Linda, Karin and I spent Saturday night together. We caught Spiderman (thus contributing to an obscene amount of money that the movie has made so far), and then...well, had a lovely time the rest of the night.
Sunday Karin and I went to Harbin Hot Springs, one of the nicest places on earth. No, I'm dead serious. Harbin is one of those places I could die happy at, for reasons that make rational people uncomfortable and the artists nod knowingly.
Karin was SO nervous about going, as it is clothing optional, and she is a fat girl. I knew Harbin to be fairly size positive, but I was worried that the individual visiting asshole tourist would stick his foot in it. Sure enough, as she got into the warm pool (wearing a sports bra and underware...she wasn't ready to go totally nude as yet) and some "boy" had the nerve to exclaim "Whoa, look at the tits on HER" (or words to that effect).
Gee, thanks bucko. Real new age of you. Of course, the place is open to the public, and the fact that it's so beautiful means you get tourists from all over with the serious types. I guess I class myself in the latter category, as I have been going there 11 years now, and take the spiritual nature of the place pretty seriously. While I *will* have a lot of fun about the grounds, there are lines I won't cross because they show a lack of respect.
Making crass remarks about a woman's body loud enough for her to hear is WAY over that line.
Fortunately, the damage wasn't fatal to Karin's enjoyment of the place. That night, she went "all the way" and was totally nude in the tub. Then a funny thing happened...I forgot that Sunday night was the full moon.
The warm pool was filling faster and more than I would have thought for a non-weekend night. When I spotted someone lighting up a smudge stick, I suddenly remembered.
Harbin has some strict rules about quiet in the large warm pool, rules that are waived only three times a month that I know of: Alligator Day (when the residents hang out and chatter in the tub as it's refilled after it's monthly draining), the Full Moon Ritual, and (as last Sunday) the New Moon ritual.
It's based primarily on the casting of a wiccan circle (calling the corners and such. I was a little worried that Karin would be uncomfortable, and almost suggested we leave. Fortunately, my gut said to go with it, and just keep half an eye on her to see if she could handle it.
She was fine. It was almost like she had done something like this before. It was a fun ritual, focussing on Mother's day (yes, I called my Mom. She got to say hello to Karin as we drove up to the resort), and on an old mother's day tradition. Apparently ginger bread cakes would be passed around, and the legend had it that consuming the cakes on Mother's Day would make you pregnant with the possibilities of the coming year.
Since the water would do some serious damage to cake, they used some strawberries instead. They were excellent, organically grown (of course), and very sweet. A bunch of us stood forward (if the spirit so moved us) and declared what we were impregnated with.
There was another BBW there (very cute), who stood forward and declared that she was LITERALLY pregnant, to much cheering. I wistfully thought of Roni, who so desperately wants a baby...and made a silent prayer in her behalf.
Me? I made a declaration of the books that were long overdue within me. I suspect that I managed to hoist myself with that one. The universe tends to take such oaths pretty seriously.
So Karin and I spent hours in the tubs, snuggling and such...she gave the hot and cold plunge a try (the woman is incredibly game), which helped her ankle as it turns out...though she was only good for one plunge each way.
By the end of the night I had to drag her out of the tubs back to the room, with some stargazing on the way. She was all for heading back after we spent some quality time together, but I (for one) was pretty sure that we would BOTH crash hard afterwards. I was right.
We got an early start, at least...I got the car loaded up, so we could spend the afternoon soaking without having to worry about checking out. I was half expecting Karin to go back tot he sports bra and undies approach during the daylight, but I'm proad to say she got up the courage (thanks partly to a lovely woman named Zoe who helped her to feel more comfortable...thank you Zoe, where-ever you are!)and spent the afternoon soaking with me. Not even huddled under the fig tree in the corner.
Man, I hate to leave Harbin. The short visits are the worst... you feel like you just got a taste. Personally I could use a whole week there.
We left, headed back to Tracy to pick up Karin's car. More on that (and the rest of the week) later...