Jet was happy and tired from running around with the other kids for the whole morning.
It rained the entire morning, sometimes harder, sometimes softer, but it was constant. With all the trees and greenery and the white skies, it made me very homesick for Seattle.
We ran East and South, stopping at a Friendly's for lunch.
Friendly's is another one of those Easter phenomenon that we never see in the West. It's a combination of what I'd think of as Denny's food with a focus on their own ice creams, sundaes, scoops, and toppings. We all had our lunches and then an ice cream treat afterward.
Jet watched Looney Tunes on the laptop while we went on a mad goosechase for the Garden State Parkway. It was a real pain getting to it, including signs that didn't actually go to the right ramps, and finally a stop at a Dunkin' Donuts where the guy said that yeah, the sign was wrong, both the North and South on-ramps were where the signs said that only the North one was going to be. We went through figure-8 loops in order to avoid three other highway on-ramps in order to hit the one we wanted, and then John had to cut across seven lanes of more aggressive than usual native traffic in order to get to a service area.
It was... tense. *laughs*
Then, of course, the laptop ran out of battery when we got to the service area, and John needed to get our boarding passes with Southwest, when you do it online you get better seating. Of course the area wasn't serviced by the wireless service that we automatically get with our combined wireless and computer connection service, so he had to buy an hour's worth of time. But that enabled him to get our boarding passes.
We got a Starbuck's coffee while we were there because, well, might as well while the laptop was charging up a little. I started driving then, as I like the insane traffic, on the most part, and with John free to navigate and figure out our hotel in Atlantic City things lightened up. Jet got to watch one more cartoon and then had to stop as the laptop ran out of juice again. The rain got lighter and then harder again, with occasional waves of really heavy rain with huge droplets that Jet said had to be hail because they were "shattering multiple times on the glass", and the clouds were darker for a while. But we started heading towards a break in the clouds.
We turned onto the Atlantic City parkway and then everything cleared up. By the time we got checked into our hotel and the boys had swum out in the pool, the sky was completely clear and while the wind was still pretty brisk, we went out and walked down the absolutely enormous Boardwalk. It was perfect walking weather, and we got to see all the foods and games and concession stands that we normally associate with just the county fair, with the ocean just to the side. There were mini-golf courses packed into less than a building lot. There were the casinos looking like townhouses or Roman temples or caves. The air smelled of salt and sea and there were seagulls in clouds everywhere.
Jet and I watched the seagulls in fascination and it really amused me when a crowd of girls shrieked at something and sounded *exactly* like the gulls. Written story come to life. *laughs*
We walked a fair ways down the busy boardwalk, filled with more people than I could believe. Even San Diego in the summer time doesn't have nearly as broad a boardwalk filled with nearly as many people. There were little rolling taxies with people pushing them, that could seat two adults or the three of us easily, and they were doing a brisk business as the walkway probably went for miles. We'd had enough of the crowds when we got to the far end, so we went onto the deserted beach to walk back. The beach was 'closed', effectively, when the lifeguards closed up shop at 6 pm. They went from 10 am to 6 pm, and there were signs everywhere saying that people were forbidden to go into the water when there were no lifeguards.
Of course there were still a few surfers out in the waves. We found the beach littered with broken bits of shell, and the water left an inch of thick scum everywhere the waves ebbed away. It was a little scary just how dirty the water and shoreline looked. The surf was much bigger than in CT, as this part of the shoreline wasn't protected from the real ocean by Long Island. Jet decided that maybe he didn't want to do the beach in the morning if it was that dirty as he'd have to take a shower and if the hotel didn't let us come back to take a shower, he didn't want to go into that water.
We walked back to the Mall by Caesar's Palace, and went up to the top floor to check out Phillip's Seafood restaurant, then the sushi bar next door, and then all the other six restaurants down the top floor of the mall out on the pier. Nothing really struck us as anything but way overpriced, and then we saw the Jungle Cafe down by the boardwalk. We knew it was still going to be overpriced, but at least it was likely to entertain a little as well. When we walked up to the seater, she said that it was an hour and fifty minutes until the next table, but that the bar was "child friendly and first come first served". There was an open table right there, so we sat and watched the thunderstorms, the moving elephants, the fluttering butterflies, and all the macaw statues through the place. Jet didn't like the thunderstorms very much.
But we got food fairly quickly given how busy they were, and that was good enough.
We walked back down the boardwalk and went into whatever shop Jet wanted. There was a small shop selling 99 cent items, hermit crabs, and iguanas that caught his eye and we wandered through. He's gotten so good at shopping that he decided that there really wasn't anything he wanted in there. *laughs*
Right at the place where we had to turn to get back to our hotel was a Fralingers' Salt Water Taffy store. They had bags and bags of candy along with a small wall of choose it yourself salt water taffy (it said $1 minimum so Jet asked how many pieces made up a pound which was $7). They also had boxes of assorted flavors and both almond and coconut macaroons. Jet and John and I each chose a bunch of salt water taffy. Jet thought it was a real bargain to get 7 whole pieces of taffy for just one dollar when he hadn't been able to buy much for his dollar anywhere else, and he carefully chose his flavors and carried the pieces back to the hotel and said that it wasn't something that we could get at home.
He's gotten the idea that it's good to buy things that we can't find at home when we're elsewhere. So he was looking at various things with a mildly critical eye as to what he could or couldn't get at home. There was one place selling Transformer coloring books and he took one look and said, "Those we can get at home." *grins*
Yes, we don't have almond macaroons where we're from, either. I bought just one in a bag, and ate it in the hotel room. It was lovely and chewy and soft in the center and crisp all along the surfaces.
It was also late when we got back to the room. I put Jet to bed when he was done with his toothbrushing and his pajamas, and I read The Mouse and the Motorcycle to him. Last night in a hotel for a while, as we're probably off to a lighthouse and then the Philly airport from here.