Of Hard Mattresses and Xena’s Questions
I have come to the conclusion that travel blogs need to review mattresses. While we appreciate the take on food and ambience, there comes a time when holidays mean catching an uninterrupted seven plus hours of sleep, something that increasingly becomes a luxury when kids take over one’s life. In my twenties, my definition of a refreshing vacation was one where I would spend as few hours as possible in the confines of the room. The theme was always to explore by day and party the night away. The room was mostly a place where I would pass out for about two hours and freshen up for the next day’s shenanigans.
A sharp contrast emerged in my thirties where I found myself gravitating towards luxury hotels and paying more attention to the room and its constituents. Is the bed big enough for a Queen and are the bed spreads white and fluffy? Are there gazillions of pillows laid out on the bed much as I would only be laying my head on one? Does the bathroom allow light to stream in and most importantly is there a bathtub to soak my bushed self? I have become very good at figuring these things out just by looking at the photos online or reading reviews.
However, there is always one thing I never seem to get right. The mattress and its comfort or lack thereof. My last three trips to the coast in the tail end of 2018 made me conclude that coastal resorts no matter how fancy, have the worst mattresses. I think they deliberately pick the hardest and stiffest to ensure that we sleep less and spend more time drinking at their not so pocket friendly bars. Or better yet, they are keen to ensure we don’t sleep past our checkout time on the last day.
It helps when one has company because obviously you will find a more interesting use of the hard surfaces (ahem), but woe unto you if you are on a solo mission like I was during the Diani Duathlon in November. On the first night, I was exhausted from weeks of hard training. I had two glasses of Merlot to down my steak and was in bed by 8.00pm. Surprisingly, despite being severely knackered, I drifted in and out of sleep while tossing and turning almost in a similar fashion to the distant waves whose crushing sound was my only comfort. At some point, I decided that lying on my back was as good as sleeping, so I gave up the fight and slowly allowed my eyelids to pat.
I lay on the hard mattress staring at the darkness that hovered all over me and found myself thinking about Xena. I thought about her never-ending questions, some of them raised during our vacation in Kilifi weeks before. Some of her questions made me wish we could trade minds. Her curiosity is the kind of stuff that is needed for one to be an exceptional analyst, to pick things that are not obvious to the eye. I stared harder at the darkness and marvelled at the beautiful mind of my six-year-old and prayed she remained ever so curious, much as she sometimes drives me nuts.
Why is the mangrove forest dirty?
What is the difference between a sea and an ocean?
If we sail this way and don’t turn back, will we find ourselves in America?
Whoa! Is that an island and will we find jewellery if we go on a treasure hunt?
Does the sun set because its mommy has told it to go to bed? What happens if it refuses to go to bed?
Are the sun and the moon friends and why don’t they hang out together?
If these queries were shot at you by a six-year-old, what answers would you give? Better yet, what are some of the most outrageous or intriguing questions that a child has asked you?