With the clan fully vaccinated the BW was hell bent on taking a vacation, seems one of the only things the BW truly enjoys is the planning and fretting and researching of the annual trip to somewhere... of course that pesky little virus that keeps popping up and mutating kept us from heading to my favorite island (Jamaica) and kept us bound here in the good old States... where we ended up in of all places, Dumbfuckistan or Covidland... or what some might refer to as Florida... the Atlantic side... and it was a tale of two holidays.
Now though the Ef El A may be inhabited by any number of doddering, slobbering (white) retirees clamoring for Joe to take a cognitive test and pining away for the good old days of the Orange Shitgibbon it has always been one of my favorite places. It's just flat out fucking weird. It's both glitz and glamour and redneck and backwoods all at once, seems it's hard to find anyone actually born there who currently inhabits the place and it's filled to the brim with boozers and drugs and golf courses and while i despise playing golf i do have a bit of a soft spot for the two former aforementioned items.
From the get go it was a bit of a shit show... The were various health issues about... a spider bite incident and a stomach issue from eating too much crap (for the record neither involved the human tank known as El Kono who seems to have a constitution of iron), an injury to yours truly because i'm stupid and wouldn't stop running even when my knee was screaming to stop (it's getting better) so needless to say the trip was not off to a great start. In fact the departure date was shuffled and re-shuffled per the BW due to all the issues and if there is one thing the BW gets excited about it's her holiday... luckily she was one of the participants dealing with health issues (spider bite) so there were no meltdowns and the like... that said we made it, all be it a day later than planned.
The first part of the trip was spent in a brilliant little place called Lauderdale by the Sea... it was laid back and relaxed and everything was within a ten minute walk... the bars and restaurants, the supermarket, the donut shop, it was a funky little hotel that we somehow lucked into a first floor place with a little beachfront porch that had the bar and restaurant and swimming pool just a few steps away. It had weird pictures somehow painted into the walls which were a right laugh. At night the boyos would walk the beach to the pier and back and it was just a peaceful and enjoyable stay.
The place was gorgeous (photos to follow) and i for one enjoy the heat and humidity, have no problem being covered in sand and sweat and salt, in fact i tend to believe it's my natural state. I spent hours watching the pelicans dive for fish, an activity that fucking amazed me, the way they'd dive bomb into the water and come up and gulp down their catch, marvels of nature built perfectly for the task at hand, drifting on the wind until diving headlong into the water and popping back up. There was the aforementioned music at the bar which to my surprise was right up my alley. TV on the Radio, The Strokes, Gorillaz, any number of cool kid hits (sitting in the dark, stoned, staring at the stars and black ocean and listening to On Melancholy Hill was as lovely as existence can get really) and then of course there were the women...
It seems like Stella i've gotten my groove back (fuck how that dates me), and things back in the Burgh have reminded me that women do actually like me (why i don't know because i'm a complete bastard really) and i've developed this theory that if you wear a Bowie t-shirt women will hit on you. See previous post about the Flaming Lips and mushrooms. Now there is no scientific evidence for this but i think being a Bowie fan shows proper good taste in art and music therefore women who like that sort of thing enjoy seeing an aging hipster not wearing a golf shirt. Walking into a place for dinner i suddenly felt a pull on my arm (the shirt was Bowie's mug shot from NY) and a woman smiling at me and pointing at my shirt. She was just the kind of trouble i like, a summer dress, sultry, tipsy, asking me to come and drink with her even though my family were being seated at the time.... had they not been i'm sure i would have taken her up on the offer and gotten myself into my own fair share of trouble... but then again i've always liked a bit of trouble. Which of course leads me to Jen at the bar... Jen was at the hotel with a pack of her girlfriends and i got the distinct feeling they were all on the prowl for a good time. After striking up a conversation and chatting for fifteen minutes as i waited for the oldest boyos second lunch she smiled and asked me to sit down, she wanted to buy me a drink and talk more, although i think one of my witty remarks may have given the impression that i was divorced and their with my sons i had to explain that in fact i was not, she gave me a sly smile and said that's too bad, you're an interesting guy... i almost asked what room she was in as maybe i'd stop up and we could chat later... told you i'm a bastard... but then the I-mac's food was ready and i got out of there before i talked myself into something stupid... a talent i seem to possess in spades.
Of course all good things must come to an end and since Disaster had seen a place he fancied when the BW was doing her research at the halfway point we moved a few miles down the road to Hollywood Beach. It wasn't the best move and although the view was gorgeous and the room all swanky it was a bit of a comedown. It was proper Yank beach, bustling and crowded and a complete 180 from what we'd just come from... after the first day both the boyos had asked if it was possible to go back to the other place but that was out of the question and as shit musician mega-chain hotel/resort was not in the business of parting with their money once it was locked in. We were stuck.
