A Day at the Beach

(Or why do we love seaside vacations — besides sea, sun, sand and half naked, hot people)

What color is this mistress?

Oh, the humanity! I am part of an organizational culture that allows social checks during work days. My, my, the suffering! Wherever I turn my …umm…screen(s) around, there are pictures with annoyingly happy people hitting the sea. Pool views, sea views, sexy poses in the midst of waves, parasailing captures, surfers, nightlife, amusement parks, sunsets and sunshines. Accompanied by witty lines and confucianis-tic wiseness. Oh, dear God, how I want to be in those places. My witty lines would be so much funnier, and my confucianism would be so much modest!

OK, sun can burn if laying too much in it. And sand never comes off your feet, no matter how much you clean it. And waves can make you swallow water if your swimming skills are not good enough. And half naked, hot people…ughh…yeah, I can’t find anything wrong with them. Except, that maybe, they are not in sufficiently dense amounts, or paying sufficiently equal attention to everybody around them.

But these divine treats and alluring delights are offered to us, mortals, only by the beautiful, beautiful blue mistress. Ok green. Ok turquoise. Turquoise mistress though…Ok blue! Blue mistress! Very sailorish. Let’s go with that!

And, since I already had my vacation for the year, let me, quite enviously, re-iterate a typical day at the sea. For everybody out there still at the office.

(8.30 AM) Good morning, sunshine.

This sea seems quite grey!

Open up eyes and jump off the bed. Ok, it’s a little later than recommended for a morning sun bathing. But, I can make do. The enthusiasm of the specific sea smell floods the bedroom and the living/kitchen of the villa we stay in. It quickly cleans up the fatigue from our previous day arrival. And electrifies me to do my morning routine faster than normal, deeply inhale a few times on the terrace, drink my coffee as tequila shots, burn my tongue and go roundup my friends to make sure: they do their morning routine, pack, drink their coffee, charge their phones and march to the beach. In good time. As to still catch a few hours of not so burning sun. And some thickly, cooling waves.

(10.00 AM) Welcome, weary travelers.

Arrival at the beach. Finally! Ok, maybe the idea to go through the short(-err?), forbidden path, where rocks can roll down with no warning, and, the heights of the untrimmed plants start to resemble jungles, was not so bright.

But, the hell with that. We’re here! It’s great. Sun shines, sea breeze gently caresses our hairs, seagulls are launching their “hellos” from the heights of the sky. We’re feeling in touch with ourselves, with our inner child. We are embracing mother nature. What can be better?

Napping. That’s what.

You know what I really like in this life? Napping! I am not much of a food lover. Booze doesn’t tempt me beyond getting to a certain euphorically state at occasions. I don’t smoke. So, few to boring, regular vices for me. But for the napping! People, do not mess with my napping time! There is no easier way to turn me into your worst enemy than waking me up in the middle of my napping, or, god forbid, to not let me to fall asleep at all. Especially since I don’t usually doze off for 2 hours. I can nap for about 10–20 minutes and get directly into the REM state. Quite refreshing.

So, to my napping time. Nothing gets me there faster as the relief of a seaside vacation. People chatter indistinguishably around me with the monotony of a purring cat. The very sound of their voices sounds happy. I guess everybody loves the sea. Even if I don’t understand the words, I can tell by their tone that they speak summer vacation.

I open up the umbrella, have a seat on the beach chair and gaze upon the vastness of the blue world. Ready to be put to sleep by the soothing sounds of the waves. I long for the promises of my dream world. I figure it will help me reinvigorate after the shady morning rock climbing and give my eager friends the chance to go cool off into the welcoming waters. So, I lie on my chair with a sigh of pure pleasure.

Aaaaahhh, that feeling of fluffiness! Everything is warm and cozy. I feel safe and at peace with the world, I feel good and generous with every person that ever wronged me. Life is short, after all. Why, at the dawn of my dreaming world, would I let mundane worries concern me any longer?

My whole body exhales of relaxation. It suddenly loses any corporeal weight…I just want to let myself completely embraced by this sweet surrender…eyes become heavy… they slowly close by themselves. What a…shrinking shout of my own name?????

Who the ….???? What the….????

