Monday, December 12, 2005

Black shells, empty rooms

Down on the beach in Port Aransas, Texas, black shells are washing up with every wave. I gathered a pocketful this afternoon, walking the sand under a low, gray sky. It is warm down here -- about 40 degrees warmer than Dallas when I left the other day. I saw one other person on the beach and I walked about a mile down and back.

I'm here researching the history of surfing the Texas coast for a magazine assignment. Spent the morning with a local expert who took me through the new Texas Surf Museum. If you find yourself in Corpus Christi anytime soon, check it out. And then eat next door at the Executive Surf Club, where you can chomp fried shrimp salads or juicy wrap sandwiches sitting at a table made out of an old surf board.

Port Aransas is an island town east of Corpus. You drive onto a free ferry to get here. This morning the ferry ride was accompanied all the way across the channel by four dolphins, swimming in close formation. Arching up and out of the water, their sleek backs were just a few yards ahead of the ferry.

My friend pointed out an osprey on a telephone line as we drove into Corpus. This is where the whooping cranes spend the winter, too. Haven't seen one of those.

Life moves a little slower down here. And I seem to be one of the few tourists visiting Port A this week. In the brand new three-story hotel one block from the beach, I'm the sole guest. Just me and the desk clerk, who sounds like she has the flu. As I work on rewrites for the Phantom Prof book (another reason I'm spending time down here), I keep thinking of that scene from The Shining where the wife discovers what her novelist-husband (Jack Nicholson in the movie) has been typing day after day in the empty hotel where they're spending the winter: "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." Over and over and over again, page after page.

I haven't gotten quite that crazy.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I went to the Stanley Kubrick Exhibition at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image in Melbourne the other day, they actually have the original typewritter and the piles of type written pages next to it.

My favourite part of the exhibition were the photos of the unseen pie fight at the end of Dr Strangelove.

Thanks - Tim.

8:24 PM  
Blogger Jeff the Baptist said...

That part of Texas is quite nice, I remember going to Corpus Christi and out onto South Padre island when I was down there visiting family. Beautiful.

8:46 AM  
Blogger ponygirl08 said...

If you are staying in Prt A I would highly recommend the Fishermans Wharf. Its a wonderful seafood place...fresh as can be, if you feel so inclined you can watch them drag your fish from the ocean and cut it up before cooking it.

11:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Couple of recommendations for Port A

Shells- great food off of Avenue G by the beach

Shorty's- local bar that is good for a beer or two dozen.


9:42 AM  
Blogger AlieMalie said...

You found one of the best places in CC to eat. The Executive Surf Club is by far one of the tastier places in town. Be sure to stay clear of Water Street Oyster bar.


11:07 PM  
Anonymous Emily said...

Not sure if you're still in Port A, but the Port Aransas wildlife refuge is awesome and definitely worth the time. Beautiful scenery, lots of wildlife to be seen.

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