>I’ve been watching clips online of Hurricane Ike bearing down on Galveston, TX. This stuff is always more compelling to me when it involves a place I’ve actually visited. Last February I was in Houston for work and wrapped up with a few hours to spare. I took the opportunity to drive down to Galveston so that I could see the Gulf of Mexico.
It was a beautiful day out, 70 degrees; compared to what it was like in Missoula at that time, it was a welcome respite from winter. I drove straight to the opposite side where I could see the wide open gulf.
A couple things struck me. I was actually surprised that the beach I visited wasn’t more built up. A couple big hotels, some restaurants, and that was about it. Being winter it was pretty dead, but I still expected more luxury. The other thing of note was how gross the water was. It just seemed . . . foul. Totally unlike either the Pacific or the Atlantic, at least the parts I’ve been to. I just watched a news clip online talking about all the debris being thrown up by the waves that are moving ahead of the hurricane being a hazard, and I’m not surprised.
I had a project I was working on in Indianola, FL, which is right by Melbourne, FL, a few years ago. I asked them then about hurricanes, and they just laughed it off, saying the never get them. That same year, they had three blow right through there. I went back about a month later, and most of the hotels and restaurants were shut down, most businesses had boards in place of windows, etc. Remembering that, I think of the quaint little historic downtown of Galveston and wonder how much will be destroyed. Then again, the older buildings have probably weathered storms like this before, so they’ll probably survive. It’s the new places – the cheap theme restaurants and fastfood joints – that will probably get blown away.
The ocean freaks me out in ways that nothing else does. I remember standing on the beach in Florida at night, the waves rolling in, not long after the big tsunami in Asia, reflecting. It was ominous. A family was fishing from the beach, and a teenager had just reeled in a small hammerhead shark, right from the beach.