Friday, July 31, 2009

Brighton I and II

Recently, I found myself in Brighton twice within a short span of time.

The first time was near the end of June; the Ionian Singers were giving a concert at a church there, and Teriann and I thought we'd take the rest of the day to have a look around the popular seaside town.

We started with the Royal Pavilion, a Chinese-inspired summer home for one the many royals with more money than they knew what to do with. The outside was kitschy and mostly under scaffolding,

but the inside was spectacular. We weren't allowed to take pictures inside, but the dining room was probably one of the most dramatic rooms I've ever seen: tall, deep red, and beneath a chandelier held in the claws of a massive and surprisingly lifelike dragon.

The main attraction in Brighton, though, is without a doubt its beach and the colorful Brighton Pier.

Brighton is a zany place: haunted houses and carnival rides are mixed in with tarot consultants on the pier; the beach is made up not of sand, but of smooth, cobblestone-size stones that are surprisingly comfortable to lay on; there's a large gay and alternative community in the town that is served by the kind of record shops that have different sections for 'Soul', 'Diva Soul', and 'Funky Soul' and have all but gone extinct elsewhere; it's a California hippie town where Kerouac would be right at home... but it happens to be on the South coast of England.

So when Adam was here, I suggested we take a day trip down there, and two weeks after my first trip, I was back in the ocean.

Adam found the water quite chilly!

One last bit about Brighton: anyone's visit there wouldn't be complete unless they were ATTACKED BY THE INCREDIBLY VICIOUS SEAGULLS! When Teriann and I were there, we got hamburgers on the pier for lunch, and not 10 seconds passed before a seagull swooped from behind me and stole the top of my bun! Sure enough, two weeks later, Adam was ambushed by an aggressive gull for the cup of cockles he was holding (cockles are small, tasty mollusks). Even the most wary visitors invariably let their guard down momentarily, and when they do —swoop! You see tourists pelted by the big white birds all day.

No comments: