The true purpose of this trip arrived with the effects of a combination of yesterday’s travel adventures, and the room darkening shades of the Tropicana plunging us into stygian blackness.
We woke up remarkably close to lunch time.
Lunch time continued to inch closer as we debated for quite a while as to what order we should do things that day. There are some issues with Gridless Vacations.
We decided to hit the beach after an early meal. Sadly, we probably needed to have debated a bit longer, or maybe told Anabelle to extend her pretend mulling over which Polish Water Ice to sample on the Boardwalk, before getting the spoon full of Sour Apple she always picked.
The target lunch destination of Guy’s Bar-B-Que Joint in the Wild West casino wasn’t open when we arrived. In true Mr. Turkentine fashion, Rosa and Anabelle had their dessert at Boardwalk Cupcakes for the lunch they hadn’t eaten yet.
Then we indulged in excellent hot dogs covered in fixins, pulled pork and chicken (one of those for each of us), all with multiple barbecue sauces. Sides were beans and corn bread…again. They were both very tasty, but the place only had commercial bags of chips, no homemade ones or fries. Adding a fryer to the tiny hole in the wall location would probably be prohibitive, but we considered sending a letter to Mr. Fieri suggesting one anyway.
After eating, we crossed the Boardwalk to the mall, to find the “ring store” open. It was mostly full of hand bags with pictures of the Obamas on them. The ring selection hadn’t been restocked in a while, and Anabelle didn’t find anything that leapt out at her.
We all drowned our sorrows a bit at IT'SUGAR. The pier shops were almost completely vacant, and sorrows needed to be drowned. The nearly empty mall gets more and more depressing each visit, yet some stores and restaurants thrive there. I blame the elimination of the Kay-Bee Toy outlet for its downfall. Anabelle was sure to pick out Strawberry Pocky, to make more jokes about my sunburn.
I grabbed a mix of fat free gummies…and one vacation approved chocolate covered Oreo.
Walking off lunch and part of what we just bought, we came back up the Boardwalk to swap out gear for the beach time of the day.
We were in the room just in time to catch a news report about an increase in shark bites all along the eastern seaboard…
One theory was the warmer ocean temperature this year led to increased activity. It didn't feel all that warm to me, but I kept my eyes more peeled than usual, (which is considerably peeled in my normal paranoid state) just in case.
We got settled in to our usual beach roles, and I immediately returned to the room since, yes, we do usually have one phone with us to use as a clock. So much for valuing my usually impressive memory compared to "your wife is right."
As I got up, I must have rubbed the sunscreen off my left hand, and by the time I reached the hotel, it was practically on fire.
I returned to bury myself under sun blocking items, including the backup, clamp on umbrella that Rosa got to use with the normal beach chair in case the canopy one failed as fast as it did.
She knows this family well.
We were back to the usual read/tan/ “Chopped” set up, except that Anabelle took the time to finish The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. She was surprised by the twist ending. To be more accurate, she was surprised at the existence of the twist ending. The original book doesn’t reveal they are the same person until near the climax.
The water was kind of choppy to begin with based on some distant weather patterns, and the lifeguards were spread out. They were telling people to adjust their location side to side, to make sure swimmers lined up with the chairs and rescue boats.
They also made sure to call in anyone venturing out into the waves. Rosa learned that the venturing limit is also out past where you can hear the lifeguards calling you. Excellent planning there, guys. Anabelle and I could hear them, but since I panic and tell her to come in all the time, she didn't understand it was from the lifeguards. That is, until one of them came out to get her because her injured toes slowed her return speed.
In summary, it was a beach day where “mistakes were made.”
Back at the room we cleaned up and semi-planned the rest of the days. At our only true restful vacation spot, “semi-planned” is as far as we get, and it usually entails one restaurant probability per day, and convenient nap moments.
Anabelle played hotel a bit, one of the few activities she’s retained from age two. I have retained my acting as nearly unhelpable and thoroughly insane guests when she plays. Her reactions have gotten a bit stronger as she’s aged, I must say. We also watched a documentary on a migrating wildebeest herd. (One of the few activities I have retained from age two.)
It was “fancy night,” meaning they dress up, and I still kinda look like a slob, but with a collar on!
The statute of limitations on my pen theft long over, we returned to family favorite Cuba Libre. Once again they’d revamped the entire menu, yet the food remained fantastic.
Rosa stuck with her practice of ordering multiple sides and sampling our stuff. I think that’s called “The Not Hungry Wife Special.” Anabelle went for a new steak and old yucca fries. I finally got closest to the fish that used to be in the sampler when we started going there. This was completely by accident, as I misread the menu and thought the fish soup was more like paella that a fillet and shellfish in a light broth sauce.
Sometimes this sucking at languages thing pays off.
For some reason, likely the TV screens everywhere in that town, Anabelle decided I should ask them sports team location and name trivia instead of Disney trivia.
Me? Sports questions?
Clearly we had all spent too much time in the sun.
The questions continued as we took our after dinner boardwalk stroll “the other way.” There are a couple of pretty buildings but nowhere near the amount of people, activity and sights walking towards the mall and other casinos provides. We did go back a bit the usual way before returning inside, but the Polish Water Ice sample stand was closed and Anabelle steered us home in a funk.
Before returning to the room, she wanted to come with me to see “my friend.” My friend being the guy in the “Time for Wine” store where I go to buy post dinner weird single beers and end up having conversations about movies and comics.
This time was no different as he praised my all over print Godzilla shirt as the coolest shirt he’s ever seen. (Go me!) I picked out a “Golden Monkey” beer, bragging that I finally remembered to bring a bottle opener so I didn’t have to buy a new one, again.
Then I got back to the room and discovered I never put the opener back in my bag after I took it out to fly to Denver. Back downstairs I went. Legally he couldn’t open beers for customers, but since he was closing, if I brought it back he could have walked me out and opened it. I didn't have it but he told me to “just take one” of the openers.
It’s good to have friends. Hooray for Disney teaching me to talk to strangers. (There had to be a Disney reference in here somewhere with the trivia changing.)
I ended up going back downstairs yet again once I decided I wanted a pretzel with the beer. More “instant Atlantic City Friends” happened with the Peruvian guy behind the counter who saved the day when three other people couldn’t figure out how to get the pretzel from the rack over to the register. I feel the stress of the interactions and all that extra up and down walking justified the German Pavilion like dessert.
“Golden Monkey” was another lighter selection in the “Good Homework Beer” range.
We watched some syndicated reruns, knowing we could stay up late as thunderstorms were forecast for the morning, meaning we’d sleep in once more and then spend the afternoon at the ocean.
We should know better than to plan at any level of detail in Atlantic City.
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