I am sitting on my balcony in the hotel, which is made up of lots of self contained units in beautiful grounds, mostly four units per building but some of them are six units from what I can see. I chose this hotel because it is right next to the Yoga place I wanted to go to, in fact I can see it from my room and when I am there I can see my room, so I couldn’t really be any closer. It takes me two minutes to get there. It’s Wednesday the 7th of February in my world, and I am taking a day out of the sun today because I think I overdid it a bit yesterday, despite factor 50. The rainy season has most definitely abated since last week and even more so since the week before that. There are still downpours but mainly at night, we did have a couple of big ones early this morning too. I had to borrow an umbrella from the restaurant the other night to get back, but generally it’s fine. The last few days it has been getting less cloudy as well so feeling hotter and more humid. The humidity is the hardest thing to handle especially if you are trying to exercise in any way.
I discovered that bluebird taksis had an app, so had ordered myself one to get here. But had a bit of a glitch, I checked a little later and it had disappeared so I ordered another. When I got the message to say the taxi was on its way I looked again and both orders were there again and I had two taxis coming, so I quickly had to cancel one of them. He arrived and we loaded my stuff into his boot. We got to the famous dual carriageway and he did a u turn at the place Google had suggested I cross. That was really scary, the traffic was coming and all these cars and bikes were trying to u turn into it, and there was no gap in the traffic and none of it stopped. I did actually think, this could be it and then took the only option of closing my eyes. We arrived at the hotel a minute of two later and the security guard at the gate actually checked under the car with a mirror, that was a first. We were allowed in because clearly we were not deemed to be a danger. Car unloaded and taxi driver paid, a young man indicated I should go up the stairs and as I did he hit a gong to announce my arrival. I was greeted at reception and we went through the process of registration, and I was provided a drink and cold towel. Then escorted by the young man ahi initially greeted me with all my luggage on a trolley to my room. This hotel has its own spa too, and has two swimming pools plus a private beach. My room overlooks one of the pools, but there is a big hedge which obscures my view. I can hear all the excitement and frolics though. It takes me about 30 seconds to get there. I spent an hour on the beach on my first full day, but I prefer the pool because it has a children’s pool and I can go and do a bit of floating in there supported by a wall between that pool and the smaller adult pool. You need the water to cool down.
Once I was installed in my room, I got unpacked and sorted myself out a bit, I had a little argument with myself about whether or not to go to yoga, which was on at 5 pm. I had to push myself to go, but once I had made the decision I got myself changed and turned up half an hour early. I took my travel yoga mat with me, but didn’t need it because they have everything there of course. I have been using it for the HIIT I have been doing, High Intensity Interval Training for those uninitiated in these technical training terms, so I feel I can justify the ten pound purchase. Anyway yoga on Friday night was a sort of relaxation/meditation yoga, so it was work, but not too hard. It’s an hour and a half, the building is all bamboo and other natural materials. Downstairs is reception, a shop, a cafe and changing rooms I think. Upstairs is the yoga studio, there are only three or four sessions in a day, in the morning and then evening, it would be too hot at any other time, the studio is of course open, as in no windows, so you get a bit of a breeze, if you are lucky. I really enjoyed it and was glad I had pushed myself to go.
The next morning I got up early and did some training and then went for a big walk down the pathway along the beach frontage, I wore flip flops because I though I would be able to do the walk on the beach but soon realised that wouldn’t be possible, because they have the stone piers built out to the sea and sometimes at the end of them a covered area where you can sit and meditate. I must do that one day. Even though it was early the heat was something else, well the heat and the humidity. I walked about 4.4km in total there and back. I had to go to and dry myself off before I went in for breakfast. Breakfast is a buffet affair, but very good. I had opted to go on half board for the week because I am fed up with having to make decisions about where to eat, sad or what. I have come to realise I can be a bit of a creature of habit. Anyway they have a lovely plain yoghurt which I am having with some melon and pineapple every morning and then generally I am having an omelette and maybe a small pastry or pancake. Then I don’t eat again until dinner time, the dinners are a little overwhelming too, but generally good. The patronage is mainly French and Dutch, with a few Australians and English. It is also mainly older couples, and clearly many people come here year after year.
