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Archive for the ‘Nude Beaches’ Category

Hippie Hollow in February

My usual M.O. when heading out to Hippie Hollow is to get up bright and early before the sun wakes up, drive to the 24 hour Starbucks, get my chai tea latte and drive out, making it to Austin just in time for the park to open at 8 am.  This gives me optimum choices to lay my towel and the full day to enjoy the experience.

Since my trip this past weekend took place in February and the weather was determined to be only a high in the low 70s I decided to wait until the sun had maybe warmed the park up a bit.  So I took off around 9am. Of course lounging around in the morning instead of packing up completely threw me off and when I got to the 290 fwy I realized I had not only left my beer and water sitting in the fridge, but my yoga mat as well!  So my actual leave time turned out to be 9:30ish instead.

As I was leaving Houston I was happy to see that the sky was mostly blue with a few patches of clouds. I crossed my fingers and hoped this is what Austin’s definition of “partly cloudy”, which is what the reports stated would be the case, was like.  Naturally by the time I reached Austin I had a full blown gray sky with a rare patch of blue peeking out every half hour.  But I was determined.

As I was driving down the windy road to the lake I got a few glimpses of the park.  I didn’t see any bodies on the rocks or in the water, but I did take note of the random “islands” that were peeking up through the water.  Apparently the water this time of year is extraordinarily low.  I’ve gone at various times in and around the summer only to find my “usual” spot right by the water’s edge either underwater or 5 feet above water.  But this was something new.

As usual I headed straight to the park, paid my $10, told the park ranger that yes I had been there before and yes I knew it was clothing optional, and parked.  There were a total of 5 cars in the lot when I got there, and one couple was actually getting in their car to leave.  Usually I’m thrilled to have the park mostly to myself.  That day it was not a good sign.  If even the regular die hards aren’t making an appearance then it must be really cold.

I made my way down the path lugging all my belongings. It never fails to run into at least one nude male upon reaching the bottom of the stairs; apparently even when the park is for the most part empty.  At first I thought it was all a coincidence, but at this point I’m begining to think that some of them wander around by the entrance in the hopes of catching people off guard.   But by now I’m used to it, so I smiled, and went off to find my spot.

At first  he began following me, until I looked around giving him a stern glance, at which point he decided the nearest stairway was an ok place to hang out. As I passed the stairways I searched for a decent spot  near the water to lay my towel, at that point still under the delusion I might go swimming.  Eventually I gave up as all the spots near the water were gravel and small rocks.  So I settled on a nice ledge near the “gay side” of the park.

(at some point a video will be inserted here.  Fuckers on wordpress won’t let me embed from facebook)

Eventually people did start trickling into the park.  No sooner had I made this video when an older white man peeked out over the ledge above me and said good morning. I returned the greeting with a smile.  I’m always willing to give fellow nudists the benefit of the doubt that they aren’t just there to gawk.  But then he started getting chatty, and I hadn’t even finished settling down, so i plugged in the headphones and gave him a shrug and a smile with a wave goodbye.  He got the hint. I’m sure to get some sort of horrid reputation for being totally antisocial, but I don’t care.  I just want to lie there and maybe go swimming.  I go to relax not to socialize!

Of course, just as that which occurred during my first visit to Hippie Hollow, I ended up on some sort of trail that nude pedestrians used to go from one side of the park to the other. OF course part of me thinks it was the fact that I was probably the only female in the park that day. 

It started with the Mexican dude (yes, he was Mexican, I learned later on).  At least unlike most Latino gawkers there, he was actually nude (yes, every single clothed gawker I’ve seen at the park has been Latino).  He made two passbys before boldly coming right up to me plopping down and smiling saying “only 5 minutes, si?” So what could I do? 

My only compense was that by that time the wind had finally got to me and I was wearing a jacket, though he still got a decent look at the bottom half. He barely spoke English, which I thought was funny seeing as how he mentioned that he’d been living in Austin for 9 years.  Fine with me, I got to practice my Spanish and stare at his beautiful green eyes. Once he started making fun of the gays I decided his 5 minutes was up and plugged in my headphones giving him the standard shrug, smile, wave goodbye. He got the hint.

Later while I was lying there reading I heard a man above shouting down to me.  Eventually I looked up and he asked if he could come down and chat with me. Since he had been nice enough to ask, men take note!, I acquiesced.  I sat up with my back facing the ledge with the perilous 10 foot rocky drop to the lake below while he sat on a rock above me.

