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!