Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Another day at the beach

Growing up, our parents frequently took us to Brown's Beach on Saratoga Lake. My father loved it because it was near the racetrack, so he could leave us
and go play the horses easily. When I finally came out of the Adriatic I realized how like Brown's Beach Horizont was.

Same family setting, everyone snacking and drinking, same towels and blankets and air mattresses set up in mashed, greasy grass in the shade, even, and what an odd detail to recall, the same abundance of litter and cigarette butts in that grass. Mothers had to step quickly after their kids to keep them from picking up junk and putting it in their mouths.
Despite the strong nostalgia this place brought on, this Montenegrin beach could not be more unlike the beaches of my youth.

The young people here were all carefully and specifically decked out in gender-specific uniforms of seduction. For boys: shorts, sandals, mp3 player cord around the neck, nothing else. For girls, shorts or less, halters or less and stiletto heels (When we passed a shop in Tivat with a display case full of heels Jane and I quickly dubbed it a Montenegrin beachwear store.) It cannot be easy to walk on sand in high heels.
Montenegrin women have long been sought after as war trophies and it's easy to see why. The women (this is a generality...see picture at top left) are gigantically tall and slender with dark hair and this rolling hip-flipping gait that Jane tried hilariously to copy. The men are dark giants, all buff and strutting. And more than a few wore heavy gold chains, track suits and pressed cell phones to their ears. Now I'm not saying they were all drug dealers and Montenegro is becoming a playground for rich gangsters or anything....
But the stars of this beach were the beautiful, joyful children who were everywhere. Sweet, pretty babes running naked like cherubim through a Victorian painting. I worried about pedophiles, really. "Too bad," Jane said as we watched a grouping of the cupids splashing at water's edge, "that they're gonna grow up to be killers."

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