I didn't take my camera on my trip so here are some "pictures" from our travels.
Her blond hair is chewed to 1/2-inch lengths the circumference of her head. Her skin is freckled and has begun to leather. Columbia, Teva, and Osprey products are attached strategically to her body. She cuts in front of us, unstrapping this and that while she walks. She is invisible in her own mind. If she doesn't make eye contact she will not be seen. (Many folks think that this technique will also work in traffic. Let me tell you now--I see you.) Despite her pushiness, we get through the metal detectors at the SAME TIME!
My right arm, just below the shoulder, is damp. This typically happens when assigned the "E" seat. Elbows must be tucked between my body and the arm rest. The plastic arm rest cover digs into my forearm. There is pain at first, but eventually numbness sinks in. D & F are occupied by armrest hogs. The dark blue seat in front sulks, it's back placed at me for what seems an eternity. Barf bag, magazine, SkyMall catalog and laminated emergency preparedness card are arranged festively in the pocket. The sullen blue seat soon dips back and invades my space. The air nozzle is aimed at my right arm keeping it dry.
He is tall, dark and full of wrong answers. I drag my suitcase over, my bag digging into my neck, and ask him how to get to Atlantic City. He is stretched out across his wheeled ergonomically correct office chair. He looks at me slightly askance and points out the double doors and says "The train." I lug my bags across the street and up the long ramp twice before I realize that I'm at the wrong spot. I have to go back in, up the escalator, across the skywalk, and down the elevator to catch the train out of Philly for $5.50.
We follow the crowd up the escalator into the large atrium. Wooden pews face the information desk. A smiling woman with shining eyes is laughing and she calls me sugar and gives me simple directions. It's like breathing sage. She sells us a ticket and at the appropriate moment, we descend escalators, rush onto a train and hurl our bags and bodies at the nearest seats. The seats, unfortunately, are adjacent to the restroom which is sticky with sour urine. I stare out windows stamped with hair grease. I look past hair tendril impressions, out into the 10 o'clock dark, and watch for lights--store lights, streetlights, lights above dining room tables.
I smell the ocean mixed with mechanical heat as I lift my suitcase over the 5-inch gap between train and platform. I drag the wheeled silver box towards glass double doors, across tiled floors, out revolving doors, across the pavement, along the sidewalk, and finally across the hotel threshold. Casino marquees attract seagulls, and they swirl around building tops--bugs around lights--thoughts unknown. The wheels of my suitcase move much faster on magenta marble floors.
My hair has become bouncy in the humidity. It swings and springs with each step on the wooden boardwalk. Decaying food smells permeate every alleyway. Women of all shape and condition boldly saunter by in bikinis. Palm readers and designer knock off shops are distributed evenly along the trail. Boards are bolted down, and they require an Allen wrench to remove. We slide into a shop filled with fruit and order expensive pizza slices. I order a mango smoothie and we sit and watch the kaleidoscope of people stream by.
The sand is dark gray--bordering on black--and at regular intervals a wide swath of shells marches up out of the waves onto the beach. Sea foam is hurled at me and I think of Ariel. Walking west we notice that the tide is coming in. Lifeguards are carrying their boats and stands up the beach. A turtle is trying to escape into the sea, but he is pushed back by waves, just like Tom Hanks on Cast Away. We collect a nice representation of shells for Rabbit. I pop seaweed air bladders and they snap just like packing bubbles--OOH!--I could stay here for days! Horseshoe crabs scuttle into the sand, their tails whipping the water behind them. We reach Ventnor City and the sun has descended into the haze that makes sunlight bright orange. Bright orange sunlight like when forests are burning.
True to carnie nature, food is stored on the ground behind vending trailers. Oddly, this makes me happy, probably because it means that they don't put food on the ground only when they're on the rez. This is where all similarity ends. Electrical cords are covered and not stretched across walkways. Sewage is not pooling under food trailers. Solid waste is not spilling out of trash containers onto the ground. We watched folks ride a slingshot type thrill ride and then we left.
White House Subs
An unknown beige substance dumped on the street smelled pretty bad so it was nice to escape into the building. Booths lined one wall, the grill and cash register lined the other wall, and a line of customers filled the narrow space in the center. Black rubber mats covered the floor. Pictures of famous people eating subs covered the walls. The sandwiches were huge. The bread was fresh & crusty. Drinks were limited to cans of soda or bottled water delivered with a plastic cup of ice. My albacore tuna sub was fabulous!
The End of the Boardwalk
The boardwalk quality and maintenance abruptly declined after the last casino. Curled and loose boards were fastened with angular nails that were in various stages of migration out of the wood. I took care to lift my knees, like walking through snow, on this section of the boardwalk. People stood along long piles of rocks with fishing poles in their hands. Boats filled with fishermen hovered between the tips of the rock fingers. We made our way around the NE corner of the island and entered what was described on the internet as "abject poverty"--it looked like the rez. People were talking, laughing, drumming and singing under our feet. A green, curved 1960's style building was intriguing from a Life Safety Code stand point.