It all started out well enough with me kidding him about turning me in for not having my beer covered (a stupid Hippie Hollow policy I had forgotten about) and him teasing me for being a newbie. He had lovely eyes too, and I hate blue eyes! Wat is it with Hippie Hollow men and their eyes? But then he asked my profession, and I told him asking what his was. He laughed and said his was the same thing, which I knew had to be a lie (I just knew).  From there it just got kind of weird with him getting mystical and quirky. 

All of a sudden it hit me that I was sitting right in front of a 10 foot rocky drop and there was really no one around us.  I had this horrible image of him going nutso and deciding to just push me over the egde for the heck of it.  I’m sure I’m being totally unfair to him, Hippie Hollow regulars are not your normal sort anyway so I should have known better.  But at that point all I was concerned about was nipping it in the bud with my quck headphones in ears fix.  He got the hint.

Now at least you know why I bring my ipod!

Eventually the wind and the lack of blue sky got to me. It was worse when the sun would peek through warming my body, teasing me with how perfect the day could have been had it been sunny.  So I gave up. I headed to my friend’s house with my promised bottle of rum and mint. He made mojitos and frozen pizza and we talked and watched Comedy Central all night. 

He even let me look through his Playboy collection which goes all the way back to the 70s. I was pleased to learn that this whole “sahve it all off” trend has not always existed.  Since my mom reads this blog I won’t hint at my personal grooming habits.  But I will say that I long for the day that woman start looking like grown ups again.

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I was of course disappointed to leave the comfort and luxury of  the El Conquistador Resort, but I had another nude beach on my itinerary (and money to save), so I traded down to the Fajardo Inn and on my last day headed out to Seven Seas Beach, where the path begins.

I should point out right now that neither Playa Colora (see below) and Playa Escondida are “official” nude beaches.  But like most unofficial nude beaches they are fairly off the beaten track (even though both have trails leading to them) and, at least according to the Internet, seem to be known for occasional nude bathers.  Really it’s a matter of it taking so long and too much trouble for any tattle-tales to leave, find some authorities, come back, and site you that you should encounter no problems should you decide to use either as such.

This site gives a pretty good guide to both beaches, but they get the name of the second beach wrong.  It’s Playa Escondida, not Convent Beach. From Seven Seas Beach you can see the mountain/hill that blocks both Playa Colora and Playa Escondida from prying eyes:

It costs $4 to park at the Seven Seas Beach, which is a far cry less than that to get to Palomino Island.  There is (free) street parking as well. The day was a little less cloudy when I made my way to the beaches, but there were still only a handful of people at Seven Seas that day.  I bypassed the park and beach and headed towards the mountain above.

Along the way I ran into a man who was on his way back.  Seeing the direction I was headed in, he approached me and asked me in broken English if I was headed to the beaches that way.  I told him I was.

“You know, es nude, no?”

I laughed and nodded. “That’s why I’m going!”

His eyes brightened and he smiled, “Good! I’ll go with you!”

I wasn’t particularly thrilled about this.  I love being on nude beaches, but prefer anonymity and still get a bit self conscious.  Apparently there was already a nude couple at Playa Colora, but they were much older and he didn’t have much in common.  He was on his way out when he ran into me and decided to join me instead. I was even less eager when I found out he was a professional trainer and male “dancer.”  Not an ounce of fat on him:

If you are big on hiking, you can make your way around the mountain.  You will find yourself walking over mounds and mounds of hemp-like material:

Fortunately there are nicely cleared paths leading you towards both beaches.  It begins a little while after you turn the corner from Seven Seas Beach.  I missed it the first time around so be on the lookout for an unmarked path entrance.

You will run into Playa Colora first, which diverts off to your right:

Although I would have loved hanging out with other nudists, I was curious to see both beaches.  My original intent was to check out Playa Escondida and then head back to Playa Colora.  My impromptu partner didn’t entirely understand me once we got to Playa Escondida and we ended up setting up shop there instead.

The opening in the distance:

 

The beach:

 Video (es, I mispronounced the name, but only because I didn’t feel like hiking all the way back to get the correct one):

You can see the difference in sand in the photo above. That’s why I had to get two bottles.

We spent the next few hours conversing in Spanish and English, sitting in the water, reading, doing crosswords, sleeping, etc.  He jealously remarked how great my coloring was.  That’s no news; my coloring rocks! It was once remarked that many sunbathers spend days trying to get what I have naturally.  A healthy mix of genes and the occasional upkeep from the sun.

At one point he wanted me to take a video of him doing one of his routines for his girlfriend back home.  I found it slightly more amusing than sexy, especially when he faced forward and began whipping his penis around like a lasso. 

