I love the sunshine and warmth that it brings to each day here on the island. It rejuvenates me with every day I am here. Before I started to travel in winter, I was a sun worshiper. No, I didn’t have a secret shrine set up in a closet for the worship of some sun deity like Ra, I would simply lie out under its rays as soon as the temperature permitted it. Since summers are short in the Canadian prairies, you had to get at it early and often if you wanted to get the full benefit of the sun’s rays. Not just the vitamin D but to achieve a nice change in skin colour. For me that is pasty white to milk chocolate and in a good year with plenty of sunshine maybe a decent dark mocha colour.
Things changed when I started travelling south in February and as I got older. I started to react faster to the sun’s rays and I no longer required to work at getting a tan. In fact, I have come to believe that I actually start darkening up with the heat. Much like a roast in the oven as opposed to a steak under the broiler. I know this is not the case as verified by my reflection in the mirror but I feel that way. I now rarely remove my shirt to get sun, the darkening of my face, arms and legs are enough to make me feel good.
I watch many people here in the DR spend hours under the sun. They achieve a dark rich skin tone that when they return north after their holidays, are the envy of all their friends. But they are young and are willing to wear clothing that exposes larger parts of their body in minus temperatures. That’s not me. The most any of my friends will see upon my return are my arms and face, my shirt doesn’t come off for anybody but Honey and that’s in the dark! I’m almost 60 and have the flabby body to prove it! I am not modest, I am embarrassed! Therefore, the shirt stays on almost all the time in public. And you can forget about wearing shorts upon my return, Mother Nature takes care of that with negative temperatures for 2 more months.
The nice thing about the Playa is that sometimes there are no customers and I can have the beach to myself and remove my shirt and let the sun give me its full attention. The Playa has been extremely busy during our entire stay but such a day happened earlier in the week and I decided I would stretch out on a beach lounger and try to darken up my legs and what the hell, take off my shirt. The sky was clear with just a gentle cooling breeze coming off the ocean and for an hour I baked in the sun.
Mistake one… no sunscreen. Mistake two… exposing virgin white skin to the blazing hot sun. Do any of you remember Neapolitan ice cream? You know, the ice cream that comes in three layers. A row of chocolate, strawberry and vanilla. Standing in front of a mirror that’s exactly what I look like!! My face is chocolate brown, my chest and stomach are bright pink and the area covered by my shorts is vanilla white!! What the hell was I thinking??? My mid-section is radiating heat!! I feel like if I got too close to dry wood, I could start a fire!!!
I should know better, shouldn’t I? I’m old enough to know I am not invincible and the sun loves virgin white skin! In a mere 60 minutes it cooked my mid-section like a pig on a spit over open fire! It’s a good thing I left my shorts on or you know what would have burned right off!! Mother Nature sure has a disliking for men. In the north it gets so cold that your manhood cold freeze and break off and, in the south, it can burn to shrivelled bacon and fall off! Hey there is no need to punish me because I can pee in a bush!! I didn’t make the rules!!!
But nothing like that will happen because I am modest and that area of my body will forever remain covered in the sun and stay attached. It will remain the colour of vanilla ice cream. The part of my body that is exposed when I return home, my chocolate face and arms, will get the appropriate response from my friends. “Man, are you ever dark,” they will say. I will just smile and reply, “thanks, it was very sunny where I was.” No one needs to know about my strawberry pink mid-section, I’ll just keep that to myself.