Astral Nomads

One man, one woman, one rabbit......traveling with the stars.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A Stormy Day in Port Isabel

Oh, where have you been, my blue-eyed son?
Oh, where have you been, my darling young one?
I’ve stumbled on the side of twelve misty mountains
I’ve walked and I’ve crawled on six crooked highways
I’ve stepped in the middle of seven sad forests
I’ve been out in front of a dozen dead oceans
I’ve been ten thousand miles in the mouth of a graveyard
And it’s a hard, and it’s a hard, it’s a hard, and it’s a hard
And it’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall*

The Astral's predilection for calling down ominous weather was in full force today. We thought we'd head over the causeway to Port Isabel, Texas to see what was going on over there. Luckily, there wasn't a whole lot to see and what there was to see in an outdoor sense, we saw pretty quickly. The next wicked cold front (thanks Canada!, thanks a lot!) came roaring across the bay, from the north of course, and brought a driving soaking rain only minutes after we had descended from the tourist crown jewel of Port Isabel, the Port Isabel Lighthouse. As per many of the tourist spots we've visited, we were the solo occupants of this magnificent piece of history. The only sounds were the howling of the wind and a Mexican folk song drifting up the spiral staircase, courtesy of the woman at the entrance desk. That was aurally delightful and totally surreal.

The seventy-five spiral steps were not too bad,
but it gets pretty steep at the top. The last ten
steps are basically a ladder.

Before you enter the tower, you have to run the
gauntlet of painted dolphins. Flipper, I told you to avoid the
brown acid!

Round and round you go until you reach the top.

The outer walkway was closed for renovation but it
was still pretty cool inside the glass walls of the lighthouse.

The view from the top.

The view in the distance is South Padre Island,
not as beautiful as the foreground though. Grrr....

Hey, what's going on up there?

A sample of the 75 steps.

There's a lot of water birds around here, of course, but the
Gulf Coast for me? It's grackles.

Some joker was ready for the Astrals.

There was not a lot to see in Port Isabel but there were a few 
little open-air markets selling handicrafts.

It suddenly got very windy and rainy, so we hunkered down in
the Eurovan and listened to some Grateful Dead while we watched
the palm trees bend in the gale. 'Box of Rain' of course.

And it's just a box of rain, I don't know who put it there
Believe it if you need it or leave it if you dare
And it's just a box of rain or a ribbon for your hair
Such a long, long time to be gone and a short time to be there**

Once the rain abated somewhat, we exercised the other half of our combo ticket and went into the Port Isabel Museum. This is a small museum but it had enough curiosities to be somewhat entertaining. 

This was a replica of the late 19th century general store that used
to be here. Dig the phrenology skull on the second shelf.

This is stuff they found on the property during restoration.

Astral Wendy was wild-eyed over some of the exhibits.

One of the more unusual things was this whole chamber of
Masonic artifacts. I thought this stuff was supposed to be secret.

For example, here's some antique Masonic wall
charts that reveal all kinds of esoteric secrets. (2B1ASK1).
Also featuring George Washington in an apron.

Here's some Masonic illuminated glass. Notice I did not say
Illuminati. No I did not.

Good old Buddha. He's always crackin' up/

The Mexican Calvary had some awesome uniforms
back in the day. The rank of the dude in the middle
was labeled as "Guardian of Supreme Power".

We decided to eat back on South Padre Island because, last week
when a cold front hit, the causeway froze and they closed it. The palm 
trees were a-blowing for sure. We had lunch at an unpretentious little
place called Cap'n Roy's, which featured both seafood and Mexican
specialties.  Both of our meals were very good.

Astral Wendy had the Beef Guisado, a Mexican beef stew
which I, of course, had to sample. It was quite good, tender beef
chunks in a spicy tomato sauce, served with rice and beans .

I had the Fish Vera Cruz. Outstanding. Fish in a
spicy tomato sauce with onions, peppers, and green
olives. Also, with rice and beans.

After lunch, we headed back to the hotel to hunker down until
this whole thing blows over.

*A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall, Bob Dylan
**Box of Rain, Grateful Dead


  1. Canada says "You're welcome!" We have so much cold wintry weather that we export it for free.

    I don't think the Masons have any secrets left, do they? Also, hardly any members left either. It's kind of dying out, from what I understand.

  2. @Debra: I guess we need to share the pain. There's a lot of Canadians down here too. I wasn't sure about that Mason exhibit. Whether it was for or agin. And there were no informational signs indicating an opinion. Weird.