Sunday, August 14, 2011

Beaches- Barcelona, Buffalo, and Beyond

Going to the beach in Barcelona often meant going to a nude beach with nothing titilating about it, just a glimpse into the variety of human shapes and forms.  This served as an important antidote to the airbrushed and anemic images that constitute bodies these days.  The beach was also a busy place with vendors hawking beer, coke, or water up and more importantly, if it was July or August, more people than you thought possible, squeezed onto the sticky sand.
Buffalo- in my previous life in the US, I went to the beach in Canada but now with border headaches and long bridge waits, I discovered local beaches.  Woodlawn is a park with a boardwalk leading through a forest to the beach, creating one of the weirdest beach scenes I've ever experienced- hawks circling.  I imagined following them to a path in the woods where I'd discover a body hidden under a tree. Could be the start of another story. 
Of course there is no nudity here- even little girls wear tops.  In Europe they get away with just bottoms, as do their mothers.  No vendors, no huge crowds - I can see cultural differences; African American families come dressed fashionably and everyone in a certain age range sports tatoos.  
A beach is still pleasure wherever it is.  Other beaches flash by- the South China Sea near Melaka with poisonous snakes and a monkey collecting coconuts, Cartagena with women balancing huge bowls of fruit on their heads, and Jones Beach with crowds, volleyball and the ocean.

I discover such interesting things here (Thanks Pat for this)  Wonderful- painters, photographers and others paint, take pictures, and write about distressed buildings to bring attention to such architectural wonders.

And a poem, for nostalgia:
A Remedy of Touch

            Immediately after testing
            green bamboo for smoothness
            my hands burn,
            Quick, rub dirt on them,
            a passerby shouts.
            Jackfruit, with its flavor
            of mango and banana
            glues my fingers together
            in sweet stickiness.
            Run your fingers
            through your hair,
            urges the vendor.

But each night
            you hold my hand
            tightly across your chest.
            For this there is no remedy.

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