If you see a whole thing - it seems that it's always beautiful. Planets, lives... But up close a world's all dirt and rocks. And day to day, life's a hard job, you get tired, you lose the pattern. - Ursula K. LeGuin

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Beach

Boy and I have taken many beach vacations together. We've done The Hamptons, Cape Cod, The Outer Banks, Puerto Rico, and Cape Town, South Africa, to name a few. We usually go for a week. This time we hit a new beach and condensed the entire itinerary into two days. I'll recap the highlights.

Driving Out

Boy is an amazing travel companion, in part because he is so incredibly laid-back and agreeable--not something I ever would have imagined having survived toddler hood with him. I woke him at the crack of dawn (well 6:30, which is pretty close to the crack of dawn to a teenager) and he was up, dressed and in the car in a flash. He loves stand-up comedy so we listened first to his current favorite and then one of our old stand-bys. We stopped only briefly to eat egg sandwiches.


We arrived at our destination just as the sky had opened up. It seemed we were in for a day of intermittent thunderstorms. Our room was large and comfy with a nice flat screen TV over what became Boy's bed.

Of course it was now time for lunch so we were off to "town," or the strip of street that served as a town, in search of food. We found it, in all it's fried glory. Lunch was quickly followed by a trip to the supermarket for all the extras Boy usually requires--in the form of Doritos, Chessman cookies, milk and beer (Guinness for Mom, of course).

Beaching I

Bathing suits and sunscreen on, beer in cooler, books, Ipods and hotel towels in hand, we finally made our way to the beach.

[Boy decided his tanning oil makes him glisten and strikes a pose.]

Luckily the hotel was right on the beach so it was a short walk.

Sun bathing--me reading and he listening to music--was interrupted by occasional sun showers but overall it was lovely and relaxing. When we finally made it into the water, it was perfect bath temperature and we played in the waves.

Fine Dining

We located the snootiest restaurant on the island and made a quick reservation. Boy was dressed in his newest look and I in my long flowing beach dress. The food was good (I made him taste some of the Gorgonzola cheese from my dressing just to see the look on his face) but not great; the ambiance comfortable but not casual; and the service impeccable. We decided to forgo dessert.

Miniature Golf

Yes we worked off our day of eating with a rousing game of miniature golf. I not only got TWO holes-in-one (one of which occurred in front of an entire family who was kind enough to let us play through) but for the first time EVER, won the game. (Ok, so only by 2 points and Boy was exhausted from only 2 hours sleep the night before, but still).


Although the sun was setting on the sound side,

we headed over to the ocean and walked the shore, sharing the day and remembering other beach stories.

Beaching II

The next day Boy slept in while I headed over to the ocean. It was no longer overcast and already getting quite warm. I brought my trusty book--a totally junky true-crime--my Ipod (I like to listen to opera on the beach) and a truly bad cup of hotel room decaf coffee (because that is how much of a junkie I really am-and I drank the whole thing) and spent two beautiful quiet hours by myself.


When my stomach could no longer stand it, I made my way back to the hotel room to rouse Boy. Luckily the Hotel had an amazing late check-out policy and we could stay until 4 pm. So the plan was breakfast and then back to the beach. After several failed attempts we finally located a breakfast joint and devoured pancakes, bacon and grits (him) and a country omelet and grits (me). Stuffed to the gills we waddled out and back to the beach.

Beaching III

By the time we got there it was HOT....burning soles of your feet hot...can't let your legs slide off the towel hot...on the beach. I quickly buried my nose back in my trashy book while Boy first tried to read then went back to the hotel room for his Ipod then finally said he was going down by the water. I grunted affirmation from between the pages. Several chapters later I was beyond hot and decided to go down to the water and find him. It was crowded and he was no where in sight.

Now he's 18...has traveled out of the country on his own...is bigger and stronger than I am...is responsible and knows how to swim, but me? I go through a silent panic like he's 3 years old and lost in an amusement park. For about 15 minutes I'm walking up and down and in and out of the water trying to scan every tall skinny young white male who even faintly resembles my son.

He, of course, had taken a long walk in the opposite direction. I guess that mother worry never leaves you. I (wisely) neglected to tell him of my panic. Instead I suggested a dip in the ocean, which was much rougher than the day before, and we played and swam until our eyes burned from the salt and sand was deposited in our suits. We said good bye to the beach and headed back for showers and packing up.


Boy and I love aquariums, which is odd because we both hate museums. When he was little I used to take him with me on trips to conferences. Visiting an aquarium, if there was one, was always our first choice. So on the drive towards the beach we had noticed there was one near-by and decided to make a quick stop before we headed home.

I'm a big fan of turtles and there were plenty.

We also saw sharks and jellyfish and alligators and other scary sea creatures.

Boy has watched a lot of late night Discovery shows on fish and the sea, so he was much better informed than I and was able to enlighten me on many fishy aspects. He also has picked up the habit of reading the signs (I'm much more likely to go up to the glass, stare at the fish and make things up). When not discussing the more scientific aspects of sea life we were comparing which ones we like to eat.

It was a small aquarium so we were quickly on our way.

Drive Back

The minute we hit the open road the skies open on us with a torrential downpour. Unfortunately I'm driving at this time (I hate driving in the rain). Also unfortunate for me, Boy had ordered Dominos back at the hotel and is not hungry but I have not eaten since our mammoth breakfast. We drive for an hour, with the rain abating, and when I can stand it no longer we head into a store to buy sandwiches. Of course the minute we pull into the parking lot the sky reopens and we get drenched running the few feet from car to store. We shop in the frigid air conditioning with our wet shirts plastered to us and our hair dripping down our faces. The sandwiches take forever to arrive and are barely edible.

Boy drives us the rest of the way home and plays me his favorite music. I recognize none of it but like it and consider myself lucky, once again, to have him as a son.


k8 said...

Sounds like a great trip, and the photos are wonderful! As dangerous as they are, I've always loved the 'gator grin. The gator in the picture looks particularly flirtatious! Those turtles are mighty cute, too.

Julie said...

Yay! You're back! This is such a sweet post. I'm so glad you had a nice trip with your son. He sounds awesome and fun to travel with. Great pictures, too.

Hilaire said...

What a great trip - thanks for the photos!! What a wonderful relationship you and Boy seem to have, as well.

Deb said...

Ah, yes. You are lucky to have him. He seems pretty well grounded, and that's great. I have one who is, so I get to have a great relationship with him for now. but as you know with chris, not so much. i am gonna reach out though. try to get past some of this and let him know i am still his mother. that never changes.
glad you had such a great time before he leaves for school.

Eliza said...

Dang, Boy is RIPPED! I mean, LOOK, TURTLES!!!

Nit said...

I am with Eliza on this one! :)

Glad you guys had such a good time...love the pics! Even the ones where boy isn't topless :)

MsPrufrock said...

What a lovely, lovely post. For whatever reason I kept thinking how much Boy looked like Prince Harry, as much as can be seen of him anyway. I have no idea why, plus, I say that like I'm some kind of royals fan or something, which I'm not.

I'm so envious of the beach. Sigh.

Amanda said...

It sounds like you had a fun trip. And I love the aquarium pics!