The approach to South Padre Island was very reminiscent of driving to OBX, NC. The cityscape of South Padre was reminiscent of Miami Beach. Thus, I dub South Padre, “Miami Beach of North Carolina, TX”.
Upon turning onto the main road on the island, I used google maps to locate either an Anytime Fitness or a Starbucks, my go to outlets for cleanliness and WIFI. No locations anywhere close. I kept driving looking for a good turnout to park and do some island research to no avail until I had cleared the gist of settled South Padre Island and saw a giant parking lot for the South Padre Community Center. I passed a sign that said no loitering, pulled in and found a spot near the only other car in the lot, who was .. an unmarked cop. The cop waited for me to establish my parking space and pulled over to my conspicuously colored van and asked what I was doing. Unabashed, I said, “Getting my bearings on the island, looking for a place to do laundry, maybe a motel, etc.” He went into an informative monologue on local motels, pricing, and amenities and told me to stay as long as I wanted in the lot. Pretty friendly cop down here in South Padre.
I found a Motel 6 for $29.99 and got to work on responding to booking emails and communication obligations. I also researched open mic nights on the island. I found one and called to be sure it was ongoing. A man answered who told me he had been screwed and his restaurant shut down by some assholes. He started telling me way more than I wanted to know, but before too long picked up that I wasn’t interested and sadly and cordially ended the call. I found another and made plans to attend, but more importantly, it was windy!
Not knowing where to kite, I took a left onto the main road, then the first right toward the ocean and stumbled into a tiny public beach lot. I walked out to check on the wind and I happened to have landed in the spot with the only kiters along the miles of beach.
I rigged up and had a great 45 minute session and drove back to the motel, and shortly thereafter hopped back into the van to head to the open mic night. Google maps told me it was a 2 minute walk. It was literally right next to the motel. I got out and walked over.
I had a great night. I played 10 songs. There were a number of very talented players there and they formed many different “bands” and I even got to bring my djembe in and be part of a fun jam with some fairly high level players. It’s some very good music that gets played at little Padre Rita Grill in little ol’ South Padre Island every Thursday night. Joel Melton hosted the open mic and had country influence laced with blues, and maybe a hint of funk/jazz. High level player.
There was a waitress there that I was very attracted to. We hit it off. I kept my head & priorities straight, told her how desirable I thought she was with my body language and acknowledged that I’m in no stage of life to be starting romantic relationships.
When I woke up in the morning I decided one day was enough for South Padre Island. It seemed to be vastly a destination with no strong culture of its own.
I’m tired. I have a flat. I don’t know how to get my spare off from underneath the E350. So I’m waiting on roadside assistance, and need to be in Dallas by noon tomorrow. I can pull this off, but I think I will be quite tired tomorrow. Might as well take this opportunity to write.
Yesterday was a transit day. I did booking. I played video games. I rested. I steered clear of people. I got what I needed. This experience is intense and has been nonstop. Taking a day to shirk most responsibility and breath deep, helped. When I was about 15 minutes outside of South Padre Island, I thought about turning around and staying another day for the beautiful woman I connected with at Padre Rita Grill. A part of me says, “YOLO!” and another part says, “Yolo… young padawan.”
Today I got some exercise in, cleaned up, and texted my acquaintance Lorenzo about spending Day of the Dead with him and his friends and taking him up on his offer of their couch. Before I left the gym, I got a few texts from Frank of Fralo’s, the pizza place I booked for this coming Tuesday in San Antonio. The text asks if I’ll be in town tonight, they’d like me to play the Saturday gig. Given that I would be playing Tuesday for free, and I was in Corpus Christi, I asked if he could chip in for gas? He said they will pay $150 for 7-10p. When all was said and done, I made $96 in tips, $150 in pay, and he threw in the $20 for gas. I got to eat and have a drink as well.
The venue itself was a very neat picnic style very family friendly outdoors pizza restaurant. As it grew dark, the hanging lights and the spacious dining area provided such an elegant and comfortable atmosphere. As there were many families, I started my set with my original, My Family Loves Me. I also played my cover of The Fox early because kids usually like the tale it tells of the fox stealing a big grey goose from a farm. Lots of the kids wanted to dance, and many of the parents appeased their children and danced as well. Fralo’s is a special place and I’m very glad I had the opportunity to play there.
Earlier in the day I got the chance to convene with Tom Masterson. I took a PASA course several years ago to become a certified Kitesurfing Instructor. Tom was in that course. It was great to get to catch up. We both have been avidly working on building businesses, albeit in different fields, but with numerous similarities nonetheless. The learning curve we’ve been on and the sacrifices we’ve made were some of the symmetry of experience. Tom told me if I renewed my certification I could come and go teaching lessons and taking my music on the road. While I didn’t get to kite, Corpus Christi looks like an incredible spot for the physical experience of kiting. You can kite the open water chop, the smooth as glass water between sections of land, jump over said sections of land into more glass, and explore for miles. It also seems like it is still a relatively small kite scene, which means more space on the water for the rest of us. Tom is a passionate straight shooter and is the guy to see for lessons in Corpus Christi. www.361kite.com
So now I’m partway to Dallas. A day ago I was in South Padre Island. Hence this blog entry does not have the typical one destination title. SPI (South Padre Island), CC (Corpus Christi), SA (San Antonio), D (Dallas). Tomorrow I see Fanci at Saint Ann’s restaurant in Dallas. Tuesday it is back in San Antonio at Fralo’s!
On to Dallas.