Friday, May 30, 2014

Possibly a Scream. In the Dark. But not in my Living Room. Thank You.

So -
There's this art blog called This is Colossal that showcases young and contemporary artists and mostly, generally and specifically, I adore it. As with any venue, some of the stuff leaves me cold, some of the stuff leaves me wishing I had room in my house for a 10x14 foot wall installation, and sometimes I see something that makes me sit up and go "Oh."
And every single time, I crave what I have seen with every sinew and fiber of my being, and I damn my middle-class bank account. 

            This morning I found Livio Scarpella, a marble sculptor who is just the most. The skill, the craft, the artistry, the sheer nous and po-mo irony of his subject matter - I adore it and I want it.  I want it right in my living room.  And there's only one little problem with that. When i imagine actually possessing one of these remarkable works, I come out in cold gooseflesh all down the back of my neck. It's simply that I couldn't bear the thought of tiptoeing  to the kitchen in the middle of the night knowing that it was waiting for me in the dark.
            I showed the sculptures to Mr Tabubil, and I had to hold him by the shirt to keep him in front of the computer screen.
            "AUGGGGHHHHH."  He said.  "I do not want. I do not want to see, actually, and what's wrong with you AUUGGGHHH. Are you completely out of your mind?"  

            I must be, because they're just... divine, no?  What sort of crazy, fertile, splendid, febrile brain came up with this stuff?

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

It Takes a Village to Move to a New Apartment


A person of superior conduct who, through the whole detail of his manners and deportment, and with the ease of a habit, a person shows respect to others in such a way as at the same time implies, in his own feelings, and habitually, an assured anticipation of reciprocal respect from them to himself.
                                             -(principally Coleridge)

When I moved us from our old apartment to our new apartment - it was me who spent weeks on the phone and the email sorting out fees and inventories with the moving company. When a manager came to do a walk-through, it was me who was home to meet him and walk him through the apartment, valued inventories and massing lists in hand. 

           My husband happened to be home as well that day.  He was curled up miserably on the sofa with the flu - and when I'd shown the moving supervisor everything there was to show, he turned and away from me, walked into to the living room, sat down next to my husband and said "So. What are your questions?"
           My husband looked at him blankly. He pointed at me and said "Ask her. She's running this move."

 The man looked at him, then looked at me and said "Who?" His face was genuinely confused.            
            While my husband goggled, the man nestled in close on the sofa and said "Right. Now let's look at the lists. Are you happy with the prices? Are you happy with the valuations? What else do you want to know?"            
            I walked out of the room and left them to it.

The men who actually packed us and moved us were an entirely different set of souls: kind,competent, splendid at what they did, and swift - rooms rolled away beneath their clever, competent fingers, vanishing into paper and bubbles and large cardboard boxes. It seemed almost cruel  to do what I needed to do to refined professional men like these.

            "Um," I was obliged to say. "We've also got stuff in the bodega (storeroom) downstairs in the basement. There's boxes of books, bicycles, our christmas tree, and, er, um.  Very much Um."
The jefe (supervisor) of the moving looked at me with a raised eyebrow.

            "There's this smell-" I hurried on before my nerve broke. "Last week a pipe broke in the building basement. The landlord won't do anything about it - we can't even reach our landlord. He stopped answering his phone sometime after the third call.  The water doesn't seem to have actually touched any of our things, and since we're moving today-
            We came down last night and looked through all our stuff, and it seems all right,  but there IS that, er, that smell.  I'm just telling you so you know."
           Down in the warren of bodegas in the building basement, it was cold and it was damp and it was was very dark. The sort of dark where you could imagine things moving  in the corners on tentacles, or many sets of skittering, articulated legs.            
             "Sorry about that," I said apologetically. "The light's broken as well. It's on a timer, but the timer snapped, and the building management hasn’t gotten around to repairing it yet."
            Outside the door to our own bodega, water dripped from a broken pipe overhead into a bucket at our feet. 

            It echoed. 
            The jefe wrinkled his nose.

            "The building management won't touch it," I said. "They say it's up to the landlord, because it's outside his bodega, even if it is technically in the hallway, which is technically a common space. We came down last night and put a bandaid on it, but it seems to have started leaking through.  At least the super seems to have put down a bucket -"
            The jefe turned the handle of the door to our bodega and pushed.

