Each week, many of our residents meet for Creative Writing Group with Lisa McKenzie. The class offers a creative outlet and the opportunity to flex their writing muscles.
This month, we’d like to highlight a humorous essay written by Myra Ehrke, a former travel writer:
I’m at Club Med Tahiti, where all meals, all beverages and all activities are included in the price. My family has finished breakfast. Daughter Maxine has headed off on a two-man sailing catamaran with a cute guy. Hubby Chuck, daughter Lori, and son Jim have boarded a charter boat to fish for marlin. They have been joined by a Japanese party of five.
That leaves me. I’m hoping all will go well for Jimmy as he practices his Japanese language skills. The last time he’d tried was at his girlfriend’s home in Tokyo. He’d joined the family and some VIP’s from the Mitsubishi Corporation at the dinner table, raised his glass on high for a toast, and shouted, “BONZAI.” This toast was met with hostile looks and an uncomfortable silence. His girlfriend, Akiko, whispered in his ear that although that word was close to the word for “cheers,” it was actually a war chant, used when attacking an enemy. A red-faced Jim had apologized in Japanese, something he’d had to do many times.
I wander around the harbor, snorkel and mask in hand, looking for a boat to go shell-hunting. Only one problem; no one speaks English. I pass three boats with skippers barking destinations in French. At the fourth, a sailor looks directly at me and yells what sounds like “shelling.” Isn’t that nice, I think. He knows I am American.
I board the boat, going somewhere, for an unknown amount of time, and think, “This is fun!” I like surprises.
Twenty minutes later, I find myself ready to disembark with 30 plus other shell seekers, but wait, something’s… wrong. Shouldn’t the other people have net bags to carry the shells they find? And shouldn’t they have brought snorkels and fins?
Oops. As soon as the other resort guests hit the beach they strip ‘till they are completely naked. It isn’t a pretty sight. Let’s just say I feel better about my body but very embarrassed to be the only person wearing a bathing suit. I remember my mom’s advice to look before I leap. Too late.
I want to hide behind a coconut tree or bury myself in the sand. Instead, I put on my gear and snorkel in four feet of water. After all, that’s what I came here for.
I am following the shoreline, hands outstretched, when I bump into a soft object. I look down and see two human legs. I stand up and come face to face with a naked, very amused Frenchman. Of course I apologize; my face the color of a boiled lobster. Thank goodness people are getting dressed and boarding the boat. I board the cruiser with as much dignity as I can muster and sit without making eye contact with anyone. I daydream about being with my family this evening, digging into some wonderful French cuisine, sipping wine, and telling them about my adventure.