It’s the middle of summer, so here are a few survival tips and tricks to make sure you don’t muck up on the beach this season.
The first thing to consider is what kind of beach it is that you want. To the uninitiated it may just seem like a simple strip of sand, but on the coast the beach is so much more than that. Which beach you hang out at is as important as which restaurant you eat at, car you drive and what designer label you’re wearing. So let me start with the beach rule number one – avoid the beaches west of Cabopino and Bolonia.
Now, I don’t hold anything against naturists – no, let me rephrase that – I haven’t got anything against it and at certain times and places nudity is acceptable (streakers at rugby internationals, Test matches and any female in the crowd when Brazil are playing, for example) But while it’s every teenage boy’s dream to end up on a nudist beach, the harsh reality of life is that you’re more lightly to be surrounded by German grandmothers than the supporting cast of Baywatch.
The successful day at the beach is all a question of location, location, location. You can either choose to base and baste yourself at a beach club or on the sand itself. Which is where we come onto beach rule number two. When you find that pristine stretch of sand check which day of the week it is.
If it’s Sunday, pack up and go home. If you don’t within half and hour of rolling out your beach mat, applying the Hawaiian Tropic and opening the latest Jackie Collins, you’ll glance up to find yourself surrounded by what looks like the encampment of Attila’s horded, but is, in fact, twenty Spanish families enjoying a Sunday on the playa.As well as the ice boxes, picnic tables, beach umbrellas, folding chairs and emergency kit for the baby, Spanish families love to set up camp 100m from their SEATs and then fling open the doors so they can enjoy the music from the car stereo. In the meantime, the kids will be running between the sea and their beach base camp (spraying sand over you naturally) with whatever stone, bottle or other unmentionable they’ve found.
Having decided to stay in the relative safety of the beach bar, your next task is to decide what kind of beach bar you want. You can plump for the luxurious beaches such as Nikki Beach, Ocean Club or Sala Beach, which are all full of beautiful people doing beautiful things to each other. And the seventy-year-old George Hamilton look alike on the sun bed entertaining the eastern European teenager is spending the day with his niece, I assure you. Or you can head for somewhere you can feel the sand between your toes and chill out with a couple of Mojitos – Victor’s, Sonora and Mistral are always popular.
Rule number three is always avoid doing anything energetic on the beach. Dancing is certainly out, and can be directly linked to the number of drinks consumed.And the big no-no is watersports. Rather than be dragged behind a speedboat, far better to stand at the bar watching the action. If anybody asks you why you’re not wind surfing, kite surfing or jet skiing with the rest of them, just explain that you’d love to, but you’re competing in the nationals next week and your coach doesn’t want you to get injured.
As everywhere in Marbella, you’ve got to consider what you’re going to wear. And while the ladies can effortlessly slip on a sarong and a straw hat, the beach is a sartorial nightmare for guys. Certain items of clothing on the beach are forbidden These include football shirts, shorts with your national flag on them and male thongs. Sunglasses are another tricky issue – just be sure that they’re not too big and that you don’t wear them too often, unless you fancy the ‘Rocky Raccoon’ look.
Male jewelry also has to be considered. A simple chain or ethnic necklace from Bali is fine, but you want to avoid the “Triana” effect, with half of Fort Knox nestling on your hairy chest. If you’re wealth conscious and want to make sure that everybody knows that you’re loaded, even if you’re in your shorts, go for the biggest, blingest watch you can find. It will earn you immediate fawning attention from the beach staff, and they won’t know that you brought from a ‘lookie – lookie’ man for €50.
Follow theses golden rules and you are sure to enjoy a fabulous summer on the beach. And I’ll be the one with the Mojito and surf shorts at the bar…