Holiday at home

It is so nice to have a holiday at home. I have made a regular habit of taking leave before Christmas each year, as I find the lead up each year to be unbearable. A break from work helps me to get through the commercial madness with some sanity. I can avoid the nasty potted Christmas music in the stores, as well as the jovial premature well wishes by those that actually revel in the “spirit” and not feel like a Grinch.

So I have caught up with family, had a facial and massage, made some lovely meals, played my neglected piano, worked on that oil painting that has been waiting and gathering dust, gone for bike rides and walks, shopped, had meals and coffee in local cafes and restaurants, watched movies, gardened, cleaned the windows, practiced meditation and yoga.

Oh and what do librarians do when they are on holiday from work? They read of course. So I am currently reading Living As A River: Finding Fearlessness In The Face Of Change by Bodhipaksa. I am also catching up on reading blogs and twitter posts.

I will finish my leave with a weekend meditation retreat with the group I attend. And return to work with a clear mind ready to tackle the Dukkha.

Lazing by the pool

How much do you like lazing by the pool? Can’t get enough of it? Could be a dream come true? Just what you need? A little R&R?

That’s what I thought too! That was until I was fortunate enough to get a chance to do it.

I recall years ago visiting this tropical location on a family camping trip. We camped in the local caravan park on the beautiful beach. We walked along the beach and peeked in at the luxury resort awestruck by the beautiful swimming pools. Never did I dare to imagine that one day I would be lazing by one of those pools.

And yet, there was I just last  week lazing by the pools, swimming in the pools, ordering cool drinks that waiters brought to my lounge chair. It seemed decadent and I felt like a bit of  a fraud. This level of luxury does sit well on my conscience. I can open my own  door thank you. And carry my own bag – I’m not an invalid. I don’t mind getting  up and walking to the bar to order a drink.

How long before the laze by the  pool on the sun lounge gets a little boring? I start to fidget. I go for a  swim. I read another couple of pages of a boring book. I get on Facebook on my  phone and tell my friends that I am bored or lazing by the pool, or whatever.

This resort is aging and in need  of a makeover. There are cheap packages available – one we bought. The food is  quite awful – food for the masses – smorgasbords of food that could be fresher  and authentic. Was that reconstituted egg I tasted in the scrambled eggs for  breakfast? I’m not a fussy eater but at this level of promoted luxury you do  expect the food to be at least real. The banana smoothie I ordered had banana essence as the banana component: not a real banana to be seen. I know bananas are expensive at the moment but this is the tropics and this is a luxury resort!

I’m not good at sitting still. I  need to explore, walk, and look around. The boat trips to the outer barrier  reef were great. We snorkelled and we saw turtles, reef fish, and colourful coral.  We saw whales and dolphins. We walked around the town dreaming about buying a  little piece of tropical paradise.

It was good to get a little bit  of warmth and sunshine, but I am quite happy to be back at home under grey  skies. And now at least I know that lazing by the pool is not all that it  appears.

Staying connected

While on holiday touring Europe I tried to stay connected to my family via email. I found that the variables with internet facilities were as ubiquitous as the variables in bathroom plumbing. Everywhere presented different systems that needed re-negotiation.

 

Not all hotels offer a PC with internet connection. Some are free to hotel guests while others require payment, either by coin in a slot, or credit card logon. And the fees vary.

Internet shops can be found here and there, but not everywhere. Again fees vary considerably.

 

Browsers and keyboards differ from what we are used to. Software systems are usually in the language of the country and sometimes there is no address box for typing in URL’s. MS Windows is worldwide so it is easy to recognise familiar icons. A lady in Italy asked me to help her with her PC because she assumed I could understand Italian from my apparent familiarity with the Italian browser. Keyboard arrangements differ too according to the language of the country, so familiar typing habits can hinder the speed of writing an email and inevitably cost you more money. Imagine “q” for “a” and “y” for “z” and the “m” moved entirely. Finding the “@” key can prove to be a challenge every time.

 

Deqr familz,

It is Summer in Europe so the weqther is hot qnd sunnz. We hqve seen the Eiffel Tower, the Sistine Chqpel, the stqtue of Dqvid qnd the Monq Lisq.

Be home soon.

Xxx

 

 

 

 

 

I managed to send and receive emails in Engelberg, Rome, Venice, Florence, Paris and London. Accessing Facebook was not always possible, but I updated when I could. Hearing news from Australia on TV or in the newspapers is almost non-existent. We Australians do not rate in the world’s thinking. Even world weather reports ignore us altogether. I think this is a good thing though and hope it remains that way. “Where the bloody hell are you?” spoken by a young Aussie lady in a television commercial for tourism, wondering where all the tourists are, could be more accurately expressed by most residents of the Northern Hemisphere when asked about Australia.