Blue People, Red State - Winter 2010 travel blog







enjoying the beach


what a beach view

flood gate

We moved down the coast a bit to Quintana County Park, located in the metropolis of Quintana founded in 1532, population 38. After extensive exploration we can conclude that almost the entire gulf coast of Texas is a lovely collection of barrier islands, bayous, river deltas and an intercoastal waterway. The beaches are wide and many are empty. Every coastal town has tourist brochures extolling the bird watching here. Some of the birds are natives and others stop by until it's safe to go north again, rather like us. Fish seem to be plentiful and both the birds and the humans are enjoying nature's bounty here. Signs here warn us to watch for sea turtles, which makes me wonder why driving on the beach is allowed at all.

In the midst of all this bucolic scenery, it was shocking to drive through an extensive colony of industry. The town of Freeport just north seems to be a mecca for chemical manufacturing, refineries, and other unappealing factories. Large ships sail by our campground unloading raw materials and loading finished products. Two of the largest storage tanks we have ever seen loom behind the campground and beach. We were told that they contain liquid petroleum. Here's hoping that no terrorists stop by with a lit match while we are here. You might argue that such activity brings jobs and perhaps it does, but judging by the condition of the houses and little towns around here, they are low paying ones.

Surely there is a story why all this industrial ugliness is here right next to the Quintana Bird Sanctuary. Massive construction and industry don't pop up over night. I read that Dow Chemical has been here since 1939. But we do have to wonder why this beautiful spot has been invaded so dramatically. Petrochemical factories need to be somewhere, but why here? There are lots of empty spots in the desert in the middle of Nevada. Not in my back yard.

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