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August 5, 2012

I’m writing this late Saturday night / early Sunday morning, so you’ve got a little catching up to do. I’ll try to make this quick, because you and I both need to get some sleep.

Friday morning we drove about three and a half hours to Myrtle Beach, SC, or “the Redneck Riviera” as it’s known to some. Along the way we passed 21 billboards for South of the Border. (Sam counted them–it became our new game to pass the time.) When I was in college I drove down to Florida with a couple of friends (well, they drove and I tagged along because I was pretty late in getting a driver’s license, but that’s another story for another time). We had never heard of South of the Border but we were intrigued by all the billboards for it, so we stopped in when we finally got there. What a colossal disappointment. It was basically a Mexican-themed Chuck E. Cheese (Carlos Y. Queso?) that was half gift shop. This time I was not going to make the same mistake. As the Hamster and I sped by, it looked like the place had grown significantly since my college days and might even be worth a stop. But we had somewhere more important to be: Myrtle Beach International Airport.

It was there that we picked up my wife (Sam’s mom), who brought with her not only the smile and hugs we’d both been missing, but some much-needed supplies from home, chiefly our pillows and the newly found charger for the camera battery.

Reunited, the three of us headed off to check into our hotel and visit the only kosher restaurant in the area to pick up food for shabbos. Those two activities took more than two hours, but we still managed to find time to ride the tallest Ferris wheel east of the Mississippi and play 18 holes of minigolf at a pretty darned-impressive pirate-themed course complete with cannon blasts, shipwrecks, and treasure-filled caves that we had to play through.


Obviously there’s a lot of stuff that happens each day that I don’t mention in this space for various reasons. One of them is that, when Sam and I were swimming in the Outer Banks, he got hit with a wave that took his goggles out of his hand, and before he could grab them they were taken by the undertow, lost forever as a sacrifice to Poseidon or something. I just told you that story so I could tell you this one: on Friday Mom brought him another pair of goggles from home, but the lost ones had a nose covering and the replacements don’t. He’s very particular about these things, so on Friday afternoon we stopped at one of the billion beachwear stores that dot the main drag here and got him a new pair of full-facemask goggles. Well, today he took them to the beach and it took less than an hour for a wave to take them right off his head and out to sea. Poseidon must be pretty ticked about something.

Anyway, shabbos was spent reconnecting, eating very well, relaxing by the beach, futilely looking for Sam’s goggles, and enjoying the hotel pool, which included two sprinkler areas, a two-story water slide, and a lazy river. This seemed pretty amazing to us at first but it appears to be de rigeur for Myrtle Beach hotels. Myrtle Beach strikes me as a kind of gentrified Coney Island, but one that’s meant more for tourists than for locals. It seems like every building that’s anywhere near the beach is either a place for tourists to stay or a place for tourists to spend some time and money. Beachfront hotels are tall and narrow so more of them can squeeze in, and the blocks immediately behind them are filled in with carnival rides and games, bars, restaurants, souvenir shops, minigolf, and the aforementioned beachwear stores. Sometimes a couple of these places are combined into one. The beach, like everything else here, is crowded but pretty nice and open late into the night.

Speaking of which, tonight we went to a little tourism smorgasbord called Broadway at the Beach, an outdoor mall packed with various tourist chain restaurants (Hard Rock, Planet Hollywood, etc.), tourist chain bars (Senior Frogs, etc.), souvenir shops, snack kiosks, and various activities including a couple of theaters, a zipline and ropes course, and a lake right in the middle of it all. It’s like the Myrtle Beach version of Times Square. This is normally not my thing but we went there specifically for a place called WonderWorks that might be best described as what would happen if Dave & Busters and a science museum had a child together.

It was a bit overpriced but we had a great time. We lifted ourselves with pulleys …

… lay on a bed of nails …

… struck out the Phillie Phanatic …

… landed a space capsule …

…and blew giant bubbles.

OK, I believe you’re all caught up. Now if you’ll excuse me, my real pillows from home await.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Mitchell Pak permalink
    August 5, 2012 8:50 am

    Great entry, Adam. There is (or was – haven’t been there since ’99) in Orlando IIRC.

  2. Mitchell Pak permalink
    August 5, 2012 8:53 am

    Meant to say there is (or was) a WonderWorks in Orlando. Tammy and I stayed in a hotel across the street from one in ’99. Now excuse me while I get my coffee so I can wake up.

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