Sun 21st Nov
It seemed to us that there had been more children in the resort yesterday than on Thursday or Friday. Today there were more still and a large proportion of them seemed to want to either shriek, run around precariously underfoot, or both. We looked forward to Monday, hoping peace would abound once more.
Despite the rain and clouds I was surprised how much I was catching the sun on my shoulders and the one garment I had taken was a nice white shirt definitely not suited to the muddy walks we were taking so we decided to visit the shop, this time with purpose, and after a while I chose a very bright yellow t.shirt with a rainbow fabric 88 appliqued on the front and ‘Lindeman Island’ written across the back of the neck. I was very happy with it.
Well, as our shoes were ruined anyway we decided that this was the day to climb the mountain. Foolishly, I did not put contact lenses in as I only had one pair left. I should have used them!
After carefully traversing the slippery wooden walkway at the top of all the stairs, the first huge puddle and the following quagmire were still just as bad as they had been on our first attempt but we just tip toed as best we could around the edges. The following paths were no better anyway.
Here’s the split in the path where you have to decide your destination and we stuck with wanting to go the longest path to the top of Mt Oldfield. A little further on was a small wooden box on a pillar, such that I presumed it to hold some walking maps so I opened the lid only the get the fright of my life! It was full of little frogs! One was between the top of the wood and the lid so that I was frightened of shutting the lid again in case I squashed it. I definitely could have done without that experience!
Continuing on, the path was not very steep at all except for a few spots where there were rock steps and the climb was extremely easy. We were struck by the number of assorted fungi as we went along, some of which were really pretty.
I took an awful lot of pictures of wet pathways on this holiday but I guess they will be the memory that stays with us the most vividly.
As we climbed through the rainforest we began to zig zag more frequently as it got steeper but then suddenly we were out onto a grassland. The pathway was very well defined, with the other areas being knee-deep grass, and David realised that some poor soul obviously carted a mower (we found out later it was a brush cutter) up here. On enquiry we were told that the ranger has a quad bike that gets him so far up the mountain and then he has to carry the brush cutter the rest of the way. Hats off to him that’s for sure!!!
The grass here, even so close to the top, was as sodden as everywhere else and the depth of the water was often taller than the grass yet again. Suddenly we were walking a circle around the peak and went twice around before arriving on the little grassed summit to find an L-shaped bench and an empty wine bottle that some disgusting person had dumped there.
We admired the view and I took some still shots and a 360° movie. Forgive the wind in the microphone. When taking a circular picture it’s got to happen at some point. You can hear us discussing a huge biting fly while I was filming hehehe. They actually didn’t bite as hard as I’d suspected.
Very soon David saw another head appearing from the circular path and another guy joined us, saying that he had 4 companions who would soon join him. It turned out that his name was also David and it was his birthday that day. They’d bought a bottle of champagne and some glasses with them to toast his day and they offered us some as well which was very kind. We’d taken some of David’s left-over birthday cake to eat at the top but didn’t have enough to share. We did, however, suggest to them that they let the kitchen know of their David’s birthday so that they could get a cake as well. We were going to take the empty wine bottle with us when we left but this family beat us to it, obviously taking their own rubbish with them as well.
We stayed up there for a bit longer until David saw the rain clouds rolling in. I got all excited about the view and not being able to tell where the ocean ended and the sky began, so took a few more photos while David kept telling me that we’d be sorry if we didn’t leave soon. With his experience of working outdoors for so many years he knows when rain is coming.
We got around the circular path and across the grasslands and had barely hit the trees when it started to rain quite hard. We weren’t catching every drip, being under the trees, but drips we were getting were large having been saved up on the leaves before falling. It was not long at all until we were soaked through. I had put my camera and mobile phone in a plastic bag long ago so we had nothing to worry about. Getting rain on my glasses was not fun, I hate not being able to see clearly but I accepted it as part of the adventure and, as I keep saying, it was not cold so the body soaking didn’t worry us.
By the time we got to the point of the path where we’d had to choose between Gap Beach or the mountain we decided that we were wet through anyway and may as well go and see Gap Beach while we were here. It was still raining steadily.
Along this path I saw a really different fungus than we’d come across so far, it was so unusual! Isn’t it pretty?
We descended once more through tree-lined, mud-filled, stream-crossed pathways until we could hear the ocean approaching and came out onto Gap Beach. Like the Plantation Beach walk, the ‘beach’ was made up of rocks and copious quantities of coral, with treelets in the water. We didn’t stay for much longer than it took to take a few photographs.
We went back the way we’d come – the only choice – happily chatting as we went. At one point this is what the path looked like and David commented that my boot camp instructor would be stunned that I was here, walking in the rain, when I refuse to attend class in the same conditions. He threatened to tell my instructor when we returned and said that he would make me do pushups in the rain. I don’t think so! But to prove a point David dropped into the stream/path and did one himself.
