screen saver.

Above: here's the beach my screen saver showed me today. Below: here's the beach I went to today. That is the beach, right there with the backhoes on it, dismantling it completely.

Note the long fence below preventing you from going down there. At least I'd only taken a 38 minute train ride to get to this wasteland. I saw one family with kids, beach gear in tow. They did not reek of localness, in fact they looked very much like they had traveled very far to get here for some reason, they were actually tearfully clutching the fence in frustration, as if they had no idea the beach was going to be totally destroyed this summer. Seems like someone would've told them along the way.

OK so it wasn't much of a "beach" anyway, they weren't really missing anything: about 100 meters of dirty sand leading to thick mud, but it is the closest "beach" to Groningen. But really, it was disappointing even for a Dutch beach. Anyone American who is roughly my age who has ever come to visit me in this country has said at some point, "yeah, there's a lot of good stuff here, socialized medicine, legal weed, beautiful womens, good jazz, liberal thinking, a society that tries to be tolerant of and help all peoples, but....yeah, the beaches aren't so good, are they."

On a good day Bloemendaal can be a lovely experience. I myself like Castricum as well. Bergen is kind of nice. Even Zandvoort is OK once you drop your expectations accordingly. And the dunes on the islands are serene and severe, in a good way. But if you've grown up with Florida and California, those are just a different kind of beach. Waves.

Anyway, I say all of this to say that Delfzijl, where I was today, was by far the most depressing beach I have ever been to in a country of really mediocre beaches. I am very sorry for you if you live in Delfzijl at this moment, I cannot believe the streets are not littered with suicides. On a tropically hot summer day, someone has decided to tear apart your sad little beach. I can't decide if it was sadder to not have been able to go to the beach there today, or would it have been worse if I'd actually been able to lay my towel down on the rocks and listen to the sucking mud in front of me and the highway directly behind me.

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