9/16/2009

The Sun Beach

Down on Tangier's wide, sandy beach, by far the two most popular places were Sun Beach, squarely in the middle of the long row of beach establishments, and the Windmill, down at the eastern end. For awhile, Sun Beach was the only British-managed place in the area, and as such was a great hit. 


Los datos que siguen están tomados de
Tangiers characters, de
David S. Woolman

It consisted of a circle of bathing cabins except that about a third of it was taken up by a curving, windowed resaurant serving the best food on the beach, and enclosing a natural sand patio filled with round, umbrella-covered tables. It was managed, albeit very loosely, by young James Duncan, the only son of a wealthy Cardiff family.

Resembling the young Winston Churchill, highly intelligent, often irnpish and mischievious, but likable when he wanted to be, James had lasted only briefly at Oxford because of a talent for mixing mischief with acute alcoholism. 1lis distrait parent sent him to Argentina, and then Kenya, hoping that he'd find himself, but all James found was an ever more extravagant attachment to the bottle.

They finally bought him the small Tangier Hotel, but as he was totally uninterested, bought him Sun Beach as his last chance. Recognizing this finality, James settled clown to a continuous binge, living in a back room on the premises amid a squalor quite unbelievable in anybody, much less a fellow of his antecedents. As the food was winning, and as he could be amusing — and always fantastic — Sun Beach boomed.

Its clientele could rate with any metropolitan capital. Tennessee Williams often came to Sun Beach, so modest and unobtrusive that most people didn't recognize him. He wrote a part of "Cat On a Hot Tin Roof" at one of the outdoor, awninged tables. Equally as anonymous, despite his moviedom fame, was Paul Lukas, the Hungarian actor who lived up at the Boulevard's hotel Rembrandt and liked to relax at Sun Beach.

The star of such fine movies as "The Lady Vanishes" and many others, Lukas won an Oscar for his role in both the stage and movie productions of the anti-Nazi play, "Watch On the Rhine." He won the New York Film Critics Award as best actor in 1943, but at Sun Beach he was quitely remote, sitting in the sun with a glass of wine and reading a book.

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