Audie and Beth are a wealthy American couple who like to travel, but they are in India and have seen nothing of it. They are staying at an expensive spa, originally for a week and then extending week after week. They take yoga classes, eat healthily, and do massage treatments, but they rarely see anything outside the compound, nor do they show much interest. But then Audie, who has had meaningless sexual encounters in the past, is attracted to Anna, a massage girl, and Beth, who probably hasn’t done anything like this before, is attracted to Satish. After their respective encounters, everything has changed—both Anna and Satish have disappeared and the manager won’t allow the couple to renew. As they leave, against their will, they come face to face with the real India. It’s hard to feel much sympathy for these people, and maybe that’s why the story ends the way it does.
December 25, 2006 and January 1, 2007: “Monkey Hill” by Paul Theroux