            "The door sticks," I said apologetically. "It's because of the damp, and I'm sorry about that - "
            The jefe leaned into the door and shoved. It gave way and he fell into the narrow slice of basement that was our bodega, and the smell hit us like a wall.

            "That," I choked, "is much bigger than it was yesterday."
            Hand clamped over his nose, the jefe looked up and down the little room. A ripple of water ran down the wall from the ceiling and vanished behind a row of cardboard box on a high shelf.

            "Lets have a look."  A voice said.  A crowd of curious moving men had gathered behind us in the dark hallway.  Breathing carefully through his mouth, a burly man squeezed past us, and wedging himself between  a bicycle and a pair of collapsible camp chairs, he chinned himself up onto the shelf and - 
            He came down hard.  Right onto the narrow steel stem of the bicycle, which  twisted wildly and dropped him onto us. He scarcely noticed. Shudders were passing through his body like waves - 
            I chinned myself up to look.The water ran only slowly down the wall, but in the cool underground the wall had burst out exuberantly in black and orange mould - fanning out like flowers the size of my open hand.  It was entirely revolting.
            "It's only running down the wall," I said weakly. "The boxes should be fine."
            The jefe, who had not seen the mess, nodded and reached for one. It wouldn't come. He tugged. The box wouldn't give. The jefe adjusted his hernia belt and gave one more pull-

            And the box came away from the shelf with a terrible sucking sound -  
            The cardboard box had liquefied. There's no other word for it. The bottom half of the box had become a spongy mess of rotten wood pulp and blooming black subterranean flowers. It was the most organically repulsive thing I have seen in my entire life - and that life includes almost twenty years living in humid, sticky, perpetually decomposing tropical jungle. It was purely, exquisitely, comprehensively, horrible.             

We slurped the sodden box out of the bodega and released it to ooze onto the floor of the corridor.  There, in that manky darkness, I sat and sorted through the muck, seeing what might be salvaged.  
            Plink. All through that cool creeping underground, the sound of dripping water ran. 
            Plink. Plink. 
            A moving man had gathered up the mass of seeping, dribbling, cardboard and was carrying them away to the trash. He had, I noted, gone back up to the apartment and broken into a packed box of kitchen stuff to find a pair of rubber gloves.  
            Another man - the man who had seen the flowers blooming on the wall - stood behind me and watched.  His breath was light and thready and his hands worked spasmodically, clenching, unclenching, clenching - and he was in my light. Gooseflesh down to my bones, I looked up to tell him to go away, that we didn't need two people knee deep in this slime - and I saw him, standing by my shoulder with the look of a man braced to stay whatever the cost - he had seen something he could not unsee, and he would not leave me alone with that horror. He had made up his mind to stay. It was the noblest thing I have ever seen.             
            His rubber-gloved mate trotted back from the trash, and with a shame-faced look at him, my friend knelt down beside me, scooping up armfuls of the mouldering slush too far gone to salvage. The wet weight of it was too much for him and he lurched forward - too far.  He lurched across the bucket and lurching, caught a single drop of water square on the base of his neck.            
            He screamed - a high, thin scream, and jumped, clawing at his back as he straightened,  and scattering slime from end to end of the corridor.            
            And no-one, not one single one of his workmates, not then, not later - not one of them laughed.

In fairness to the manager at the beginning of this piece - there are apparently other standards of behavior a man can play with.

            During our renovation, I had sub-contractors who folded their arms and stared at the ceiling and hummed when I spoke to them- men whose eloquence miraculously returned the moment they were in the presence of another man, after I had gone and hauled some some other man away from his work to do my talking for me- men whose sudden return to eloquence consisted principally of how "I have been trying to explain to this woman how she just doesn't get whateveranythingatallthatshemighthavewanteddone. She just won't listen."    
            The reason I was crying in the hallway of my new apartment while a pack of divinely-inspired kitchen apprentices refused to leave when I told them to? They were waiting for my husband to tell them to go.           
             Last week I had to go see an insurance agent about a policy on the our place. I caught myself putting on a fresh shirt that exposed just a little more than usual of my rather meager assets, and brushing on an extra layer of mascara, and practicing a hair flip and a giggle. And I realized that I was doing this because in actual fact, if I act a little helpless and girly, our agent beams paternally and gives me slightly better deals.            
            I thought about it, and i thought about it, and I shrugged, and put on a second coat of lipstick. If you can't beat 'em, at least get 'em to give you a discount.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Not. A Brioche.

