I’m a firm believer that one should learn something from every experience. Sometimes this happens to me, sometimes it doesn’t. This holiday seemed to be particularly educational.
First, the basic info.
Holiday duration: One week.
Holiday spot: Sheffield Beach, KZN North Coast.
Holiday party: Husband, son and assorted extended family members.
Here’s what I learnt:
- If you visit KwaZulu Natal, you will be bitten by mutant bugs hyped up on sugar cane and Durban poison. These bites will turn into gigantic red bumps and will be impossible to cover up with even the most hard-core concealer and foundation. If you are me, you will be bitten on the face. More than once.
- Always take more than one swimming costume because trying to get your sweat-dampened flab into a wet one-piece just sucks. Its like trying to pull your knickers on while coated in glue.
- If you have lived in Gauteng for more than 10 years, you are officially a Vaalie. Do not try to fight this. Embrace it and you may end your holiday unscathed by traditional Vaalie afflictions. See point 4.
- The fashion/beauty magazines really are right. Everyone, regardless of skin tone, should wear sunblock. Living in Durban for the first 18 years of my life and being of a naturally tanned skin tone, I had never really had to worry about this before. Prior to this holiday, I could count the number of times that I had been sun-burnt on one hand. And those instances involved either Vaseline or cooking oil. (What can I say, I was a particularly stupid teenager.) This January, however, I managed to pick up an incredibly fetching sunglasses, t-shirt and dress burn. Oh the horror! Especially when coupled with the giant mutant bug bites.
- No matter how hard you try, you cannot resist Aunty Merle’s chocolate chip cookies. Or the chocolatey goodness of Canadian Peppermint Bark.
- If you are lucky enough to have a house right on the beach, beware of tiled floors. Sea spray and humidity will ensure that they are always wet. This makes them very slippery. My bruised coccyx proves it.
- Hangovers are worse when you’re on holiday and your family expects you to be awake, fed and on the beach by 9am.
- If you don’t move your flip flops into the shade of the beach umbrella you will give the soles of your feet 3rd degree burns. Similarly, if you don’t wear shoes to the beach. Even if you leave by 11am.
- Eating a sand-coated nectarine is very unpleasant. Even three-year-olds recognise this. You will therefore be stuck with your own sandy nectarine, as well as your son’s.
- Nothing on earth beats the sound of your child’s screams of laughter as he tries to outrun waves. This is pure joy.
- I really don’t like swimming in the sea. It’s hard work. The push and pull of the waves, trying to remain upright – it’s all a bit of a mission really. So is having to deal with the sand in Everything afterwards. Much better to lounge in the pool on a pool noodle.
- Sometimes, as a mother, you just have to get over yourself and stop being paranoid.
- Chasing your son along the beach might leave you looking like an idiot, but it sure is fun. And it will make you happy.
- Watching a line of grown people standing in the sea, staring at the breakers and jumping at each wave is pretty hysterical. Especially if you’ve had a few white wine spritzers. It’s like some sort of badly choreographed line dance. Somehow, kids avoid looking ridiculous by actually playing in the waves. Adults just stand there trying to look cool and end up looking idiotic.
- Get over your body issues, because no-one is watching. Unless you’re part of the Wave-Induced Line Dance. Then they’re pointing and laughing. But not at how your butt looks in that bikini.
- There will always be at least one fisherman. He will catch something big and scary (like, say, a hammerhead shark or ray) and then release it into the shallows to make things more exciting for the line of wave jumpers.
Growing up at the coast, many beach life-lessons were imparted years ago. I just happened to be reminded of them while on this holiday. So here’s what I remembered while on holiday:
- Beer tastes better when you’re at the beach.
- Building sand castles is really fun. Those little buckets and spades are awesome.
- Watermelons just taste better in KZN.
- It will be cloudy and rainy half of the time, but warm. This leaves you grumpy and sweaty. You will wish that the sun would come out. Then it will and you will realise your folly as you weep for your tender sunburnt skin. This too will leave you grumpy and sweaty.
- KZN mosquitoes are impervious to all types of insect repellent. They love that shit.
- It will be so hot that in order to sleep you will need a fan on in your room. This will give you a sore throat every morning. Every evening you will try to do without said fan and within 20 minutes decide that the sore throat is worth it.
- It is useless to wear any type of make-up because by early afternoon it will have slipped to the general vicinity of your jowls.
- Your sunglasses will always slip down your nose because you’re so sweaty.
- Showering is useless because you will be sticky within minutes. Better to let the salt of the ocean form a dehydrating crust on your skin.
As with any holiday, one of the best parts of it will be returning home. This too can be an opportunity for learning.
Things I learnt upon my return:
- If you don’t have a house-sitter and the power trips, things may get ugly.
- The garden looks better after being untended for a week. So maybe I should stop loving it quite so much.
- You should always make the bed and change the linen Before you leave. Coming back to an unmade bed is no fun at all.
- You will slip right back into your regular habits and then feel faintly depressed at how routine your life really is.
- Nothing beats showering in your own shower and sleeping in your own bed, on your own pillow.
- Flying makes me constipated.
And that pretty much sums up my educational experiences so far this year, so there’s nothing left to do but wish you all a wonderful 2011!
PS: I’m a glutton for feedback, so leave a comment and make me happy.