.  Really, all these creatures were swimming or crawling or hovering in their tanks.  A few were trying to make a break for freedom.  It smelled wonderful, but I personally prefer to not be formally introduced to my food before it dies for me.  So we walked around, I had a tiny coconut tart (good, but not like our St. Thomian tarts from Carnival!), and we went back to the town area for a cafĂ© dinner.

For my Evergreen friends, I've included the menu item.  Geoducks.  Didn't see any, but it was on the menu.  (For you non-Evergreeners, that's our college, The Evergreen State College.  Our mascot is the geoduck.  A unique clam.)

And I met the cutest junior Santa, who shyly agreed to let me take his photo.  He was just to adorable to pass up.  (Check out the flipflops with the Santa suit, LOL!)

So happy holidays, and we'll see what we can find tomorrow!

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