Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Beach in Un-Beachy Weather

Here’s what I have heard about Brighton.

1. It is a beach destination, but not a very nice one.
2. It is the alternative lifestyle capital of England.

So why go on a February day? Why not? I think holiday destinations are interesting on their off-season. B, A and I took the train down since H had school on Wednesday. Brighton does have a Coney Island carnival down by the water. A was begging to go down to Brighton Pier and ride rides which we shot down quickly. We spent the afternoon playing “pick up and put down” (a B phrase) in many shops as well as the standard pick up and purchase. B had a list of souvenirs in mind and I was looking for a wedding gift. We had a terrific lunch at a local Italian restaurant. During lunch after we had made B’s to-do shopping list, A made a list of the 50 states, a skill that amazed her English classmates, and we each went through marking the states we had visited. B won with 39! A didn’t do bad with 13.

For the alternative lifestyle bit, yes there are a few signs but not anymore than you might see in Soho. And the beach, it was prettier than I expected, especially on a February day. While we were bundled up in our winter coats to protect us from the cold winter wind, there was a family swimming in the water! I couldn’t believe it. One of them came out of the water and was absolutely beet red. We sat for awhile on the pebbled beach and looked at the rocks and the yahoos partaking in illegal activities with their pals before heading back to the shopping.

We had a few funny train moments on the journey. On the way down we were on a tube train that was stuttering out of the station. The conductor announced that the reason the train was doing that was because someone was leaning on a door on the train somewhere. In a very calm and cold voice he asked that someone “remove their derriere from the doors so the train could move properly”. On the way back, when it felt like we were inches from pulling into London Bridge train station, the conductor announced that someone had “fallen over on the tracks” and then got stuck in them. This was at rush hour so when we finally did pull into the station (45 minutes late) you could see the mayhem that someone’s practical joke had caused. The stations were heaving with people trying to get home.


SarahE said...

When I was in England for a semester in college, my friend and I just HAD to go to Brighton because it was always mentioned in Jane Austen novels. We did barely any research aside from re-reading Jane Austen novels. We randomly picked a hotel from some really old guide book. When the cab pulled up to the hotel, he looked back at us and then at the hotel and then locked the doors. He wouldn't let us out -- he said he wouldn't let his daughter out so he wasn't letting us out. We ended up walking around the beach and heading back. We vowed to do more research that wasn't based on fiction after that.

J said...

That is hilarious! I don't believe Ms. Austen's characters went to Brighton for the same reasons that others do in the 21st century!