Saturday, March 30, 2013

Traveling: Port Aransas, Texas - A Place For The Dude

Every place in the U.S. has a Starbucks and a McDonald`s. Right? Wrong. Port Aransas has neither of them. The beach town is vacation destiny on Mustang Island north of Padre Island on the Texan gulf coast (wikipedia).

I was very surprised as I visited the place for a short vacation last week. Grown up in Germany, I am used to the guzzling and bustling at Italian and Spanish beach resorts. CIose to the beach you would find a shore front full of restaurants, bars, shops and more. I had expected that an American beach would be even more commercial.

But Port Aransas doesn`t show the commerciality of a European vacation destiny. The beach front is almost empty there, which can be explained by the high risk of devastating Hurricanes.

But even the rest of the city doesn´t look like the vacation spot of a rich country. Instead Port Aransas is very laid back and on a low budget. Many houses are just huts and shacks, you don´t see solid buildings Europeans are used too.

The ambience reminds me a bit of the movie "The Big Lebowski". The very relaxed and frugal character "The Dude" could live there. It looks like  Port Aransas is a magnet for mostly elderly people who seem to spend their retirement life on a low budget or a destiny for students and other tourists who travel with low costs.

But the place is interesting anyway.  A lot of buildings are pile constructions like the historical crannogs (wikipedia). You are less likely to get your feet wet when the next tropical storm floods your neighborhood.

And there is more to see. There are a lot of pelicans and other birds on the beach. And in the nearby Aransas National Wildlife Refuge ( you could come across alligators who seem to be perfectly adapted to the laid back southern life style of this area.

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