July 4, 2006 - Wildlife Report from Basecamp San Diego

San Diego beaches turn into one giant frat party on the Fourth of July: It's massive. It's ugly. And it's the best people-watching event of the year.

Here, if locals live anywhere near a beach, they hole up in their homes with provisionsFourth_CrazyBlonde.jpg, make special parking arrangements for planned guests, and then hunker down with beer and goggles to watch the crazy, crazy circus unfolding in front of them. 

Hundreds of thousands of teens, twenty-somethings and well-preserved thrity-ites strip down to their very best skivvies, and begin the 14-Hour Flesh Parade down the boardwalks of San Diego's beaches and bays. The fun starts at about 10a.m..

Our crew has five-star seats, a private basecamp at one of the very busiest bits of beach - thanks to The Varmint's parental units owning a bayside condo along San Diego's Mission Bay boardwalk. Boats dock off-shore, the entire park is standing room only, the strip is shoulder-to-shoulder. A sea of people floods the boardwalk.

I'm not sure where everyone's walking to, but they're well-prepared with cool refreshing beers and a pounding backbeat provided by on-beach DJs. As the day rolls on, progressively more-drunken hooting, greetings and gropings continue, along with sand-dancing, ice-slides, jello shooters and spontaneous makeouts: This is when the serious people-watching begins. (Note photo of Safari Varmint, master bikini-ogler, at his mid-day perch.)

Frankly, it's a blast - especially from behind the glass of the complex's pool and spa deck.

Fourth_OnSafari.jpgHere's how our day breaks down: You swim in the cool pool, you sit and watch the Flesh Parade, you barbecue, you watch the World Cup or Wimbledon, you grab a cold drink, you watch more parade, get a snack (watermelon!), take a dip in the spa ...

Sometimes, our crew even dives into the fracas (though this year only two brave souls ventured forth, intent on a Jubbly Journey, in search of the perfect pair). The day flies by. By early evening, everyone's sunshined-out and deeply beat. The basecamp crew thins quickly after 7pm, prior to fireworks (we locals see fireworks every night, thanks to Sea World). We prefer to skip the pyrotechnics and skedaddle, beating the set-up of sobriety checkpoints and most important, the thundering tidal wave of drunken traffic that makes those checkpoints a nightmare. We favor getting safely home to cool showers and comfy sofas.

This year, once we'd escaped the bFourth_TamandWatermelon.jpgeach and headed east to our Bay Park neighborhood - you could see the aftermath of the day's events along the road: Abandoned red-white-and-blue crepe paper, plastic flags, broken styrofoam coolers and there - - stumbling in a forwardFourth_BikiniBabe.jpg trajectory, a pair of fully-exposed and surprisingly cherubic buttcheeks! They winked at us from the hindquarters of a solitary, completely drunken 20-something kid. He was on foot, lurching down the sidewalk miles from the beach, wearing nothing but swimtrunks (which were around his knees and quickly sliding southward). He was making good time despite his flapping extremeties, and seemed intent on his destination, wherever it was.

Here's hoping he found his way home. My guess? Just like the rest of the fleshy throngs, it was the journey, not the destination, that was the most important thing to Buttcheek Boy. At least he'll have a great story - and one helluva hangover - to tell his friends about.

Good luck, buddy, wherever you are.


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I am a writer and lazy artist who loves travel, architecture and design. Right now, I'm into photography. My fabulous husband (a.k.a. The Varmint) and I are also the principals of a San Diego-based creative agency - and new parents to the divine Baby Mak. Read More >