A thin black line separates the sea from the sky filled with dark gray clouds, storm dark cerulean and distant rumbling. The surf is relatively calm, barely breaking white along the sand as snowy egrets step haughtily along its edge pecking tiny morsels from the deserted beach. Were it not for the high-rise hotels strung like cracked pearls along the coastline, this spot could be ideal, but with watchful eyes in cement towers, the best haven is mental privacy. A few solitary walkers scatter the beach, trudging through the sand, exercising, eyes locked toward the ground unseeing. On the gray horizon, frail stilts hold the wooden pier, looking as if it will drop into the roiling water at any time, but it has been here through wind, rain and the best the sea has to offer and it still stands.