Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Comings and Goings on the Island

It's been a busy couple of days. Yesterday we took the kids for their medical checkup, required before they can be released from the country. The stroller brigade was ready:

For Elaina, the only traumatic part was waking up from the nice nap she took on the walk over. The medical exam was uneventful, except when she bit down on the tongue depressor and was strongly disinclined to release it.

Yesterday evening I took Elaina out on an second attempt at the apocalyptic boat ride. This one was far less eventful, though Elaina did not cooperate with my efforts to take pictures and my photographs are blurry as a result. The breeze on the top of the boat was refreshing until a sudden rain hit, and the lights along the shore held Elaina's interest and mine. Later, she fell asleep in my arms. I carried her from the boat back to the room that way, and when I put her down, was forcibly reminded of what I had forgotten for a few years -- when you carry a sleeping baby in your arms for half an hour, afterwards you need Advil if you want to fully extend your arms again.

Today, we did the traditional group picture with the babies on the red couch in the lounge of the Swan. Making nine babies sit still for a picture is about as hard as you are guessing. There was much drama. Elaina stole someone's rattle. I'm not sure what you call a group of babies; judging from pacification methods here, I propose "A Cheerio of babies."

Afterwards one of the other dads and I enjoyed a few drinks in the bar overlooking the river while our wives took the babies to a local clothing store to be measured for custom traditional dresses. They returned with the babies in diapers; they had left the dresses they were wearing there to assist in measurement. Apparently this was scandalous, carrying babies wearing only diapers back to and through the hotel. One would think that a place where so many toddlers wear pants designed to allow them to relieve themselves in the streets would be above being shocked by such things. I'm reminded of the dining room where breakfast is served; the servers primly drape a small cloth matching the tablecloths over the diaper bag. You wouldn't want to detract from the decor of a room where thirty babies are dropping about a metric ton of half-chewed breakfast items on the floor.

After pictures and a few drinks, we had a wonderful group dinner at the hotel's barbecue restaurant by the river. It was my type of place: you pile your plate with a variety of raw meats (steak, short ribs, and squid, in my case), hand it to the chefs, and they grill it for you in tasty sauces and bring it to your table. And they had fries. And pizza. If it weren't for the commute, I'd be back every weekend. The kids enjoyed theirselves in the evening air, which gradually cooled (or maybe that was the bottle of Reisling talking). Elaina's hair did not survive dinner intact, as usual.

No comments: