I wrote about our recent holiday, and you were bloody lovely about my writing. It made my week.
I’m not one of those bloggers that wangs on about the architecture in the foyer of the cutting-edge hotel they stayed at, on holiday. That’s not my forte, plus, I’m the sort of person who gets more excited about omelettes at the breakfast buffet than about see-through chairs and objets d’art. So you only have to sit through one more post about my holiday, I promise. But as recompense, amongst this post’s pictures and captions with me attempting to be witty, you get tigers! And elephants! And ANTS! Yes you do!
It had been ages since we’d had a holiday. I think we’d powered through thinking they were unnecessary and extravagant and actually, they’re pretty necessary, it turns out. Just some time away from your house, your job, your routine. A field in Wales works as well as anything else. We got on a plane. But you don’t have to.
Mr K and I used to be very, very different in what we wanted, on holiday. I liked hammocks and huts, and mosquito nets, and getting change from a fiver from a night’s accommodation. Mr K liked an en suite. I used to mock him for this mercilessly. Still do. Until we checked into our hotel room, and the lady said the immortal words “oh, don’t worry, your bath’s on the balcony”.
We were on an island, and I was waxing lyrical about the limestone cliffs, and the fields, and the beaches, and how I couldn’t find the right words to describe the colour of the water.
I turned around, and Mr K was bent over a tree trunk, taking pictures of this:
I wish I were kidding, but amongst our holiday snaps there are 203 close-up pictures of ants on a tree trunk, and at least three videos.
I think one thing I hadn’t done for ages was laugh. Not laughing as in – that’s a brilliant joke and I’m crying a lot – I do that on an almost daily basis whilst texting Aisling and Clare. I mean the sort of laughing where you think your ribs can’t hold you together anymore, where you have to wrap your arms around yourself to stop your sides coming apart, where you can’t breathe. This happened to me on holiday. Specifically, whilst I was on the back of an elephant, in a river. Bear in mind I was still pasty Brit-white (there’s no other white like it in the world) at that stage, and I’m not one to wander around in a bikini at the best of times, so having my thighs splayed over the sides of an elephant in the sun’s full glare in front of a camera should have made me in some way perturbed.
It did not. Because the elephant kept sucking up water in its trunk and absolutely soaking me and Mr K, and Mr K kept cowering behind me saying things like “make sure it doesn’t get in your mouth!” and I was laughing so hard I thought I would pass out.
I think there’s something about feeling alive that makes you laugh. And the unexpected. I did not expect to be bottle-feeding a tiger cub, on holiday. But I did. It was ludicrously cute. But actually had a hell of a bite. Mr K and I spent a happy 45 minutes playing with these guys, learning about them, getting closer than any sane person gets to an Actual Tiger, ever.
I will try very hard to remember what the above felt like when I am next rammed up against someone’s armpit on the Victoria Line at 7.30am.
Whenever I visit a city, I head straight for the markets. Nowhere on earth do you get a grip on what people are truly like then when they are haggling the hell out of something. I watch people and make up stories about their lives. Mr K walks the length and breadth of said market to get the best deal on satay and fresh mango.
You remember, on holiday, that eating doesn’t have to be the military operation that it often becomes at home. Home at 8.30pm.Try and eat by 9.30pm and usually fail. Realise you haven’t got anything in the fridge. Plan ahead, plan ahead. On holiday, you see something you like the look of, you buy it, you try it, whatever time of the day it is. Buying food in markets, on holiday, reminds you that food is so much more than fuel, more than something in a box to be put in your trolley under fluorescent lights, it’s something bend over and stick your face in and inhale and pick up and feel.
On holiday, I discovered another world. I have always wanted to learn to scuba dive, and for health reasons I can’t. Mr K qualified, and I was so proud of him, and a little bit jealous. Me, I was stuck snorkelling. The poor cousin. Or so I thought.
I was wrong.
Snorkelling was the best thing I have ever done. I say that with no hyperbole. There’s just you, silence, and an underwater world, and those fish are just getting on with their lives, in the most weird and wonderful of underwater landscapes, ignoring the lumbering human being above them, sporting fins and a lifejacket, breathing through a tube.
Mr K is not the biggest fan of heights. One day, we went to a rainforest and zipwired through its canopy. I can’t even tell you how high up we were. Even I felt scared, and I’m usually the first one racing up the steps of any tall building to look at a panoramic view. I can’t even describe how high these planks of wood were, on which we were standing. Every time you moved, the trees shook.
But it was all okay, because on holiday, if you are brave enough to jump, then things like this happen (warning, the video below contains unedited images of a very, very sweaty blogger flying through the treetops (it was 34 degrees…that’s my only excuse)
We were on a boat, in search of more snorkelling, in the middle of the Andaman sea. The boat made a stop at a island famous for its “Sailing Rock”. I got in a minor strop on the boat. I may have flung a snorkel mask in disgust. I didn’t want to waste an hour and a half of being on holiday looking at a rubbish rock. I wanted to snorkel again. Woe is me.
Mr K, ever the patient half of this marriage, told me to shut up, and to follow him.
This is what we found.
Unfortunately, the moral of this story appears to be…always listen to Mr K. Even on holiday.