A smiling face of a colleague of mine is asking for my sunblock cream. He forgot his at the villa. In fact, he forgot his at home, but that’s another story. He wants mine, as I have the transparent kind. You know? The type that’s not sticky.

I start looking for my backpack with indistinct mumbles. It’s ok. Never mind the waking up. Must move past this hurtfulness. After all, it’s better that we all take care of this. It’s a lot more preferable than him suffering from sunburn the whole trip, and, ruining the mood for the rest of us. It’s ok. I shake up and go help.

He vigorously applies it to his skin. Since we are at the half-unpacking point, someone remembers we forgot the ball at the villa as well. Someone else discovers he doesn’t have a beach towel. Some “mean” looks are arriving suspiciously close to me. I was the one who marched them here, after all. Faster than needed for a proper baggage-ing set up. Precisely when I am completely caught up by the seaside admiring, face in the complete opposite direction of the allusions and re-planning of the day.

Alas, skin of all people is protected. Someone goes to buy a beach ball. A huge towel is shared by 2 backpacks and, a brave soul, volunteers to fetch some really cold beer.

I am found again, in the comfort of my lazy, horizontal joys. Granted, after my Cerber gaze made sure all colleagues are accounted for, and, in the farther, far-out lines of the horizon.

All morning exhaustion is taking its toll. Ah, the fluffiness. The cozy. The being good and all. The waves. The chattering. Eyes covered with a cloth. Napping time.

The honk of a horn scares the crap out of me. Just when I was beginning a sweet, fuzzy dream. And, as if, this weren’t enough, a really, really loud and really, really bad music starts to hurt my ears.

This time around, a whole bunch of “God damns!”, body parts, other divinity forms and idiocy synonyms come rushing through my head.

But, see? maybe vacations are met to be lived to the max, and get less sleep. A summer cruising ship full of exuberant, cheerful, young people is announcing its very, very loud presence in the beach vicinity.

Ooooooookay. No more sleeping. Clear!

But, I am still at the sea. The air is heavy with exotic scents. My friends seem to be having the time of their lives seaward. I am reminding myself how much I love the sea, the sun, the sand and the half-naked, hot people.

I will go join them in the waters.

(11.30 AM) Time for a swim.

You know, there is this one thing, one tiny, small, itsy-bitsy, minuscule thing I don’t like about the sea. I am a cold person. I get cold all the time. Which is why, my favorite seasons of them all is the summer. When everybody else liquefies of too much heat, I am in my element.

So, I will commit the sacrilege of saying it. I hate it when I first enter the water and it feels really cold. I actually start to shiver. Even more so, when I’m coming from the shore, where the warmth of the sun kept me really happy ‘till then. And everybody else around me just gracefully disappears under the water. So easy. So simple. Why aren’t they cold?

Compared to them, I look like I’m walking on glass. Vertically. And this cold dancing is vocally accompanied by a colored array of interjections.

However, after I get further away from the shore, and my body is completely under water, the miracle begins. I am not cold anymore. And, oh, the playfulness of the water, the joy of losing the corporeal weight, the happiness of other people sharing the sudden bursts of speedy floating caused by waves.

Yeaaaah. I do love the sea. Looking at the stretch of the waters for as far as the eyes can see. Until it finally meets the sky. The sky! The only worthy date the sea could possibly have. My, how small, insignificant creatures we all are. So much water! So much blue. Or green. Or turquoise. Whatever. So beautiful!

But, enough with the soul searching. And down to more prosaic activities. I start to show-off my very beginner -ish brass swimming style. How brave of me. I can even reach for a sip of air from time to time. The correct way, that my swimming teacher is trying to make me. I feel proud and…suddenly remember I forgot to put on sunscreen block.

Oooh, out of the water with a shred of remorse understanding for my colleague from earlier. Reach the backpack. Put on sunscreen. Wait for a few minutes in the sun to enter the skin. Aaaand, again with the cold dancing. God damn! Why couldn’t I have waited for the effect of the cream to take place in the shadow of the umbrella? How stu…. I mean, geeez…how cold!

