Paul and I became those people tonight–the ones dining on the beach with a private valet, bushels of orchids perfuming the air, a lighted chandelier swaying over our heads, candles marking the edges of our dining area, and broiled lobsters bristling on our plates.
Our travel company kindly treated us to a romantic, private dinner on the beach at the Tubkaak Resort in Krabi after an unfortunate experience in a Bangkok restaurant.
It was a beautiful setting and delicious food, but there was a story under all that glitz and glamour…
We’d been traveling for ten days by this time, and we’d done our laundry once. We bundled the hot, smelly mess into a bag and handed it to the staff. When later I opened the closet to change my clothes, it was empty. We had two choices–each of us wear the one pair of dirty underwear we had turned inside out twice already–or my idea–go commando.
“I’m not going without underwear.” Paul said, pulling back on the grey, rumpled pair of shorts that had already seen a waterfall hike and a particularly warm day at a temple.
“My dress is lined, so I don’t need underwear.” Together we held up the pale blue, strapless dress and inspected it. We had it made in Chang Mai, and the tailor was better at men’s clothing. Significantly better.
“Pretty sure you need that underwear,’ Paul said shaking his head.
So, just like the couple who planned the events of their Senior Prom, Paul and I prepared for the Romantic Beach Dinner.
Paul shaved. Then I shaved using his razor. He says they are ruined after that, but I don’t see the difference. Paul ironed his pants and shirt and buffed his shoes.
I needed help of a different kind.
“I lean over and drop them in and then you cinch me on the tightest clasps,” I instructed him while bending over at the waist. Paul stood frozen.
“How do you think a woman gets a strapless bra on?” I complained and snapped my fingers.
When we arrived at the beach, our valet, Chantra, waited for us. The sun was still bright over the water, and the humidity seeped into my hair. I had used a new organic mosquito repellent, Kaffir Lime, and the smell made Paul walk several feet behind me.
Chantra seated us at a table for two in the sand. Tinkling crystals bushed against each other overhead, stems of white and purple orchids spilled from the candelabras dug into the sand, and yards of tulle covered our chairs and the table. We were the cake topper engulfed in cream frosting.
What I didn’t expect, was the string of people who walked past our table a few feet away guessing why were having such a fancy dinner.
“Too old to be getting married,”
“Yeah, anniversary, maybe,”
“I don’t get it. Who are they?”
As we were the objects of scrutiny and discussion, we dined on Crab Salad Towers, Andaman Sea Soup, Passion Fruit Sorbet, Broiled Lobster, and Tiramisu for dessert. In between each course, Chantra dashed from the shadows and sprayed Bug Off on my legs (the organic stuff was a bust), and Paul and I took turns re-lighting the candles which was like playing Whack-a-Mole, because there were so many. We shooed away a cat who jumped on my lap determined to snare our lobster carcasses, and I helped Chantra find a fork when he dropped it in the sand. It took a village to keep that dinner on track.
“Coffee,” I called out to the darkness. “Please?” I cleared my throat. “Chantra?”
We picked up our things–phones, reading glasses, and sun glasses–the vitals, you know, and before we left, just for me, Paul faked one last dancing picture.
Upon returning to our room, we really celebrated. Our laundry was back. Paul counted his underwear pile twice, and I squealed when I saw my Ohio State Buckeyes nightgown starched and hung on a hanger. It looked better than the dress, and it did not require a bra of any kind.