Now you may find this hard to believe, given the whirlwind of adventure that has been my life, but in all my years I had been to American ocean beaches just twice- once in California when I was twelve and managed to scrape all the skin from my nose and chest (this is a true story) by mistiming a retreating wave as only someone from Iowa can and diving headlong into bare, gritty sand, and once in Florida when I was a college student on spring break and far too intoxicated to notice a landscape feature as subtle as an ocean.
Bill Bryson