catching the last summer sun

the last sunday of september and the summer has ended at last. yesterday, when i went up to kyoto with shion, my daughter who is staying with me at the moment, i admitted to that. as our climate had become mediterranean-ish in september, i was hoping it’d last longer than this. last wednesday was still sizzling. pity. it could’ve tanned my skin more brown.

no women (over thirty) in japan dares be sunning herself anymore, though. the uv rays are our worst enemy, obviously. in summer, many japanese women wear a pair of long black (sometimes white) gloves. like the pair of audrey hepburn in little black dress from “breakfast at the tiffany’s”? yes, almost. but they don’t cover whole fingers. wearing long black gloves seemed so weird to me the first summer since i’d returned from my exile: i had no clue to why they were wearing them in such heat.

the reason is because japanese women are extremely cautious about increasing in wrinkles and freckles. but, why black? the colour that absorbs the heat? they might be enjoying audrey’s image, as we have no place except for funerals to go in a little black dress, perhaps. athough i sill can’t adopt those long black gloves, i still tend to wear black more often than any other colours no matter when black is out of vogue. een in the heat, id wear black.

i recall that in the burning afternoon sun i was wearing all black from my toes to head, being soaked with perspiration after my visit to the ruins of solunto in santa flavia, sicilia, years ago. the roman remnants are located on the slope of monte catalfano. the view of capo zafferano from the hilltop was breathtaking. so it was worth the sweat. once conquering “the mountaintop”, i evacuated quickly, walking through vineyards and a fishing village, headinng back for my hotel, kafara, at sant’elia.

sicilia was lovely. it had been among my must-go on holiday destinations while living in london. late september looked possibly the best holiday season to me. as it happened, there were fewer holidaymakers and the cost was cheaper than its peak period, yet it was hot enough to enjoy a dip in the mediterranean sea. i never hesitated to get a fashionable tan after having a miserably wet english summer.

looking into the mirror now, i regret that a little bit, though. but if i had been overprotective from the sunlight, i couldn’t have had those blissful moments of feeling the sea breeze tickling my skin, not alone floating in the crystal clear water of sant’elia, the village, located some 20km east of palermo, is used to be the country retreat of the aristocracy. after several days of exploring the neighbourhood, i felt like seeing some modern part of sicilia.

one day, i got on a local bus to palermo. taking local transport is always fun and i love watching what their everyday life is like. however, returning from palermo felt much longer and bus drivers didn’t understand english. i got worried whether it was a right bus for sant’elia or not. in fact, the bus route was slightly different from the palermo-bound. luckily, there was a high school girl who spoke english. she and i were the last passengers as the bus approached sant’elia. when i got off the bus, she showed me the way back to my hotel in the dark.
next day, i joined the-shared-taxi-rides to cefalù with other fellow british holidaymakers on the same package holiday. in cefalù i challenged the steep climb to the ruins of tempio di diana along with three other youngish guys, while the majority of us enjoyed cafés and shops. the whole site of the ruins was not that impressive, actually. but again, the cast view from la rocca (the massive crag) was quite something. the sunny skies and the blue sea satiated my soul. what else would i need in sicilia?

bad extra melanin in my skin cells was active this september too, but i just couldn’t miss this best season for being in the sun, reliving my mediterranean experiences.

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