09/02/2017 08:35 GMT | Updated 10/02/2018 05:12 GMT

Why A Starfish Beach May Not Be Paradise

I've been away.

Christmas for me passed in a blur of cups of tea and throwing presents at different family members before running off the to airport the day after for 3 weeks in the sun.

So firstly happy New Year to you.

The great thing about time away for me is this:

a. Drinking a lot of Margaritas

b. Not just observing life but actually being part of life

I find that the other side of the world gives you a fresh perspective on your own side of the world.

Somehow all the things you are familiar with are brought into sharp relief.

Like the fact that what we say we want isn't necessarily what we really want.

On one day of our trip, we were told about a special beach that had hundreds of starfish all over it. We were told it was magical, a kind of paradise.

After a scooter trip that took an hour, with at least half of it on a dirt track that shook us to our very bones, we arrived.

It wasn't promising. There was rubbish everywhere.

Lining the shore were huts for the local fishermen and everywhere you could see small boats and petrol cans and fishing tackle, and the smell of oil. Alongside this heady mix were gaudy bars loudly playing music and selling touristy looking drinks (blue of course) and food.

This wasn't paradise.

Dispirited after our long journey, we hopefully walked further and further down the shore away from the noise and the clutter. Gradually, the rubbish receded like a tide, revealing whiter and whiter sand, clearer and clearer water until, eventually, we arrived at a bay about a mile from where we started.

It was deserted.

There were starfish everywhere.

The water had cleared to crystal.

This was paradise.


We sat a while. Not too shabby for a Wednesday in January.

A little while later some other day-trippers happened upon our starfish beach.

They too looked utterly bemused to have found such a gem amongst the tide of rubbish.

But as they looked around, the young lady exclaimed "but there's nowhere to buy drinks? And where are we gonna get lunch?"

They took a few photos and walked sadly back down the beach towards the rubbish, and the huts and the oil and the cocktails and the food.

Sam and I shook our heads and breathed in the smell of salt and that deserted beachy paradise feeling of freedom. The heathens.

10 minutes later, we ran out of water.

The sun was really really hot as well and there was no shade on our starfish beach.

I felt dry and crispy.

I hadn't drunk a margarita in at least 4 hours.

We looked at one another, silently picked up our belongings and walked sadly back down the beach towards the rubbish, and the huts and the oil and the cocktails and the food.

This doesn't just apply to paradise beaches either.

For example I think I'm a coconut person.

Whenever there is a drink, cocktail item on a menu that contains coconut I am like a moth to a flame. I find it literally irresistible.

And yet as my husband loudly proclaims almost always, I may as well burn £10 notes. I never like what I choose.

So I think I'm a coconut person, but really I just like the coconut ones in the Quality Street tin. This is not the same as being a coconut person.

In life, what we think we want isn't always what we mean or what we need.