My stay here is almost over and my legs feel lead: I don’t want to leave. I’ve grown to truly love this part of Texas. This last week I was based at a lovely RV park, a short way from Corpus Christi which you get to over a long causeway and a tall bridge that stretches over to Padre Island: an over 100-mile-long strip of barrier island, protecting the mainland from bad weather. It’s also home to some of the most breathtakingly beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen – and driven on.
I spent several days at the beach – although since my scary storm experience I no longer stay overnight out on Padre Island! One day I watched the surfing – which I would love to try one day. For now I’ll settle for increasing my dance spin-tolerance!
When I first arrived, I smarted at the unyielding ‘cowboy’ attitudes but over the months I’ve realized that these are the views of quite a small part of the community – although ‘the conservative party line’ is harsh and unenlightened (in my opinion!). My favourite lie dance was ‘Waltz Across Texas’ and I must say I feel quite in love with the place.
I love to dance – all kinds of dance – and country western dance music is everywhere – which is great fun on the one hand. Even youngsters like to two-step. On the other hand, I miss salsa flavoured salsa, swing flavoured swing and ballroom flavoured ballroom . I have to confess though, that much as I’ve grown to like country, I have a secret desire to plant my knee in the patriotic parts of the next whiny ‘my dog just died, my wife left me for my best friend and my mom doesn’t love me anymore’ cowboy!
Talking of patriotism, I’ve never known a people so patriotic and flags abound – often the lone star of Texas as well as the Stars and Stripes. Christianity is also big business and shrines to both Jesus and Mary abound. You can hardly see the denim in the rhinestone covered blue jeans and I lust after a pair of tooled, hand painted cowboy boots in skins I’d never heard of before – I’ve found some (far too expensive) specifically for dancing, in the most beautiful soft leather!
I’ve stayed in several areas, all within an hour of Corpus Christi to the East, West and South. I’ve traveled quite a bit, all over the world and I thought my knowledge of geography was pretty good but Southern Texas totally surprised me. It is the best kept secret I’ve come across yet! There is a wild beauty here that is absolutely stunning. The beaches are second to none – and I spent a week touring the Caribbean, so they have stiff competition.
Texans are friendly and fun and the cost of living is reasonable. All over the States there seems to be a kind of conservative/almost totalitarian speak – which I find very uncomfortable – but in practice my experience has been great. It’s a great place to escape the winter weather – in fact I think I could be happy here year-round?: Yes there are hurricanes and summer storms – rarely. We have earthquakes and freezing cold winter storms in BC. One difference is that here, after a storm, I hear tales about surfers heading to the beaches to play in perfect waves!
‘Winter Texans’ flock here every year and that season is from October/November to March/April. Whole cities of seniors own a mobile home and spend several months down here every winter. During the ‘winter season’ the RV parks buzz with music jams, old-fashioned country dances, woodworking clubs, walking clubs, pool and line dancing groups – to mention just a few of the activities. Great! There are some days when you have to put a sweater on and a source of heat at night is best. There seems to be a constant battle between cold fronts from Canada and warm fronts that come in from the Gulf of Mexico and never more than a few days of cold before you can sunbathe on the beach again and sip pina-coladas available in juice boxes from Walmart!
As March drew to a close many of the winter crowd left – in fact by March break, which saw the beaches and RV parks full of children, families and young 20-somethings. Now in April there is Easter to celebrate and a few weeks of quiet before the younger holidaymakers take up again for the summer. Inland it can be very hot and many come here for the constant breeze – or winds! I’ve discovered though that wind in the heat makes for perfect weather… In my world!