Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Here's the view of the ocean from the boardwalk. Note the half-mile hike to the water line. And that sand is not loose (actually a good thing). It's more like tightly packed wet cement. Do not attempt to cross it on a hot summer's day in bare feet. You'll wish you were dead before you're halfway to the ocean.
On the right is a piece of the 2-mile long boardwalk. Note the two "concrete runways" that run parallel to each other, with yellow outside warning stripes, the entire length of the boardwalk. You need to stay on your toes on this boardwalk. The next picture will show you why.
You and your friends will be strolling, casually, down the boardwalk when all of a sudden this pre-recorded PRONUNCIAMENTO will blare out from behind you
"WATCH THE TRAM CAR, PLEASE. WATCH THE TRAM CAR, PLEASE. WATCH THE TRAM CAR, PLEASE."
Thus scaring the crap out of you and your associates. After the first few times you do get used to it and learn a) not to walk along on the cement portion of the boardwalk where the tram car runs and b) to stand to the side and watch OTHER tourists get the crap scared out of them!
By the way, the Tramcar is a real bargain at two bucks a pop after you've spent hours schlepping up and down the boardwalk on a steamy July afternoon.
But here's the real reason one comes to Wildwood, New Jersey. It's a town out of time. It's permanently locked in the year 1959. All the drive-in joints and motels look like something out of "American Graffiti" with "space-age" designs and doo-wop motifs.
And the locals revel in it. So do the tourists.
Biggest surprise of the trip (aside from how things have changed since, oh, 1964) were the bajillions of French-Canadians who obviously have chosen the south Jersey Shore as their summer residence ("chez ete"). I heard more bad French than I did bad English last week.
And speaking of bad English, here's how we old poops whiled away our evenings, playing cutthroat games of Scrabble.
Here's a close-up of the same board:
My so-called friends are the types of people who spend the winter memorizing all the words that begin with "Q" and don't require a "U."
Enough for today. More photos tomorrow. If you're real nice.