Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Betting on the Future

Carolina Beach is an old beach town in the midst of a real estate boom.  We’re renting the upper half of an older house on a narrow strip of land that fronts the ocean.  This particular beach runs for about two and a half miles and every third lot has sprouted a for sale sign.  The real estate lady who manages the place where we’re staying tells us that prices here have tripled in the last four year.  All the new construction is built on stilts and there appears to be a three story height limit on the waterfront.  It’s common to build duplexes and the newer duplexes are selling for 1.6 million dollars a unit.  Given the amount  and pace of the new construction, there’s no shortage of buyers. It’s also become impossible to see the ocean from the street.  To top it off, the vast majority of vehicles parking underneath the stilts happen to be SUVs.  

They do tell us not to turn the air conditioner below 73 degrees, but otherwise there appear to be a lot of people down here betting against both global warming and peak oil.  All the beach stores also sell way more Confederate flags than US flags. The other peculiarity is that during the day when the sun is out, most of the people on the beach are white.  After six, most of the people on the beach are black.  It probably has nothing to do with segregation and a lot to do with one set of people wanting to get tan and another trying to avoid it.  

The top of the strip includes an old Atlantic City section of arcades, stores selling fudge, and relatively inexpensive motels filled with people who don’t drive late model SUVs.  I’m not sure where these people will go on vacation once the developers complete the transformation of the beach front.  

A part of me wants to admire the optimism of the place.  Seven years ago, I remember seeing pictures of the effects of a hurricane off of Wilmington in which beachfront communities like this one wound up under several feet of water.   I don’t know for sure, but I imagine that some of the older homes that weren’t on stilts may have gotten cleared for these three story homes with elevators, granite counters, and tile floors.  Another part just wonders how the market manages to sustain these cycles in places like Carolina Beach.

Okay, I know I’m supposed to be out and about enjoying the sun and the ocean.  Healthy people don’t drive themselves to depression while on vacation in nice places.  Why am I thinking about war in the Middle East, Inconvenient Truths, and the replacement of coastland with strips of condominiae?  Maybe this trend of putting internet wireless in vacation homes ins’t such a good thing?  And why the heck did I bring my computer with me?


At 7/19/2006 05:12:00 PM, Blogger inkyhack said...

Put the computer down and slowly back away ...

At 7/19/2006 05:32:00 PM, Blogger Elizabeth McQuern said...

Hi, CL, I want to interview you for my "Interviews With Bloggers" project. E-mail me.

At 7/19/2006 08:23:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

However vacationing you may become, do NOT miss the Open Mike material of our Gormless Leader. It curdles the skin.

At 7/20/2006 12:08:00 PM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

spent most of the day at the beach yesterday either sitting in the sun or in the water. It helped.

I'll e-mail you, I suspect my last e-mail to you wound up in your spam filter or something.

Mr. Pogblog,
IF it weren't for open microphones, the President would never swear or take sides in disputes that don't involve the United States.


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