Back at the hotel we eat lunch and then wander down to the beach. And our first real "exposure" to a topless beach! We remember this is a French hotel. I see only a couple of women who have attractive boobs, though. If I had boobs like the rest of the bare-breasted female tourists, I sure wouldn't expose them to public scrutiny!

One old fat gal's pendulous boobs look more like sunburned sausages hanging down below the belly button of her protruding jelly bowl of a stomach! She reminds me of some of those fertility goddess statuettes! We find Michael, his 16-yr-old son Colin, and John seated at a table. They invite us to join them. I'm glad they serve lassis here, too.

Michael has put a long telephoto lens on his camera. He claims he has a friend home in Texas who's asked him to bring back a picture of a topless woman to prove that he really did stay at a topless beach hotel! We all laugh and ask him what's he waiting for? Michael confesses he's been wondering just how he should go about doing this.

"What do Ah do? Just go boldly forth and click away? Or do Ah walk up and say, 'Scuse me, mam--kin Ah take a picture of youah boobs?'"

We snicker. We don't have any helpful ideas. Michael decides he'd better be discrete. But he stalls, figuring out one excuse after another. We're laughing so hard our sides are getting sore. I christen his lens "the Boob Tube." Which sends all of us into further gales of laughter. Colin picks up the camera and takes a shot of Mrs. Sausage Boobs. We all pretend not to notice. Michael looks in another direction and hums. The rest of us are still laughing. Colin says he has to make sure his father makes good on his promise!


Joan and I finish our drinks and take a walk along the beach. We see the fishing boats standing off shore a distance between us and the airport. We can see the airport's runway sticking out into the ocean and can see the planes taking off and landing occasionally. But we can't hear them, thank goodness. Here on the beach it's isolated from all the hustle and noise of civilization. It is truly secluded, just like Don had told us it would be.

We pick up shells and watch the little white sand crabs go scurrying away right as we almost step on them. I want to take pictures of the diamond-shaped patterns the retreating waves leave exposed in the glistening sand. We want to take a long hike over to a point to the south of our beach. But one of the guys in our group tells us not to go that way. He'd tried hiking there earlier and had been accosted by an angry old villager who appeared out of the vegetation above the beach. The Balinese man made it very clear in sign language and angry jabbering in Balinese that the villagers didn't want tourists invading their beach. So we stick close to the hotel's property.

Coming back toward the thatched-roof beach patio, we find Myrna singing along to an Italian opera the hotel is broadcasting on the beach. Michael, who has been dancing in the sand, sees us and joins us. I remark that Italian opera is the last kind of music I'd expect to hear piped out on a Balinese beach. But we all agree it's very pleasant. Myrna continues singing along with the soprano aria. We compliment her on her lovely voice. But she drops out as the pitches soar higher and higher.

Finally, the soprano works up to a very high note. Spontaneously I open my mouth and shatter the afternoon's serenity with the same note.

Michael jumps up excitedly, his eyes gleaming. "Wow!" he exclaims. "Thaht's reahl gud! Thaht's a hah B flaht!"

The soprano, singing on of lost love or whatever hits an even higher note at the end of her aria. So I shriek that one out onto the balmy Balinese breeze.

"Mah," breathes Michael, his eyes bulging wider. "E flaht! Youre gud! Most people can't even reach the B flaht!"

"But, Michael," I protest, "so what if I can shriek out a high E flat? That coloratura has a beautiful, useful E flat. Mine is just a shriek. It's not useful!"

"Yeah, but you did it!" Michael keeps insisting. Joan and Myrna about split their britches laughing at us.

Myrna perks up her ears and gets serious when I relate how, during the toning courses Don teaches, my range has extended from a limited soprano--A below middle C to the second E above it--to three octaves--D flat below middle C to that stratospheric third E flat above it. Myrna is interested in extending her mezzo soprano range. Even if she could extend it only a few notes on either end, she'd consider that useful!

The afternoon wears on. We get hungry and order some saté. This comes served on small metal skewers placed across a terracotta serving dish, molded in the shape of a mythical critter. A few live coals in its trough keep the saté hot. I remark to Joan that I'd sure like to have one of these critter-dishes. She agrees. Our waitress says she can get them for us, as she knows who makes them. Joan and I are so delighted that we don't even haggle about the $10 American price she says they'll cost. We tell her our room number. She says she'll have to bring them tomorrow on the QT--she's not supposed to be selling things while on the job.

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