See? What other than a nude beach can you have this sort of fun?

There were a few couples who had made their way down there.  For the most part they left us alone and we them.  It helped that we had set up shop at the far south end of the beach instead of just in front of the path.  Only one couple immediately left after seeing us. According to my partner, most Puerto Ricans are pretty conservative.

As the hour for me to leave neared I told him I wanted to at least see the Playa Colora. 

When we got there the other couple was packing up in a distance.  They had found an area that was somewhat cut off from view by any visitors to the beach (just behind those rocks there:

Video:

It was actually a somewhat prettier beach.  I was tempted to spend at least a half hour there, but it started raining.  By the time I got back to my car it was actually pouring.  I gave him a lift to his motorcycle.  He thanked me with a free bottle of Boost from his backpack and we parted ways.

All in all, another wonderful day of nude sunbathing.

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There seems to be some sort of unwritten rule out there that “real” travelers avoid 4 star hotels and all the luxuries that go along with it.  I suppose it makes some sort of sense to spend money wisely and if all you are looking for is a place to rest your head then why not go for the $20 a night hostel as opposed to the $200 a night Hilton?

But sometimes the splurge is oh so worth it!

My only intent in making a reservation at the El Conquistador Resort & Spa in Fajardo, Puerto Rico was to visit Palomino Island, which I had been assured both (unofficially) through rumors on the Internet and (officially) through employees at the resort had a clothing optional beach. The bonus turned out to be the hotel itself.

I arrived later than intended after a late start in San Juan, GPS misguidance, lunch, and visiting other beaches.  So it was dark when I finally arrived and there was a long wait to get my room.  From there things went wonderfully.  I had pondered whether to visit Palomino Island, where the nude beach was,  the day of check-in or the morning I checked out. Each option gave me a limited amount of time on the beach as the island operates from 9-6 and check in is at 4pm, check out at 11 am. I probably shouldn’t point this out since I’m not sure if it’s standard procedure but the man checking me in offered me an extended stay until 2pm for free even though it normally runs $60.  You should just try asking at check-in. So I ended up paying “only” about $370 (which includes the taxes and “resort fee”).

The resort is so big that you literally have to use the services of a bell boy to take you to your room, lest you get completely lost.  We passed by several high end shops, bars (where I had a delicious pizza and mai tai later on underneath an umbrella in the rain), a casino (where I later won $5!), and a Starbucks (which is another supposed traveling no-no but screw it…I’m addicted). 

The room itself was quite a bit more chic than any hotel I’ve been to…not that I’m an expert.  But it felt delicious sleeping there, especially knowing that in only a few hours I’d be lying nude on a beach.  It was dark when I took these so forgive the quality:

My room overlooked one of the pools and the ocean:

 

I could also see Palomino Island from my room:

In the morning after my Chai Tea latte (shut up!) I packed everything I thought I’d need and headed down the tram to the catamaran dock.

The catamaran takes about 5 minutes to get to Palomino Island. 

At 10 we had to wait a bit while they loaded food and supplies up.  Note: none of the restaurants on the island open until about 11:30, and generally it’s really in your best interest to bring your own food and liquids.  I and one other guy had to plead with the bar tender to sell us bottled water early, which he generously did.

I checked with the guy in charge of horse rides to get directions to the “nude beach.”  I was disappointed when he informed me that I really couldn’t go right now since the trail was full of bushes.  I told him I didn’t care and he shrugged and pointed me in the direction of a trail leading up a large hill, making sure to point out that I was going at my own risk. Little did I know then that “bushes” meant spike infested DEATH TRAPS.  But more on that later.

This is the point at which I tell you exactly what you need to bring with you to Palomino Island:

  • Bottled water: for some reason nudism brings on the dehydration. Maybe because it’s usually such a trek to get to nude beaches, or because you have more pores exposed to the elements. Trust me…you don’t want to depend on the good graces of a bar tender opening shop early.
  • Food: not really necessary, especially if you are only sunning for a little while. But if you get the munchies it’s a long and treacherous trek back to civilization.
  • Towel: The resort offers you your own which is good enough.  Bring it.  If the bushes are as overgrown as they were with me, you can use it to cover them and push them away like I did. Plus, you don’t want to lie on the dinky abandoned chairs offered on the nude beach without one. Who knows who else had their nude ass on that very chair.
  • Thick soled, close-toed shoes:I wore these flimsy flats from Payless and one of the spikes from a branch on the ground went right through the sole and into my foot.  So make sure you are protected!
  • Entertainment: When I got there I was alone for a good 2 hours. If you enjoy the quiet and solitude then fine, otherwise you’ll get bored.  So a book, puzzle book, newspaper, magazine, ipod, etc. may come in handy.

