In a post that I published a few weeks ago, I discussed at length the good and not-so-good facts about living in the hills and the fact that I prefer it as a vacation spot. But that's only one side of the story. If nature is allowed to have seasons, we are equally entitled to have different lifestyles in those seasons, no? And if hills bring peace, calm and serenity to a vacation, the coast brings, well, pretty much all those, along with accessible party life, diverse culinary delights and the sun in full glory!
So today, I want to discuss the highs and lows of spending some time along the coast. Which coast, you ask? Any really, unless the coast of Antarctica comes to mind, and no, we aren't going to discuss that! 😅 For anecdotal accuracy, we shall refer to only the tropical coasts from my experiences.
Who doesn't love beaches and sweeping coastlines? The mildly cool breeze that wafts through the sea refreshes the soul. There is a difference between the harsh cold winds of the mountains and the caressing breeze off a coast. Think of your mother smacking you across the face versus a lover rubbing their palm against your cheek. Then there are the beaches themselves! Walking barefoot in the sand is nothing short of a cheap pedicure from mother nature. Now and then, you'll walk over some human garbage, but treat that as a scrubbing process and walk on!
Now, let me ask you one question. When you picture yourself walking on the beach, what are you wearing? Hopefully, a pair of comfortable shorts and a nice linen shirt! I pity those folks who lack the confidence or the will to get out of their jeans and bomber jacket. The best part of coastal life is the absolute freedom to wear as minimal a layer of clothing as we can imagine or manufacture! 😅
Another good reason to love the beach life is food, and I've been a self-proclaimed admirer of fish and chips ever since I had it for the first time at Windmills. And high-quality fresh fish is only one of the reasons that I say food in the coastal region is diverse. Of course, you'll get the best catch along the coast, and not someplace in downtown Chicago! Unless, you count the symbolic one wrapped in a piece of your clothing and couriered to you anonymously! 🤫🙄
Apart from the fish, accessibility is what makes the food in coastal regions so diverse. They thrive amidst ports, land connections and a constant flurry of trade. So historically and geographically, these regions have evolved their culinary science at a most commendable pace. That is also why we've got momos and pan-Asian cuisine in Goa, but not prawns balchao in the Himachal. 😋
The final and arguably the most critical benefit of the beach life is the license to drink a cold one at any time of the day, signed by mother nature herself. 😁 While the associated hot and humid weather is one of the bad things to be discussed in the following section, let's celebrate the good as well! If you haven't guessed it already, I'll take a pint of lager over mineral water ANY DAY OF THE WEEK... or night... or afternoon... you get the drift. 😋
The worst thing about the coast, without a doubt, is the weather. I know that most Europeans and Canadians love the sun and humidity whenever they can have it, but to quote Bane, and not me but the one from Dark Knight Rises - "I was born in it". So while I appreciate all the drama around sunbathing and basking, no thanks! When I visit the beach, I strictly avoid the window between 11 am and 4 pm local time. There are tons of things to do indoors during that time. You can enjoy some good local food, grab a few beers at a beach shack, or the best of all - grab a siesta. And mind you, the Indian coastal definition of a siesta can go on for as long as three to four hours. 😅
Following in closely in the second position is the crowd favourite - sand. As good as it feels to lay down in it or walk on it, you can't get rid of it! Returning from the beach is quite similar to walking out of a nightclub that sprays glitter through the roof. Even weeks later, you continue to discover residual amounts in the weirdest spot. It has been my long-standing desire to see one of those industry-grade blowers at the beach, the ones they use for entries to clean rooms in laboratories. And even then, I am sure that I'll find sand in a tiny corner of my washing machine a few days down the line. It's just magic, but I attribute it to quantum physics. If Marvel can use it to explain everything, so can I. 🤷🏻♂️
Lastly, one very off-beat disadvantage of living on the coast is that I always seem to search for those cosy moments. The coastal weather does not subscribe itself to warm fires, soups, and hot cocoa. It is not as natural to cuddle under a blanket at a beach versus a hill or a mountain. Of course, there are ways to remedy everything in this world. One can always blast the aircon to the max force and mimic the cosy environment artificially, but deep within their soul, they'd know. I've found a middle ground that mitigates this issue with coastal life to a fair degree. Instead of cuddling with your partner, have a soaking wet morning in the sea and bask in the rising sun. It's as close as you can get to cosying up with nature, ever.
I started this post by referring to the nightlife along the coasts. But the reason this is neither good nor bad is that it is highly subjective. I hop on either side of the fence based on my mood and company. The thing with parties is that you can't actually do it unless you WANT to and others around you ALSO want to!
Indeed, the ease with which you can access nightlife and the party vibe on beaches should make this a point in favour of them. But that same accessibility also makes coasts so crowded! So, while you may enjoy that crowd one night when YOU are in the mood to party, they will only be an annoyance for the other days when your vibe is a lot more chill. If I had to put this in terms of a sound food analogy, it would be this - I love Fish and Chips, and I can eat it for a few days on a trot. But offer that to me for a month, and I'll never stand the sight of it again! Hypothetical, of course. I am yet to find my saturation point for fish and chips. Our love is eternal. ✌🏼
Another ambiguous facet of coastal life is monsoons. They can be harsh, relentless and unforgiving at times. But, guess what, no tourists when the monsoon comes to town! Imagine having an entire stretch of beach to yourself! 😱 Also, the overcast weather naturally shields you from the sun and casts a pleasant insta filter over the entire region. Who doesn't appreciate a few minutes saved searching for the right filter on Instagram? Probably the developers at Instagram. 😂
The coast is a lot more versatile than the mountain. But, it also attracts an equal amount of human intervention that can become a point of extreme discomfort. The weather can be challenging and tedious, but it's nothing that a good glass of beer can't fix. They are as much a place for bonding with friends and family as they are for enjoying the ocean breeze solo. So, just as the tide rises and falls on the coast, life there also has its highs and lows.
You COULD sleep through the mid-day and operate only in the wee hours of the morning and late hours of the evening, and then maybe, just maybe, the high won't ever go down!
P.S. That's a tsunami. So it will come crashing down at some point harder than ever. Glad we had this talk! 😁