Cooking PSA for the week:

It does not matter how optimistic you are. It does not matter what the interwebs say. You cannot make brioche in a breadmaker.
            Optimism and ambition avail you nothing - the best (and worst) you will achieve is a small, dense, solidly burned loaf of limited utility - a large-size fishing sinker, perhaps, or a small concrete boot for a small commercial dispute - if you sank a small competitor at the bottom of a lake, he would almost certainly stay there.

            But you very certainly would not want that bread on your dinner plate.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Wooden Flowers on the Street

On the street yesterday, an old man was selling wooden roses.
"Mil pesos por flor!  Escoje tu favorita!"  (A thousand pesos (2 dollars) for a flower!  Pick your favorite!)
Painted all the colors that roses come in, they were nestled in a nest of real rose leaves, so cunningly, cleverly painted and tinted that they were indistinguishable from real flowers.
"Mil pesos por flor - they never fade!"

When we sailed into Pucon on our first trip into town for groceries, we found ourselves braking abruptly on the outskirts of town - enchanted by booths selling flowers-   flowers that should have been buds so early in the spring - on bushes just starting to green.  There were full-blown summer roses, daliahs in pink and peach and yellow and red and carnations the size of my open hand.

Climbing out of the car, we investigated.  The flowers were made from shaved wood, gathered and furled around long wooden stakes and sunk into the base of hothouse rose bushes, so that the flowers appeared to grow together out of greenery that appropriate to absolutely none of them.
The flowers are made from mimbre wood.  A plant of the wicker family, mimbre has a thick, whippy stem and grown along the banks of waterways - everywhere, then, in this part of the country. The wood is shaved in spirals, using a device that resembles a large pencil sharpener, and the shavings are glued in an outward-facing spiral around a daisy-like wooden base. 

At the back of the booths,  craftswoman  were painting the flowers – dabbing and tinting and splattering so cunningly and so cleverly that the wooden toys were indistinguishable from real flowers.  We wandered from booth to booth, becoming familiar with the different  flowers and techniques, noting the difference from worker to worker- this woman was masterful with dahlias, another crafted carnations that  could have stood undiscovered  in a bouquet of living flowers, that one had perfected the deep, gleaming tint of a blood-red rose -

We bought a bouquet of daliahs – mounted on 28 inch wooden stems - to bring home with us.
            "How are we going to get these home?"  Mr Tabubil said.  "They're so terribly delicate. They won't last the drive back to Temuco, let alone a plane flight."
The flower lady tugged the flower heads away from their stems, and sank them among exelsior and foam peanuts in a rather staggering array of boxes.
            "Secure." She said to us.  And sniffed.  "You think you're the first tourists to buy a flower?"
The rather-spear-like stems, she tied up  with a strip of masking tape around their middles and handed them to us, just like that.
            "Which leaves us with another problem."  Mr Tabubil said, under his breath.  "Four extra pieces of hand luggage and an armful of sharp pointy sticks.  We are never getting this lot onto the plane."
But to our surprise, we did.

Temuco airport was far too small and laid back to give any particular damn about what or how much of anything its passengers were bringing through the x-ray machine.  Cooler chests?  Pastry Boxes?  Armfuls of of gift-wrapped sausages?  A gross of nintendo platforms and bags of spare batteries?  It was Christmas day.  A few extra boxes and an armload of dangerously spikey sticks weren't worth raising an eyebrow over. We flew home to Santiago, comfortably squashed among the luggage of Temucan grandparents flying to the capital for Christmas dinner with their grandchildren, paper crinkling in their pockets, and coils of ribbon spilling out of the luggage compartments above our heads.  A box or two of flowers seemed just the right sort of extra luggage for that sort of day.  

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Volcán Villarica

One of the biggest reasons to come to Pucon is the opportunity to climb the Villarica Volcano. Volcán Villarica has one of the world's most accessible lava lakes in its caldera - and when the conditions are right, you can climb to the top and look right down into it.  The main shopping street in Pucon is lined with sports outfitters and touring companies - all of similar degrees of reputability - all of whom  will outfit you with a full cold weather climbing kit and lead you on a climb up to the volcano caldera. The tour leaves extremely early in the morning and is not an easy climb - five to six hours slogging up a snowfield, climbing at an angle often above 45 degrees.  

