x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

You can take the girl out of the city...

A romantic anniversary getaway was a bit too close to nature for comfort.

Two years ago, Mr T and I signed the papers that would legally bind us to one another and celebrated by throwing an engagement party in my parents' backyard. It is one of my favourite anniversaries to celebrate together, so this past weekend, we drove to Oman's Zighy Bay to spend two nights at a resort that described itself as a "hideaway".

We had heard endless things about its nature-inspired decor, about the organic produce used, about the environmentally friendly design, about the ecologically safe beach. We had big plans to get in touch with our inner zen.

Walking into our private villa, we were not disappointed. Rough rocks, whitewashed walls of cement, wooden beams, textured wood, a feeling of stepping back in time...we could barely contain our excitement. We kept straight faces while the butler was in the room, but once alone, we jumped up and down on our environmentally safe bed (we're not sure what that means, exactly) and then dived straight into our private pool (decorated with tiles of granite, enclosed by bamboo sticks and shaded beneath a palm tree).

"This is how we should be living, this is what I want some day," said Mr T. "A nice, simple way of life, no clutter, natural products... come smell this lemon grass soap."

Our villa's beauty was in its simplicity, and we could not believe how lucky we were. We vowed to make use of every amenity, to dine outside in our cushioned "majlis", to ride the bicycles parked at our door, to walk on the secluded shore and listen to the waves every morning and every evening, and to wake up with the sunrise.

Our good intentions began to crumble when the bees buzzing around the almost-ripe dates on our palm tree noticed us splashing in the pool. Suddenly, they got a little too friendly, and Mr T and I hightailed it back inside. After catching our breath, we decided a bike ride was in order, and would be a perfect way to explore the resort. That plan was short-lived: I fell over the moment I climbed atop the stupid contraption and Mr T only managed to ride for three metres before his wheels sank in the sand.

We discarded the bikes and decided on a romantic walk along the beach. We ended it limping and more than a little grossed out; I had stubbed my toe on a rock, Mr T had cut his heel on a broken shell and we had both come across the carcass of a rotting squid.

Back at the villa, as we were washing sand off our feet, we were surprised to find that both our hands and feet were covered with a black grease that would not come off. Apparently, oil spills from the sea are attracted to human skin. Our butler showed up with tar-off sachets that smelled like insecticide.

After the stressful start to our weekend, I decided to take a bath. But, as I reached out to the tap, I noticed movement. It was covered with hundreds of tiny bugs that had found a new home, and it was the final straw. Pest-control was summoned

"I am a city girl," I told my husband. "I was a city girl when you met me, and I will be a city girl forever. This nature business is stressing me out."

Rubbing insect repellent on his legs, Mr T gave me a sheepish look.

"For next year's anniversary, we'll stick to civilisation," he promised.

The rest of the weekend was spent trying to find a comfortable spot on the rough burlap covering our couch while watching TV and surfing the internet. We had a wonderful time.