Are we allowed to indulge in a little fantasy time on holiday?
Mykonos is not the destination for Beluga whale impersonators. Wobbly tummies and cellulite as scarce as rain. So I guess getting a topless tan is out of the question, something my son has made me promise to refrain from no matter how much Ouzo I may consume on the beach.
The sun has changed my life and as I write this even the skin has come out to play, turning a pale cherry rather than my usual gecko white; and yet I am most definitely not one of the beautiful people — lithe, olive-skinned with hair that does not frizz and an attitude that would make any man quiver at fifty paces. I am also past caring about it all; content to spread the kilos on the lounger and watch the beautiful people swim among the billion-dollar yachts.
Time for reading. None of that schmaltzy romantic stuff and happy endings, but a tome about farm murders in South Africa. I am a huge fan of Karin Brynard; her writing style is poetic yet direct, descriptive and captivating, and this subject is one close to my own personal experience. Farm killings are usually particularly brutal, the victims isolated – easy targets. The fallout is extensive — families that have co-existed for decades become splintered, unemployed and homeless. I remember calls coming in the dead of night from groups of vigilantes just waiting to take the law into their own hands; ‘the government will not help us’ they said. The farm radios become hotbeds of suspicion and theories. And then, it happens somewhere else, the attention fades and one simply learns to live with it. South Africa learns to live with violence.
A little like Mykonos. Not the violence, but here is a country on the edge of collapse. The scenery is idyllic but there is a sadness too. There are no jobs, no creation of wealth; Mykonos is totally reliant on tourism. For six months of the year one has to pander to travellers to overcome the winter months. Waitrons want to know if there are jobs in London and as you approach the beach, the locals are literally begging you to sit on their little space. They will offer you discounts; you can sense the desperation. I wasn’t expecting hawkers plying sunglasses and hats on the waterfront, it sort of felt as if I was back in Durban, and I know it is illegal but I kind of feel happy when someone buys a fake watch.
The reality is this: we go on holiday and along with the sunburn comes a sense of separation from the real world. We see the scenery and not the street children, spend our money on food and wine and leave. Do we need to remind ourselves all the time of the harsher aspects of life, of farm murders and failing economies or are we allowed to indulge in a little fantastical time? I am choosing the latter, just hoping that I do not arrive at Gatwick looking like a lobster.
May be a little too optimistic on this point — but I do love the sun!
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