We're heading into our local winter, which is, paradoxically for a little boy from the snows of northern Pennsylvania, when we spend the most time outdoors. We revel in four or five months of weather that makes San Diego look like Seattle, a long unbroken series of perfect 82° degree days, followed by lovely cool evenings.
The horrid hum of the air-conditioners is silenced, and over at the Villa Muscato we can take advantage of the tall french windows in our upstairs sitting room (yes, we are prime examples of the motto so many foreigners out here seem to live by, in one way or another: Expatriates - Living Beyond Our Means Since 1999), the long white curtains drifting lazily in a breeze that meets every stereotype of the jasmine-scented Mystical East.
And the beaches! Long stretches of shell-laden sand, warm clear water, and the only downside the occasional attention of locals and Indian expats fascinated by people who choose to show scandalous parts of their bodies (like elbows and knees) in public. We go out in stately convoy, bearing vast mats, vaster umbrellas, grills, coolers full of marinating kebabs and lovely iced bottles in which we will marinate and even, if we're feeling especially trashily hedonistic, a genuine, in-the-flesh houseboy (see motto, above).
All of which is to say that we are also heading into major, major sun damage season. You wake up one morning in February and what yesterday seemed a golden Coppertone glow is today just another eight hours toward the final conversion of a once boyish complexion into Rich Corinthian Leather. Once upon a time I remember reflecting, as I worked the mirror getting ready to go out one mid-eighties night (non-ironic Go-Gos or Bananarama blasting on the stereo), how interesting it would be someday to have wrinkles.
It's not. And I've gotta start investing more heavily in sunscreen.