"Bubz I'm off to Leh. I'm going to buy a mountain bike and cycle!", declared Sid when I flopped into the car. "Downhill though", he added carefully, as an afterthought. "Uh hmm", I nodded, "Good for you love". He chirped on about mountain bike models, supplies, camera equipment and I'm pretty sure there was some mention of his shapely calves, but I think that was more to ensure I was listening. "So when are you off?", I asked politely. My tone made him mildly cautious, "In a couple of months". he said breezily. "A couple of months?", I asked. "A couple of months, yes" he repeated. "Hmm, months", I said. "A couple yes", he said.
A short silence ensued.
Followed by an explosion.
"You don't believe me doooo you?", whined Sid, "No respect for my dreams". I looked at him coolly, "Of course I don't believe you. Strenuous and you on vacation just don't go together. You going out of town on a non-work related assignment equals sitting on your booty, floating in the pool, happy hour and gourmandizing. Any form of mental or physical exertion beyond that is just not you." I stopped to take a breath. He looked hurt. Maybe I had gone too far. I felt bad and put my hand on his shoulder. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean...what the hell are you doing?" I was cut off by him fiercely pumping his legs in circles. I obviously hadn't gone far enough.
"I will have you know that I can cycle not only downhill, but up hill too. And I will go...in a few months"! He ended with four sharp arcs in time to the last four words. I looked at him and burst out laughing, which didn't help to calm him down. "Yes, do that in Leh. You can charge people to watch you look like a babboon"! He gave me an indignant look.
"Oh come on, I'm kidding" I laughed, "Well ok, not really, but it's ok. Most people like to chill out while on holiday. At least you take lots of great photographs, you do exert yourself to get a good picture. Remember when we lost you in Salzburg...for a few minutes...but we did lose you". His facial muscles relaxed into a smile. "Ah yes, good times. I was so engrossed in taking pictures that you all walked off without me. I just stood there like a lost puppy, lost and alone". "Oh please", I said rolling my eyes, "such a drama queen. You didn't realize we were gone till about a minute before we found you. And you were probably thinking about the closest bar to wait for us in"! He nodded, "As I said, good times...what's your point".
"My point is that physical exertion of the sort you have planned isn't your idea of a vacation. In Munich, you borrowed Helen's bike for a leisurely ride around the city with Saurabh. You couldn't brake, wobbled dangerously towards an oncoming cyclist. He was so alarmed he dismounted unceremoniously in a heap on the pavement. That's the last time you tried cycling around anywhere! "It was a ladies bike", he said, by way of explanation. "old fashioned sorts, you had to pedal backwards to brake. A mere technicality!".
I continued, "In Agra, you sat in the massage chair so long you winced every time you walked and the skin on your back was alarmingly red! The chair was groaning for mercy!" He looked a bit uncomfortable remembering the incident, but brushed it off, "But I did climb up to the observatory" he said proudly. "Umm, that really isn't as high up as Leh, you do realize?". He swatted my astute observation aside with a swipe of his hand!
"And what if you are cycling, downhill of course, and come across a bar? You'll abandon the cause and spend the rest of your time there"! He was shaking his head from side to side vigorously and saying, "Only once, only once that happened. And I did see a lot of Hong Kong ok. And come on the hotel bar was awesome"! I did have to agree. "Besides", he continued, "it was happy hours all evening and they had some of the best single malts! I didn't want to rush back every evening for nothing"! "Well you did make a pretty unforgettable video that night, probably the most you've exerted yourself on a holiday", I laughed. And no I wasn't talking about something that would have made us hang our heads in shame and cancel our internet connection. Some of you may remember this, but it's worth another watch :)
"Fine", he conceded, "so I like to enjoy a leisurely holiday, there's nothing wrong with that"! I nodded, "Of course it's fine. So you will understand when I don't quite believe you about the cycling (downhill) trip. It'll be great if you do, but I won't hold my breath"! He humph-ed loudly, "you'll see, I of course have to train for it. Start running and cycling and stuff to get myself prepared. It'll take a couple of months". I saw a streak of determination in him and I admit I was a bit enthused. "So go for it, grab your shoes, start running.". He swatted at me dismissively again, "Oh there's plenty of time. A couple of months!". "Ah right", I said, "how could I forget, a couple of months"!