Chicken Corner took an in-county trip yesterday to one of those places that draws people from all over the county, and all over the world, the lovely Point Dume in Malibu, where we heard Spanish, English, Russian and French spoken amid the crashing of waves. Ordinarily, mid July at noon is not a bad time to visit Pt. Dume. I've always had my choice of parking spaces on non-holiday Sundays. But yesterday it was different world. A long, long line to the parking lot, sheriffs deputies calling out in bullhorns that the lot was full, turn around and go to Zuma (which in the heat and stress of waiting sounded like "turn around and go to hell," though I'm sure the Zuma-goers had a beautiful day once they had found a place to put their damned cars).
We held out for Point Dume because we were meeting people who were moving to Europe on a possibly permanent basis next week, so "sorry we missed you, we went to Zuma" was not an option. When we finally got into Pt. Dume's lot, we found a lively beach and warm water. An animal rescue truck passed us on the way in: we later heard it had picked up a wounded sea lion. The sheriff's helicopter took a few low turns by our part of the beach. Everyone stood up, wondering if there was trouble, but then saw the pilot waving and realized it was more of a routine social call. Rock climbers were taking lessons on the cliffs. My Swiss-American friend who sometimes dives at Point Dume pointed out where a submarine trench - a deep underwater canyon - starts just off the shoreline at Dume. Pelicans glided around in formation. My daughter had a blast pestering little blue anemones and hermit crabs.
Meanwhile, the bathrooms were both broken, doors shut, and porta-potties had been set up outside the building. The state saving money by scrimping on repairs, most likely. Dunno.
And the crowds? As our small children dug sandcastles, the adults played with theories: It was more crowded because fewer people have the money to leave the county this summer. Or Theory B: It was crowded because the summer got to such a late start and everyone wants to make up for the lost time.