A chronicle of Alison and Ron's trip around the world in 2009-2010.

"Not all those who wander are lost"
- Tolkien

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Sun Worshipping

Ron is getting in touch with his Greek roots and is sporting a deep dark tan. First his arms and face got tan really fast but now even his once blindingly white chest is catching up after a slight burn and recovery colored it up. The tan is even more emphasized by white criss-crosses from his sandal straps. Yes, Ron actually wears sandals! And with his REI shorts and camera round-the-neck he fulfills quite the image of a tourist at large.

I’m actually getting some color myself. I have been ivory white since high school by consciously avoiding the sunrays, but was a tanned brown kid growing up in backyard pools of Arizona. I’m getting really freckly, hence my new nickname “freckles”. I even have freckles on my earlobes.

All the salty sea has helped my bite scars heal, so I’m happy to say I’m just about totally healed. Thanks everyone for being so concerned (it was quite the ordeal!) and sending all the moral support. But believe me I’m still checking those mattresses,…once bitten always neurotic.

Due to all this sun and beach activity, we have been in search of cheap sunscreen. At the nearby mini-marts, sunscreen like coppertone is like $25 a tube! At that rate we’d be home by Christmas. We found the best place to go is a large supermarket where we got a European brand for about 7 bucks.

Speaking of which I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the differences in lifestyles. I’ve always felt the excess of the American lifestyle. The sport of shopping. Having massive bags of stuff to constantly consume and replenish. Never having enough. But what I’m really struck by is the sheer selection we have. We can buy 20 types of most any product. This brings a definite burden of research and evaluation, brand wars and numbing marketing pleas, but at least you can get these things. I mean, I’m in Europe and there are things I just can’t get here. Your choices of shopping are: mini-mart, supermarket (sam walton scoffing at the use of the adjective 'super'), and pharmacy for your lotions and potions. That leaves a lot of stuff out. But then again maybe none of those things were essential to begin with.

Did I tell you how happy we are to have small backpacks? We have even left a few things on the road, mainly books. And Ron is relieved he didn’t bring extra pants in this 90+ degree weather. We keep seeing people lugging around backpacks that could fit a dead body inside. I wonder, what is in there?! Essentials people, that is our lesson to learn (one of many). In the end, we can’t take anything with us.


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