Trailer Park Nirvana image created by Stefany Kleeschulte.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Shipwreck Beach

We went to the beach. Yes, I live on the beach but the dynamics change when you actually pack up chairs, noodles, lunch and a six-pack of Tecate Light and drive to the beach, the beach that's an hour away and you're never sure you're going to get there - or out once you're there - because the road is gated. Used to be there was only one gate at the top of the road blocking entrance to a proposed housing development that never materialized. Something to do with lack of water. If that gate was closed and we were in a jeep or other four-wheel drive vehicle, we could drive over the berm on either side of the gate. Or we'd take the road before the gate and get to San Nicolas Beach that way. But now the whole area is being turned into a shrimp farm and there are five gates we have to pass through. There are signs warning that this is private property and trespassers will be fined. When the gates are open, we forge ahead. We can't help but worry they'll be closed for the return trip and we'll be stranded. I make sure my friend has her Mexican phone in case we need a boat ride off the beach.

The beach is different there on the other side of the bay. Although it has its share of plastic, beer cans and remnants of beach fires, the water seems cleaner, warmer, more of a sandy bottom with less seaweed clusters. The shipwreck adds an interesting focal point but now the wheel house is gone; the last time I was there we watched salvagers dismantle it.

The shells are different there. White puffy sea urchins and tiny tiny sand dollars, both so delicate they have to be kept segregated from the other shells. This used to be THE spot for jingle shells but they seem to have migrated over to my secret beach.

After our first sweep of the beach while the tide is out we have beers and burritos from the Sahuaripa stand in town - tortillas filled with refried beans, wrapped in bacon, fried. I'd eat anything wrapped in bacon, probably even tripe or cows' eyes. The air is warming, the water is warming, we grab our noodles and wade into the sea. A slight chill but not too bad, we're in up to our necks in no time. We slip off our bathing suit straps and let the girls get a little color. There's rarely anyone on this beach and only the occasional passing panga so I doubt anyone will see those gleaming white orbs (and, boy, do they need some color. yikes!).

We explore one more beach before leaving the housing development that never was. It's isolated, clean, a beach people would pay thousands to vacation on. We dub it Crab Beach - sand crabs scurry everywhere. There are so many it's as though the beach is moving. We stand motionless and wait for giant crabs to poke out their heads but they're too smart to venture out of their holes. They sense our presence and stay hunkered down.

Satiated with sun, shells, sand, we make the drive home, relieved the gates are open but confused as to why the road seems more washboarded on the return trip.

Back at our trailers we rinse off, change clothes, meet for happy hour cocktails then decide, hell, let's take our chairs and sit in the surf on "our" beach. Next thing we know we're once again exfoliated by the churned up sand. Rinse, change, repeat.

Later that night I sit on the sofa staring at the television. I'm exhausted and my body is toasty. I'm awash in feelings of being a 12-year-old after a day at the lake with the family. We've gotten sunburned crispy in the days before we knew we shouldn't be doing that.

It's funny how going to a different beach brings back childhood memories. A tiny change in scenery, a tiny change in perspective and I'm a kid again. Which I guess is another one of those lessons I keep learning and forgetting: change the course of your thinking and your life will follow. For a new lease on life, change your beach.

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