Life of SPI

These changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes
Nothing remains quite the same.
Through all of the islands and all of the highlands
If we couldn’t laugh, we would all go insane.

~ Jimmy Buffett

South Padre Island is referred to as SPI, as in Ess-Pee-Eye, by the locals, and life on this island in the wintertime is a world away from the frozen north for this Minnesota Transplant.

Having performed a little scientific research in my time here, I thought I share some of my “Eureka!” findings:

The pelicans are just a bonus.

The pelicans are just a bonus.

  • As a half-mile-wide island, SPI boasts both great sunrises on the east side and fabulous sunsets on the west.

yard waste

  • Yard waste in this latitude is quite different from what’s on the curbs right now in say, the northern states.

beach store

  • At least 23 beach shops filled with every kind of $9.99 beach tchotchke including bikinis, customizable T-shirts, beach towels and postcards line Padre Boulevard. They sport such creative names as “Mirage,” “Atlantis” and “Blue Sky.” How that many stores selling essentially the same products make enough money to stay in business is beyond me.

gulf shrimp

  • Every single bar, restaurant and beer hangout in this town offers fried shrimp on the menu. The more upscale places offer a veritable Forrest Gump buffet of shrimp dishes. Being fresh from the Gulf of Mexico, it’s all delicious. Given that SPI is a hair’s breadth away from Mexico, most entrées are served with beans and rice.

I didn’t get a picture of it, but let me assure you: The trash on this island is different from what I might find on the streets of my little Chicagoland suburb. More than once when I was walking my dog, I spied used condoms in the street,  and this past weekend, I found an empty condom box abandoned in the bushes near our condo. I’m told this sort of madness (ha, ha, ha!) completely overtakes the island in March when the spring break crowd replaces the winter Texans. But I’m not sticking around long enough to find out.

“It’s important in life to conclude things properly. Only then can you let go. Otherwise you are left with words you should have said but never did, and your heart is heavy with remorse.”

~ Yann Martel in “Life of Pi”



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