SUM OF A BEACH: CITY OR SECLUDED?
Despite the tools of entertainment we have invented – video games, movies, amusement parks – our fascinations with beaches remains very powerful. In the United States alone, beaches are a $350 billion industry. Why do people fly from all over the world to visit some beaches? Perhaps being close to volatile waters reminds us of being in our mother’s stomach? Perhaps, we like to be reminded that 72% of the Earth is water? Perhaps, we like to know who’s really the boss around here: the sun and the water. Without sun and water working in concert, there would be no us. Perhaps, this is our way of celebrating these godly elements, feeling the power and magic of their sheer enormity. We are vulnerable to them. So, like a grandparent, why not visit them, lie there and feel their power, drink some beer, listen to their stories and relax in their wisdom.
Like grandparents, there are different kinds of beaches. There is the grandparent that speaks a lot; the City Beach. And there is the quiet grandparents, who likes to observe and say little; the secluded beach (or “wild beach”). It all depends what you’re into. Me personally, I like a nice secluded beach. You always underestimate the amount of energy you spend visiting a country. You’re always moving, moving, moving and speeding up the time. It’s about as good as it gets when you discover a reclusive spot which appears almost totally abandoned. Though, it’s really your taste. The City Beach or Secluded Beach.
THE SECLUDED BEACH
If you desire being close to sun and water, sometimes you want ONLY sun and water. You want to hear their calming, powerful presence and eliminate the human factor (and chatter). You want to feel like it’s just you and beach. Imagine this place hundreds of years ago looking exactly like this. The innocence is intact. Us humans haven’t violated this beautiful land and with Starbucks or Burger King. You even forget those things exist. You forget YOU exist. You, water and sun become one in this great universe.
If you want to embark on this kind of odyssey, you can do a lot worse than Illha Grande in Brazil. Endless sand. Monkeys in the trees. Islands in the distance. Your blood pressure will decrease as you arrive. Civilization is nowhere in sight. You can get drunk on just sitting there. Absorbing the timelessness. Hearing the waves. Feeling the sand between your toes. You can even pluck delicious, sweet bananas from the trees.
White Haven Beach in Australia is mind melting. The sand is white, like you’re walking on sky. The beaches are endless, blending in with the horizon. The water is so shallow, you can swim in it for miles, waist deep. You see the sting rays throttling by (yes, you’re wearing sting ray suits). Aaaaahhh, you forget your own name… as the calming energy takes over.
The disadvantages would be that these places generally have no life guards, food stands, and in some cases, no restrooms (though sometimes no one around for miles, if you get my meaning). To me, this a small price to pay.
THE CITY BEACH
It can be a wonderful feeling to worship sun and water with hundreds of others who have flown, driven or ran to the same landmass. You are sharing an amazing experience. The beach experience could be last frontier that includes people of all ages, sex, race, religious and political beliefs celebrating the same exact thing. The perfect “Goldilocks” combination that makes this planet so habitable. We drink to it. We listen to music. We run. We surf. We play volleyball. We feel the sand, the water… and since there are so many people, food, drink and public toilet are available for your convenience (sometimes, when you were too lazy to pack food and drink, this is convenience you need).
The mother of city beaches must be Hongdae Beach in Busan, South Korea. It’s U.S.C. Unique, safe, and clean. The water feels like its caressing you. Beautiful hotels in the backdrop. I stayed at the Lord Beach Motel and listened to the water at night. It was perfect ending to my Japan Korea adventures. Although filled with people, they are mostly locals, appreciating their own beach, as opposed to interloping tourists like me. So, there’s a familiar feel to it. They also sell lobster, crab, octopus, and other fresh creatures.
Ipenema Beach in Rio de Janero was another great city beach experience. Again, locals vastly outnumber tourists. You just feel like these people love their beach. Like it’s their own backyard. And they not only look amazing in their own backyard, but they sell very tasty burgers. You can also buy weed, even though it’s not legal like Amsterdam. But it’s available. That’s how backyard this beach is. A welcoming beach that feels like a giant home cooked meal.
One of the advantages of not being famous is not dealing with Paparazzis. That is, a bunch of people with cameras waving it all directions, breathing down your neck. This is the same feeling we can get at a “tourist trap.” Even though you’re not being asked to sign autographs, these Paparazzi-like people can become very stressful. There are some monuments where you won’t can’t avoid this sinister monster, such as when you visit the Eiffel Tower. This is what you must endure. But at a beach, I feel like I should relax and not worry that I’ll wind up in a family video in my swimming trunks. My “Goldilocks” beach is a “tourist free” experience and the memories I have shared of city beach and secluded beach provided this in the highest order.
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