In Tenerife

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I am on holiday!

Now, I am sat by the heated pool at my hotel in Tenerife. I am in my bikini, all SPF-ed out and suntanning (whilst keeping all my fingers and toes crossed that the UV rays don’t wrinkle me up). It is so comfortable to finally be away from the wintry cold of England, being here in a foreign country and sat on a deck chair basking in the gentle embrace of Mr Sunshine. There is something strangely calming about watching kids bobbing around in the pool whilst being kept buoyant by their arm floats, seeing little children get all excited as they splash water at each other, and watching the clear blue water fan out as one ripple chases after another. I love the rhythmic sound of cool water lapping up onto the edges of the pool. I listen to the conversations other holiday-makers are having around me, and cannot help but find my brain completely disengaging as they natter on in the background, in Spanish, or Italian, or German- whatever. They speak words that I do not comprehend, so I sit back and switch off, aloof to whatever they think or say.

This holiday has been much needed. The stresses of work and life have been slowly getting to me in the last couple of weeks. Work has been tough, and I have been feeling very incompetent a lot of the time. There was the issue of the boy who got paralysed by dead-space sux while awake, the mental distress of dealing with his mother & a possible complaint, the problem with starting lists late, being unable to perform regional blocks that I am expected to know at my stage, constantly feeling judged by the people around me… and then there are the struggles with life itself- coping with my singleness, resigning to my loneliness, accepting that Leehom is now married (yes he is, but more about this another time), and generally trying to find purpose and joy in the mundane repetition of a boring adult life. I want to lead a purpose-filled existence, a life of fun and of interesting experiences. I want to go places, meet people, taste culinary delights, experience other cultures. I want to wake up daily with a huge smile on my face, excited to get up and say hello to a day that promises achievement and satisfaction. I want to go to bed every night grinning, knowing that it has been yet another day well-lived.

And so it has been nice to break away for a while. It has been lovely to have breakfast and dinner served up to me daily, to have my room tidied by someone else, to laze by the pool like this and let myself go brain-dead for a couple of days, to soak up sunshine that I have been much starved of, to relax and reflect, and to record my thoughts down like this.

This is the first time I am on a holiday like this- one in which I just could not care less. I am not interested in going to see the sights, to eat certain delicacies, to cram in a thousand million things into my itinerary and try to “make the most of this holiday.” I am not bothered about anything at all. I just want to thoroughly chill. If the thought of going somewhere appears remotely stressful, then screw it. I don’t care enough to stress about it. I am here to rest my soul.

The first day I got here, I was post nights and had had a couple of busy days preparing for this trip. This, together with the fact that it rained all day in Tenerife on day 1, meant that I just hit the sack in my hotel room and slept… and slept and slept. I remember waking up to have dinner, going back to my room for a shower, blogging a little, then heading straight back to dreamland yet again.

On my second day, I woke up to a scrumptious breakfast, then hit the pool where I could finally swim! I had been wanting to go swimming while I was still in the UK, but the busy-ness of work and life meant that it stayed on my to-do list for a month and a half. I swam for a long time that day, enjoying the sensation of cool water softly caressing my weary body, reaching deep into the nooks and crannies to provide a rejuvenation of my body and mind. There was a gym instructor who came to join us at the pool that day, and he took us for a session of aquagym- exercises in the water to get your body moving, your heart pumping and your blood circulating. It was super fun, and I am inspired to go for such in-pool exercise classes when I get back to England. For the rest of the day, I went walking along the beaches on the South-West coast of Tenerife. It was scorching hot, and I walked for an exceptionally long distance. I had wanted to get from Fanabe where I was to the Las Americas. It took me 3 hrs, a nearly burnt nose, and a couple of blisters on my feet to finally arrive there. I did a tiny bit of shopping at the Las Americas before I managed to summon sufficient courage to begin the long trek back (thankfully it was evening by then and the sunset was much more forgiving then the midday burn). When I returned to the hotel, it was dinner and then K.O. into the land of realistic fantasy.

