I woke up in a much better mood on this day. It wasn’t over cast and today was the day in the trip when we were to do no work and go to two beaches. One was a beach and a museum and the other one was supposed to be this remarkable green sand beach. Green sand? Never heard of it. Yenta and KL (kitchen Lady) kept telling that this particular beach is a game changer. I was ready. I love to lay out. I love the ocean and I like being in salt water.
We load up in the van and Yenta is driving. Lucky for me that KL came with us that day because by this time we had become friends. You can learn so much by being the first one up in the morning and being in the kitchen with someone. If you can work together in a kitchen and not want to kill someone, then that person is a friend. So, not too far into our trip we pull over on the road facing the ocean. We just stop and get out and look at the view. It is beautiful beyond words. Then all of a sudden someone yells, “Oh My God”. OMG indeed as there was a humpback whale right there before us. She was just doing what humpback whales do and she was magnificent. I highly recommend looking at a whale. You think you are hot shit, look at a whale and sew your mouth shut. I didn’t even see her entire body and I was humbled beyond conversation. We quietly loaded back in and went on to the next stop.
The first place we stopped was the City of Refuge. I don’t know the story behind it because I went to the beach. The beach was the only museum I wanted to see. It was supposed to be a great snorkeling beach and there were about 100 people in the water doing just that. Me, KL and two of the nicer girls on the trip set up on the black lava formations and get our sun on. It was great. We chatted about our lives and food and well, food. I get to the point where I need to go into the water. Most of the beaches we went to had black sand and were rocky. I had a pair of cheap water shoes and surprising enough, I didn’t lose my balance once. A miracle if you know me. So I manage to get into this little bay like area and as I am looking at the crystal clear water two giant turtles just brush past me. Holy shit, I am outside and there is wild life all around me. So far out of my comfort zone that I become quiet. There are beautiful fish swimming everywhere and just then to try to wreck my beauty buzz, was the 28 year old know it all. She was one of three women taking the class that graduated in the same massage class. They were a pack and had private jokes and was, I found, annoying in general. This one girl especially was annoying because like I said she was the smartest, most experienced in everything, and was the worst sneak ever. I will get to the sneak stuff later. I was looking at fish and she was telling me the names of the fish and I could not give a shit. I was calling them all Bob. It was easier to remember. I have a pet peeve with women that have to be smarter than you and go out of their way to let you know they are smarter. I did learn a lesson about myself from this girl. I knew from the first day I started getting up early and helping KL with her duties that this one was gunning for something. The first day I helped KL thanked me in front of everyone (which I didn’t ask for or need) that this one had her nose out of joint. Long story short, she wanted KL’s job for next year and sure enough she got it. She was, all of a sudden, a master in the kitchen. She did have a long and illustrious career at a famous chain sub shop. I felt those old competitive feelings coming up and instead of going head to head with this bitch, I stepped away. I was not there to make anyone feel bad or steal anyone’s thunder. I am too old for that kind of shit. It was a huge step for me as I wanted to deflate this piker’s bubble so bad I could taste it. I figured it this way, smart people may talk but wise people keep their mouths shut. On that day, I decided I wanted to be wise.
Anyways, after lunch we piled into the van and went to this green sand beach. Well, sort of. We pull the van up to what reminds me of a shanty town. A bunch of old cars and trucks and jeeps and kind of a make shift refreshment stand were in front of us but no green sand beach. So, Yenta goes looking for a man she met last year, his name was Alfred. After we found Alfred, Yenta informed us that if anyone gets car sick (of course Know It All does) to sit near the windows. “Trust me”, she kept telling me. Okay. The beach is three miles. We pile in this almost ancient safari car and get on our way. Alfred was the world’s best driver. He drove us over three miles on dust and stone roads. That is why everyone had beater cars. They made their livings on ten bucks a head to get you to this amazing beach that is isn’t on any tourists map. It is a word of mouth place for locals and those in the know. So after the bumpiest ride of my life we arrive on the edge of a small cliff. Yenta says, “Look down”. I look down at the most beautiful beach I have ever seen in person or photographs. It is touched by the hand of God. Then someone asks, “How do we get down there?” Yenta points to the “stairs”. You basically are climbing down a cliff. I knew it was straight down. I know I am a clumsy oaf. I go down the cliff anyway. We get to the bottom and all of us jump into the Pacific. It was amazing. We were all just so taken by the beauty of this place that we were all laughing for no particular reason. I thought about it later and all I could figure is that was real joy. It was simple and I reacted like a child. I don’t believe that even as a child I reacted to anything with that kind of joy. It was amazing. I didn’t want anything to get to me the rest of that day. When we got back to the retreat center, I ate and promptly went to bed. It was one of the best days of my life.
I am going to end my story there for now. What happened the next day was so profound and so insane that I want to tell it in its own story. I will tell it closer to Easter as it will tie in with that part of the year and its significance.
I learned more on this trip than I have ever learned in any classroom at any point in my life. I will always be grateful for that and I will go back sooner (hopefully) rather than later…