Breakfast under the banyan tree

Breakfast under the old banyan tree at the Royal Davui.

There’s this scene in “The Big Chill” when Michael (Jeff Goldblum) wanders into the kitchen late one morning looking like shit and asks Sarah (Glenn Close) if another couple is still there. Sarah says the husband left but the wife decided to stay through the weekend.

Michael: “Oohhhh, interesting. What did Richard have to say about that?”

Sarah: “Michael, if you’re going to sleep this late, you’re going to miss a few mini-dramas.”

Michael: “I just hope you’ll wake me for anything really ugly.”

That’s kind of the way I feel. Every morning I get up hours later than I would normally, quickly throw on some clothes, and sleepily make my way along the jungle path to one of the tables set up beneath the old banyan tree at the Royal Davui. I’m certain I must be the last one up and I’ve missed all the morning mini-dramas. But you know what? I’m always the first one here in the morning. Even though it’s often after nine o’clock.

Yesterday, our little Katie wandered down just before noon. Siteri, sporting a red hibiscus flower behind her ear, asked Katie what she would like for lunch. Katie said, “Did I miss breakfast already?”

“Katie, breakfast was hours ago,” I told her. “Marguarite and I had breakfast with Christopher and his dad at eight.”

“What time is it now?”


“You’re kidding!”

“Did you have trouble sleeping last night?”

“Went right to sleep.”

“When was that?”

She shrugged. “Around ten, I guess.”

“You mean you slept for thirteen hours?”

“I guess I did.”

“Did you take a sleeping pill?”

“No.” Pause. “You know what it is? It’s so quiet here. No airplanes flying overhead, no phones ringing. You never even hear a TV.”

“That’s probably because there are no TVs.”

“Right,” said Katie. “No TVs. That’s what I’m saying.”

Siteri was still patiently standing there, waiting to take Katie’s order. “Could I just have some fresh fruit?” said Katie, handing over the menu.

“Yes, Miss Katie,” said Siteri. She started to walk away. “Oh, and a big glass of orange juice?”

Siteri nodded and slowly edged back over towards our table. “Anything else, Miss Katie?”

“Maybe some banana pancakes.”

“Certainly, Miss Katie.”

“With bacon.” Siteri started to walk away again. “Lots and lots of fruit,” Katie added. Siteri waved without turning around. Katie took off her sunglasses, ran a hand through her wet hair (her hair always seems wet here), sighed, and said, “That’s the other thing.”

I waited. When she didn’t say anything else, I said, “What’s the other thing?”

“I’m always hungry here.”

“Tired and hungry,” I said.

“Exactly,” said Katie. “Tired and hungry. It’s like I’m pregnant.” Then she put her sunglasses back on, tilted her lovely white face towards the sun, and quietly waited for her banana pancakes.

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