Astral Nomads

One man, one woman, one rabbit......traveling with the stars.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Reflections of the Past

Awoke to a gorgeous sunrise on this Halloween day. It was the first time in many years past that I didn't have mums and a carved pumpkin on the front porch, but this scene more than made up for those past enjoyments.

Besides as I looked down into the recessed boardwalk porch below, a little tissue ghost waved up at me and then blew about the leaves to my delighted amusement.

I usually celebrate Samhain (Sow' en) on this day and it is simply a time to reflect on the past and celebrate the coming seasons (kinda like a spiritual New Year). As usual, I always think of my ancestors, mainly Grandma and Grampa McCoy who were so important to me growing up.
I see Grampa in the disguise of a sea gull, with his white hair and skinny legs that were usually dressed in very classy plaid pants. He encouraged my love of poetry and literature and he would be very happy to see me reading Jane Eyre on the beach, as opposed to some trashy novel. He had me reading Shakespeare at the age of twelve and would quiz me on content and the deeper message... it was always the deeper message that he encouraged me to find.
Grandma was very special to me and I had to go to my archives to find a special photo for her. She was soft , patient, quiet and loving. She taught me to do needlework, gave me a love of cooking and baking and loved to tell me stories about her childhood. She listened patiently to everything I said and always made me feel smart and special. It's funny that both hid their love of the occult from each other as my grandfather would whisper stories of the "little people" while my grandmother would reveal mysteries of things to come having been born with "the veil" which meant she had the power of psychic ability. Love and miss them and are thankful that they were both a big part of my life.

Tonight I won't have candles to light, and won't be giving candy to trick or treaters, but since we are only one of two couples at this old hotel and the winds should be picking up tonight, we will no doubt climb the staircase to the veranda and play find the ghoul face in the carpet as we enjoy the bite of the last October sunset.


Meditative Interlude

While walking on the boardwalk yesterday we were the discussing the not original idea of running into someone you know when you are in a strange place. Since I am a firm believer in the concept of an n-dimensional multiverse (in which everything that did or could have happened, everything that is happening now or could be happening, and everything that will happen or might happen is actually simultaneously happening in every moment), I was therefore forced to conclude that I have already run into everyone I had ever known on this very boardwalk. As Kant laboriously pointed out, the perception of time and space is a function of human consciousness rather than a function of reality itself. Our path from birth to death is merely a continuous set of possible moments required by the immutable yet ultimately illusory laws that govern the physical shell of our bodies. It would be nice to be transcendent but it's time to do the laundry. Ha!


Saturday, October 30, 2010

Somewhere Over The Boardwalk

In Ocean City, the great candy rivalry is between Candy Kitchen and Wockenfuss. Candy Kitchen has way more stores but the name Wockenfuss has the ring of old world Germanic authenticity. Tonight we've scheduled a top-secret private taste-off. We bought a 1/4lb of Almond Butter Crunch from each store and we will either declare a winner or sicken ourselves. Either way it has to be done. I bought the Wockenfuss entry first but was careful to hide the bag in the pouch of my authentic acrylic Mexican Baja while I was buying the entry from Candy Kitchen. Ha! Actually, the huge woman behind the counter was completely flat-affect and I don't suspect she gives a rat's ass one way or the other. We were amused, nonetheless, by the neon burnout of the Candy Kitchen letters so that they read Can Kitch. Indeed.

We finally got inside the crazy boardwalk art gallery today and I use the word 'art' advisedly here. The inside is about as ridiculous as the outside but I give the proprietor props for shameless self-promotion. There is an incredible amount of stuff crammed inside, mostly posters and shore themed paintings and lots of news clippings about the greatness the gallery and its owner.

There is only one pine tree on the entire Ocean City boardwalk and it's proudly perched right outside the All You Can Eat for $12.99 Paul Revere Smorgasbord restaurant which was, thankfully considering the reviews on Trip Advisor, closed for the season. It would not be our kind of place anyway, since neither of us can eat a lot and I have a strong personal policy against taking food from any source that requires, by law, a sneeze guard. That plus a faux American Colonial decor including the faux jokey stocks is rather nauseating to me on both aesthetic and gastronomic grounds.

We did find a little amusement hall with a really nice antique Merry-Go-Round that featured a few unusual creatures such as this turquoise Chimera and some of the usual suspects like running chickens, ostriches. lions, tigers, and pigs. The Merry-Go-Round is a true piece of history since its twin was delivered to Coney Island but later destroyed in a fire. (Note: I have purposely not commented on Wendy's shameless hussy flirtation with Blackbeard. I will be discussing the matter with her later and there's a good chance she may be banned from the candy taste-off)

The boardwalk was actually pretty crowded even though it was only about 60F. I was one of the few knuckleheads wearing shorts.

-Gerry (text) and Wendy (photos)

Friday, October 29, 2010

We Return to Conquer Assateague

After being thwarted in our initial campaign to discover the wild
ponies of Assateague, we decided to launch a second effort and were amply rewarded. Assateague is about 10 miles south of Ocean City on a long barrier island that was created when the Great Nor-Easter of 1933 cut a new inlet to the bay just south of Ocean City proper. It is a wonderland of salt marshes, dunes, and scrub pine forests. And, of course, home to a variety of wildlife, most notably the pesky ponies that avoided us during our initial foray.