The path up:

There was a small little chapel and altar at the top, obviously meant for wedding ceremonies.  I thought about the stories I’d heard of nude weddings and had a chuckle.  Still, how ideal would it be to have a nude wedding and then make your way down to a nude beach right there!  Something to consider should I ever take the leap. 

Making my way down to the beach is where I began to encounter trouble…in the form of nasty spiked bushes blocking the way.  It was even worse because I also had to watch my step considering the incident with my shoe. 

But eventually I saw the opening and was happy to find the beach was all mine. 

There were a few well used lounge chairs that looked as though they’d been brought there at the opening of the resort and left alone since then.  Half of them were unusable (causing one couple later on to give up and go back). But I found one that was in decent shape and dragged it away from the others.  I had heard an exchange between two men on the way in about “hiking to a beach” and had no desire to be the object of a couple of oglers up close and personal.

Clothes off!

For several hours the beach was all mine and I wandered around collecting sand, sea glass, and shells (I found a very big one in perfect condition), and walking in the water.  The water itself was not very swimmable, being quite shallow and filled with rocks.  There was another level to the beach further on above some rocks with sand that was a bright red color.  I nearly broke my ankle collecting some.  You can see the contrast here:

Later on as I was turning on my stomach a couple came down the path.  The man was holding a video camera and I think he was surprised to find me as he panned around.  I gave him a hard stare until he realized he still had the camera up and brought it down giving me a wave.  I was far enough away and had sunglasses and a hat on so I wasn’t too upset, especially since he obviously wasn’t expecting to capture me on film when he made his way around the corner.  So I politely waved back.  Something fun for the folks back home I guess. Still, it’s a well understood rule that cameras are a big no-no on nude beaches.

Of course both of them stayed in their swimsuits, but they at least left me alone.  Eventually it was nearing my 2pm check out time and I still had to get back to the mainland, shower, change and pack, so I called it a day and left the two textiled indivuals on their own.  Despite it all it had been a gloriously nude day!

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Confirmed!

Yesterday I got a call form the Conquistador hotel informing me that my credit card had not been authorized. I called them back to clear it up.  It turns out that the numbers were wrong. Problem solved!

While I had her on the phone I made sure to follow up on the rumor I’d seen floating around on the web about the nude beach on Palomino island.  I wanted to make sure this was true before forking over [insert obscene amount here] a night to stay there.  Because I sure as heck don’t care about the “resort services” that jack up the prices.

She laughed and said she had actually had to ask the head of that part of the hotel because even she hadn’t been aware of that. But yes.  Palomino island does in fact have a nude beach.  She made very sure to inform me that it was on the other side of the island away from  the beach chairs and bar.  Duly noted.

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Topless in NYC

I’m totally into nudism. However, I have this…thing about being topless.  I’ve heard that there is a vast difference between “nude” and “topless” no matter where you go.  In Europe women seem to have no problem trotting out to the beach in nothing more than a thong.  But based on stories I’ve read, they scoff at the idea of removing that last vestige of clothing, and from where it has to be the most irritating.  Here in the USA topless might as well be defined as “guys come and get your visual kicks.”   I think it’s the inequality.  Men always go topless so it’s nothing new for them.  But force them to take off their bottoms and all of a sudden the playing field is leveled.

But last week I cam across this project regarding women going topless in NYC, where it is legal.  Apparently this seems to create the same sort of level playing field I find so attractive on nude beaches.  Ah well, to each his her own.   Maybe when I make it up there I’ll actually get it and exercise my freedoms.

These are my favorite photos.  Warning: society has yet to step up to the plate regarding the nonsexualization of the female body.  So you may very well get into trouble looking at these at work.

This one Click for longish quote.  Worth it.

This one. Quote: “Don’t confuse nudity with sexuality. When you take your clothes off, you are what you are. You’re not hiding anything”).

This one. Excerpt: “A clothed woman can be far more provocative than a naked one.”

I totally relate to this one. Quote: “When you’re boobs are as big as mine, they’re like an extra pair of arms.”

This made me laugh. Quote “Breasts aren’t obscene. The war in Iraq is obscene!”

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Image by sbisson via Flickr
Image by sbisson via Flickr

You may think that my little sand collection is just a quirky way to gather attention to my travels.  But no, I seriously dig sand.  Just look at the image header…it’s all so diverse!  And really, who would use sand, probably one of the most mundanely boring things on earth, to get attention?

