Sparky grumbles, I open my eyes, and my alarm goes off. Caleb takes a picture of my waking up birthday face and then sings me the ever popular song in his own version. The puppies greet me with smelly breath and when I’m ready to go downstairs so are they. Caleb to work, dogs to poo, and vomit to clean up. There was also pee on the floor again. I don’t think it’s a missing me thing as much as it’s a senior citizen thing. I might be getting these old folks some diaper floor pads – or teach them how to use a mop!
I met Priya at her house at 11am. She warned me that lunch would be a lot, so we could wait and eat later. She gifted me with a Toblerone bar, a shiny silver clutch, and a big brown purse with a cool way to close it. We looked at images of temples to visit in India for an hour if I’m able to go with her in December. I need a visa prior to entry and found a plane ticket for $380 today. We had some tea and then looked at my blog, showing her some of my trips, old pictures of me (with chubby cheeks – her words, not mine), and pictures of family.
We got carried away and soon it was 2pm. The GPS got us two blocks away and we asked for directions from three different guys before Priya recognised the parking lot of Nattinpuram and we found a spot in the shade. We go inside, around the corner, and down two sets of stairs. There is a fountain in the middle and we got seated next to it. Priya ordered a water and we had banana leaves set down in front of us and then food delivered in buckets and trays. The first item was two small peppers and some banana chips. I was surprised to bite into the pepper but glad to have water available.
Next came veggies, curries, rice, chicken chunks and a drumstick, and fish with bone and without. There was also some crunchy chip-like things and more vegetables. I ate with my right hand and tried the digestive liquid, buttermilk, and jaggery drink with my left. I was so full and a waiter came by and asked if I liked the food. I was stuffed but they brought another drumstick and some more curry to cover my rice. I was so proud of my eating skills, and not licking my fingers. We had fun watching the English-speaking couple on the other side of the fountain using both hands to scoop food in all directions.
I don’t get to see Priya eat much usually. Perhaps she has a large breakfast, but she wasn’t shy about this meal. She was able to finish her rice and more of her fish because it didn’t have as much bone in it as mine. We went to wash our hands and then decided to go to Dana Mall to avoid the heat. It’s a tiny place with a Lulu’s inside. I got distracted by the children’s play area, Chakazoolu, which turns out to be just as much fun for adults.
I got to watch a woman play Fruit Ninja on a large touch screen and then give her toy tickets to kids. I saw a roller coaster in the advertisement and was blown away to see it inside going throughout the entire area. We went to the ticket counter after asking the Ninja and her husband about the roller coaster that scares him. We paid 3 dinars for both of us. They put that amount on a card that you swipe at the gate (that we found after walking around and asking directions) to get in.
We set our bags down, I turned on my video, and the ride operator gave us a thumbs up. I thought this was a children’s ride, but we whipped around corners so fast I thought we were going to fly out of our seat or off the track. Priya was screaming and holding my arm for dear life. The couple was standing below watching us. Everyone in there could hear us. I was laughing. Then the ninja woman recommended we go to the 7D Cinema and watch the Dinosaur Adventure. It’s 2.5 dinars each for this. We sit in the middle seats, put our bags on the floor, and our seat belts on.
The operator gives us our goggles and the show begins. We our spit on and have things crawling on us. We get covered in bubbles and see snow. It was amazing and scary and fun. And already 5pm. I took Priya home, walked the dogs, and then Caleb texted me that he was off work. I picked him up at the gate, got gas (while the car in front of us spewed gas) and the pump guy said it was ok because they came in on the wrong side. We are going to Casa Mexicana for dinner. I will be saving room for dessert – if I can even eat that.
Caleb gets a burrito with yummy white sauce and mushrooms. I order a lime mint and after I try a bite of his dinner, and he finishes, we order the banana ole at 8pm. We are halfway through that when Eloise shows up. She had been sitting in the back enjoying dinner with Patrick. She wishes me a happy birthday and says we will have to get together this week to celebrate. At home we watch a movie with Ben Stiller – falling in love with someone else on his honeymoon and having her come back to him 18 months later when her current relationship didn’t work out either.