Wednesday, September 16, 2009. Myrtle Beach, SC. WOW!!! There is just way to much to do here. Two nights are not enough. If not for a last minute gig in Jersey at Fort Dix Friday night, I think we would be staying put tomorrow morning - perhaps through Saturday. I am sure many of you already know what I know now. I am just loving this place this week. I imagine just 10-20 days ago it was a zoo around here. But now it is mostly older couples, a few newly weds, and younger families. There are no crowds. No Lines. No Beach traffic. Everything is done at the leisure pace we dictate. A far cry from the NYC streets I am almost ready to re-embrace.
I woke up really early this morning (actual picture from our balcony - heavenly - Divine inspiration, no?) and, bored at 6am, blogged - no - ranted about Kanye West. CLICK HERE Wrapping that up and Laurice still sleeping, I drove off to get us some BOJANGLES Breakfast - biscuits and sweet tea we fell in love with back in April, thanks to EIGHT IS NEVER ENOUGH cast mate and North Carolina native, Daryl, at the Cherry Point Marine Base gig. It was much farther down the coast than I had remembered passing the night before. When i got back Laurice was just getting up. We woofed it all down and headed out to rent Jet Skis. This proved to be way too much fun. After a few wrong turns to get to just the right section of beach, we found a great parking spot. Apparently today is officially the start of "OFF season" and the metered beach parking was free. Perhaps 20' or less from the sand. The jet ski rentals are just to the left - if you know the area we are at Ocean Water Sports, just south of 2nd Avenue Pier. We are little shocked at the price. Hoping to get our own, it was just too expensive. So we got one for an hour. A two-seater. We get to the shore and have to take a test. A pop quiz to make sure we read the safety sign. After a few chuckles, we shove off. This is where a camera and/or video would have great.
There is no one else on the Jet Skis. A few are doing the parasailing. A few more on the banana boat ride. Laurice is driving. I am holding on for dear life behind. An overwhelming sensation that I will be thrown and unable to get back in the boat has recent memory recall on overload. We are both wearing life jackets. I am approaching three times Laurice's size and now wrapping my arms around as my only way to HOLD ON. The water is really quite calm for the Atlantic. But being inexperienced waverunnerers (just coined a word perhaps) every little turn feels like a possible wipe. At first I feel a little restricted. There are three boeys (actually anchored banana floats) one must circumnavigate. They are spread out but basically we are just going in a big circle around a triangular pattern. However you can really open up between boeys and turns. We averaged 40 miles per hour and peaked over 50. Jumping waves. So from the rear position I feel like I am riding a horse in a western, squeezing my knees to the seat to help hold on and then extending legs to help cushion the landing of jumps. Laurice's hair whips me in the face as I try to see ahead for the contour of the waves - normally soft, the stands are extra course from the salt water. Add to that exposure to the hot sun and it is actually a lot more tiring than I expected. We must have been going about 20 minutes when i see a fin up ahead. My first thought. CRAP - SHARKS!. Then a few fins. Fears of falling off are really racing. Still 40-50 yards ahead. Speeding towards them I yell DOLPHINS -now overly excited in a GOOD way, as dolphins are my favorite animal not on the BBQ menu. There are dozens following a school of bait fish but all the while putting on a show for us. They are so majestic swimming and lifting out of the water synchronized three and four at a time. It looked quite choreographed. I wanted to follow the herd, but, fearing repercussions from the rental company, we kept in the path,speeding around to see them again. Coming around the third bend, there they were again; the group they had not travelled that far. I so wish i had a camera or video. I have never scene anything like this. In captivity you might see 2-3 dancing together but here were at least 20 or more of all shapes and sizes working as team. A family. Three to four times more around the course and they were still there. They would have been there much longer i am guessing if this guy, a real idiot coming out of no where, sped right towards them and possibly into a group of three. I was so pissed. But when we came around the were on their way out. Although i did not see any signs of damage or hurt. I am pretty sure he did not run them over on purpose. He was traveling at max speed with blinders on. The kids running the beach came out a few times to remind him of the rules. This guy was all over the map ignoring boeys, going to fast etc. Recipe for disaster. Heading back in to switch drivers, the guy tells us to change floating out on the water. This is funny. I inch forwards leaning to the left as Laurice walks back on my right. Shaky but successful. Now I am in the driver seat. The boat is a lot better balanced and we have nice ride for another 10-15 minutes. We head to shore, cut off the engine on cue and dismount "Oceanside" as instructed. By ocean side I fall backwards into 18 inches of water, amusing the surfer dude assisting us. I have to say the crew at this place was great. With my heart racing form the excitement, I can't stop yelling WOO. As we pick up our gear (Shoes, bag and IDS) from the sales shack, I am us to help sell the next couple. "This guy dolphins. Had a good time out there, eh buddy" Wink Wink PLAY ALONG.
