The fruitless search for factor 30

Trip Start Feb 26, 2010
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Trip End Feb 26, 2011


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Sunday, February 6, 2011

We woke up somewhat late (well the lady did) and we watched a Planet Earth before wandering back into town. Although most of the shops were shut we were nearly out of suncream (except for the tanning oil given to us by R&E in Asia, (Erica edit: this was factor 4 oil and we still had that blue tinge so we weren't ready to use it yet). It took almost an hour in the end of mincing about going from shop to shop and finding there are two types of suncream here, low factors and high factors. Generally we could find tanning oils to about factor 6 or 8, then a small gap where the next factor available is factor 50 to 100. Ideally we are looking for about a 20 or 30, and at about 20 per bottle we couldnt bring ourselves to actually buy some. We did however need it and after giving up twice found a 'budget pharmacy' that had a 25 aerosol for about 6. We had a chocolate bar between us and a yoghurt drink each then headed for what we were hoping of the Caribbean coast, well it wasn't quite all we ever dreamed of and more but it was alright. We had skipped the holiday makers beaches (perhaps this was why) and decided to go to one of the beaches more commonly used by locals (no other reason than it was closer), with it being Sunday it was absolutely heaving we walked along the beach and as the lady cannot cope on a beach without some kind of shade we found a line of small beach shades (tarpaulin held up with sticks). There were so many locals swimming in full clothes it was kind of surreal. Also lots of 5 a side games of beach football and more hawkers than you can shake a stick at, and believe me if I had had a stick I would have been shaking it.... viciously.

Pehaps the worst of the hawkers were the massage ladies, who just won't accept no for an answer, after about 6 no's they decide just to start giving you a massage anyway and you almost have to fight them off you (we read a blog recently about a guy who got well and truly ripped off by hawkers supposedly giving him free samples (hmm a bit naive) and then when he wouldn't pay an inflated fee for all these 'freebies' he was cornered by a very large group of menacing men until he paid up).  Of more interest were the food plates and seafood buckets that kept on coming past, I did get caught out once or twice looking at the stacks of crabs or oysters that means about another 5 minutes of being hassled. I started to get annoyed and Erica's polite laughing and "no but that is lovely" started to annoy me, this sometimes led to a pack of people standing around our tarpaulin all shouting. She was given strict instructions just to say no, rather aggressively (back to Indian tactics) while I sat out the front of the tarpaulin in the sun (she sheltered in the shade). Within a few minutes however a man offered me a pair of shades for about 1, which were good, so I tried to sneak a purchase in without the lady knowing (I haven't had sunglasses for ages, cant even remember how the last ones broke, in fact I think I left them on a bus). This amused the lady no end my complete hypocracy was never in doubt when something genuinely cheap comes up. We eventually ended up buying two plastic bags of water as well, which we then struggled to drink, I don't think I've even drank a bag of water before.

We walked back to our gaff around the city walls and back into Getsamani, which the Lonely Planet beautifully describes as 'gritty and unsafe after dark', never mind that's what we can afford.  We got a few empanadas for tea and sat in a cafe with a big group of locals (it was a lot cheaper than the alternatives) and the beer was cheap here too, about 50p a bottle.  I think the sun had really taken it out of us today and aftera couple of beers we were fit for nothing but bed - so much for the endless nights salsaing the night away!  If only we can find somewhere to  do it! 
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