The tiled river runs past our  door.

The tiled river runs past our door.

A tropical holiday in the sun? No, a tropical holiday in the bloody rain and lots of it at the JW Merriment, in spite of this not being the wet season. Owing to the confinement indoors we are preparing for a child revolt. Rain is not what they want. Today’s children have to be given what they want, otherwise their parents will be charged with neglect and the children removed to a more caring government facility.

Frankly, I’m scared. They’ve already infiltrated the gym where they drop weights, run backwards on the treadmill and change the settings on the rowing machine. I escaped them yesterday by hiding out in the squash court where, with borrowed racket and ball, I tried to recall my glory days when an hour and a half of high cardiac stress was not nearly enough. I gripped the now strangely shaped racket and hit the ball against the front wall. It didn’t come back the way it was supposed to. Did I have a dud ball? No, I had acquired a dud body. I applied some ferocity to striking the ball and it sulkily returned. I found that I could hit it alright, but chasing down where it landed ran me out of puff in ten minutes. I could hear my cardiologist telling me to stop if I didn’t want to return to Australia box-class. I therefore stopped. That might have been my last game of squash. Tragic to finish like this, on my own, buggered, in foreign lands.

We really do live in Water-world at the JW Merriment. There are many choices of granite lined lakes of the type designed by city planners and architects, or we can jump into the tiled river and go for a kilometre wadeathon. Sometimes chest deep and sometimes waist deep we wade past the terraces of people with similar rooms to ours, who may be sitting or reading or getting undressed. The latter is the most interesting.

There are other sights along the way, like a water monitor (a very junior version of the one I saw last year in Malaysia) haul itself out of the tiled river, its long blue tongue darting from its lizard-like head. I read that water monitors are the most intelligent reptiles on earth. Among their many abilities, they can count. Why would they want to count, Michelle asks me? Probably to stop their kids arguing over birds’ eggs, I said.

Then there is the beach, the water currently the colour of café latte and quite rough. Snatching a brief break in the clouds we went walking along the sand this morning until it again started raining, but lightly. I invited Michelle to return to base while I bravely continued until the heavenly bucket was upended and I scurried home sodden. I now have a large percentage of my clothes wet and hanging over our outdoor terrace rail. However, it is too humid to dry them and, even if it wasn’t, the rain sweeps in and wets them all over again. We may have to give the Merriment the chance to fleece us with its gold plated, exclusive, premier, first class drying service. Or, we could take the cheap way out and buy new clothes.

The JW Merriment has a cat. We discovered it complaining in the corridor last night on our way back from an excellent Thai dinner. In catology terms, this cat is a teenager, with a smudged tortoiseshell coat. It offers friendship and face-rubs when it works out that we’re cat people. This morning, after having survived the breakfast riot, we asked our room girl about the cat. Was it being properly fed? The distance between our Thai and her English produced the following exchange. We don’t want to eat in our room. We don’t want to eat the cat in our room or elsewhere. We don’t want the cat to live in our room. We like the cat and don’t want it taken away. We are not afraid of the cat. We already have two cats at home and cannot fit in a third.