Elephants, Beach Parties and a Traditional Birthday Cake

I turned twenty six on November thirtieth, here, that seems old. Every other traveler I meet is nineteen or twenty, and the Indian women my age have all been married for seven or eight years, three or four children in tow. But it was alright, I did get spoiled rotten. We celebrated my birthday for three days. A big dinner at our beach cabin resort the night before my actual birthday came complete with my family’s traditional birthday cake, handmade by Dustin. The cake turned up on the table with incense sticking out of it instead of birthday candles, so I got to do a little Puja ceremony in honor of the meaning of my name.

It took Dustin most of the day to find the bakery and the ingredients. And everyone we invited showed up, (which just doesn’t seem to happen in Victoria). On my actual birthday day, Dustin took me out for dinner to a fancy restaurant. The day after my birthday there was a big dance party on the beach, and somewhere in those three days we managed an epic game of volleyball with some local teenagers in a village the other side of the island. I have a thick bruise on my wrist to remember the game. First time I’ve played volleyball since I was traumatized by my inability to play sports as an adolescent girl.

And these kids came to our little beach front oasis and climbed 60 feet up the palm tree’s in order to cut down the coconuts. (For the first week I was on the islands I had taken to wearing a helmet full-time to avoid death by falling coconut — seriously). Dustin decided he needed to climb the coconut tree’s as well, and Stanley the owner of the land, laughed and said Dustin was the first foreigner to ever climb the tree’s. The kids (and Dustin) climb the tree’s barefoot, occasionally with a rope tied around their feet.


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