The access road into Assateague for non-off road vehicles, like our mighty Hyundai Access, only extended for about four miles onto the island. After that, you need four-wheel drive because the roadway turns to sand. Within the parts of the park that we were able to access, however, there are two short but spectacular hiking paths, one (pictured immediately above) that highlights the raw beauty of the dunes and one that highlights the forest of loblolly pines and fresh and saltwater marshes.

'Day after day, alone on a hill........'. 

There's one parking area that has a walkway up to the top of  dune that provides a great view of the Atlantic Ocean. The sea was quite calm today, almost lake-like in its gentle shimmer. 

The three pictures above are from the forest trail. The last one could almost be a Monet.

We saw this family of ponies on our way out of the park. The stallion had a shock of blond rock-star hair that reminded us of Bon Jovi. Rock on, little pony, rock on.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Suited for a Beach Day

This morning looked promising after last night's shower. It is calm and quiet on our veranda at the Safari... no one else comes out here and it feels like we are back on our front porch rockers as the day begins.

We patiently waited for the last of the gray clouds to pass by the rising sun and soon...

voila... cerulean blue skies with marshmallow clouds appeared like magic!

Even this spunky dog knew it would be a great beach day
and many of the boardwalk merchants were open for business.
The empty beach beckoned and so we donned our bathing suits,
strolled the boardwalk in the hot 75 degree sun and both won big at the arcade... Gerry won several free games of pinball and I won  two cupfuls of tokens worth $285 at the slot machine. My chosen prizes were a rose quartz necklace and a woven and beaded hippie bracelet with a miniature surfboard on it... way cool. Then we spent the afternoon on the beach reading. I couldn't believe we were the only two people in bathing suits... everyone else on the boardwalk was wearing fall clothes and looked hot! There was no one on the beach so I took our picture myself (can you see my camera in our sunglasses if you click on the photo?)

It was a most excellent day and we will be staying here through the weekend!


Forget the Museum of Natural History. When I'm in the mood for nuzzling a full-grown lion, I head straight for the Safari Motel in Ocean City, Md. This beauty is perched on a stand right over the lobby. We didn't even notice it for the first day since the lobby, like everything else in this small friendly motel nestled in high-rent oceanfront property, is tiny and cozy. The safari motif is evident every where and would be on the hairy edge of over-the-top were it not
for the harmonious and expected marriage of shore and kitsch. Hell, there's a food stand on the boardwalk here named Johnny Polock's. Hello, John Waters.

The Safari is a family run operation. From what I can ascertain, there are two sons in their thirties and a mother and father. They have an accent that is vaguely Eastern European or, I should say, east of Eastern European but, after the break-up of the Soviet Union, I hesitate to suggest a country because I don't want to be in the uncomfortable position of suggesting, for example, that a Belorussian is Georgian or vice versa. People get understandably touchy about those sorts of things.

The sons run the front desk during the day and the parents guard the small lobby like two thirds of Cerberus from their matching armchairs for much of the evening. There's only one way in and one way out of the Safari Motel and no way to pass their scrutiny even when the dad is in a snoring doze. One eye will partially part to identify you as a paying guest and then close again. The Safari Wifi (or Sawifi as I like to call it) here is password protected (as we found out after we checked in, of course) and when I asked the father about it, he couldn't find the info sheet at first but later, when we where returning from third floor deck (aka smoking lounge) he had a hand written password for me. I asked if the network was named 'Ocean', which I had noticed earlier on the network scan from my laptop and the mom says "Of course! What else?" Ha!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Just Chillin

So we're holed up in Ocean City MD and having a quiet blast. When you have nothing to do that is pressing or time sensitive, everything becomes a mellow amusement.  How great it was to be reading a murder mystery whose climax takes place upon a rocky wind swept island and you are actually hearing the sound effects behind you as you're reading in the wind.

We took a walking tour today and were completely amused by a macabre miniature golf course that is closed for the season (like just about everything else here). I got some wacky shots of monsters that would scare me away if I were a kid.

 We probably walked about 5 miles today on the boardwalk, around the town, and to a small pier to look at boats. I'm collecting pictures of interesting signs which will be a separate post, but I just have to show you the fine art gallery that we passed...

 Gee, I can only wonder what the inside looks like. Yikes!

Mostly, I am taking pictures of Nature which is what I enjoy doing the most, and I especially like watching the sea gulls... they make me laugh.

We have a little fridge full of fresh food as you get kinda tired of eating out all the time... even if the food is really good. Last night we went to a Japanese Steak House and got our entertainment by watching the chef perform, watching little kids in awe of the knife flipping and pyrotechnics, and singing happy birthday and happy anniversary to total strangers. It was fun, but tonight it's a quiet dinner for two with meatloaf and salad (assembled on one of our beds with Otis overseeing the effort). Now there's some throwing caution to the wind...what would our mother's say to that!

PS Otis is quite comfortable here, only he just got hollered at for attempting to chew the woodwork so he's a little put out now.