Yesterday afternoon, we went to the beach. The surfing wasn’t very good, and the tide was low, but it was so very hot in our apartment that we felt it would be enjoyable. Also, since I’ve spent most of the week sitting around reading under the fan, it was felt it would do me good to get off the couch. And it seems to have done me some good. I don’t know if it was the Vitamin D/sunshine, the chemicals from my sunscreen seeping into my skin, or the fact that I’ve been back a week now and jet lag can be considered officially over, but as of this morning, I feel human again.

We went to our regular beach, which has a name (Oued Yqem) but we just call it “The Normal One” as a nod to our insane creativity. It has a river emptying into the ocean, which sometimes means a little too much trash floating around. How much is too much? Not much. I was less than thrilled, as I hopped my way over the burning sands to the cool water’s edge, to see broken glass shining in the sunlight. This beach is popular with all ages, and it’s only a matter of time before someone (I hope it’s not one of us) gets a really nasty cut.

You can rent umbrellas at this beach, I realized yesterday. Always before I’ve wondered why that insane woman wearing a baseball cap under her headscarf was yelling at me. Finally, yesterday, she gestured up at a beach umbrella. Ah, ok. And then a man came up to me and offered to rent me one. I will definitely do that next time.

Yesterday also marked the first time I saw Moroccan lifeguards. No sitting, bored, with white noses in little white towers, nor skimming up and down the beach in snazzy 4WDs for these guys! Wearing the brightest neon yellow caps and shorts, a colour so bright that light seemed to fall into it, they spent their time striding up and down and blowing their whistles. I think that was all they did–blow whistles–but they did it well. Up and down the beach they went, blowing their whistles, herding swimmers into a certain area of the water where, according to the kids, there was the most seaweed. It seemed really random. I could not figure out why certain people were whistled at and others weren’t, but thankfully they ignored me.

A man with a cardboard box wrapped heavily in duct tape strapped to his back walked up and down the sands, yelling, “Ice-cream! Ice-cream!” What a good idea, I thought. We were with my friend Shannon and her boys, and when all the kids got out of the water and were standing there, the ice-cream man came right over and stood there, hopefully shouting at us, but we ignored him. Who knew a Moroccan beach would have so many opportunities for cash?

The kids didn’t care. After the beach, we usually stop for an ice-cream bar at a little shop called “Hanuty,” which means “My Hanut.” It has a cute logo and is cleaner and better stocked than most hanuts–really more like an American convenience store. It tends to have floating prices; last time the ice-cream bars were 17dh, this time 18dh. The younger the worker, the higher the prices. We sit around on a little patio and eat our ice-cream, then we say goodbye to Shannon and her boys, get back in our own car, and head home–about a 20 minute drive.

Welcome to summer.