Sunday, April 7, 2013

A Walk by the Sea

I walk on the beach every day the weather and the length of the day permit. On a recent Friday during Spring Break, I had what was for me an eventful walk.  After about fifteen minutes, I saw a bunch of drunk college kids. Two of the guys approached me in a tipsy but friendly manner. One reached out his hand and said he was from Belgium and this was his first trip to America. He asked me where I lived, and I told him I lived nearby.  He shook my hand and said he was pleased to meet an American. His friend was from Glasgow, Scotland. He shook my hand and said he was enjoying America, too. I welcomed them to America, wished them an enjoyable vacation, and walked on.

A little while later a guy flagged me down and asked me to take a picture of his group. They were foreigners, too. Possibly Portuguese or maybe Brazilians. I took their picture and they thanked me. I welcomed them to America, wished them a good vacation, and walked on.

That happens to me all the time. Sometimes when I see a Mom take a picture of  the Dad and kids and then Dad  take a picture of Mom and the kids, I'll approach them and offer to take a group shot. That usually leads to some conversation, and gives me the opportunity to welcome visitors and wish them a good vacation. I like doing that.  Unfortunately, too many residents of tourist towns resent the visitors. I'm not one of them -- at least not as long as the visitors are behaving like civilized people (which is not always the case). I love playing tourist (even sometimes in my home town), and I also enjoy greeting visitors and trying to make them feel welcome.  I see myself as a sort of ambassador for the area. It's a small thing, but it feels good to me.

Near the end of my walk I saw the largest Portuguese Man of War Jellyfish I've ever seen washed up on my stretch of the beach. I know those creatures grow huge at sea, but the ones I've seen on the beach are usually very tiny. We often have periods where hundreds of "babies" wash up. They range from as big as my thumb to a few inches long with tentacles mostly ripped off from brushing up against the sand.  This one was fresh. The sac was about seven inches long and five or so inches high. The tentacles were wadded up underneath it, so I couldn't tell how long they were, but based on the volume, I think they would have stretched pretty far. Even at that relatively small size for its species, I knew it was dangerous. However, I found it strangely beautiful as well. The sac is basically a shiny, pearl-colored balloon tinged with blue and purple like a Christmas ornament or one of those shiny ceramic balls that some people put in their flowerbeds.

A few minutes later I came across a bunch of star fish and the corpse of a huge sea turtle.

All of those experiences are rather common for me, but it was unusual to have so many of them during one walk. 

I love living by the sea!

No comments:

Post a Comment