...but so has any coastal town, at least here in Florida. No, I didn't expect the mom and pop motels to still be there (though I did see one that was closed and in the process of being demolished). Now high rises are the name of the game and tee shirts are sold everywhere! It was a relief to find that the inlet pier was within a small state park area so still a haven from the trinket mongers. Just surfers, fishermen and dolphins.
You can still drive on the beach, but no more parking close to the main pier, half the fun in earlier years. The pier itself has been covered with some concrete looking material and first you pass two stands selling shell necklaces, then a long bar, then a huge I WAS IN FLORIDA shop. It costs six bucks to walk on out on the pier (or be wheeled, in my case). No thanks. It cost six bucks just to drive onto the beach, something that used to be free.
I kept seeing the old, sleepy beach town that was so beautiful, buried under this rubble of wealthy people and curators, making money off of a view of the surf.
The trip was good, though. I saw one thing each day and then slept for two hours after. It was wonderful seeing my friend and watching dawn over the ocean from our balcony each morning. Even my throat, a long standing problem, was better for breathing the sea air day and night. As a bonus, as you many have seen in the post earlier, we saw the Endeavor go up from our balcony, so close we could see the boosters fall off into the ocean. THAT was exciting.
A taste of the trip in photos follows (Click to see more clearly).
We were on the south end of Crabby Joe's in the 'white' condo just north of the Crabby Joe's pier (the building was actually pink)
This is Crabby Joe's!
me and my chair in front of the main building on the pier
Sunrise from our condo
My friend, Margie, and me on the Inlet dock
Taken from the inlet dock with the Ponce de Leon lighthouse in the background, the tallest lighthouse in Florida.
I've also been compiling what I hope will be a chapbook of my 77 sailing trip from Boston to Florida and this is my poem about Daytona from this series.
Me, on this same beach earlier, sandwiched
in time between Blackboard Jungle and the Beatles,
kissing my college boyfriend. Before that,
the jackal lifeguard, baiting his two-roomed trap
with The Four Freshmen, sand crunching beneath our feet,
hoping to snatch my most sacred possession.
You never forget your first, he whispers.
The beach is unchanged…yellow, pink, blue
two-story motels squat along the shoreline,
garlands for us and the breaking sea.
Cars cuddle near the pier, radios blaring.
The tide pulls back, leaving its mark on shore.
Dave, Margaret, the man-lover I travel with,
and I walk down to toe the water.
Four crabs testing the surf.
Dave makes a joke
and laughter cracks open my shell.
I know suddenly I have what I need.
My little boat.
My chest tossing sonic booms over the ocean I love.
This day, so beautiful it could break your heart.
(Since this poem is part of a series, the names in the poem and the man who is a dissipating love are made clear in lognotes and earlier poems)