Very cloud, no rain.
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Life is like that sometimes. We expect one thing based on observation, but it doesn't happen.
The weatherman said the rain wouldn't make it to the beach, so, despite my senses telling me to drive, I walked from my hotel down to Neptune Beach for supper. I wanted calzone. People told me Al's is the best pizza shop, so that was my destination.
Jacksonville Beach is very pretty, with a tranquil, almost lonely, feeling. There simply aren't many people out. Granted, it was cloudy, but I don't think that has too much to do with it. Jacksonville Beach isn't Panama City or Destin. It's a residential beach. To the south are some hotels, and the city seems to be making an effort to be more touristy. But between my hotel and Neptune there are only houses, most of which I assume are rentals.
About two-thirds of the way I pass a model shoot. It's weird. The girl is holding a surfboard and looks uncomfortable. The photographer is prettier, in all honesty, but being a bikini model is about more than looks. I walk around them.
The ocean is rough, and looks to be a little over halfway between low and high tides, so there aren't the small lakes that I experienced the day before. A mother chides her child for getting in the water, then for getting in the sand, and I wanted to ask why she even bothered to bring the child out to the beach. I understand there are times when you don't want your kid getting covered with sand and salt water. Maybe they were on their way to eat. But don't go to the beach with a five year old if you don't want the boy to get excited and start playing in the sand. My guess is it wasn't a surprise to her, yet she did it anyway. There's some interesting psychology behind that sort of decision.
It is fairly crowded on Atlantic Blvd. Most of the restaurants seem to have some sort of live music playing. Al's is packed with people, so I go back to Joseph's, which is fine with me. Joseph's, too, is crowded, but I get lucky and sit at an outside table by the door. I order the calzone with spinach and black olives, drink a beer or two, and watch people walk by as the salty wind blows my face.
The calzone is smaller than the one from a couple of nights before, but is no less delicious. I finish with an interesting cheesecake that is really hard to describe, except to say it had pistachios and cherries and was really yummy.
I don't walk back along the beach, choosing to go through the residential neighborhood. Lightning flashes off to the west, and the clouds look more menacing. The coastal breeze that kept the storms at bay have died down. What humidity existed earlier was gone, pulled up into the storms.
Walking faster, my shins started hurting. It is a chronic problem, and my flip flops weren't helping. I took the flip flops off, and that helped somewhat, but then my feet started hurting. It was a no-win.
In the end, it didn't rain. I was mad about that, because my feet ached from walking barefoot back to the hotel, all for nothing. The wifi was down again, so I stayed up watching tv until at some point I fell asleep.