Monday, August 07, 2006

Travel Journal: Myrtle Beach – not so much cheese for me

They always frown when I mention I have plans to go to Myrtle Beach, or that I just went there. There is never a doubt: the minute I will pronounce that name, eyebrows will raise, hands will wave, eyes will roll, and grins will appear; all accompanied by the all-to-known comment “oh, cheesy”! But having lived there, and having known a couple of places, I can tell you: Myrtle Beach is not all about the cheese, and the redneck-ness, and the gross touristy “too-much”-ness! Not for me, anyways!

I decided to do a trip there a couple of weekends back, just because I missed the Ocean! The Ocean helps me think. It helps put things into perspective for me. I used to look at it, back when I lived there, as the ONE big thing between me and my past life! The big “Pond”, that separated my mother continent from my now home continent; so, it will forever hold more meaning to me than just a huge body of water, full of sharks and jelly fish where you can swim and have fun in the sun.

Every time when I need to think, or look back into my past and find my true self ( which we cannot help but lose realization of sometimes, in the hustle and bustle of today) I go to the Ocean. That is why I try to stay “on the beach” when I go there! And because that is the main reason I go to the beach, I care little for what the beach provides in terms of entertainment (or peaceful lack of it); I go to Myrtle for the familiarity of it, and because that familiarity keeps my mind clear, as I need it for other selfish and self absorbed things.

There are some “touristy” things I always enjoy revisiting there, though: like the River City Café, who allows you to eat peanuts till you pop, and to dump your shells on the ground, while writing all over the walls with permanent markers, in that nonchalant, vacationing spirit where you worry little about being a slob; also the Bummz Café (can a name be more appropriate for a beach bar?!?), which is on the beach, affordable, and with a great view of the dunes and the waves – now this one always brings me back! That’s when I know I am finally at the Ocean. Just sitting on Bummz’s patio, sipping a cold drink and eating the grouper sandwich, smell of sand and salt everywhere, and the swishy sound of palm trees nearby, almost putting me to sleep.
Yes, you also have to play putt-putt when you’re there, but not because you’re a redneck, but because it’s fun to be a kid again, once in a while! Especially since Greensboro doesn’t offer that, and especially when you can’t swim or boogie board, or play other sports to enjoy the outside world! To me it’s just fun, because I didn’t grow up in a country where putt-putt was even known, much less offered! Yes, I do some things now that I should have when I was 10, but this to me it’s just proof that you can never, and should never, tell yourself you’re “too old” for anything. You’re only too old in your head! You’re the one setting the boundaries! The world will always welcome you; will always await you with the same fun opportunities – always.
I will admit that Broadway at the Beach is indeed cheesy and at least overpriced! I do go there for the seafood at Joe’s Crabshack (have you seen the sizes of those fresh seafood portions ???? For something like $12.99 to $14.99???? – now, I like a great deal just as much as the next Walmart shopper, but that place just gives it away!); and you have to visit the “Stupid Factory (where boys are made)” t-shirt store, just to feel good about being a sassy chick! (*smile*); and although it’s filled with cheese, I always have to say hi to the Cat Store. How can I not?! I just need to be reminded that “cats are like potato chips: you can never have just one”, or that “cat hair is a condiment in my house”. Of course, I do. It’s all about the smiles, you see. And some places just offer them for free.

And also, this year, just like every summer, I got a tingly feeling on my skin, too. You have to get at least a mild sunburn and the sun never burns as hot as on the sand! A good sunburn comes with the summer menu! Just like I am thrilled when I get a good, miserable cold in the winter, which forces me inside, next to a huge pot of soup and some chamomile tea that otherwise tastes like liquid plastic! – just like that, I am insanely happy when my skin hurts from the sun! No, no sun screen required, not too much anyways, ‘cause we want to burn. Just for one silly day, we can let ourselves be free! I am not talking about the whole summer, and you’ll never, and I mean NEVER catch me in a tanning bad, but a little decadence and losing control I love. Yeah, I am not all crazy! After all, we’re all paranoid about skin cancer, right?! So, yeah, I laid out in the sun, got my skin tone changed, all naturally, and enjoyed the burn. Quite the pleasure when you go to bed and every pore screams, and stings. Aloe is my friend! It’s like cold beer for the skin! Yummy!

And I did think, deep and long, on the side of the ocean, and I did repainted the mental canvas of my life. I tried to see things as clear as the sky in the sunset or sunrise over the ocean, and just as bright! Just like sunset, the past was sent to bed; and just like the sunrise, the new life will invade my near future. And hopeful, too!

Dipping in your past energy can give you quite a push for the future. I came out of the beach day dreaming with new thoughts, and new hopes, and new gas for the gas pedal! Just like you come out of the water: refreshed and anew. You need a while before you dry off again. And when that will happen, I am sure I will be ready for another visit to the very familiar and uncluttered (for me) “Cheese World”.

For pictures (might have to copy and paste):

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