Tim Pratt
SF and Fantasy Writer

Vacation: Day Four

The day began with dolphins. There’s a dolphin lagoon here, and for exorbitant sums one can swim with the dolphins. Heather booked River for a short meet-the-cetaceans session, and he got to go with her and a trainer into shallow water, meet four dolphins, feed them fish, pet them, and so on. He found it delightful, of course — who wouldn’t? One of the dolphins steadfastly refused to do any of the tricks the trainer prompted her too. I was very proud of that dolphin. (I have mixed feelings about the whole captive-dolphins-dancing-for-our-amusement thing, obviously, but River thought it was magical, and the trainers seem to love the animals, so I can’t come down squarely against it.)

Checked my e-mail. It had bad news. The day before, my e-mail had stressful news. I resolved to stop checking my e-mail on this vacation, and I haven’t looked at it since. I’ll deal with whatever additional crap the world wants to shovel onto me when I’m back in Berkeley. I was stressed out most of the morning, though.

The wind has finally died down here, so we rented a paddleboat and pedaled around the lagoon. River was the captain, directing us to and fro, under bridges, near the fake waterfall, over to the pool where the mullet hang out, the huge fish often leaping a few feet into the air. Most pleasant.

We spent most of the rest of Wednesday at Hapuna Beach, one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline around. Perfect for playing in the sand, building sand castles and sand cities, and great for swimming. Not terribly exciting for boogie boarding (very gentle surf) or snorkeling (the water’s very clear, but there are only a few places with coral and lots of fish, as it’s mostly sandy), but immensely pleasant all the same, and perfect for River, who was disappointed in Tuesday’s rocky beaches.

We left to get dinner near sunset, choosing a place on a whim and some Yelp reviews, and it turned out to be awesome (if rather fancier than we’d realized): Roy’s Place. River was very well behaved (never a given that late in the day, when he’s tired), and the food was amazing. Heather got a “mixed plate” sampler of three different fish dishes, and each portion was big enough for a meal. I got the meatloaf, and it was easily enough for two dinners. (I did eat it all, but skipped dessert. That kind of restraint is rare for me, but I was stuffed.) The booze was first-rate, too, yummy cocktails and generous pours. After eating too often at the painfully mediocre and even more painfully overpriced resort restaurants, a great meal at a restaurant no more expensive than a similar place would be back home? A revelation.

Then it was back home, for reading and lolling around and digesting. I re-read Carroll’s Land of Laughs. I always remember it as being creepy, but I always forget just how creepy.

As the evening progressed, my wife felt sicker and sicker. That would prove to be a theme for Thursday. But I’ll tell you about that next time.

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