Today was a pretty damn good day for the most part. Got up around six-thirty and had time to myself until nine. I’ve always been a solitary kind of person, but I didn’t fully realize how much I needed my alone time until I got so much of it taken away from me. Now that I’ve had a healthy amount over the last two days, I can breathe again. This morning, I got up around six-thirty and didn’t have to meet the family for breakfast until nine. I hopped on the intertoobz and just chilled with an excellent cup of coffee. Then, had a massive breakfast at our luxury hotel. After, my mom and my dad wanted to take a walk around the hotel grounds before my mom, my bro, and my niece went swimming. My mom described all the different pools and asked if I wanted to try on her swimsuit. The big one. I said no. As I have mentioned, I feel like an elephant right now, and the last thing I want to do is appear in public in a bathing suit. I mean, I knew I was fat before I went on this trip, but not this fat. Pictures don’t lie, man. I am greatly unhappy about how fat I am right now. I reached the conclusion that I would not fuck me, so why should/would anyone else?
After breakfast, I went back to my room and surfed the web a bit more. I also had another cup of truly excellent coffee. My mom called to tell me the itinerary. Lunch at noon, checkout at one, beach, then back to the hotel for tea at two-thirty.
Lunch was huge, too. The food at the Park View Hotel was amazing and plentiful. After lunch, we checked out, stowed our bags at the hotel, and went to the beach. I saw two black dogs at the ocean–my animal familiars for the day.
I loved the ocean. The Pacific Ocean is MY ocean. I could stare at it for hours. I loved the way it was striated three different blues. Dark blue further away, sea blue in the middle, and turquoise close up. It was a windy day, so the waves were really roiling. I kept creeping closer and closer to the edge, and the waves were really crashing up the shore. I scrambled to get out of the way and fell on my ass–got it wet. Then, a wave caught up to me so my shoes and socks were soaked. When we went back to the hotel for tea, we used the hair dryers in the swimming pool locker room to dry out our shoes. Then, tea, which was more like supper.
Then, my parents wanted to walk around the grounds of the hotel again, so we did. And did. And did. My body is done with this trip, and taking the walk around the hotel reminded me of how out of shape I am. Choolie commented on the pics from yesterday saying I looked so unhappy. I said it’s because I have decided not to smile for any pictures for the rest of the trip. I hate having my picture taken, and my mom wants to take pictures of the family every five seconds or so.
So I’m getting grumpier and grumpier the more we walk. After the walk, we proceeded to our plan of playing ping-pong. My niece was the referee, and she grouped us by gender–my mother and me against my brother and my father.
Once we started playing ping-pong, it was like the good old days, and I mean that sincerely. One thing that has always been fun for us is playing doubles in ping-pong. The four of us are pretty evenly matched, and most of the games were very close. As we played, we slipped back into a comfortable routine. My dad is the trickster with his spins and cuts and such. My brother prefers to just cut the shit out of everything. My mom is steady and dependable, and I am good with my instincts. It didn’t matter who played with whom. When we had the ping-pong paddles in our hands, we could actually relate as a family. We played by the old-school rules, and it was a blast. Then, my brother and my niece played some pool while my mom and my dad went to shower (we were all dripping in sweat because no air conditioning), and I joined in on the second game to help out my niece.
Afterwards, my niece said, “I could come back here again.” See, my family is planning another Hong Taiwan vacation in five years. My brother figures that his youngest will be old enough at that time (eight) in order to remember the trip. My niece says that she will be begging for us to allow her boyfriend to come with us (she’ll be sixteen at the time). My bro said my SIL would like to come, too. So, my brother was in, and my niece was in. My parents turned to me and asked me if I was down (no, they didn’t phrase it that way). I said, “We’ll see.” That was the best I could do. My honest answer would have been, “Unless the family dynamics change, I will not be here.”
We took the train back to Taipei, and it was pleasant enough. Now, we are in another fancy hotel (but not quite as fancy as the one in Hualien), and I have my beloved intertubes. I also have a HUGE king-size bed, and nothing fun to do in it, damn it. I gotta admit that a little bit of luxury is not a bad thing. And, I am loving the solitude. I found myself thinking today that if the whole vacation had been low-key like today, I wouldn’t have hated it so much.
Oh, and the plans have changed yet again. We are going through the longest tunnel tomorrow and to another city that is famous for its arts and crafts. We don’t have to leave until ten-thirty, though, so I will be able to have a leisurely morning alone (I hope). If the last two days here are anything like today, I just may make it back to the States with my sanity fairly intact.
For now, a shower and bedtime–in my huge huge bed.
P.S. Link to Day Eight Pics. There aren’t so many this today.