So imagine my ecstasy upon stumbling upon this site.  Five beaches with oddly colored sand. Three of them in Hawaii. Now you know why it was on my top 10.  The good news is that apparently one of my future nude beach travels, Pfeiffer Beach also seems to have a rainbow sort of coloring to it. Two of my favorite travel bonuses rolled up into one package. I can’t wait for Christmas!

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Image by ChickenBog via Flickr
Image by ChickenBog via Flickr

On Tuesday I finally booked a hotel to stay at in Fajardo for one night.  I managed what I thought was a fairly thorough search and still couldn’t find anything below the $200 mark.  So I sighed, sucked it up, and booked a room at El Conquistador Resort & Golden Door Spa….to the tune of $294!  That doesn’t include the taxes and “resort fees.”

Instead of bemoaning the price I decided to give it to myself, without worry!, as a birthday present.  This fits perfectly since my birthday is less than a week beforehand anyway.  Prior to getting horsewhipped financially last year (long story involving trying to sell a condo during the mortgage crisis), I used to treat myself to a mani/pedi/massage, chocolate covered strawberries, and a stay at a luxury hotel here in Houston.  Since I’m forgoing the mani/pedi/massage and chocolate covered strawberries, in reality I’m saving money!

The good news is, this may push my total number of nude beaches visited up to two!  This is because, supposedly, on Palomino Island there is in fact a nude beach.  The lengths I go to….

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But I had to give a shout out to support my fellow naturists.  You have my full support!  Let’s hope this opens the floodgates of acceptance for nudism.

Nudists Want to vote Naked.

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Hippie Hollow…In Winter?

I’ve been corresponding with a man I met at HIppie Hollow this summer.  It’s completely platonic.  He had to suddenly go up to Austin for business last week and told me after the fact that he wished he had thought to take me with him so we could go back to Hippie Hollow.

I remarked at how nippy it’s been getting and pointed out that that wouldn’t have been much fun. It’s one thing to be naked when the sun is beating down on you, forcing you to take a delicious dip every once in a while. It’s completely another when the breeze is uncomfortably cool.

He pointed out that the lake was too big to get really cold and the sun is shinning enough still to make it tolerable, if not entirely perfect. He then went on to say how he’d been up there every day of the year, even January and December.

For those unfamiliar with Texas, down in the southeast here it gets pretty darn chilly.  I know you northerners might scoff at the idea of anything above technical freezing being considered “cold.” But I’m a California girl.  It took me a full winter of me blasting my heater before a Philly gal told me to just get a down comforter (a life saver if ever there was one).

But I’m nothing if not open minded. Next time he offers, I may just go.

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To date I have a measly 5 bottles of sand under my belt. This means I’m sorely lacking in my quota for the month.  Fortunately I have a trip to sunny Puerto Rico coming up which should at least double my current collection.  A little bird told me that there is even an unofficial nude beach to be found.  I’m not sure how that will work with me being at a conference for work, but I’m determined to fit it in.  Especially since they mentioned red sand.

Right now my bottles are housed in a little hidey-hole in the hallway to my bedrooms. What with the glass vases, guardian angel, and sea shells also being housed there I know it’s going to be time to make a change soon. 

I have been desperately trying to find an appropriate shelf that was not too deep and, hopefully, had a slight border to keep the bottles from accidentally falling off.  I saw these:

 

They are tins measuring 4 inches diameter and have magnets on the back. I thought maybe I could have an entire magnetic wall of sand tins.  Then I thought about how that would be either awesome or awesomely tacky, and I wouldn’t know which until it was too late.  Besides, I would have had to change the title of this blog to 1000 Tins of Sand.

It doesn’t have the same appeal.

I was desperate enough to go to Home Depot and check out the wood to make my own damn shelves…until giving up. Then I headed to the Container Store, where I originally purchased the bottles, in the hopes that maybe they had some sort of stand for them that I could use to display them.  And then the heavens opened up.  I saw this:

 

The bonus is, I measured my wall at 104 inches or about 8.5 feet. These are 48 inches so they will fit perfectly side by side on the wall with a sophisticated little space between them. It even has the border around it! I’m not hot to trot about the little silver holders peeking out, but that’s easily fixable with paint.

To avoid impulse shopping I promised myself I wouldn’t buy one until I had enough bottles to fill it. I figured it at about 32. So 27 more to go! I’m thinking Puerto Rico and California will take care of that.

Of course by the time I get 32, they’ll have discontinued the whole damn line.

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