I’m from a country (Denmark) where a nice hot and rare summer is around 25 degrees (approx. 77 Fahrenheit). If we get those kind of temperatures, then it normally only lasts 2-3 days. If we get more than 18 degrees we put on shorts, no t-shirt and run to the beaches. In Ireland we were lucky if we had 20 degrees, and that would be considered a scorcher. Most people in both Ireland and Denmark would get burnt red within a few hours, sore to the touch and the skin would be heating up all night.
I’m still not sure why the Irish always give out about not having a summer and roasting temperatures. The island is part of Northern Europe and is the last speed bump before hitting the Atlantic ocean. There’s a reason it’s called the Green or Emerald Isle – rain is part of the norm. In fact Ireland has two seasons; rain and more rain!
So, when we moved to the US, to a region that actually has four seasons with temperature ranging from -12 (10F) to +40 (104F) degrees, it would obviously come with it’s pain points.
My brain thinks that my body and skin can handle the sun, so with the slightest increase in sun beams and rising temperatures, I walk around in my manly and awesome white tank top. The sun can’t touch me!
A few days ago, we decided to visit the local beach. The weather had “finally” improved and we were expecting temperatures above 30+ (86+F) and clear blue skies. And, we hadn’t actually seen or visited any of the “local” beaches since arriving two years ago, so what better way to celebrate our US anniversary?
The “local” beach is about 1h 45 min drive from the house. I’m sure there are beaches a little closer, but the we ventured towards Sandy Hook. About 28 minutes into the drive the kids started asking “are we there yet?” which is not annoying, especially when you are stuck in traffic (queueing) with 5000 other cars going to the beach! I suppose that being 4th of July weekend didn’t help either, and most families wanted to show their support to Jersey Shores after it got devastated by Hurricane Sandy.
Two hours after leaving the hours, we finally arrived at the white beaches of Sandy Hook. Wow, why didn’t we visit this place earlier?
We unpacked the mini-bus and I quickly turned into the local donkey carrying two adult beach chairs, cooler, two kids’ beach chairs, beach parasol and of course holding hands with the tiniest of the clan. It was already 30 degrees (86F) and, as you can imagine, sweat was pouring off my body as if I was covered with mini sprinklers, spraying kids and other people as we headed towards to ocean.
I huffed and puffed my way towards the spot I had targeted and as I arrived I started to unload, only to be told by the missus that we should go a bit further. The beach was covered with people, beach parasols, buckets, screaming kids, sun screen odours and the faint scent of fried human flesh.
The next 3 hours were spent grilling the top half of my superior corpus, as well as my knees. It’s strange, but one does not feel the slow cooking of the flesh, and especially not when we went to the ocean to play in the waves. Not to mention the hours of fun playing in the sand. The kids loved every minute of the beach visit.
My oldest daughter, who loves spending time in the pool more than out, was dying to get into the water. I did warn her that the waves are strong, so extra care should be given … even when playing at the edge. She brushed my advice away as if I was some old granny who knows nothing about the ocean.
Suddenly a wave knocked her off her feet and she landed on her bum. I calmly asked her to get up before the next wave came, but she just brushed me away again. The second wave was slightly bigger and knocked her over from her sitting position and rolled her on the beach, and when it withdrew, it slowly dragged her with it. Then the third wave hit and she was clearly not enjoying it anymore, so I jumped to her defence and pulled her up, and she was now covered in sand top to toe.
It took her a while to get back into the water and she had clearly been surprised by the strength of the ocean. I saw it as an excellent learning exercise as it gave her more respect for the ocean.
After 3 hours of grilling we started to head back to the car – me dragging chairs, cooler and beach parasol + a few tired kids. It was a loooong walk back to the car. Thanks to the baking sun, the inside of the car had reached about 38 degrees (100F) leaving any plastic surface ridiculously hot. Nevertheless, we jumped in and headed towards our house and within minutes of leaving the beach area 2/3 of the kids were asleep.
I could feel the effects of the constant grilling on my arms, shoulders and chest; and for some reason my knees too. I had to cover myself, several times, in after sun lotion to cool down the affected areas. Sleeping while burnt is not easy!
I wonder, is this how slow roasting was invented?