On a scale of tourist-wranglers, the Pucon fellows are extreme professionals. My dad and my sister have both made the climb and reckon that it was a positively exciting and majorly memorable experience. Their group took five hours to climb to the caldera, but the return trip took scarcely more than an hour – the climbers all slide down the trail on the seats of their pants! Dr Tabubil even saw one guy climbing up with a snowboard on his back, prepared for a seriously awesome return trip.  There's an excellent description of the climb here on the Go World Travel blog. As for Dad and Dr Tabubil, their only regret of the climb was that the day they climbed Villarica, the lava pack was too low in the caldera to be seen.  Like any volcano, Villarica plays by its own rules.  Some days the lava glows brightly, some days it does not - but always, the view from the summit is spectacular.    
            The lower reaches of Volcán Villarica belong to a small ski resort - when the lifts are running, they cut an hour off of the climb. One evening, Mr Tabubil and I drove up a deeply graded road to the base of the ski lifts, and turned out onto a rutted service lane.  

We'd passed through a conifer forest into a lava field - a land of ash and stunted twisted trees and low, badly-growing bracken.  The weather was close and clammy - and we found it an almost sinister experience, as we drove the vegetation petered out and we were driving through  a wrecked and shattered landscape; cold and damp, gray ash underfoot, and the only foliage scattered spikes of livid orange flowers.  Our imaginations were boundless.  The flowers were like flames, licking out of the ground. Thick mists curled and wraithed. It was a landscape straight out of Tolkein. We'd driven out of life and into Mordor; nowhere could be more like Mordor than the slopes of that  volcano,  not even the landscapes inside Tolkein's own head.
            Abandoning the car, we climbed on foot.  I sat down on a small rise and let Mr Tabubil go on ahead.  He disappeared into the mist and I imagined that I was sitting outside the Gates of the Dead, watching the Dead armies pass before me as shapes in the murk - and heard, behind me, a sharp crack. I turned. Mr Tabubil stood about 5 feet away, frozen in mid-stealth. He had spent a good ten minutes, crazy man, working his way silently back toward me across the moss, planning to sneak up behind me, gargle “Got you, my Precious!” and hopefully watch me jump off my rock  and fall into a ravine.
I do wish he hadn’t stepped on that twig!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Pucon: The Big Picture

We felt rather guilty for hiding in our own little patch of paradise instead of going out and exploring all of the other  paradises around us.  But hiding was what we needed, and the splendid people of the Cabañas Azul del Parque  let us have it.

In my defense, a couple of years back I came here with my family, and we did everything then.  We rode rapids, floated down rivers, and spent days driving through towering mountain forests, climbing to waterfalls at the top of tumbling mountain rivers, and following hand-lettered signs reading "kuchen" to remote farmhouses in high hanging valleys, where German-speaking grandmothers would serve us home-made apricot and blackberry pie in their front rooms.
            That time, we had stayed right in downtown Pucon, a beautiful little lake-side town, small and alpine picture post-card-y and green and pink and blue and yellow and red with growing things. Spring arrives late in the South and the whole world seemed like one enormous flower garden. Not only in the town; wild rambling roses and hydrangea and gladioli and bright coral colored wildflowers sprang out of every roadside cutting and the bank of every wild mountain river and stream. In an extremely unexpected way, The place reminded me of Papua New Guinea – in the way that every space and crack that could hold soil was blooming and flourishing and EXPLODING with life.

            We had taken rooms at the Gran Hotel Pucon - the sort of grand lake resort popular in the United States in the first part of the twentieth century. It was an ancient, rambling building with equally ancient and saggy beds and manicured lawns running down to a black sand beach. There were salsa classes and volleyball matches from dawn to dusk and little children EVERYWHERE.  It was entirely delightful, and Dr Tabubil and I shared a room with a perfect clear view up main street to the volcano. We’d sit in our room in the evening and watch it smoking.