The promises of laughter my colleagues fill up the air with, draws me like a magnet. How fun everything looks! They somehow managed to get the ball into the water and now they are supposed to throw it at each other such that the splash caused when it hits the water is as big as possible. So that the receiver of the ball gets as wet as possible from a single throw. I could be really good at this game. I reach them, barely breathing from swallowing a good sip of water from my mastery swimming style.

How do they stand up here? To throw the ball? Can I do it as well? Says me, bravely standing up. Water barely reaches my chest. Oh! That’s how! Strange, how everything looks so much deeper at horizontal, face-down brass position!

After a few more coughs, let the fun begin. Somebody throws the ball at my direction. And my preparing for fun quickly fades away, as I realize the ball is coming directly for my face. I somehow manage to stop it before it reaches its destination. And mildly mark its sender for a vile revenge. I will not shoot at him firstly, though. He is expecting it. Have to do it when he’s not prepared. How cunning of me.

But, right in the middle of these innocent considerations, I get really thirsty. Me and my forever dehydration. Why is this only happening when I’m in the water? Never on the sand! But, I drink impossible amounts of water, so I have to fix it. Ok. Mark the vengeance plans for later. Put on robotic walk. Decisively speeding through people in water and on sand, as to reach my liquid salvation.

Get back. Do the cold dance again. Ok, everything should be all set this time. Let’s carry on with my revenge, people! So close! Precisely when my aiming targets the right person, I hear the mean words: “I’m hungry!”

Of course you are! Why wouldn’t you be? Come to think about it, I’m hungry too. This morning, in the good spirits of visiting the sea, I did not had anything to eat. Only coffee. Such that my flat abs would stay flat during the harsh abs comparison beach time. I know, I am weak! This is probably the still young part of me speaking, but I wanted to look good, flat-abs. So I did the mature thing and not ate. Sure, it helps a lot that somehow the heat is considerably dialing down my appetite.

But, after the morning obstacle course, trying to sleep, doing a good few cold dances, chasing away a ball through water and staying in the sun well after the recommended hours, my superficiality is generously giving place to hunger. The hell with the flat abs. Let us eat. Fast.

(2.30 PM) Bon appetite, visitors!

But, my, how is “the fast” quickly transforming into interminable place selection debates. Under my greedy eyes and belly protests. Do we pick the place with the cow emblem? Or do we go for the fish logo? Shouldn’t we see the menus first? Ooooh, the menus! They have food there, people. Who cares about menus? Anything is good at this hour. Everything is good at this hour. And then we have to wait to be seated. And then wait for hostess to bring the menus. And then wait some more for the waiter to pick up the order. And….then wait some more, more for people to decide what they are going to eat. See the debates on that one!

My revolted, hungry stomach gets there before I realize what I do. “Fish! Let’s go with the fish! We are at the sea. Should have some fresh fish.”

Somehow, the many debaterers finally agree with this one. I am counting on their hungriness to blindside them of the fact that the cow locale could also have fish on the menu. Keep it quiet.

The chosen restaurant proves to be good enough to have something for every taste. Nobody has fish. The serving time is decent and the drinks are cold and refreshing. Jokes start to appear. Along with a general sense of good. Tone is set and timid plans for the following day and evening pass time are emerging. Coffee brings back forgotten desires to siege the waters again. Or, maybe, some beach football.

(4.30 PM) People really need to chill

Heading back into the sun seems a little cruel after the cool breeze and dense shadow of the terrace. I could share friendly jokes and stories on the wooden bench forever.

But, I am reminding myself how much I love the sea, the sun, the sand and the half-naked, hot people.

So, back to umbrellas, beach chairs and the forever omnipresent sand. A jump into the water first. Number of screaming children and flying balls has doubled in the afternoon. Bathing activities are quickly abandoned.

A few tentatives of beach football take their turn. It is quickly abandoned as well. It’s a lot harder to run around after eating a good meal and have a few drinks. E-readers start to pop-up. Nobody is readying. They just watch around, hang around. Listen around with a form of electronics of sorts forgotten in their hands. From time to time one of us really does their best to retain half of paragraph. Attention span is so limited at the sea. Someone laughs. Someone swims really well. People surf. Reading gets really heavy. Until translucent shades of evening start to sift.

