Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Mark of the Medusa

In a little less than a month I am leaving for Haiti on a work assignment and in order to prepare for this impending visit to the poorest country in the Western hemisphere I have been soliciting travel tips from anyone and everyone who has ever set foot on or around the fair isle of Hispaniola.  In collecting these nuggets of travel wisdom it occurred to me that this blog is sadly lacking in travel writing and thus tonight I am launching the first post in a series of common sense travel advise that I hope will offer the eighteen people who read this blog with some actually useful information.

I figured the best story to kick this series off with was the one that contained the most graphic photo I have of myself versus the elements and the one that paints a picture of me epically failing at employing common sense.  So without further ado...

In the summer of 2008 I was vacationing in Menorca in the Balearic Islands off the coast of Spain with some friends.  They had rented a house high atop the rocky cliffs of Cala En Brut, which is arguably one of the most beautiful coves in all of the world, and we spent a week enjoying lazy days by the seaside.

See what I mean?  It's pretty friggin' amazing.

How could you resist the temptation to jump in that water?

One afternoon I decided to take a stroll down the footpath that led to the crystal clear turquoise waters of the Mediterranean.  Much to my surprise it was around two o'clock in the afternoon and there wasn't a single soul to be found on the beach.  The weather was perfect.  The water was perfect.  And yet no one seemed to be taking advantage of this little slice of heaven on earth but me.  How could this be?  It seemed too good to be true?  Well, a half-way intelligent person would have realized that if it seems too good to be probably is.

But apparently I am not a half-way intelligent person...because I did a swan dive off the cliff into the perfectly luke warm water below.  I did the backstroke.  I did some summersaults.  I floated on my back for a while.  It was quite possibly the best swim of my life and nothing could interrupt my bliss.

Just then I heard my friend Magnolia's heavily Castillian accented voice calling out to me from the rocky cliffs.  I opened my eyes and waved at her.  She managed to snap this picture.

Blissful Ignorance

I could barely hear Magnolia shouting something that sounded vaguely like "Weenie, Weenie...hay Medusa!"  I waved back at her hollering, "Hi Magnolia, the water is fine!"  She seemed to be jumping up and down on the cliff looking increasingly concerned.  But I couldn't be sure if I was reading her right until a second later when something that felt like what I can only imagine a bolt of lighting to a cartoon character might feel like slapped the insides of my thighs.

Then I knew...yup, she was telling me there were jellyfish in the water.  I was an idiot.

I swam to shore and Magnolia and her husband Angel and some well-meaning and curious bystanders met me at the swim ladder.  I crawled up and this is what we saw...

The Mark of the Medusa

Now common wisdom prescribes that the best way to treat a sting from a jelly fish is to quickly douse it with an ammonia-rich liquid like the readily available compound human urine.  But I remembered reading a "Scientific American" article the previous year that said that urine was absolutely useless and even though it worked for Monica when Joey peed on her in an episode of "Friends" that was just an urban legend.  Whether it would work or not I declined the offer from several friendly folk who were about to spring into action and decided to just "walk it off".

So the moral of this story boys and girls is that if you ever find yourself strolling along a world-famous beach that is the playground of the rich and famous and you find that it is conspicuously Twilight Zone deserted...assume there is a good reason for it and retreat.  


Nicole Izvernari said...

I'm loving the travel blog. More more more!

Nicole Izvernari said...

I'm loving the travel blog. More more more!