I wanted to shake up my life and go sailing (or learn on the job, so-to-speak) so headed to Florida to crew on a catamaran. This is about how it went or, rather, didn't - and my life since. Hopefully it will lead to a catamaran on the clear aqua blue waters of the Caribbean Sea, watching the sunset, a coconut rum and coke in hand. You must START AT THE BEGINNING of the blog, April 2009, to get the whole story...

Sunday, April 24, 2011


It's no secret amongst people who know me well that I have no regard whatsoever for the TSA. I feel they are a bureaucracy set in place to intimidate the masses into restricting their travel; a populace that is trapped at home is easier to keep tabs on. I don't believe they do one bit to make air travel safer. And, supposing that they DO somehow make it safer (do you know that, in their however many years of existence, they haven't found one SINGLE element that could be used to blow up a plane, yet have confiscated thousands of deadly nail clippers, explosive cans of shaving cream, and hundreds upon hundreds of the ever threatening snow globes?), the way they go about it is unsupportable. There is no lack of anecdotal reports of how inappropriate the agents behave on a daily basis. I am sure there are lovely people in the mix - I myself was patted down thoroughly by a very sweet young woman on my last trip to Palm Springs - but there are enough stories of thieves, voyeurs, and child porn lovers in the barrel to taint the whole lot.

So it is, without hesitation, that I blame the TSA for getting sunburned yesterday.

I rarely burn. I am blessed with (pale) olive toned skin that tans easily, thanks to what I believe is some Italian in my blood. I have relatives that look like they just stepped off of the plane from Rome and, indeed, the Romans occupied my native Great Britain for nearly four hundred years so it isn't past the realm of probability that a soldier got hold of one of my ancestors, either by legitimate marriage or a quick roll in the hay, and our ability to tan quickly and darkly was 'born', as it were.

When I come through the winter and enter spring with skin that hasn't seen the raw light of day, let alone sunshine, for 6 months, I use sunscreen with SPF 8 for the first few days of serious tanning sessions. Once a base tan is established, I switch to SPF 4. When searching for regulation 3oz bottles (this is where the TSA comes in) of sunscreen, I could only find SPF 35. It seems people who travel don't handle the sun very well, or so one would conclude. So I bought a 3oz bottle of SPF 35 - something that has never touched my skin before.

After three days of laying out in the sun with this stuff rubbed in, AND keeping in mind that I was on medication from the Dentist that advised NOT being in the sun or one would burn (I didn't know that as the directions were in Spanish, see post), the change in my skin color was barely noticeable. So yesterday I sat by the pool, where there is no shade after 10am, and read for a couple of hours with no sunscreen on at all (I was off the medication by now). And I burned. Had there been no stupid rule in place that limits the size of liquid containers we can bring on a flight (AND limiting said containers to what will fit into a stupidly small baggie) I would have had my usual two bottles of SPF 8 and 4 with me, and would be well on my way to that lovely dark tan by now. Instead I will probably start peeling in two days.

Oh well, the upside of this is when I fly out of here to the BVI in two days, if the TSA minions want to pat me down, my peeling flesh should make it as unpleasant for them as it will be for me.

Post Script: for those of you who are about to bombard me with comments that I should just have bought what I needed when I arrived here - I was in no shape to go shopping the first few days and when I DID go, I forgot sunscreen. And I am not so sure I would have bought it if I did remember; it goes against my grain to pay for two full size bottles, use hardly any, and then have to discard them to fly to the BVI and then buy it again there. In any case I maintain that, were these stupid rules not in place, I would have had the items with me, purchased at home when preparing for the trip, like we all used to do.

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