Our first full day at the beach in Dar, we wake up early. The sun is bright, the breakfast is hearty and fresh – eggs, pineapple, watermelon, papaya, toast, yogurt, and muesli – and then we’re on the beach. Not long after we settle into our beach chairs, a small rainstorm arrives, drawing us into an A-frame beach hut with the same palm-thatched roof as our bungalow.
In this shady hut, we meet a couple from London, aged in their mid-sixties, but of a designation I’d describe as “killing it.” They’re fit, tan, and completely comfortable with themselves and each other.
They don’t seem to bicker like an old married couple. They seem to actually enjoy each other, even after three kids and all these years. They joke about memories and recall them with great fondness, bordering on expertise. Despite having every defensible reason to “hang it up,” they have not resigned to a life of boredom, complacency, and sameness.
They’re still actively exploring the world. The more remote, the better. With their posh accents, they describe travel as “a true passion.” At this point, I begin to call my life crush on them “a true passion.”
They’ve been to East Africa more times than they can recall, with great advice on where to go on safari (southern Kenya) and advice on how to climb Kilimanjaro (don’t worry about being in great shape; the fat people seem to do the best anyway). They’re sure they’ll come back not long from now, but exactly where? Best to leave that decision for a later date and just enjoy the moment they’re in.
We listen to their adventure stories – the mundane to the profane – and I tell them more than twice that they should write a book. No no no, they call me off, saying they work so they can travel; they’d never travel so they can work. I’m still naïve enough to confuse the two.
As the rain passes and the sun blazes again, the husband stands up and excuses himself. “I’ve got work to do,” he says, which seems to conflict with the principle we just discussed.
But he doesn’t go back to his room or pick up a device. Instead, he carries his towel over to a lounge chair, taking the care and effort to angle it toward the sun for maximum impact. His wife joins him and does the very same. I think it’s more than coincidence that all the shadows fall behind them.