I have met my match. That's right, Kate the Conqueror has been conquered. By the sun.
I spent this past week in Tenerife, one of the Canary Islands in Spain (off the coast of Morocco). It's called the Island of Eternal Spring, because it is consistently the same glorious temperature the entire year. Was this trip a cultural experience? By all means, no. We didn't really plan for it to be, we just wanted to get tan and sleep on a beach. While we were there, it was 85 degrees and sunny the whole five days. We stayed at the Parque Santiago III, a resort hotel that we had an apartment for four in. Jordan and I shared a room, and Sam and Mike shared a room. We had our own kitchen, a living room, and a balcony with a table for eating outside. The hotel had several huge, beautiful pools in addition to the turquoise water of the sea. The sand had to be imported in from the Sahara Desert, and palm trees lined the sidewalk. Picturing paradise?
Yeah, well, paradise unleashed a heavy charge of fury upon my skin. Okay, so maybe it was a little cocky for us pasty white kids who have been living in cloudy London for months and haven't seen real sunlight in ages to assume that SPF 10 applied once in the morning would be enough to last us an entire day in the sun with a UV index of +10. And maybe when I felt my skin getting crispy and my organs slowly baking away inside the Crock-pot that is my body I should have said, "Hey, it might be a good idea for me to get a higher SPF, or reapply sunscreen, or put an umbrella up, or do anything other than lie here and ignore it for the sake of how good I will look in white and how toned my stomach will look without a single bit of physical activity after this."
Still, let's stick to what's important: I do look really good in white now, and my stomach does look instantly slimmer. I have also been moisturizing really well, so I only look like I have a severe, rare skin disease on my back from the peeling. And really, it's a small defeat if the only thing I can't conquer is the sun. THE SUN! That's a large place. I'll wave my white flag to the sun.
You'd think for a trip that was five nights long I'd have a lot to say about it. Truth be told, I don't. Every day was beautifully sunny and hot. We went to the beach, we went to the pool, and swam in each. We fried our skin (though by day three I did cave and get SPF 30 and started reapplying often... so be happy, Dad), walked around a lot, and I made dinner every night. We didn't get to climb Teide, the third largest volcano in the world (which is also active), unfortunately. Sam had a different time scheduled, and it turned out to be really expensive to get there and take the cable car up, which you had to do otherwise it'd take 8 hours just to climb down the volcano. The bus also didn't come until after our scheduled time, so we wouldn't make it on time, and therefore would have to stop 400 meters from the top. So lame. Oh well, more beach time.
I also tried absinthe one night with Jordan, and I was a little concerned with how easily the two of us finished that bottle. It really didn't affect us much at all. We stepped it up the next night though with cannabis absinthe, which did it's job slightly more effectively. If I had to describe the taste of absinthe... it's like having a mouthful of black licorice jellybeans and setting them on fire. But, hey... isn't the point of studying abroad trying things that are illegal in your home country?
So, sun, you beat me. I fully accept it though, because you did still give me a really sweet tan. Take that, Londoners. However, it does not make me any less of a conqueror.
Canary Islands: Conquered.
And you know what? I'm going to get a little conceited and take it a step further...
Because true conquerors don't need to go to anywhere in a country other than it's beautiful island beaches to claim the land in their name.