Yesterday was probably the only day when I actually visited a tourist destination. I went to Siam Park, The Water Kingdom. Siam park is a huge water park with a Thai theme. It was really really fun! The last time I went to a water park was when I was maybe of primary school age? (I remember it was to the now defunct Fantasy Island in Sentosa). Too young anyway to go on any rides or remember any of the fun. This time, I was determined to go on most of the rides. I started by hitting “Siam beach,” a man made beach complete with “seawater” (which is really just a very large pool of fairly shallow water on concrete ground, capable of producing waves of different sizes). People were all trying to catch the waves, but most like me ended up just being washed away by the sheer strength of the approaching body of water. I also went on the “Naga Racer,” which is essentially a very long, and fairly vertical slide that you slide belly-down on a mat. It was highly exhilarating, especially when you try and keep your eyes open as you make your very fast and very vertical descent. I loved it though, and ended up going 3 times. There was also the “Dragon”, the “Mekong rapids”, and “Kinnaree”- these were all group rides on a huge float, through slides and tunnels with rushing water, tossing you backwards and forwards sometimes in light and occasionally in pitch blackness, turning you around and around, then allowing you to drop almost vertically downwards. It was terrifying, and there were some times when I thought I might actually be thrown out of the float! There were also a couple of rides when I was riding backwards towards a nearly vertical drop. Do you know the feeling of having your gut thrown into your chest when the aeroplane enters an area of turbulence? Well, I felt that a lot yesterday… BUT it was super fun! There was a lot of water splashed, a tonne of hysterical screaming, and a shedload of adrenaline pumping away in my body. The “Giant” was another such ride, a solo ride though, and I enjoyed it so much that I went back for a second serving. I also got to float along the “Mai Thai river” in a float, but that proved to be mind-numbingly boring. With the water turning me clockwise one minute and anticlockwise the next, I actually thought I might be sick. So I abandoned the ride quickly. One other major attraction in the park is “The Tower of Power”- essentially a very long freaky slide that plunges almost vertically down into a glass tube within an aquarium containing sharks! It looked horrifically scary- I gave that a miss for want of my precious little life. I walked everywhere barefooted that day- up concrete stairs, down gravelly paths, across wooden bridges and along the sandy beaches. My poor little abused feet were screaming out in pain by the end of the day and my gait changed into a pathetic limp! Nevertheless, it was a great day all in all, and I would totally recommend visiting that park again (Says the NEVER-adrenaline junkie who has never/ can never/ will never be on a roller coaster. Hear here, all ye who suffer motion sickness, this might just be alright for you!)!!

As for today, I have literally been sitting by the pool/ swimming for the last 3hrs. I am off to a 2hr long “wine ritual lover” treatment (bath, exfoliation, wrap and massage) in about half an hour. Hopefully, that will be really relaxing and totally worth the hole in my pocket the size of 150euros!

* continued…

It is now 2138hrs at night. I have been to my spa day experience and I find myself struggling to describe just how awesome it was. It started with 10mins in the jacuzzi and steam room. Amazingly, I had these facilities all to myself as no one else had booked in for a treatment at the same time. The jets of water at the jacuzzi served as the perfect way to start soothing my achy muscles. After 3 days of walking & swimming, I have overloaded my lazy muscles with exercise that they have not dealt with in a while. Those cheeky buggers are now protesting against the sudden increase in their workload, and I am punished with aching in parts of my body that I did not even know existed.

After the jacuzzi, I headed into the steam room to get my BMR up, to open up my pores and to start purging said clogged pores through intense perspiration. I was careful not to overdo it though, as I clearly remembered how my last steam room experience left me completely and utterly exhausted for the next day and a half.

Following that, my masseuse led me to a private room where my treatments were to officially begin. We started off with a body scrub. I have never had a body scrub in my life and boy did that feel good! I could literally feel layers of dead skin and all the associated encrusted dirt being lifted off me. When I got in the shower to wash the scrub off, I was pleasantly surprised by just how silky-smooth my skin had become! After the exfoliation, I had some kind of mask slathered all over me. From how it smelled, I suspect it was seaweed. I was then wrapped up in a plastic sheet, and then again with some towels. To be honest, I felt like I was some kind of food being prepared for cooking. Washed, scrubbed clean, then marinaded, wrapped up and left to sit for a while before being put in the cooker. Haha. Anyway, I got a head massage thereafter and that felt good.

Finally, after I had the mask washed off, we settled down to the real business. The massage. The masseuse applied oil all over my body. It smelt heavenly… I think it was grape, or mandarin orange. Very skilfully, she pressed and kneaded and knocked on the aching muscles all over my body. My back, neck, legs, arms, abdomen, and even my breasts! It felt so comforting and relaxing to feel the warmth of her silky smooth fingers and hands pushing against my skin, pressing into where I was tense and sore. My brain switched off completely then, and all I could think of was just how much I enjoyed every movement of her nifty massaging hands on my body.

The massage finally ended with a quick wipe down of my body with a lovely warm towel, and I was then offered a glass of red wine, green tea, and some fruit & biscuits. The whole experience was just out of this world…

As I sat on the round rattan chair by the shop window sipping on my red wine, staring out into the dusk and reliving this whole holiday in my head, I cannot help but feel so blessed. I came to Tenerife for relaxation, and I dare say I definitely got it this week.

Dear Lord, thank you.

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