After breakfast on the first morning as I mentioned earlier I went to the beach, after about an hour we had a bit of rain, so I decided to give up, it wasn’t long before the sun was out again, so I decided to try the pool, and I really like it there. It’s not too crowded and there is a nice bar. The service everywhere is very good and the staff all extremely friendly, I definitely made the right choice to stay here.
On Sunday I didn’t do any training as I was going to yoga at 5 pm but I did go for a walk and this time I wore my trainers, I really pushed myself and broke my personal best time for 5 Kms. I don’t know if I mentioned this before but I lost all my walking data for October when I was I Utah, I know I did 5K then in under an hour, but this time I think I did it in 55 mins, so I was really pleased with that, especially in this humidity. I am sitting in the shade at the moment on my balcony just wearing a cotton t shirt and shorts, and I am wet through. It’s crazy.
Yoga on Sunday was a restorative session, I did one of those in Nelson, it was really good and again I was glad I had gone. The following day I could really feel that I had worked, so decided to give the walk and workout a miss as I was going to Yoga again in the evening, this time it was Hatha. It was much harder, but I was able to do most of the things, I did have a major breakthrough though, when I was doing Barre Core before I left England one of the exercises we had to do was a one handed side plank. I could never do them. So we were in plank and she said now move to the side plank, and I thought oh no, I can’t do that! Then I thought well I really need to try. And I did it, just like that, no problem at all, I couldn’t even lift my body off the ground before, so I was so pleased with myself. Towards the end of the session I looked up into the roof eaves and there were two little birds just quietly sitting there underneath a bamboo pole each, so cute, but they quickly flew off when we finished the class. I have to say the next two days I could really tell how hard I had worked.
The Yoga barn has a holy cow, she has her only little enclosure and sometimes they tether her up in the hotel grounds in the morning. She is quite beautiful. Well I think so anyway.
The grounds have lots of wildlife, there are some spotted doves, and some Toads which I have seen when walking to and from dinner in the evening, there are signs around the place and pictures of the birds and toads.
As usual there are many statues and temple like structures and the statues are dressed in either gold or black and white. I was particularly taken with the frog below. The hotel ofcourse has its own temple too.
No more yoga for me until Friday, the sessions are all too advanced, so I did some training this morning and going for a walk this afternoon, before dinner I am aiming to do 6km today.
Yesterday I came back to my room at one point and found a dead lizard on my balcony surrounded by ants, I think they were trying to move it, the tail kept moving backwards and forwards. I called guest services and Rentokil came and removed it. Thanks Rentokil!
I talked about butterflies in my last episode, here is one black with white spots on one side and stripy underneath. It was difficult to photgraph these were the best, hope you can spot him, ha ha.
They are quite determined ants. The other day on my balcony they had a dead wasp in their clutches and they walked it the full width of the balcony, three times they went over the edge onto the vertical and they managed to walk the body back to the horizontal again.
When I was in the beach I saw a shell moving and then spotted some little crab kegs under it. It doesn’t take a lot to keep me amused.
The dragon flies are really big here and some are quite beautiful, on one of my early morning walks I walked into a big group of them flying around. I was trying to take a photograph but don’t think I was too successful, here it is anyway. Also some photographs from my first few days here.
As I mentioned in my last piece there are a lot of dogs around, fortunately the incessant barking isn’t a factor in the hotel grounds, however when I go for my walks there are a lot of dogs around and some of them are occasionally a bit boisterous. One thing I will say about them though is they leave everyone alone. I don’t know if they are stray but I believe they are, there are signs in restaurants saying don’t feed the dogs. One of the things I have accomplished over the last few months is to get over my fear of dogs, so they don’t bother me at all when I am out walking, a lot of them look quite sad though.
The other thing I have seen twice is a girl walking around in her wedding dress, she had it over some sort of plaid top yesterday. I wondered whether this was part of the latest craze in Japan I think, where they keep taking photographs of themselves during the honeymoon in the dress. I don’t think I could be bothered quite frankly.
Anyway that’s all for the moment. Time to go and get myself a little refreshment, before I get stuck into my story again, which I haven’t touched for a few days.