Across Continents

Ken's Blog

Salient lesson

January 23rd, 2011

Kicking myself. Actually I wasn’t. No need. Enough discomfort without resorting to that. I’d made it across two whole continents. Across the blazing Kazakh Steppe. Through the Gobi desert. Liberal use of sunblock. Swapping helmet for wide brimmed floppy hat. Light tan. Nothing more.

But just forty five minutes swimming in an outdoor pool. Mid-morning. Few hours later. Reddened back. Surprised – stunned even – just how quickly you can burn. I’d sensed the damage a few hours later. Nothing serious. But sufficient to make me think. Realising that, for the all sophistication of Cairns, this is the Tropics. Much of the town built on reclaimed mangrove swamps. Dense rainforest enveloping the surrounding hills.

By late afternoon I’d some heavy duty water resistent sunblock. Approved, it said, by the Australian Cancer Council. Dug out my floppy hat. Toying with acquiring a cheap golfing umbrella to shelter from the sun. Something I’d often seen the mainland Chinese do.

A chat with Rowan, the hostel’s manager, yielded some other local hints and tips. Long sleeved shirts. Liberal application of lotion each morning. Making it as much a part of your daily routine as cleaning your teeth. A salient lesson learnt.

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