Mr Tabubil stayed at the Gran Hotel Pucon for a conference last year (Because conference organizers are extremely savvy people and know where the beautiful places are.) and reports that the beds are just as low-slung as formerly, and while the windows need a new coat of paint, the view is everything that it ever had been - unbeatable.  
            One day, Dr Tabubil and I left Villarica and drove to another lake, and took a pedal boat out to a rare “white beach,” whose sand was made of limestone instead of basalt.  The water was clear as glass, fathoms deep.  We'd forgotten to bring swimsuits, but it was terribly hot, so Dr Tabubil and I nipped round the point of a little white bay and found a small secluded cove and stripped to our underwear.  Almost simultaneously - and please remember how glassy-clear the water was - a huge pedal boat full of teenage Chilean males rounded the point and hove to alongside.   Shrill whistling. LOTS of it. Tabubilgirl sank into the water, groping for her bra. Dr Tabubil turned her back, which accentuated the delicate lapping of the water across her posterior. They had a video camera. Thanks, guys.
            In all seriousness, the cultural mores in play here are fascinating, aren't they? We were wearing more clothing than makes up most Chilean swimsuits, yet the different fabrics made them verboten underwear and indecent for public exposure.

            Mr Tabubil and I did go hunting for that white lake, but our directions to the "white sand beach" led us instead to Lake Caburga- a happy little holiday town set on a stretch of grey muddy sand buried under about seven and a half thousand sunbathers, and a shallow, sandy lake, the water tepid from the sun, and the bottom half sand, half-slime.  Past and present Presidents prefer Caburga for their holidays, but we looked around and drove back to Lago Villarica- where the water was cleanly cold and the beach our very own.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Villarica and Los Pozones: Running Hot and Cold

In the daylight, lake Villarica was wide and blue, and the mountains across the lake were green and sharp-tipped.  We walked out of the cabana onto the terrace and looked up to see the snow-capped cinder cone of Volcán Villarica rising up behind the trees.  We would spend much of the next week sitting on our terrace and watching it smoking - exuberant puffs of white smoke.  Puff. Puff. Poof!


It gave a certain frission to a peaceful holiday breakfast.

All that week we kept to a rigorous schedule. We slept late, waking half a hour before a very nice woman arrived at eleven to service the cabana.  While the beds were made and the bathroom swept, we lay on lounge chairs under a tree and watched the light shift over the lake.  
            When the nice woman finished and gone, we went back to bed for a nice hearty nap, then lunched,  swam in the lake for an hour or so, and drove into  Pucon to buy groceries for a BBQ dinner on the terrace.  After dinner we wound sit out by the lake until the light died, then we would come inside and read to each other until it was time again to go to bed.
            It was an utterly splendid place for a holiday - lazy volcanic frissions and all. We had arrived just before the season opened -the season opens the week of the new year, more or less, and the beach and the lake were all our own. 
            But things were happening. One day a row of floats appeared in the lake to mark a swimming area.  The next day, a row of freshly painted wooden benches was laid out on the shore.  A lifeguard tower was trundled down onto the beach. The next a pack of teenage boys and girls arrived at the little swimming beach - hooting and splashing distantly, jumping off the jetty, adding a touch of holiday gaiety to the scene.

We swam in the lake every afternoon.  The water was very clear and the lake slopes so steeply away from the shoreline that a short jetty can make for splendid diving - straight into water the color and consistency of bottled ice-cubes.
            I love me my fresh water - any way, any how, and any where, and I could stand Villarica for a good hour or so before i started to feel a little nippy.  My Canadian Mr Tabubil, who can handle temperatures staggeringly below zero if they occur on the other side of a parka and good set of thermal underwear, is not quite so comfortable with water. That man can - and has- caught a nasty chill off of a reef in the Hawaiian islands.  Down at Villarica, he'd stand on the jetty, working up the courage to jump, then rise up vertically from the depths at a velocity only slightly slower than the one he'd taken going in,  and spend the rest of my vivid, brisk and breezy hour sulking in the sun complaining about chilblains and yelling when I dripped on him.

 One day, we dragged ourselves away from our quiet beach and drove to the hot springs at Los Pozones.  There are many volcanic hot springs in the region. Some of these hot springs have decadent lodges built around them, with saunas and plunge pools and café-bars.  Others are nothing more than natural pools in the forest.


