Pique'n your interest 

In search of the elusive tan

It was as if Whistler had never seen the sun before.

Last weekend hordes of people took the first tentative step outdoors to taste the first real sights and sounds of summer 2002.

They were on their bikes, in their canoes, relaxing on patios, lamenting or cheering on the golf and frolf (disc golf) courses, and generally enjoying the sunny weather.

In the village eyes were bugging out of heads everywhere as Gore-Tex and fleece were replaced with skin, skin and more skin.

And it was white.

Some of it was pale white, while on others it was more of a pasty colour. Some of the skin, like my own, was of a ghostly hue.

As the weekend drew to a close, and the Frisbees, bikes and balls were packed away, people suddenly started realizing how much they had enjoyed the sun.

The proof was in the burn.

By dinner on Sunday night once milky white skin had been transformed – some to a rosy pink, others a more lobster tint, and then there were the fools who had turned a fiery, glowing, sunset red.

It was as if Whistler had never heard of sunscreen before.

Some had simply forgotten to lather up. Others were just too lazy.

But then there were those who purposely neglected to protect themselves, believing a small burn would stand them in good stead as a base for the following months.

This is a topic close to my heart. My summer memories are punctuated with the sunburns that scarred various parts of my body.

This year however, I have determined not to let it happen again. I have finally learned from my past mistakes – and there have been many.

One of my ugliest burns happened on a family trip to Spain when I was just 10 years old.

It was three gruesome weeks of walking through ruins and museums until the kids were rewarded with a trip to the Water Park.

Mum lathered us in waterproof sunscreen and off we went, but as I was sporting my fashionable bowl cut at the time, she had neglected to put the lotion on my forehead.

As soon as my hair got wet, my forehead was exposed to the hot Spanish sun.

For the remainder of trip I looked like something out of Star Trek as my forehead ballooned into a huge water blister.

In the grand scheme of things, that burn was really just a small oversight. I'd even go as far as to say it wasn't really my fault and just passed it off as poor parenting.

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