We may well be in Paradise, but today's lesson taught us what hard work in Paradise feels like... and let me tell you, it's exhausting! I can't even remember this morning, it seems so long ago.
At about 9am, Nathan, Carrie, Pete and I were standing on a stage in front of 2000 people, teaching them how to sing One by U2 in three part harmony. We were backed by a Vegas U2 tribute act called 2U. We asked their Bono how he wanted to be introduced, and he said we should probably simply call him Bono, which triggered a rush of jokes about what might be a more appropriate name; "Faux-no" "Oh-no!" "Mono" ('cus he's only half as good as the real thing...) It turns out he was rather good and was a very nice chap to boot, so we thought it was fair to call him Bono!
A rush of activity followed the singing session, which found us firstly on the beach setting up the most bizarre and complicated obstacle course, then in an air-conditioned corridor in the depths of the complex putting 400 kazoos into individual white paper bags, before watching Nathan teaching delegates how to play the instrumental from The Final Countdown on said kazoos. We then returned to the beach to run a two hour "Olympics", which involved the delegates in groups of 50 rushing from one peculiar race to another. I was stationed by the side of the water and put in charge of a group of people building six giant sand castles. It was mayhem. Great, great fun, truly exhausting, but one of the most surreal things I've ever done! I kept looking out to the banks of palm trees on the edge of the beach, and thinking "I can't believe I'm in the Dominican Republic judging a giant sandcastle building competition!"
At the end of the day, we took our sorrowful, sand-baked, sun-burnt bodies to the nearest pool and threw ourselves in, fully dressed. And it felt bloody good.
Nathan has a migraine, bless him. It's hardly surprising. None of us drank enough today, and by the time we'd cleared an entire beach of the detritus our event had generated, we'd been working solidly for 12 hours, at least 7 of which had been in direct 30 degree sunlight. Nathan also chipped his tooth whilst trying to gulp down some lunch in a twenty-minute break earlier, so the poor bloke is properly in the wars. For my part, I actually managed to get sun burned on my back... THROUGH my shirt!
I think today will embed itself in my brain in a series of images. Lying, fully-clothed in a swimming pool at dusk, whilst enormous bats swept over our heads like a scene from Scooby Doo. The giant green and yellow butterflies which periodically fluttered past whilst we prepared our beach Olympics. The "legs, bums and tums" class that was going on in one of the swimming pools which made Hard Rock look more like Hi-De-Hi. The colour of the sea just before sunset tonight, like a peacock, dark indigo at the horizon and then every shade of blue to a yellowy shimmering turquoise as the water met the beach. Riding a golf buggy through a hotel corridor (so Rock and Roll) and then, on the same buggy, steaming through the hotel gardens performing (in multi-part harmony) the Final Countdown, on kazoos, whilst bemused hotel guests looked on wondering quite how eccentric the Brits could get!