(8.00 PM) Food replenish.

Resting is exhausting! Even if not so long ago was another meal, dinner is enthusiastically accepted.

This time around, deciding went a lot faster. The cow-neighbor locale was selected. People got seated and ordered.

(9.00 PM) Let the party start.

This is blending in with the evening food ritual. You’ll see why in a second.

There is this thing, all seaside joints do in the season. They have live entertaining in the middle of the tables. But, since it is, well, seasonal, the inspiration of cheap-dealing with this particular demand knows no limits.

So, while we were expecting the promised lands of pizza and enjoying another round of beers, we suddenly see all of our waiters gathering together, grabbing each other shoulders and start to jump around with frenzy. Time to time releasing a common shout. “Ho!”. After the initial shock seconds, we all realize it is a traditional dancing. Accompanied by a cornered, live orchestra that tries to keep up with our bouncy waiters.

The brave owner of the locale had the inspiration to offer a few hours of live interaction without paying for professional dancers.

At beginning, I pitied the poor souls that spent the whole day on their feet, serving people. They must be so tired! But, as their dance evolved, and their rhythm started to synch with the traditional shouts, my pity turned into admiration. Dancers were screaming with young, robust, flat-abs, biceps bulked summer joy. Even more so at the end of their performance. No sweat drops were coming down their faces. Instead they garbed their trays with a big smile and turned back to serving people all around. Huh! I guess, the owner knows a thing or two about business.

My out loud remark at the end of it: “ Yep! Physical shape of people of the sea all year round. Not of the office all year round!”

After dinner nobody could resist the mirage of the resort. The night lights, the music, the screams, the carts, 7D and 15D experiences, the gift shops. The fish therapy, the massage therapy. The bouncing cords. The vintage photo booth. The Futuristic photo booth. So many colors, so many sounds, so many people, so much joy. Out and exploring with us.

First stop: bull riding. No courage among ourselves. So we just watch. The kid on top of the situation is kicking ass. His skills are almost as impressive as our bouncing waiters.

Next stop: icecream. Yeah, I’m actually surprised it took as so long to get here. Icecream on vacation is like getting wet when entering water. Get it? The pun? Ah, never mind.

Resort tiny streets are flooded with people. So crowded, that I’m actually wondering why we haven’t bumped into anybody yet. Especially since nobody is watching their steps. All looks are at the sides of the streets.

Meh. Don’t play with Fortuna. Before I can finish my thought, a concert of girl screams and laughters are getting dangerously close to my ears. We look ahead. A …carriage with bicycle pedals and no doors, with 6 girls inside, rushes our direction. We laugh. So funny. People are really enjoying themselves here. They laugh as well. And scream. Screaming dials up a notch. Some timid worries. Is it going to collide with us? Girls are keeping the straight course. We don’t laugh anymore. They lose control of the carriage. It’s aiming our group. What to do? It’s really happening. Coming straight at us. No mistake there. We jump aside into the bushes. Carriage crushes right where we were standing a few moments ago. Girls jumped outside of it during the fall. Laughter gets even higher on both camps. Yeah, summer nights are really fun. Nobody got hurt. Then friendly looks, excuses and even more laughters are exchanged. Good for our cat-like instincts.

When I hear music a big smile stretches all over my face and my body starts to move by itself in the rhythms of the music. Of course there is. Latino night at a hotel pool. Oh, goodie. I absolutely adore this music. I know a few basic moves of salsa, cha cha and merengue. We all get closer and watch from aside. Singers are really good this time.

A group voice behind me suggest we attend the party all night long. Yes, yes, YESS! Latino night. My soul cringes with joy! Perfect!

“Let’s go home play cards. We’re tired!” says another group voice behind me. Oh, the betrayal! Guess what happened?

But, I am reminding myself how much I love the sea, the…ok! I’m starting to sense a pattern here.

P.S. I still absolutely love seaside vacations. In fact, this article is written out of my jealous bitterness of being at the office right now. And my friends being at the sea. I know I already had mine for this year. But, of course I want more.

Psst, if you liked this article hit the green stuff. It will greatly improve my bitter, stay-at-the-office mood.

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