After several days of a bad stomach, otherwise known as India-is-full-of-bacteria-we’re-not-used-to-disorder, or diarrhea, Trina was finally getting some nighttime rest in her beach hut. She had already decided she wouldn’t stay much longer at The Love Temple Beach Resort.
I liked the Love Temple because it had a Venice Beach, Burning Man-esque vibe with pink and red and blue pillows in abundance strewn across a playground of beach-view seating that included a stationary wagon you step up into, a sand-docked rowboat and many circular pods. There were also yoga, breathwork, art classes and workshops offered, making Love Temple a hub for Western travelers who didn’t mind that “Beach Resort” was a stretch as the accommodations were not well-built. When I would use my hut’s bathroom, which was in the bedroom and separated by a partial wall made of straw, I had to remember to sit on the toilet sideways. This was to avoid the protruding nail in the floor that could puncture my foot.
A good night’s rest was too good to be true for Trina at Love Temple. She woke up in the darkest hour to a tickle on her fingertips. Though she hadn’t seen one before, she immediately knew this was a rat having a nibble.
Once out of her sleepy daze and her vision clear, this knowing was confirmed. Horrified, Trina went to the front desk for help. Sleeping on the sand behind the desk, wrapped in a bed sheet with no pillow but his right arm, was one of the staff members in his late 20s. Neither of them knew what to do about the rat. He offered to sleep in the room with her and she seemed to agree to this solution.
Trina was tense and full of anxiety from her bouts of diarrhea coupled with the rat encounter. Replacing the rat in her bed with an awkward Indian guy wasn't much improvement. He didn’t know how to calm her and cuddling her only made it worse. Trina's Temple was not open for love that night.
In the morning I was shocked to hear her tale. Our friend Christina who had the hut next door to Rat-pack #15, admitted that her soap box had bite marks in it quite evidently left by a rodent. This information made me feel uneasy. Having lived in New York City for seven years, I’d seen my share of rats and that familiarity with them made the idea of one visiting me in the night too vivid for comfort.
“It’s really fine. It’s fine. I wanted to leave here anyway. I don’t like it here, I was on my way out,” Trina consoled us both, “I’m going to start packing up.” Trina left me at the sand-parked row boat sofa feeling at odds. What should I do? Take a chance or move? Was my karma on an upswing or a downswing? Too many questions swirled frantically in my mind.
Just then a nice-looking shirtless European man approached me, “What are you doing right now?” He asked.
I didn’t know how to answer him or why I needed to give him that information anyway. What was life going to hit me with?
He continued, “I was wondering if you would be free at 10am to help me with something,” I felt the defense building up within me. How can I help someone when I need to figure out if I’m supposed to bolt from this place with Trina or if I’m ok with the possibility of my own RATi-cal encounter.
“Okay…” I began hesitantly.
“It’s the final exam for my massage course and my model has diarrhea. Would you be able to step in for a 2 hour Ayurvedic Yoga massage?” He asked, full of hope. Only in India I thought.
Uplifted, I realized I could probably wait another few hours before deciding what to do about the rat situation.
When I emerged from the massage in body blissfulness, I saw Trina a few hundred yards away, just about to exit the Love Temple gates with her luggage. I thought to go and say goodbye, but with the hot sandy path ahead, my thought didn’t turn into action.
Christina sat at my side, “So what’re you gonna do?” She asked in her affable New York accent.
“There are rats here,” I said.
“Yup,” She agreed shaking her head.
We looked at each other and we both sort of shrugged in an empowered, “So what?”
The next morning Hut #15 had been dismantled. All that remained were panels of once-was walls, laying in a pile ready to be burned.
We stayed another week.