Story time By Rida Ahmed
An Unusual Seaside Story
A trip to the beach is something everyone has written or read about at least once. But I’m sure you won’t have come across it with adjectives such as ‘boring and disgusting’ being used to describe it. But that is how I can describe the Sunday spent (or rather wasted!) with my family at the beach.
The drive to the seaside was passed in a cramped van, full of our extended family with whom I don’t have much in common. The lengthy journey was further delayed by a tire puncturing on the rocky road. We finally arrived nearly an hour later than out estimated time.
All the kids rushed to the rented hut, dumped whatever bags we were laden with, sprinted out towards the lapping waves with the sun scorching our bare feet. But we were immediately dragged back inside to be slathered with sunblock lotion, squirming under our parents’ firm grip. While being warned about the dangers lurking in the salty water, I took a moment to take in my surroundings.
The hut was basic, nothing fancy. The wooden front door opened onto a little hall, leading to a kitchenette, two bathrooms and smaller rooms alongside. It ended at a sitting room, with some ancient furniture, including a sofa upholstered with a faded flower-print design, two saggy old armchairs and a small dining-table with straight-
backed wooden chairs around it. A couple of cabinets were also present for storing food and I or other essentials. Another door, perpendicular to the similarly chipped front door, led to the veranda, with steps leading down to the beach. The golden sand and tumbling waves invited us to them. At last, having been sufficiently sunblocked and warned, we dashed across the cracked concrete floor, bumped into the white-washed walls and flung open the door.
I ran straight into the water, my sun-warmed skin instantly cooling in the cold water. I noticed that everyone else was also doing the same, except for my youngest brother. He had chosen to stay on the powdery sand and play with his sand toys instead. I zoned out; the waves splashing continuously in a rhythmic pattern were very relaxing. I was snapped out of my daze by the repulsive sensation of cold sliminess wrapping itself around my left foot.
Panicking with the fear that it might be a jellyfish, I raised my leg out of the water to see a grey-green strand of seaweed clinging to it. Utterly disgusted, I disentangled it and dropped it back in the water. Only then did I notice a green clump of the stuff next to me, and similar gigantic ones floating in the water.
I walked back to the dry sand, plopped my thoroughly-disheartened self on the ground and resolved to enjoy myself there instead. I played there with my youngest brother till we were called into the hut for a tasty, yet cold picnic lunch.
The time passed without much event. The uncles of the family played a long, gruelling cricket match under the sun, then allowing us kids to play later, only to mock us for our lack of skills.
The unpleasant low point of the day was the discovery of what initially appeared to be an innocent blue polythene bag, but was actually a half-dead, yet very dangerous Portuguese Man V War (aka jellyfish). Unfortunately, my cousin and my brother, whose bucket had been used to catch it, suffered from its poisonous touch.
This highly unexpected turn of events led to all of us being confined to the hut, a rather dull end to not-so-exciting day.