23 July 2007

Interlude on the beach

Yesterday my hosts and I went to the beach to watch a fire-spinning demonstration. We went around 6, unaware that once the day crowds leave, this particular beach becomes a gathering place for lots and lots of tough guys, along with their fancy cars and good-looking women. Our group spotted an unoccupied firepit and set up camp; immediately several rather intimidating delegates from the parking-lot-wide tailgate party advanced upon us, gesticulating wildly until they got into shouting range. 'That's our firepit,' they announced. 'But there was no one near it,' we said. The situation seemed tense, and some members of our group were in favor of moving on to a less controversial cooking spot, but through continued negotiations we agreed that our party would use the firepit for cooking until dark, at which point we would go looking for our fire-spinning friends, and the tailgate group would take over the area for their bonfire. Hurray for the non-zero-sum thinking displayed by my friend Leslie, the chief negotiator on our side!

Once these formalities were out of the way, we were besieged by all of the kids in the tailgate group, who wanted to know how come we were cooking in a firepit instead of on grills and portable deep fryers. They also wanted to look over our food supplies, inspect and eventually admire our attire, and show us their sand crabs in paper cups. After we finished up with our cooking, we approached the tailgaters to compliment their decorated cars and take our leave; they invited us to hang out at their bonfire and party with them. We had to regretfully decline, although Leslie handed out some business cards; the little girls in particular were sad to see us go. Overall it was a very pleasant beach picnic, although we never were able to successfully meet up with the fire-spinners.