At first i was bit intrigued because the boardwalk reminded me of my days in Ocean City but it was a mirage. The Ocean City of my youth was filled with video game arcades and shops and a pier with amusement rides. This one was mainly hotels and restaurants and a few shops thrown in (not that i give a fuck about tourist trap souvenir stores) and i was hoping to show the boyos a bit of what i'd grown up doing. Alas it was not to be. We did our best to enjoy it but the fun and relaxed atmosphere of the first place was quickly dissipating, nerves were being frayed and tension was beginning to rise. Disaster enjoyed it the least it seemed and i could tell he was bummed we couldn't leave but on the last day he got to do the surf pool thingy and it was fucking brilliant. He was the only kid in his time slot who wanted to surf the wave pool from the start. The pool wasn't huge and it was mainly a little slope with the water rushing back so that you could boogie board or surf until you wiped out or stopped. Having recently started snowboarding Disaster was into it and he was well beaming by the time he was done... he even had a spectacular wipeout that drew some oohs and ahs from the people watching... it was one of the bright spots of the second half of the trip.
It wasn't all shite though and there were some good things... one of which was the Puffle... or what i dubbed, The Stoner's Delight... the Puffle apparently is a Hong Kong treat made with a fresh, hot egg waffle that is shaped into a cone, filled with ice cream and topped with any number of things. I stared wide eyed at the place as if i'd just stumbled into paradise... going with vanilla ice cream, caramel sauce, coffee drizzle and whipped cream, the I-mac laughed as he stated that i sat smiling like a kid as i devoured my first one of the trip (yes we went back how could we not) and this being Merka, land of stealing ideas i began to think of buying a food truck and becoming a full time Puffle maker... or what is commonly known as pipe dreams.
But the hands down winning moment of the second half of the trip was Leopard Man. He was standing a the counter of what i deemed a shady pizza shop and waiting for his slice. He was wearing a mid-length leopard print bathrobe? kimono? i'm not quite sure, black jeans and no shirt... he was fucking brilliant, like a rent boy off work or the guy behind the counter at the porn store, i was writing his back story as i observed him... it's what i love about beach towns, they attract the weirdos and the eccentrics, probably why i loved living at the beach so much because i felt the most at home (of course my transient city hoods also provided me the same feeling but without the lovely salt air and sound of the ocean). Leopard Man was graceful nonchalance and i commented to the BW that i think i should rock that look back in the burbs... needless to say i received a worried look in return.
And then there were the stars... on Sunday night, the night before we left and before an invasion of Long Island yentas, bohunks and their spawn ruined the peaceful courtyard that sat a few floors below my balcony, i sat out late into the night and gazed at the stars and the ocean and the clouds and dwelled on the beauty and meaning of it all... of course maybe i was dwelling on the fact there was no meaning but as i sat there i thought about Pops, about my uncle who passed while i was away, about the boyos, about the situation at home, about the world i was leaving my boyos, and at times about nothing at all. Listening to the sea while studying the constellations between wisps of night clouds and an ocean moon was exactly what i needed. It's not as if this was the first time i'd done it on the trip as i spent every night at the first place on the deck doing the same thing but on this night being ever so slightly closer to those stars there was something different. I must have stayed out there for close to three hours, alone and gazing and thinking.
So while it wasn't the best vacation i was ever on it wasn't the worst either. I tend to try and make the best of every situation and let's be honest... the Posa wasn't there so no matter what i'm winning. That said i was hoping the boyos enjoyed it and for the most part they did but as they get older things change... the long goodbye as a certain former blogger from Cleveland used to say. I understand it well but i'm not sure the BW does... but it was good to swim in the my beloved Atlantic (seaweed and all), to be near it, to listen to it, to listen to the wind, it's what we're all made of and what we'll someday return to being. Until then i'll do my best to enjoy the ride, ups downs twists turns... cuz why not?
(And for the second? time in my life i willing boarded a plane with cannabis... the first being a trip to Florida where i took a large frog gummy stored in what was dubbed a scentless bag... but seeing as i have my medical card i put my two bottles of weed pills and a vape pen and cart in my carry on, i was interested to see what if anything would happen because as one who does his research the word is security really isn't looking for it anymore... the vape pen looks exactly like an e-cig so i figured i was good and if they stopped me i'd just show them my card, feign ignorance and toss it away, which is usually the penalty, nothing more... that said... after clearing the checkpoint i was beaming, the gear would be making the trip with me.)