Welcome to the OC, Bitch
The Princess, her sister, her 11-year-old-going-on-40-year-old cousin, and I hit Route 50 Saturday morning to spend the day in Ocean City, Md. We woke up at 7am to “beat the traffic” but managed to stretch a 3-hour trip into nearly five hours with stops at Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, and Wal-Mart (god help me, I love that place; where else can you find work slacks for $11 AND stock up on shotgun ammunition?). We DID manage to avoid any significant traffic and learned that we didn’t even need Mapquest’s help on this trip since Route 50 pretty much ends in the OC. We found parking two blocks from the beach for $1/hour (score!), grabbed our gear, and made our way to the sand.
Walking on the OC boardwalk was more reminiscent of going to a county fair or entering a carnival: the freaks, the geeks, and cheap wares were all on display. I half expected to see the Bearded Lady shooting water into a clown’s mouth with the Elephant Man. They even had a roller coaster and Ferris wheel on the pier. We sneaked our bathing suits into the public bathroom (apparently, it’s illegal to change in a PUBLIC bathroom in the OC) and were soon on the beach.
It was a beautiful, hot sunny day, made all the more special since The Princess’s cousin had never seen the ocean. She wasn’t all that impressed. I think she gets more excited by downloading new songs onto her IPod than seeing the awe-inspiring marvel that is our interconnected global body of salt water. Whatever. We ate some cold pizza (is there such a thing as bad leftover pizza?), laid out for a while, and then ventured into the water. The great thing about the OC is that they sell or rent every conceivable thing you might need: beach towels, chairs, umbrellas, and boogie boards. Of course, like most things, you don’t need them. The waves were a towering ONE FOOT-HIGH cascade of ocean water, which made the lifeguards pretty gratuitous but still managed to knock The Princess’s bikini off at least four times that I saw. The shore was packed with people, enabling me to clothesline adults and children alike while bodysurfing.
After an existential discussion on what alternative to sand would be the ideal replacement for a beach (we decided on towel material), The Princess and I went for a walk. What we discovered during our jaunt was that the OC is a microcosm of society: on the north side of the pier, where we were, it was mostly white people. South of the pier, though, most of the beach-goers were black, Latino, and Asian. I also noticed that every other person had a tattoo; this plethora of ink devalued the whole art form and made me rethink if I truly want another one.
We wrapped it up in the afternoon and, while The Princess took her cousin to get a henna tattoo, The Princsister and I went to a hole in the wall for a couple of beers. We chose The Bearded Clam after much consideration that it looked like every other bar in the OC. Also, the name alone was funny. FYI: You really don’t know the meaning of the word “dive” until you go to The Bearded Clam. It was full of photos of racecar drivers I didn’t recognize, was showing some NASCAR race that was, apparently, a big deal, and was being patronized by people you would expect at one of these races. I paid $8 for four beers for both of us and got the hell out of there.
We all met up and walked the boardwalk, chomping on some fries and people watching. Along the side of the walkway, some talented Jesus-freak rendered a sand berm into his rendition of The Last Supper. Pretty impressive stuff and a perfect photo opportunity for out-of-towners like us. Because everybody loves a good Sand Jesus.
We considered stopping at one of those notorious OC All-You-Can-Eat crab shacks but they were out of our price range AND gave you a 70-minute time limit. So they’re not really All-You-Can-Eat as much as they are All-You-Can-Eat-In-The-Time-We-Allot-You. We eventually found a roof-deck restaurant with some great happy hour specials and were served by a waiter from Reston who tried to convince me that his town is considered a part of “the DC area.” I don’t think so. If you have to drive more than half an hour on I-66 to get to the city and you have to go PAST Dulles, you’re not in “the DC area.”
We scarfed down our dinners, picked up some ice cream, and made our way home, leaving the OC behind us. Can’t wait for next season.