Bethy asked me to post some photos we took the other day of the "wildlife" here.
These beautiful flowers are well tended by large, formidable looking, all-black bumblebees.
We saw speedy geckos last night when we went out after sunset for the kids to play in the pool, and there are lots and lots of different birds, most with their mouths open, I assume to cool themselves down.
Aside from wildlife, there's hotel life. When the 3 room cleaners came last night we were in the suite, so they carefully left the door open (to avoid the inappropriate situation of being behind closed doors with a woman not their wife, I think), and got to work. Pretty soon I heard giggling from our room and went back to find Thomas getting his little round tummy gently tickled by one of the room stewards who was grinning ear to ear.
Bethy was loving all the attention they gave her, listening to her chatter about all the things in her day. No one thinks twice before picking up a child or playing with one. Interestingly, if the kids were getting such attention in the states I would be alarmed. Here it's just natural. I love how the stewards take extra care to set the children's room up in charming ways, arranging their toys and blankets just so, thoughtful details.
I'm beginning to wonder if this hands-on way of interacting with kids is better. Children are viewed as a pleasure and gift here and are loved by all adults, which makes taking care of them feel like the privilege it is instead of a burden or annoyance.
I was worried about the kids and the 220 volt outlets here, but in this apartment at least, you have a separate switch to turn each outlet on or off. This works well.
Thomas is well marked with bonks: encounters with the new layout and hard floors, but he seems to be puttering along just fine. We went outside this morning to play on the playground before it got too hot. This is relative, since it was already 95 F.
Now that the kids know there's a shaded shallow pool I'm pretty sure we're going to be out there a lot. Last night they played there with a little boy named Achmed and his older brother, probably 4 and 7 years old, who were very kind and careful of Thomas in particular.
At first I thought the boys were Americans because they were speaking English and using American idioms; turned out they were Middle Eastern. I love how our children played together so beautifully.
Poolside, their mother, dressed in her abaya, thoughtfully told me where I could buy swim floats for Thomas, and their father jumped up to help Thomas when it looked like he needed it.
It gave me hope for the world.