Los Pozones” is at the au-naturel end of the spectrum.  A chain of natural springs strung along a tumbling mountain river at the bottom of a narrow mountain valley, it posesses marked paths, and wooden staircase reaching down into the water, and a wooden change-house built over the topmost pool, but otherwise, it feels much as Volcan Villarica made it. 
            The water was extremely hot. The weather was also extremely hot - it was a good 30 degrees C in the sun, but the temperature differential was still great enough to have steam billowing from the pools. We've done this rodeo before, and thought it pretty good, all things considered. Los Pozones, however, puts a twist on the formula. The idea was to alternate sitting in the hot spring with jumping into the icy river next door, and THAT water made Lago Villarica feel like a tepid bath - those tumbling rapids must have topped out at a neat 4 degrees C.  After plunging in once and making a hellofalotofnoise before I got out in a hellofahurry, I sat on a rock on the riverbank and let Mr Tabubil gallantly splash me. This ridiculous regimen was supposed to open your pores and fill you simply to the brim with sulfur and minerals and healthy vitality. On a more temperate day the pools would have been an utterly sybaritic luxury, and we have decided to return mid-year, in deep winter, and spend a week sitting in hot-springs when the weather is sensible.  As it was, between the extreme cold and the extreme heat, all I got was a sniffle.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

South to Pucon

The week before Christmas, Mr Tabubil and I flew south from Santiago to Pucon.  Pucon is a small town at the head of Lake Villarica, a very long, very deep, and very beautiful lake some 800 km south of Santiago.  We took a late-evening flight from Santiago to Temuco, the nearest large city to Lake Villarica, and rented a car to drive the last hundred-odd kilometers.
            In Temuco, the air was very deep and very fresh, and as we always do after a long spell in the capital, we stood about swallowing it in in long, deep gulps - we could have eaten it, it tasted so cool and crisp and invigorating, and, after all the renovation chaos  of the past few months - needful. 
            It was full night by the time we were on the road, and we drove along the 199 in the dark. It was very dark – a terrible deep dark, compared to Santiago with its all-night haze of sodium-yellow light.  We drove with our headlights on high-beam, feeling terrifically dangerous as we sped along the country highway through the black night.  There were no other cars with us on the road, and it was very black and very lonely and terribly, terrifically, dark.  Periodically, a long-distance bus came roaring out of the night toward us, and its own high beams - brighter than ours - would catch us full in the face.  We'd flinch and pull further into our own side of the road, crowding the verge as it came blazing toward us, its forehead lit up with Castro, Puerto Montt, Valdivia – the names of cities impossibly far away to the south, and at the very bottom of the list, Santiago.  These buses would roar on all through the night, their passengers sleeping behind drawn curtains in their long-haul cushioned seats; they would miss all of this incredible blackness, waking  in seven or eight hours to the sodium-vapor haze of a Santiago dawn. 
            Lake Villarica is very deep and very beautiful and - at Christmas time - very cold.  On its western shore the small resort town of  Pucon, and Pucon sits directly on the feet of the Villarica Volcano.  Volcán Villarica is a  snow covered cinder cone, very much alive and stupendously spectacular as a view.  In the mountains around her are hiking trails across mountain ranges and hanging valleys, swift-moving mountain rivers for white water rafting, slow, lazy rivers for floating and fly-fishing, caves for spelunking, hot springs for soaking, blue lakes for boating, and long lake shores for lying in the sun – 

We had booked a cabaña (holiday cottage) at the Cabañas Azul del Parque - a property of a dozen or so holiday cottages half-way down the lake. We arrived there just on midnight.  The manager  was waiting up for us, dozing in a pine-wood office under a yellow desk-lamp.  He led us down a narrow grassed lane, lighting the way with a torch while we bumped in our car behind him with our lights on dim.
            He unlocked our cottage door and led us straight through the cabin to a terrace facing on to the lake.  We stepped out into silence, and lake sounds and a huge yellow moon. Unnoticed on the road, the moon had risen and it was riding full and heavy above the water.  From our feet a wide white moon-trail stretched out across the lake to meet it.  It was so wide and white that we could have walked clear and confident all the way across to the mountains that stood sharp and silhouette on the other side.
            Mr Tabubil and I looked at each other and we looked up at the moon and all the sharp, heavy things we'd been carrying for last few months slid loose under our skin and fell away into the lake, and were lost in the big water.
            We thanked the man for bringing us here. He smiled, and we thanked him again, and asked how long we could stay -
            He smiled again, and said that we could be here as long as we cared to stay.
We went to sleep in a wide double bed with the water on the other side of the window, and in the morning we called the airport and changed our flights until the very last minute possible before we had to be at work -

And it was a good day.