Monday, June 30, 2008

Scenes on a Beach

The truth about beaches - they smell like wet dog and fish poop. I have nothing against people who like vacationing on a beach, the surf, the sun, et. al. But to tout beaches as a "vacationer's paradise" - it's just a scam to get people to come to their beach and spend their hard earned money on crap that they can pick up in the sand for free.

My most expensive purchase on our recently ended beach vacation was $10 sunscreen with SPF 50 that was both sweat and water proof. Had it been sun proof as well, we'd be 3 for 3 in it's offered benefits. The numbers in SPF ratings are actually the total number of times you need to apply that particular sunscreen to avoid sun burn. I wasted my money on two tubes.

I also had to buy my son a new bathing suit, as his was swept away in the surf while he was trying out his new "boogie boarding" skills. First, I had to wade out waste deep in the ocean to bring him a towel. That was bad enough because I had previously had no itentions of even getting my new bathing suit wet, let alone filled with sand and sea weed. Face it, anything that forces someone of my size to wear a bathing suit is NOT going to be pleasant or filled with fun. The price of bathing suits at any store on a beach - not fun! There's no Wal-mart on the islands. All the stores are named "Ocean View" and "Pirates Landing" and they sell over priced sea shells, cheap beach towels and little figurines of dudes smoking joints on surf boards. They also sell $65.00 bathing suits and $10 sunscreen. But I digress, because I had to.

Back to the beach. It was hot and I was sweaty and I would have loved to have just stayed in the hotel room, in the air conditioning, reading a book, but I needed to be at the beach, with my kids, because let's face it. If a shark were to attack them or they were to be swept out to sea, I am the ONLY person who would be able to save them. At least, that was all I could think about. So, while my kids and husband body surfed and boogie boarded in the waves, I was their lookout for great white sharks, jelly fish or unfriendly surf. It's a hard job. You can just ask the church camp counselors who were there with 6 - 7 kids each in their charge. I overheard one of them tell another that this was the worst time he had ever had at a beach. Now you know how your mom feels pal!

Let's forget for a moment that most talented authors who write scenes on a beach describe it as "serene and peaceful" and filled with "fresh, salty air" and the hypnotic sounds of the waves crashing on the beach. Yeah, well if by serene and peaceful they mean screeching seagulls and people, maybe. Fresh, salty air - that means sea creature poop ya'll, and if you have the added affect of heated up sea creature poop, in the middle of the hot, summer days - that's what a beach smells like. God probably added the salt to cover that up, though I'm just guessing. Waves crashing on the beach sounds remarkably like static on a stereo with the volume turned really high and the left speaker blown.

This is not to say that I don't like a good vacation with my husband and kids. It's just that my recent vacation on the beach was eerily similar to reading a book in a port-a-potty. Hot, stinky and not a lot of joy in stretching the legs to find a good reading position.

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