Oh, The Places I’ve Been, Part 2

Monsters Inc - Boo Is Bored.gifI get the feeling that the first post about my recent vacation was kind of boring. I mean, who wants to read a guy’s complaints about two out of his three hotel rooms? So let’s move on. Today, we’ll cover that time I went to the beach.

I can honestly say that I’ve been to Virginia Beach only a few times in my life. Last summer I went there for approximately four hours to attend a required seminar for an online class I was taking. Back in college, I’m pretty sure it was one of our stops for one of our annual choir tours. But I had not actually gone to Virginia Beach, stayed overnight, and taken time to enjoy the ocean since I was six years old.Stitch - SandcastleWe weren’t one of those families that took an annual vacation to the beach. That trip to Virginia Beach when I was six was my first and only beach vacation with my parents and sister. For me, a trip to the beach is a rare occasion.

When I decided to visit the beach as part of my vacation, I knew it would be an almost completely spontaneous thing. Obviously it wasn’t completely spontaneous due to the fact that I reserved my hotel room via the internet the week before I went. But I had no plans for when I got there.

Did I mention in my last post that the Wingate by Wyndham was 12 miles from the shoreline? Well, it was. And if you know anything about the traffic in the Virginia Beach/Norfolk area, that 12 miles could turn into quite the drive. But I braved it. After my first night in the hotel, I drove to what I can only assume is described as “the strip” where I paid $10.00 to park in a questionable parking lot which I could not leave unless I was fully ready to not ever come back. It was a great deal.

2016-07-18 13.44.34I parked near a place known as Neptune Park (or maybe it’s Neptune’s Park… I can’t remember if it was named for the Roman sea god or if he owned it…). This is because there was a ginormous statue of Neptune, which I figured made for a good landmark, just in case I got to wandering around and got lost. Because finding the Hilton would have been too difficult.

In my wanderings, I came across this place that sold discounted tickets to local attractions. I could have gotten a great deal on admission to Busch Gardens if I’d wanted to ride some roller coasters. Let’s be honest, I wanted to ride some roller coasters. But who wants to do an amusement park alone? So I skipped that deal and went with the dolphin cruise instead.

2016-07-18 11.13.47.jpg

Dolphins do not sit still for pictures. Except, maybe, at the SeaWorld.

Dolphins are beautiful creatures. They’re incredibly intelligent. And they’re kind of mean. They’re totally the bullies of the oceanic kingdom. They travel in packs (or pods, if you prefer) and make fun of all the other animals in the water. I’m pretty sure they make fun of people, too. All they ever do is point and laugh.

I can’t really back up the bullying claim. But the dolphins we saw on our cruise weren’t very cooperative. It’s like they knew we were pulling out our phones and cameras to take pictures and videos of them, then they’d disappear, only to show up on the other side of the boat to screw with the passengers over there. The most we saw of them was when they started swimming in our wake, which is, apparently, a selfish act. Think of it like Marty McFly grabbing onto the back of a car while on his skateboard, getting a free ride. That’s what the dolphins were doing. And I keep saying we in regards to the dolphin cruise. That’s because those of us who took the ride became like a family. We went through a lot during our day at sea. Lost a lot of good men out there.

2016-07-18 13.50.32.jpgThe rest of that day at the beach was sort of unremarkable. I spent some time on the sand, but not a whole lot. Y’all, it was hot. And it was crowded. Every now and then, I get it in my head that I could handle living at the beach. Like I would really enjoy living in a house that overlooked the ocean. But then I visit the beach and I’m not entirely convinced that I’m right about that desire to live at the beach.

See, I could live at the beach. But I know myself. I would complain. A lot. I would complain about the heat. I would complain about the humidity. I would complain about the crowds. I would complain about the sand and how it gets EVERYWHERE. It’s just… it’s so magical.

The next day I convinced myself to get up insanely early so I could drive back to the beach and witness the sunrise over the ocean. Okay, it took more than me convincing myself. I had help from people on Facebook. Because I like to ask my Facebook friends before I make any life decision. Because they’re really more like family.

Anyway, I got back to the actual beach and had a difficult time finding a place to park. Most of the parking meters weren’t operational until 6 a.m. And if I tried to park at one of those meters, there was a chance I could get towed. And since it was 5:30 and sunrise wasn’t until approximately 6:00, I didn’t want to take that risk. Eventually, I did find a working parking meter and I was cutting it close.

2016-07-19 06.03.04-2.jpgI walked a couple blocks to get to the sand with about 10 minutes to spare. I thought there would be a chance that I would be disappointed as I saw storms looming to the south, while the horizon to the east was thick with not-so-stormy clouds. Lots of clouds equals no sunshine, right? Well, despite not seeing the actual sun come up out of the water, the morning was still beautiful.

It was the beach the way I like to do the beach. It was still cool and breezy from the night time. And there were about four people out there. And two dogs. It was glorious.

I probably stood there for half an hour, just staring at the spot where the ocean met the sky and letting the waves wash over my feet. I know this will sound cheesy, but it was kind of amazing to just let the splendor of God’s creation soak in.2016-07-19 06.09.58.jpgAfter that, I went to the hotel and slept for a couple more hours before I had to check out and head back to Richmond. More to come, y’all.

 

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