We arrive at Hossegor early, too early to check in, so we drop off our bags and head for the beach. Mr French is jones-ing to dive right in. Well, ok, its not a swimming pool. He doesn’t dive exactly, he actually va faire du body, which I believe is called boogie boarding in the US. At least that is what we called it the last time I played at the beach in the US, which was around the same time Madonna was a virgin, so things may have changed.
I am just not up for it today, so I decide to stay on my towel, as he heads for a quick dip… just 5 minutes he assures me. Am reading The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency. Nothing too serious, and the perfect beach book before a trip to Botswana. Within two minutes I have fallen asleep, confident that Mr French will be right back. Before I know it, he is there shaking me gently.
“Didn’t you put sun screen on?”
“No, its only been five minutes. Why?”
“Uh, well. It’s been closer to an hour. You’re kind of red. Really red. Like strawberries and cream red. I think we need to take you to a pharmacy.”
Sure enough, I am complètement cramée. Unbelievable. I am the only woman on the entire beach who goes in the water wearing a lycra UV protected t-shirt AND long board shorts that go down to my knees. I layer sunblock like a toddler squirts chantilly on his sundaes. I wear a hat. The pharmacienne scolds me, sells me a packet of creams and orders me to stay out of the sun for the next few no days.
On the way back to the hotel, Mr French stops at a local market and picks up the perfect blue and white stripped, UV blocking beach umbrella to protect me for the rest of our stay. Secretly (and please, don’t ever share this with anyone) I am relieved. Sounds nuts, but I have had some pretty serious escapades while traveling. The kind that have you speeding away in an ambulance, or medi-vaced out of the country. I’ve been kind of nervous about this summer and now I am kind of relieved that something has gone incredibly sideways, superstitiously hoping this means the rest of the trip will be a dream.