It had to happen. Sooner or later I had to be one of those people. The ones you walk past on the beach whilst sniggering, flabbergasted at how they could still be lying in the sun when their skin had already turned a nasty lobster red.
You know the people I’m talking about. The ones who are going to spend the rest of their holiday in pain or the ones who look like they should be wrapped around someones feet rather than lying on a beach exposing themselves to more UV. I now have the honor of lumping myself in that very raw basket. I would snigger at myself but I’m too busy oohing and ouching every time I move.
Hi, my name is Tyrhone, I have sunburn from being an idiot and my skin hurts. A lot.
It has been two weeks since I quit smoking, and I am pleased to stay I am still on track and going strong. During that two weeks I spent a lot of time indoors, moping and getting agitated at the drop of a hat. A couple days ago I almost smashed my phone because it had the gall to make rooting it more difficult than I expected (rooting like jail-breaking, not rooting like literal phone sex rooting).
Obviously I needed to get out of the house.
So Sarah and I decided to take a long walk on the beach and see a bit of the beautiful coast on our doorstep. I don’t know what it is that pushes me into making obviously bad decisions sometimes, but whatever it is, it was in full force yesterday. Despite it being a warm day, and despite knowing that we would be walking for a few hours at least, when Sarah offered me the suncream, I said “Nah, she’ll be right.”
It wasn’t right, and now I have a horribly disfiguring sunburn.
The walk itself was great, it took my mind off the constant nagging of not having a smoke and gave me something other than eating to focus on for a few hours. We walked around curve after curve of beautiful white sand beaches and blue, blue water. A light wind was blowing so the air felt a little cool and I know realize this played a part in my ignoring the reddening flesh that is or was my skin.
I and many people have told you how beautiful the beaches in Playa del Carmen are, and it’s true! However they are also quite varied in what they offer up to the discerning (or not so discerning) beach head. As we walked along a few kilometers worth they fluctuated between tourist heaven, Mexican locales, and tourist hell.
We left the main beach of Playa behind with its clean cool water and holiday makers lying in the sun, and found ourselves walking past Mexican families feeding seagulls and swimming in hidden places. Then the beach would be deserted before meeting up with an enormous eyesore of a complex which reminded me too much of the TV show Benidorm. All inclusive, never-leave-the-grounds offerings. Sun loungers, swimming pool, bar, restaurant, and a few thousand people paying two hundred dollars a night for the privilege of a Mexican free Mexican holiday. Not my cup of tea. But then suddenly you would be alone again on a stretch of beach almost unmarred by people.
Onwards we wandered through the midday sun until our stomachs demanded to be fed. A smallish restaurant on the beach looked as good as any and so we pulled up a chair and waited to be served. Our waiter came up, took our drinks order and asked for our room number. When we told him we were not staying at the hotel he straight away said “There is a long wait.”
Back in the day we would have clucked our tongues at the thought of having to wait and possibly even left. But not even the nicotine withdrawals elicit such a response lately because I don’t really have anything else I have to be doing. It’s great.
Usually I would suck down two or three fags waiting for a meal while downing an ice cold coke zero. Instead I twitched and tapped like a frog in a frying pan and tried to focus on our amazing location. I made it through, and at some point even thought it might be time to ward off potential sunburn by putting on a bit of suncream. Which is when we realized we had left the suncream at home.
Oh well, I didn’t really need it anyway.
After lunch we started our journey back to our corner of Playa with the sun perfectly positioned to hit the opposite side of my unshielded body.
“Great, I can get a tan on my front as well, just to even things out a bit.”
Not so great. An hour or so later things started hurting. My sleeveless shirt was being used to shield my already burnt shoulders and so my belly was left unprotected, a large round sun magnet begging to be grilled. The pain and the lobster color rose to the surface and hinted at what sort of hell I would shortly be in for.
Closing in on our home turf I noticed people looking my way, obviously amazed at the buffoonery which was my melting flesh. Sarah suggested I put my shirt on so as not to attract so much attention. I chose to endure the judgements I am usually guilty of dishing out, but I was becoming fully aware of just what I had done to myself.
Now here I sit, forty eight hours and a really uncomfortable sleep later. My skin is still ridiculously pink, it hurts to touch myself (I mean like my skin and that), and I have Panda eyes. My newly hard body even seems to have melted giving the appearance of excess weight. Either that or I’m still fat.
Why oh why do I make such obviously stupid decisions sometimes?
I could say “well at least I have learned my lesson.” But more than likely, I haven’t! It’s like I just got rid of the smoking, thereby halving my chances of cancer. Then I head out into the sun, get second degree burns and double my chances of cancer! I can at least console myself with the thought that if I hadn’t quit smoking I would now have four times the chance of getting cancer.
Still, it was a great day. My feet hurt because we walked too far and my skin hurts because I am an idiot. But we swam in the ocean, walked on beautiful beaches and watched life go by for an afternoon. I didn’t think about smoking most of the time, and only ate once in about four hours.
Now that’s progress.