We go for a bite. Laurice "I hate seafood" Frasier has the idea for a lunch buffet. The problem almost every buffet down here is full of seafood with a few crappy items for land lovers. Actually the seafood is crap too in most cases I am guessing. After turning down a few we settle on Arby's, planning to hit up a better dinner buffet. We head back to the main drag for some shopping at the GAY DOLPHIN (Stop laughing Spero), and then on to Ripley's Believe It or Not. YES We took part in the ultimate tourist trap - Ripley's Haunted House and Side Show style Museum - The two attraction ticket. We have always loved haunted houses - Previously bonding at similar establishments in Virginia Beach and at a Halloween haunted forest in Gaithersburg MD area all before moving to NYC 12 years ago. This one was pretty cool on the exhibits, but less scary - being a reputably named chain of amusements, the staff was less creepy and not aloud to touch anyone. THE GIMMICK - An abandoned warehouse of less than reputable past is now the home to some creepy corpses etc. Add in the cheesy animatronics and stereotypical guy with fake chain saw to keep you moving and I am positioning Laurice for MY best safety like a REAL MAN. What? Don't Judge Me! You don't know me.... A mans gots to do what a mans gots to do to keep from peeing in my pants from total fear. I continue... We go over to the museum, which I think is really cool. Laurice too! I liked it better than Natural History in NYC. More interesting. I met some interesting guys. You will see me there to the left bowing in respect to the world's tallest man and the human sculpture made from garbage i think. Junk from the sewing drawer etc. After Ripley's, we grab an ice cream and head back to the beach. There is a small crowd now. Not too many but the entire beach is lined with bathers. Not many in the water. A few wading out. We are near a pier, just north of where we saw the dolphons earlier. We notice like I failed to mention before there are thousands of mullets. Not Red Necks with bad hair but small bit fish 2-6 inches I length. A lot of folks are fishing off the pier not too far from us. I again get an overwhelming sensation of SHARK-phobia and position myself just behind the line of kids an other bathers Again a REAL MAN!!! 10 minutes later, a guy comes by and said there was a shark in he water. Another local tells us a few recent shark sighting stories. OK good time to get dinner. We grab a bite on the pier. Not bad. We elect for some salads over the original buffet gorging plan. I feel much better now as a result. The sun is going down and we have a date at our hotel room for a his/her massage. We freshen up, each get 30 minutes back to back and relax getting some local tips from the once Buffalo native expert on relaxtion. I always feel sorry for massage therapists having to work on me so I tipped large.
