Stretch, balance, side plank. Lift those hips and reach up to the sky, ladies!” cries the lithe instructor, posing under the palms, a vision in purple lycra against a backdrop of gently lapping waves. Is she actually wearing lipstick at this time in the morning?
Caro sighs, wobbles, then collapses down onto her bottom. Her stomach rumbles. She’s not feeling quite right after the beetroot and cucumber juice this morning. Caro’s friend, Helen, bullied her into coming along on this
wellness retreat at the Indian Ocean View hotel. At first, Caro baulked at the cost but was persuaded when Helen said that it would be so worth it.
“You’ll lose pounds, Caro! Think of the parties we have coming up. We’ll come back glowing and so thin!”
Caro thought to herself, how hard could it be? But she hadn’t figured on the mighty Laban, muscle-bound instructor extraordinaire and party pooper-in-chief for their weekend getaway.
“Let’s take a peek inside your bags,” said Laban, barely minutes after the ladies had arrived at the coastal eco hotel, a slick smile masking his evil intentions. They’d just taken one sip of their welcome drinks before Caro’s emergency stash of Snickers bars was unearthed and Helen’s bottle of vodka confiscated.
“Welcome to our wellness retreat. You’re going to love it here,” he said, placing the stash behind the reception desk.
“I’m going to love it a lot less without my chocolate and your vodka,” Caro commented and Helen nodded, raising her glass of ginger and lime juice, then grimacing at the taste.
Caro had just slipped into her swimming costume and a sarong, when Laban rapped on the door to say that the group would be heading out for a compulsory jog in 10 minutes at 1500 hours. Five kilometres later, Caro was sweating up a sand dune with her heart bursting out of her chest alongside Martin, an accountant and fellow straggler.
“What brought you here?” Caro gasped at Martin.
“My wife thought it was a good idea,” He replied, sweat dripping off his nose. “Time for a reset, you know?”
“Good luck,” Caro said, referring to Martin’s marriage, not the wellness weekend.
The following day, after poolside Pilates and an unsatisfying ‘cave man’ lunch comprising raw spinach leaves, nuts and boiled chicken, Caro and Helen head off to the spa for a well-earned massage. Oiled and lying side by side on massage beds, they hatch a plan.
“I’m dreading paddle-board yoga. How am I ever going to balance on one of those surfboards?” asks Caro. “Let alone do a headstand?”
“That could be one activity too far for me for today,” agrees Helen, “All of my muscles are screaming.” She groans as the masseur leans in to focus on her calves.
“Do you know of any ‘normal’ restaurants or clubs around here?” Caro asks the masseur. After all those raw greens, she’s craving a plate of chips and a burger.
“Well, there’s not much around here, just the Simba Sports Lounge about twenty minutes up the road.”
The masseur reaches for another hot towel and Helen and Caro exchange a meaningful glance.
Much later, at around 11 pm, Helen, Caro and Martin are delivered back to the eco hotel by an Uber. Laban is at reception waiting for them, arms crossed as they pour out of the car and weave their way over to the front door.
“We’d been wondering where you guys had got to,” Laban said. “Beachside run at ohseven-hundred
hours is in order I think.”
But Caro is no longer a child and won’t be spoken to like one. She plants a kiss on Laban’s cheek, reaches for the vodka bottle behind the front desk, and says, “Sorry sweetie but I’m checking out at oh-nine-thirty hours, so won’t be able to make it.” And with that, the group giggle off to their rooms for a well-earned rest.
Frances blogs at www.africaexpatwivesclub.com