I’m in Daytona Beach for the week. A very weird place for a gulfchick.
Daytona is very foreign to me. Even though, or perhaps because, I was born and raised in Florida by natives, I had never been to Daytona Beach until I was 40 years old or so. Daytona was to my family what Las Vegas must be to native Nevadans, or what “show business folk” used to be to “decent people”.
I get over to the Atlantic coast occasionally. I’ve visited beaches from Assateague Island in Virginia to Miami Beach, but I have never been comfortable. It’s the water, really. The water is big and grey and deep and coldand has a lot of energy that is trying to drown me. Don’t like it, don’t trust it. I’ve been in the Pacific, the Caribbean – those are okay. Go figure. Don’t like the Atlantic.
The Florida Atlantic beaches also just don’t seem comfortable with who, or where, they are. The buildings right up against the dunes, the condos and hotels that are either faded and crumbling or garish and jolting. The food offerings and seaside attractions channel Coney Island, Atlantic City or the Jersey Shore (or at least how they look on TV – never
I walked on the beach this morning. Usually, this is what I do like about the east coast. Sunrises, especially really early are very cool. When the weather is good and the sun is bright behind the waves, sometimes you can see the fish inside the waves!
Today, though, it is gloomy – cloudy, gray, windy. One of those days that looks cold, but isn’t really.
The sargassum blown up onto the beach pops like bubble wrap under your feet
as you walk along. The foam blows off the waves and rolls down the wind. They remind me of the opposites of cartoon snowballs that get bigger and bigger as they roll downhill. These get smaller and smaller as they go.
The birds are much the same as on my Gulf coast – willets and laughing gulls and lots of little peeps. I did see an enormous gull that I will have to id when I get back to my books.
There weren’t many shells although on other trips to this alien landscape, I have found very cool stuff in the flotsam, like the mantis shrimp claws I found once in Ft. Lauderdale. Today I found a really pretty razor clam shell.
I have to be here for a good part of this week at a really cool conference full of very science-y stuff, so I’m going to make the most of it and cultivate more appreciation for this “other” coast. I may never be truly bi-coastal, but I’m trying to be more bi-coastal-curious.
At least the Tea Party Convention is gone.