The Sea Garden House

Run by free-spirited escapees of Western culture, this treehouse-style hostel in the beach community of Olon is short on modern amenities but huge in exotic romance.

We had what owner Renaldo calls “la Penthouse,” the entire top floor with private balcony overlooking the ocean. Heaven on Earth.

One of Olon’s more socially active expats, Mark Bradbury, had organized a ticketed chamber music concert ― coincidentally on Chantal’s birthday, and ironically with choral singers from Montreal. (It seems I can never travel too far without running into my fellow Québécois.)

We viewed the performance from our balcony. The night was clear and warm, with a gentle ocean breeze; the crashing waves, a welcome balm for the off-key screeching that had been billed as a little nachtmusik.

I don’t usually pick on amateurs or semiprofessionals in this way. But I did spend six years of my career as an administrator at a world-class chamber music festival, and thirteen years of my early life training as a chamber musician. These women were spectacularly unprepared. And one, I am sure, is tone deaf.

Sorry Mark. I know you meant well, but my god.