Europe is now halfway through the summer season and while new government-imposed restrictions were implemented at the start of this week in France, that will still not stop most of the people to enjoy the warm weather to soak up under the sun, enjoy the school holidays and be with family and friends. I always say this in most of my Instagram posts, always keep safe and observe proper hygiene and safe distancing.
Now, as an Asian in Europe, one of the things I noticed here in France was that there was not enough shade to protect us from the harmful rays of the sun. Yes, there are some trees on the streets but most of the time, you will have to endure it and walk on the sunshine. Nobody (or only a few) uses umbrella, too.
I am an Asian with a brown skin. The tan has been there since birth and I’m loving it. I could say that I have never thought about using whitening products just to meet the Asian society’s standards of a beautiful white fair skin. I also grew up near the sea and I know how to get easily burned by the sun. I’m going to start my next sentences with this disclaimer, that what I’m about to tell you is only based on my experiences and advices from the elderly. My advise to the people that I see on the beach who tried to get a beautiful tan just by lying around on their back or on their front to even it out is this: take a dip in the sea and dry yourself up on the beach afterwards. You will get sun-kissed skin as a result. Please try not to spend hours lying there. This is not good and healthy for the skin. Aside from the scare of skin cancer, you will get wrinkled skin faster. This is one of the Asian secrets, we don’t spend a lot of time in the sun, and I’m telling this only by experience and not backed by any medical articles. Personally, I love going to the beach but I make sure to have the beach umbrella if the sun is still uncomfortable and too much to handle . Even when under this shade, we can already get tanned. And while we’re at it, we can start the time at the beach with a picnic and catching up with friends, go and take a dip into the sea, go back to dry up then eat again while having another round of conversations. Or if you’re alone, just make sure you are in the shade while you immerse yourself in a good book.
Now that I have finally let it out of my system, I also have some tips for newbies like me in Europe who wants to enjoy the summer but also sun-protected at the same time.
Sunglasses. If one lives in the south of France, this is technically a must-have in your bag for most days of the year. During summer, this is a strict requirement.
Sunscreen. This is essential every day, especially now that our climate is taking a drastic turn. I suggest that you protect yourself and your skin every time you go out.
Deodorant. Guys, love your neighbor as much as you love yourself. Take a shower and wear deodorant. You will feel fresh all day, and also smell fresh.
Water bottle. There are lots of water bottles being sold today so you don’t have to buy the plastic ones. France, anyway, has a potable water. If one cannot buy, try to be creative by re-using a previously bought water from the store.
Bathing suit. It’s all up to you if you want to be fashionable with this but this one is essential when taking a dip into those beautiful crystal blue waters. I have one that has been with me for years and it used to be my mom’s when she participated in swimming competitions back when she was younger. I love its design and it’s been serving its purpose so I don’t feel the need to buy another.
Aqua shoes. There are lots of this that is available in Maxi Bazar, Decathlon, or any shoe shops or supermarkets. This is essential here in the south, especially when most of the beaches are not sand.
Picnic bag / mat. This is essential for picnics at the beach. I love going for picnics with friends. I received a picnic mat from a bank in Bangkok, Thailand when I used to live there and was not able to use it much back then. But after moving to Europe, this has become a part of the things to bring every time I go for a picnic.
Beach towel. There are lots of super absorbent beach towels sold in the shops and supermarkets right now. Choose your adventure as they have several designs for your own liking.
Dress for women, Shorts for Men. This is usually the fashion trend every summer, and I even see this being worn in the office. Yes, there are men who wear decent shorts in my office and nobody bats an eye. But being in the south of France is a perfect excuse, I guess. We’re more relaxed here as long as we get the job done, haha. This fashion for women and men will not go away. And I love wearing dresses, anyway.
Eating utensils. Try to reduce waste during picnics by investing on washable plates, cups, forks, spoons and knives that you can buy at the shops and supermarkets.
Hmmm, I cannot think about anything more for tips. If you want to add more suggestions, let me know in the comments below. Maybe next time, let’s talk about the food we like to bring at the beach for picnics. As a Filipino, we have our unique ideas on what to bring. 🙂