Art, Nature, Nostalgia, Pics, Texas, Travel, Vintage

Souvenirs of Boca Chica on Padre Island

I recently came into possession of narcotics a book of paintings by EM “Buck” Schiwetz, an artist who painted the Texas landscape for decades. In the future, I imagine I will share more of his images, but I just wanted to focus on this one today and get your take. What do you think of the seagulls, the seaside shanties, the brown sky?

1950s, Culture, History, Nature, Nostalgia, Photography, Pics, Travel, Vintage

The Sands At Scarborough

On The South Bay Beach, 1952, Thurston Hopkins

At this point, WWII was in the books, and the era of photography had changed as well. More formal portraiture had made way for commonplace settings, examining the ordinary, such as these folks at the beach.

I can’t say that personally, I’ve ever seen people wearing winter clothes to a beach, much less a business suit. Even the children building sandcastles are wearing long-sleeved, button-down shirts. I guess the day was made more for being outdoors than for a brisk swim. I love these expressive matronly faces, but I also wonder if it was hard to procure sunglasses at the time. Surely, they could have used some!

In the background lies the luxury hotel called The Grand. When it opened in 1867, it was the largest hotel and the largest brick structure in all of Europe! Now, to the Americans, that’s ancient. But over there, I suppose 1867 was just a couple blinks ago–and it certainly doesn’t conjure up memories of a post-Civil War era for them.

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Myself, I don’t care for hotels–for the midnight slamming doors, kids running up and down halls, the thin walls, the questionable cleanliness (especially the bed quilts), the half-ply toilet paper, the items I have found on carpet, including both metal tacks and bullets at a certain Hyatt. But I can appreciate the architecture. And while this hotel has faced all kinds of health issues, from cases of gastroenteritis to Norwalk virus to dangerous levels of bleach in the water, the most interesting tidbit is as follows:

In September 2006, the management installed extra netting and spikes on the exterior of the building to deter nesting seagulls. The birds, which are regarded as a nuisance in parts of the town, had been disturbing guests with mating calls. Their droppings were also responsible for a significant proportion of the hotel’s cleaning expenses. (Scarborough Evening News)

Nature, Nostalgia, Photography, Pics, Texas, Travel

Starfish And Shells

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It looks like this image would make a great puzzle, but it was actually pretty odd to see all this debris washed up on the shoreline in Rockport. Most of the shells were broken, but as you can see, this starfish was still in tact. We didn’t take it, as it needed to dry out. It was wet and squishy. We actually left it all just as it was.

I’d never seen so many things washed up ashore like this. See the leopard print?

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However, it didn’t seem to bother these folks.

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Seriously, who does that? Do you ever just lie, fully clothed on the beach like that, and chitty-chat with the sand and surf riding into your nether regions? People are strange.

Shells and crabs littered the entire area.

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And there was this little guy.

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Wonder how long it will stay that way?

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Funny, Humor, Photography, Pics, Travel

SkyWheel In The Sky Keeps On Turning

view of Myrtle Beach from Sky Wheel

As stated in yesterday’s post, we ponied up the money to ride the famed SkyWheel in Myrtle Beach last week. At 187 feet tall, it’s the second-tallest extant (what is extant?) ferris wheel in the U.S. of A., after, OF COURSE, Texas. We stood in line in the early afternoon, when the wait was only about ten minutes, the time that it takes for the 42 “gondolas” (they don’t look like gondolas) to make three revolutions.

At night, it is lit with over a million LED lights, but it also costs more at night. I took this pic on the eve that we arrived. The multicolored prongs you see held some sort of bungee jumping device, from which one could hear shrill screams.

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Not being a fan of heights, I was none too eager to board the spinning vessel. But when in Rome, as they say. I couldn’t not ride it; we were right there, after all. I sat quite still on my bench, searching for non-existent handles. To my right and left was glass. Just glass. Soon the parking lot became smaller.

Myrtle Beach Day IV 015To the north, I watched the beach extend, tallying up the price of our vacation (about three month’s salary, the price of a wedding ring), and multiplying that by every figure I saw on the coastline. Myrtle Beach was raking it in.

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To the south, the sand and surf continued. And by the way, the price to “rent” one of the beach chairs? $32. Seriously. That did not include an umbrella.

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A plane flew by, advertising one of the many attractions.

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Soon we were eye to eye with the skyscrapers.

Myrtle Beach Day IV 010By that third revolution, I felt fairly comfortable in my bench, nearly certain we would not topple out over the side and splatter on to the pavement. When we finally touched down to earth again, we were forced to exit through the gift shop, where teens stood with fully-developed pictures of you and your family (taken at a green screen just prior to the ride). A poorly-PhotoShopped memento of our bodies in front of the SkyWheel, for only $25. Everyone around us declined the offer, and the teens chunked the prints into the trash. If they would just offer them for $10, they could sell more and make less litter. Too bad I’m not in charge.