TIKI BARS, SAND DUNES ... AND A BIT OF GOLF
Well, okay, there aren't tiki bars at all the top-ten beach cities included in a recent Reuters survey. But we wanted to get your attention, and there are few things better in life than sipping a nice beverage under the palm fronds of a beachfront tiki bar someplace warm.
The point is that we all love looking at lists, both to confirm how smart we are to think the same way as others and to ridicule folks who put stupid things on their list. I mean, isn't that right? Every year I tune into CHUM (the AM variety) at some point on a holiday weekend and listen to the results of some listener survey just so I can hoot in derision at anyone who votes for "Seasons in the Sun" to be in their top 25,000 list of best-ever pop songs.
The latest travel compilation to come across the desk of yours truly (that would be me) was an interesting one that lists the top-ten beach cities in the world. Some of them I have to admit I would never thought of, so it was pretty cool. We'll unveil them in reverse order, kinda like David Letterman.
10 - Venice. Apparently, there are great beaches just outside the main part of the city. Folks are generally too busy taking pictures of gondoliers and churches and pigeons, so they don't go there.
9. Mumbai. I knew a friend back in college who used to work there half a year and then lived in L.A. the rest of the time. He swore by the beaches in this part of India. Sounds like a few other folks agree.
8. Sydney. Everyone knows about Bondi Beach and all that. But it seems pretty far down the list for one of the great beach towns of the world. I protest.
7. Brighton, UK. Come on. It's probably a nice beach but beaches are there because of the ocean, and who wants to go in the ocean in the south of England when you can do it in Australia?
6. Los Angeles. This also seems a little low. Perhaps we're all jaded by old stories about celebrity homes on Malibu. Or we find Santa Monica too crowded. But there are dozens of great beaches in town, including Manhattan and Redondo, plus the great beaches of Orange County such as Newport and, prettiest of them all, Corona del Mar.
5. Cape Town. Haven't been, but you can't look at pictures of South Africa without concluding this one deserves a top-five spot. No argument here.
4. Rio de Janeiro. Okay, the girl from Ipananema and all that. Great food; colourful people. Really small bikini bottoms. What's not to like?
3. Barcelona. It wasn't that warm the last time I was there, but there are some nice beaches in town and absolutely stunning ones north of the city on the Costa Brava. Good choice, and probably a surprise to some folks.
2. Dubai. Also haven't been. But it seems a little odd to reward bizarre architecture over great tapas bars and Brazilian women. Definitely in need of a recount.
1. Miami. One could argue that the LA beaches are prettier. And they are. And that in California you get sunsets, while Miami you get the sunrise. And you get great surfing in California and pretty much zippo in Miami. But beaches are partly for swimming, and anyone who ventures into the water in Los Angeles even in summer risks knows it's like diving into a glass of ice water. The water in Miami is warmer and the sandbars are great for kids. It's like swimming in soup in summer, but most of us go there in other times of the year so it's a legit pick.
We'd like to know what cities you think are missing from the list. Send a note to email@example.com if you have some other ideas.
Schmidt-Curley is a high-end golf team that designed the wonderful layouts at Mission Hills in China, where there are a dozen fabulous courses. I got to play nine of them, I recall, in the space of five days a couple years ago and my hands STILL hurt. Anyway, Schmidt-Curley has designed what they claim is the first triple-green complex at a course in Thailand.
The question, however, is why? It's a gimmick, just as double greens are a gimmick unless you simply don't have enough land to build separate greens. These guys are terrific architects and they should stick with the basics. But that's just my opinion.