Monday, September 21, 2015

Riding the Zebra

21 September 2015

We went to Ocean City one evening.  New Jersey’s coastline is made up of the shore of the mainland, which is mostly wetlands, and barrier islands which have the nice sandy beaches and face the ocean, protecting the wetlands. 

Ocean City is one of the towns on a barrier island, accessible by a huge long bridge or by boat.  (We took the bridge.)  There are old Victorian homes, modern replicas of the Victorian style homes, and generic modern structures.

And then there’s the boardwalk.

For people who’ve never been on a boardwalk, let me explain.  This is a somewhat elevated sidewalk made of wooden boards, hence the name.  Boardwalks generally run along beachfronts, with the views and the sand to one side, and stores, eateries, and amusements on the other side.  People walk along the boardwalk so they don’t erode the dunes, and so they don’t get sand in their shoes.  This is especially popular with people who might not be as steady on their feet, such as older people, as well as anyone in high heels.  Though the boards of the boardwalk aren’t always even, so there’s plenty to trip on – trust me, I managed to do so.  Didn’t fall, although a friendly stranger was prepared to catch me.
Anyway, boardwalks are great for people watching.  And walking at any time of day.  Also for finding sometimes strange, sometimes tasty things to eat.  (The chocolate covered bacon is, in my opinion, simply a waste of good chocolate.  Though it does come in either dark chocolate or milk chocolate.)  Because we’re right by the sea, seafood is featured, and we’re in the midst of crab season.  Salt water taffy is a local favorite, as well as fudge – and most fudge places give small samples, a great way to get a free tiny dessert.  We went with the seafood place, though Richard found a burger – and gelato was our dessert.  Because the weather still says summer.

The people watching was great.  There was a huge crowd gathered, usually the sign of an audience watching a street performer.  No, I asked.  This was a church group gathering to pray and sing.  They invited us to join them.  I thanked them with a no thank you, and we wandered along.

The best crew, though, were the teens from a church youth group, who gathered for dinner en costume.  Really, it was a costume dinner.  We found the young shark who happily posed with complete strangers, and his friend in a Roman toga.  Then they posed together for me.  We talked with them, they were pretty funny kids.  And were interested in our travelling lifestyle, so we gave them a blog card.  So this is a shout out to Shark Boy and Toga Dude!

Remember that I said there are all kinds of amusements along the boardwalk?  Video arcades, pinball, little race cars going in circles, basketball hoops, almost a carnival atmosphere. 

And pirates – there was a live pirate shooting bubbles at people.  Seriously.  He had two pistols shooting giant soap bubbles.  Also a huge pirate ship on top of the building, with motorized pirate and parrot, turning their heads to dramatic music.  And a robotic ghost telling really horrible jokes.  Definitely kitsch central!!!

There are also rides.  A big vertical thing where people sit strapped in chairs that go straight up and plummet straight down.  Elevated choo choo trains.  Twirling bears to sit in.  Flying saucers, spinning teacups, swings flying out from a gyrating cloisonné vase.  Ferris wheels with swinging baskets, all lit in neon.  A crazy medley of rides.

Of course, I picked the carousels.  There were two areas with rides, each with their own carousel.  I used to be a fan of Ferris wheels, but developed vertigo in my middle years – so the carousel it is.

The first carousel had great old carved wood horses, although the horses that moved didn’t have stirrups.  There was a little metal peg on one side to step on while mounting the horse, and I just rested my other foot on the horse’s hoof that was curled under mid gallop.  This was a great carousel, with a long ride – it turned really quickly, our horses were flying as we zoomed around and around, with parents and grandparents taking photos and calling out to their kids.  Well, okay, so my in-laws and my husband were taking my photo and calling to me.  But it was a wonderful carousel, and I had a great time on it.

The second carousel was newer, with plastic animals, but I got to ride the zebra!  He was great, very friendly, and he had stirrups.  But the operator said the law is that all riders must use the seat belt – even though I’m 61 yrs old.  Yup, I wore the seat belt.  How insane is that???  Also, the ceiling was low and I could touch it at the apex of my zebra’s gallop.  (I almost hit the ceiling with my head, it was so low!)  It also didn’t spin as fast as the first carousel.  But hey, I was riding on a zebra, so didn’t really care! 

On our way out, we passed what looked like the roller coaster graveyard or something. 

Then the reserved parking spots.

Which leaves one wondering:  Who is Bad Kitty??????

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