I'm sure you are all glad to see that Mean Rachel has recovered from her disease. It's been a rough few days but now at last my sinus pressure has subsided and I am now feeling much more healthy.

Man Chac has asked me to make a commentary on The Beach: Day II. So here goes.

After probably more than 18 hours of sleep yesterday, I woke up at 8 o'clock this morning to find the elders already feasting on breakfast, compromised of pumpkin and pecan pie topped off with whipped cream and washed down with coffee. They were basking in the early morning sunlight on the balcony and soon rallied the troops to head down to the beach.

The morning was cool and brisk, unlike the eighty-degree weather we're used to by 9 AM on any given summer morning. This allowed for everyone to sit out in the sun without being immediately baked to a crisp. Aunt Janny did a gouache painting while everyone else read and buried their toes in the moist morning sand.

We were all struck by the proliferation of dogs on the beach (this means all the more business for me!), from big fluffy retrievers flouncing along the shore, their tails matted with sand to the tiniest Yorkies trotting swiftly through the shallower water, their paws moving at a rapid pace in pursuit of their owners ahead of them.

By noon, everyone was ready for a turkey sandwich so we headed back up. I watched the rest of the UT game with Uncle George -- I suppose I should replace the word game with "heartbreaker," since UT lost to A&M by a touchdown. The sungoddesses (that would be mom and Aunt Janny) were ready to go back down to the beach for a swim and so I met them down there after they'd finished swimming.

Man Chac and I took a walk through Island Retreat -- for those who don't know, the Island Retreat is where we are currently staying and where we stayed every summer during our childhood years. My mother swore off ever going to the Island Retreat again after years of poor customer service followed by one "we'll laugh about it later" weekend when our air conditioner was broken (in the heat of July) and poured one gallon of water onto the brown shag carpet every hour due to some defect in the coolant system.

Call it fate or just my mother calling to book the trip too late, but we were forced to book here again for Thanksgiving. I kept commenting on how it looked so different from what my childhood memory retained -- the pool smaller, the boardwalk through the dunes seemed shorter. It turns out that in years past we had stayed in a different section of the Island Retreat, where the buildings faced the beach head-on, rather than the perpendicular one we are currently in, and the boardwalk that led to the beach scaled a larger dune than the one that leads from our building. And it turns out that this whole time, the Island Retreat had two pools -- I had just never walked around the other sides of the buildings to find the other one.

Everyone's older and times are very different. The boardwalks have been redone, the sidewalks repaved. New cabanas and picnic tables dot the common areas. Despite all this, the ocean is still there, wave upon wave of endless blue froth. And maybe that is why we come to the beach -- among a sea of change, the ocean will always remain the same.