Crispy and well-done

Why is it that I always have to forget the sun block?

So, I found the sun. Las Palmas has been cloudy and rainy all week long, so today, when my sister flew home already and all the necessary stuff was done, I decided to take a trip south in search of the sun. And there it was. Together with a clear sky. The cloud line is approximately 30km south of Las Palmas.

Mom's friends were here at about ten this morning to take my sister to the airport. When they heard I was heading to the bus station with the intention of traveling down south, they told me to get in the car too, and then dropped me off at the bus stop on the highway, next to the airport. Three minutes and my bus came. Perect timing for I had just had time to study the bus schedules there enough to know which bus to take.

So I hopped on the bus to Faro de Maspalomas. When mom lived down there in the south of Gran Canaria, we drove around those areas a whole lot, but sort of avoided Playa del Ingles mostly, and never visited the Maspalomas lighthouse, oasis and dunes. I had wanted to go there for some time already and had planned it for my next visit which was supposed to be in July, mom being still alive, but lifedeath happened. So I went there today, alone.

It felt funny, decending to the tourist area of the island. It's been so long since I last was there. I don't feel like a tourist on this island anymore, even though obviously not a resident either. I don't know what I am. A visitor in my mother's home, on my mother's island, that she loved so much. If I lived here, I'd live here in the northern not-so-touristy areas too, despite the poorer weather.

When we reached the target, I hopped out of the bus with a dozen or so noisy tourists, and set my pace towards the lighthouse. Taking pictures of some flowers and blooming trees on my way, I admired the lighthouse towering ahead. I sat down in the lighthouse coffee shop and ordered some water and a Frappelatte with whipped cream and cinnamon. I figured that'd hold my energies for a while ;)

I sat there facing the sea my mom loved so much. Red skinned happy tourists were walking past, and a probably honeymooning couple stopped to make out right in front of me in a way that made want to shout “get a room”. Then again, probably they had one. “So use it!”

Without warning I burst in tears. A couple who walked into the café gave me some concerned looks, but didn't say anything. I tried to wipe my cheeks and my sunglass-hidden eyes, asked for bill and left.

Walking down the beach, toes wet with the waves caressing them, I cried some more. I drew a heart for mom in the sand, took a picture of it and continued down the beach with my bolero and sandals hanging from my purse, shirt inside of it – I had been optimistic enough to wear a bikini-top underneath of my top. Not that anyone would've minded if I'd gone nude, as I learned soon enough, but I'm just not quite that liberal.

I quit the beach and headed past the oasis and onto the dunes. It wasn't even noon yet, so I braved the sand bare foot until it became simply too hot to walk on. All around the dunes there were guys going commando, and I felt a bit intimidated there so far from the crowds. So I strayed away from the dunes and back to the beach when I noticed I was thirsty. I got a “nestea al melocotón” from the booth on the beach and continued walking the shoreline around the dunes towards Ingles.

When I saw this real high dune right there by the beach, I just had to climb it. I got to the top of it, sat down straddling the dune, and burst into tears again and felt like screaming into the wind. Suddenly I noticed an intruder on my private moment; some older man had appeared behind me like out of nowhere and was looking at me with question in his eyes.

I decided to ignore him and continued to let my feelings flow. After all, I had been there first! This man was not about to leave, though, without making sure I was ok, so finally he simply sat down next to me and stated: “You are not ok today.” And his kind smile and eyes popped the cork from my bottle of words and we started talking. After I had spilled my guts, I asked him where he was from and he told me Switzerland, where he'd (allegedly) been part of the couching team for Susanna Rahkamo and Petri Kokko.

What a coinsidence :) I was a huge fan back when. We went on about that for a while, and when the guy was sure I was ok, he left. I left the dune too, slid and hopped back to the beach. Another nestea from another booth, this time al mango, and I prodded along.The waves became higher and wind stronger as I worked my way aroung the bend. Yellow beach flag turned into a red one. Too dangerous to swim. Not that I was interested.

I almost walked all the way to Ingles, but half a kilometer or so away decided against it and turned my steps instead back towards the lighthouse, accross the dunes. Standing in the middle of the sandy hills, something I had never experienced before – Yyteri can't compare… – I called my husband to share the moment. I was feeling lonely and home sick, even with the sun and the ocean and the wind.

The sun was hot above, the sand below. I tied my shirt on my head to play the role of a scarf. Still, I could not cross the dunes all the way, but returned to the shoreline again when I thought my feet would burn otherwise. Little did I notice in the wind how the sun was roasting me all over, since, as said, I had not even thought about any sun screen. I had an ok base tan already, but should've rememebered that a Finnish tan is seldom enough for the sun down here.

When I reached the oasis again, I went searching for a place to eat. I was starving after all that traipsing in the sand! I had an excellent meal of Canarian cheese and a crisp grilled fish – kinda like my arms too :P – and a Bailey's on the house for dessert. Too bad for the bartender that he read me so wrong – I had no intention to stay, or return later either, for multiple drinks even if the first one was on the house.

Back to the bus stop and bus ride to Las Palmas. I am quite beat now. And sun-burned all over. The aloe vera lotion I bought from one of the beach markets cools the skin down a little bit, for a little while. I hope I manage to sleep well anyaway!

 

 

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