It was my friend Lisa’s 40th birthday on May 21st and she asked me and some other friends to join her at Tigh-na-Mara in Parksville. Well, that is kinda true – she asked me what I thought – should we go to Montreal, Las Vegas, a West Coast spa or camping in Golden. I mean, really? What? One of things is not like the other ones! Golden is nice, yes, but camping? Camping is a pain – you have to haul in a whole bunch of stuff to try and make it feel more like home, get a lousy sleep because your poor hip doesn’t have the cushioning it needs on the hard ground, and stay dirty. Why would you do anything of these things?
Yes, I am not a camper. So, I was relieved when the consensus going to a spa resort for a couple of days. We started off well with a wonderful ferry ride up to Nanaimo from Horseshoe Bay. A peaceful crossing full of possibilities – so I know I am going somewhere. The four of us all met up around 5 pm at the resort and immediately the wine started flowing. The sun was dropping in the sky so a walk on the beach was in order.
I then invented a new photography technique that I call “blind photography”. I am sure many smart photo users have engaged in this activity unknowingly. It’s when you try to take pictures with your phone despite standing directly in sunlight. You have no idea what you’ve snapped – the horizon could be crooked, the focus out of whack – you just do not know. Here is one of my best:
The rest of the night is a little fuzzy.
The next morning, I got up and ran. Yes, despite the wine and the early morning wake-up from the skylight, I run through the trails of Parksville before breakfast and a spa day. I think it was to assuage the guilt I felt knowing I’d be missing work during a really busy phase. Directly after breakfast it was to the spa. At this spa, there is rules, you must where a robe at all times. I got a pedicure, Lisa got a facial and we met our friends for Endless Tapas. Endless Tapas? What is that? Well, you pay $50 and they bring you tapas until you cannot eat any longer. If you liked something particular, you order more – no charge. This is dangerous when all your tight-fitting clothing is in the locker downstairs and all you have a loose hide-it-away robe expanding with you.
There was no wine that night.
The next day we got more spa treatments and then combed the beaches. And I mean it, we combed the beaches. We were looking for glass rocks on 5 different beaches in Parksville. Frankly, I think Lisa thought the world owed her something for her birthday. So we searched and searched. But to no avail.
We made arrangements with the resort for a “fire kit” – which un-kittingly was one item – and marshmallow roasting sticks. When it got dark, a fire on the beach complete with s’mores was planned. We finally dragged our spa-ed bodies out the front door to find it was pouring rain. We wanted s’mores, but we were not that dedicated or skilled to be able to do it in the pouring rain. Fortunately, I knew an option. So munching on s’mores and watching So You Think You Can Dance, we wiled the rest of the night away.
May 19 -22, 2013 Extra-Ordinary: Time a way “on the island” with a friend who shared my formative years at university.