We got home without event and showered and changed ready for lunch. The G.O. to join us this time was named Miranda, a gorgeous, bubbly girl originally from Taiwan. She was very excited about her imminent transfer to Club Med at the Maldives. How wonderful would that be?
After a very leisurely lunch we decided to go and have another go at the archery and this time, being wetter than before, not many people turned up at all. We ended up with 10 arrows each which meant for a nice bit of practice between having to ‘go fetch’. Many of the arrows were missing one or two of their three flights (the feathers on the non-pointy end) and a few were badly bent towards the pointy end which made for some interesting flight patterns. Sometimes they would speed towards the target correctly only to suddenly develop a speed wobble and then hurtle off sideways at the last minute. Ah well, it was only for fun!
With nothing but time to waste, and being far too chilly for us to want to do any water activities, we decided to walk up and down the hilly roads around the resort just for the sake of it. I have yet to mention the resort bus and may as well do so here. It was about a 25-seater I think and spent from about 8am until about 5pm going from the jetty to the staff quarters beyond the archery and back again. Around and around for the entire day excepting a lunch break in the middle (possibly noon until 1.30 or 2pm, I can’t remember now).
From the jetty was the most incredibly steep hill upwards for about 100 metres. David thinks the climb was to a height of about 20 metres or so. Photos never show how steep roads are but this is the best I can do for you. David’s pretending he has to hold onto that white post to stop him falling. This is about half of the distance of this first hill All I know is that when we walked as fast as we could manage we were gasping for air by the time we reached the top. At this point the bus took a left turn and went down a steep but short decline to take it to reception. Here, it went around a tiny garden and came back up again, turned left and continued on a long but steady incline past the conference room, the top of the stair/walkway and on around, still climbing to the archery. And that’s what the driver did all day. It must have been incredibly mind numbing!!! We hopped on the bus about 3 times in all but other than that just took to waving and smiling to the poor driver every time our paths crossed, which was fairly frequently!
It drizzled on us the whole time we were walking around and we discovered an incredible set of wooden steps and platforms that went from above reception, through the centre of the accommodation blocks and down to beach level where our room was. Yet again these were quite slippery in the wet and we had to be careful as we walked. I hate to think how many steps were here but I’d guess a good 200. There were also a few benches to sit on and admire the view but of course they were wet. The land underneath and around the walkways was a steep incline with a thick covering of trees and creepers in their natural state. Nobody would want to do gardening on that incline for all the tea in China! The steps went from the building you can see at the very top of this photo, down to where I was standing to take it.
We went back to our room and David watched TV for a time while I had my head stuck in the resort guide and then we showered and dressed for dinner. The first G.O. to join us was Kal. He was the lighting engineer for the shows but had also been voted (through an absence) to be the sound engineer as well. He was very easy and interesting to speak with and was on his last week, training someone to take his place at the time. Our eldest son is very interested in sound engineering so it was fascinating to hear someone else as enthusiastic about dials and noises.
When Kal had to leave to go and prepare for the nightly show Glenn came and joined us once more and we had a great chat. We had so much in common and he felt like an old friend by now.
The show tonight was the circus and it was exceptionally excellent. The star of the whole thing, for us, was Monica. Here’s her face makeup, isn’t it gorgeous?
There were two main components of the show, the aerial performances and the children, and Monica featured in both. Not to belittle anyone else who appeared but we knew Monica so she shone out to us.
Towards the beginning of the show all of the young children who had been cared for in the club did performances involving a little spring board kind of trampoline and they did summersaults onto the big foam mats. Some of them jumped over the G.O.s that were helping, all dressed in jesters outfits and Monica got jumped all over and then pushed onto a mat. The G.O.s dumped another big foam mat on top of her and the children jumped all over it. Poor Monica!!! We wondered how she could breathe under there but she came up smiling. We presume the children’s outfits were provided by Club Med.
There was a trapeze in the main theatre area and this was used with some thick foam mats below for safety. There were excellent trapeze acts by 3 male G.O.s as well as a guest who had been practising in the circus school (which just taught trapeze).
Then Monica did a routine where she was hanging from a large silver hoop. It surely was a beautiful and skilful act and I’m very sorry that I didn’t video it all in one hit but I was keen to get some still shots as well. The still shots turned out dreadfully because of the dim light but I was not to know that at the time.
Her strength and poise were amazing and she said that she doesn’t do one of the moves very often because it is so painful. I’m not surprised!!! The circus really was a wonderful show and we thoroughly enjoyed it.
After every show Steve would get everyone up to do a few guided dances. He would often lead or hand it over to Jessica. They were good fun anyway. After that they usually announced the next activity and tonight was ‘Chair Volleyball’ which involved 2 teams seated on chairs each side of a volleyball net. You weren’t allowed to stand up but had to hit the ball from where you sat. I snuck out as I have no ball skills at all and am more likely to duck if you throw a ball towards me than return it, David did well for a while though until he got disqualified for standing up.
And then we braved the steady rain and went back to our room to bed.
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