After the massage, Laurice and i go upstairs to the balcony pool and hot tubs. Laurice is happy to finally be dry, after walking around in bathing suit all day, and is now content to enjoy the lovely night breeze watching me soak. I have been thinking about those hot tubs throughout the massage so I step in. OK let me back up for a second. When we first get up there, the two of four hot tubs working are full. So I jump in the lazy river. Basically a 25 foot oval to float in a tube with a very slow current. SO I sit in the tube. I do not know if you read my blog from Atlanta 2-3 days ago, but that much larger tube had a 150lb limit. I am now floating with my feet in the air and my head in the water as I am leaning backwards. Laurice is cracking up. I of course am exaggerating a bit - something I tend to do.... sometimes.... OK I MILKED THE BIT FOR ALL ITS WORTH. But it gets old. QUICKLY!!! So now, being the only one in the pool, I break all the rules by floating "solo". Turns out I am very good floater. Manatees should drift so good. So now I have Laurice going as I now look like a pond spider, legs and arms stretched to an "X" position, coasting with the current. The funniest part, is how he current twists me just right around the sharp corners. But then I look up. Turns out I am drawing quite the crowd looking from their balconies in the adjacent taller tower. I seem to really be amusing some. Then a teenage or young 20s couple comes in. A quick exchange about water temps leads me to think I should try a tube out again. This time I do not lay back, but my feet dangling causes a drag. The younger couple are whipping around the bend. I start paddling. I think so I do not feel embarrassed, the young man says something about the current being slower than usual - to which I respond, its an EXTRA Lazy River. Perhaps VERY lazy river. Despite his reaction - obviously the funniest thing he has ever heard - Seriously I was not expecting the laughs, chuckles that continued to the point where he must be thinking "WhO IS THIS COMIC GENIUS" - I withheld my true Identity and history with the Letterman show. I have actually been pretty good this past week in that department. So, pulling a Costanza, I chose that moment to exit the lazy river and try the hot tub again. There is one couple. A few Temp discussions again and I am in. The jets suck worse than the NY football team but it's toasty warm and the great compliment to the massage I was looking for. Another couple gets in. Now I feel a little off being solo - Laurice is lazing in the recliner beach chairs - and these two couples turn out to both be newlyweds. One in their 20s, the other my age or slightly older both logging #2 at the altar (No analogies suggested) The brides are swapping reception stories. The guys are quietly nodding hoping and dreaming for beer and football. Thursday Night NFL just 24 hours away boys!!! The older... er - um... more experienced bride say something about "The little ones. It is all about the little ones" And so the flower girl/ringer bearer stories come out. So I finally feel good about chiming in , as I have the best Flower girl story of all time. And if I have not been typing enough i am about to go on a tangent... But for now, I told my Flower Girl Story, and immediately pull a Costanza. THAT's IT!!! I'm OUT!!! BAck to the wife. Have a nice night. And to the typing.
OK - For any ladies recently wed or about towed dying to know the flower girl story here it goes... Jimmy's (Brother) marraige to Mary was like a Soap Opera picture perfect day with out the fake melodrama. Mid December 2008 on a perfect 60-70 degree evening on the beach. White trellas aching over the bride and groom. White chairs lined up with family and a few friends. Sunset about to take place right behind the couple. If you have no been to Sanibel Island (http://www.sanibelisland.com/) , trust me when I say it is as picture perfect as I have seen. For music, they had a guitarist/singer that reminds me of Jason Mraz (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=irSklXqsXBo&feature=fvw). (Later he was joined by bass and Congo for cocktail hour and full band for reception dancing AWESOME) So the scene is set as well as any wedding ever has been. Then here come the flower girls. My 3yo niece and the best man's daughter (4-5ish) dressed in white carry baskets full of lovely petals. Leading the procession they both seem in a fog yet doing there job almost on automatic. Images of Village of the Damned or Children of the Corn come to mind from this blank calm expression. Must have been a good rehearsal. They walk down at a relaxing pace dispensing petals evenly and steadily. The wedding party gets to the Trellis Archway, small party of Bestman and Maid of Honor plus 2-3 others. The two girls line up on the diagonal Down Stage Right (Our Left) and continue to dispense petals, now collecting in a pile. The whole crowd is fighting back tears of laughter from the scene. Just then, the petals run out. I think at first they picked up a handful, placed into baskets and kept going. But then my niece starts to plant the petals. One every three feet diagonally, exactly 45 degrees away from the crowd. This is the real life that you just can't make up and try to be funnier.
See you all soon