Strange as it might seem, I’m not a sun worshipper. My mother was and my father wasn’t immune to it’s charms when it came to lazy days upon Cornish beaches and my sister enjoyed it before her accident meant that even an English summer made her uncomfortable.
But give me a foreign sun, give me something to see beneath a sun that blazes far hotter than its English counterpart, and I’ll stand about and fry gently for several hours.
I have grown to equate an English heat with overcrowded Cornish beaches, that mad dash to the coast the moment the temperature climbs to the giddy heights of fifteen, the endless succession of caravans clogging up the roads and the fact that I can’t breathe in my local town due to the sheer number of invaders….I mean tourists.
In short, hell.
A foreign heat brings the rich and exotic, the temples and palaces and forts, the smells and sights of the strange and different. Huge rivers that wend their way through diverse landscapes where the locals walk, talk, sleep and work. Temples glimpsed above leafy canopies, shining brightly in the sun and vast statues that look down upon us as we sail past.
Landscapes of waving palm trees, beautiful lush valleys filled with tea plantations, a myriad of blooms and vibrant green paddy fields.
We all look at one another when the temperature hits 20 here in the UK and exclaim it’s too hot and yet when I’m distracted and the temperature is in it’s 40s, as it has been in Egypt, then it’s barely noticeable. Foreign heat seems so much more…enjoyable, than our own.
One of the great tragedies of this pandemic, albeit one that pales by comparison to human loss, is that we have been prevented from exploring our planet. To those of us who live to travel, who get inspired by doing so and who yearn, almost to the point of heartbreak, to fly once more, lockdown has seemed almost doubly cruel. Words cannot adequately express how much I am conscious of time passing and what I am missing out on.
I miss the sun.
I miss rising early and that first blast of heat upon my skin even if it is early morning and the temperature is restrained. I miss knowing that it’s an exotic heat beating down on me and that with exotic heat comes exotic sights and experiences, the delights of something new or even familiar to witness and partake in. I miss being chilled….in the heat.
I’m hopeful, and I’m sure many are, that one day this will be behind us and I’ll feel that sun, that special sun, upon my skin once more.
But until then, under an English sun, I’ll close my eyes and allow myself to dream, of lands both old and new and pray I’ve still got time to see, feel and experience the wealth of all they have to offer.
Under their sun.