Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Corpus Christi

In Corpus Christi to help Secure Horizons Health Insurance open up in this market. I really like this area, which is called "Texas Coastal Bend." I've visited most areas of Texas, but must admit I've never been down here. Had no idea it was so charming - in a rugged, plain kind of way. The beaches are wonderfully sandy - perfect for walking barefoot. They are without the sea shells which cut your feet on many beaches.

There is seaweed, my friend. Huge horizontal swaths of it, stretching for miles along the tide line. I met a Texas A&M Coed/Marine Biology major. She's working as a Padre Island Park Ranger for the summer, and she was out walking for exercise at the end of her shift. We walked together for a mile or so. She said this particular seaweed grows on top of the Atlantic Ocean, between South America and Africa, then washes onto the Texas beaches this time of year. She said it gets stinky as it rots on the beach. But there's always been stiff breezes blowing, and I haven't noticed any unpleasant odors.

Met and strolled with an Army specialist on leave from Iraq. He was at the beach with his 3 month old(!) niece, and his fiance. He said the Army's techonologic weaponry and scouting capabilities are unbelievable. The Army uses only a fraction of their technology in Iraq.

On most of these beaches you can drive your vehicle right onto the sand beside the Gulf waters, then set up a tent for overnight; or sleep in your Winnebago, or trailer, or van(1, 2). I've seen many families, married couples, and lovers doing all these things. These are state parks, and their entry cost is either nonexistent, or nominal. It makes me happy that Texas has beach parks which are so nice. These parks serve a refreshing milieu of Texans and visitors: well-off, not so well-off; black, white, brown; children, adults, seniors, dogs: everywhere.

I mostly work from about 9 AM to about 7:30 PM, then I rush down to Mustang Island to walk in the lapping waves, and watch the sun set over the sand dunes. Four different nights I've sat out on the beach until I could study the stars a bit, then made the 25 minute drive back to my hotel, arriving about 10:15 PM. Its a nice life, especially for someone like me, who's barely ever lived near the ocean.

Walking in the waves and watching the stars like that, one has a strong desire for a beer, a girl, and a tent. Then another beer. Actually, then another girl, also. But now we're getting sidetracked into fantasy. It wouldn't be that hard to arrange for two beers, two girls, and a tent on the beach. But, in real life, this scene would usually be more trouble than it was worth. The girls might want some of my beer, or some other silly thing.

Went to Port Aransas on Sunday. Walked their classic wooden pier. It juts 1/4 mile or so into the Gulf. People fishing everywhere. I like to chit-chat with the children. They are very excited to be fishing. They approach their task with seriousness of purpose.

Walked the mile long dirt and rock South Jetty, which was built to cut down the ocean waves molesting the Corpus Christi ship channel. The jetty is basically a dirt road jutting straight out into the Gulf. They floated huge square-cut rock chunks out to frame both sides of the dirt road, to prevent erosion. Pretty cool. The rock chunks were about 10'x5'x5'. People fishing everywhere on this dirt and rock pier, also. Serious, focused children.

After, rode the ferry across the Corpus Christi Ship Channel, drove to Port Aransas Pass, then Gregory, then Portland, then back into Corpus across the Corpus Christi Harbor Bridge - which is nicely tall.

I'd be remiss not to mention Corpus Christi is the home of Selena, and Janis Joplin. I saw Janis and Stevie Ray Vaughan on a huge mural near downtown.

Its easy to see why Selena was a real life Elvis. This town is heavily Mexican-American, and heavily working class. Selena was Corpus Christi's girl. She raised herself up from nothing, right off the bottom of a working class town. They loved her for that more than anything. They loved her for that more than they loved her music. She embodied their dreams. She meant their dreams really could come true: Mexican girls could become famous and rich; and be respected and admired by Anglos.

A lot of working class Mexican-Americans have little practical conception of what a Mexican girl's life is like as an outstanding Lawyer or Engineer. But they understand and grasp an outstanding entertainer. That is very real to them. Very right in front of their eyes.

And a Mexican-American entertainer brings credit and honor to all Mexican-Americans. Rooting for her was like rooting for your own team.

Selena's eyes, and her face, always reflected sensibility and graciousness(1, 2). I had a gut instinct that she was a very decent girl. Makes her untimely death all the more tragic.

The nice hotel staff is taking good care of me, and I'll be back in Ft. Worth on Sunday.

Next Post: Whataburger (Baseball) Field.

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