Sunday, July 24, 2011

Ocean City, We Barely Knew Thee

The long-awaited trip to Ocean City had finally arrived. We awoke this morning at a quarter to nine and prepared for our big day. We all gathered our towels, sunscreen, and plenty of water and headed to the Jersey shore. The drive was a little longer than I had anticipated. I looked up the drive on my phone yesterday and Google Maps approximated that it would take a little over an hour, but we had time to watch Zombieland and then still have another twenty minutes worth of driving (which would put it around two hours worth of driving). I was really hoping we could have gotten to the beach earlier so we could beat some of the crowds. However, I was ok with the drive taking a bit longer because I had never seen Zombieland and it was a funny movie. Once we did arrive though, I was anxious to get into the water.

We arrived at the boardwalk and our first stop was the surf shack right next to the entrance. I waited for Brian to get swim trunks while the rest of the group went to set up camp. It was more difficult to find camp than I originally hoped. In the sea of umbrellas and lawn chairs, it was impossible to see anything or anyone that resembled our group. We decided to set our things down somewhere and just join them later. We ran into the water and started our search for our friends. We found them pretty quickly and began our aquatic shenanigans. Although I can’t swim, I was still able to have a good time in the ocean. Today, I learned that the Atlantic Ocean is much rougher than the Pacific. The waves were higher, stronger, and faster than anything I have ever encountered on a beach in California (but then again I am not one to frequent beaches, so that isn’t saying much). The rough waves made it that much more fun though. While most of the swimmers decided to body surf when the big waves rolled in, I would just let each wave carry me as far as it could. I fell down a couple of times, but we were in shallow enough water that it was safe. We stayed in the water for about an hour before we decided to get out, dry off, and get some lunch.

We walked onto the boardwalk and browsed our options for lunch. There were a lot of smoothie, candy, and fish places, but not too many restaurants. We managed to find a pizza shop that served huge pizzas. There were two options for ordering pizza: by the slice, or a whole pizza. We opted to go for the whole pizza and just split the bill. Whole pizzas at this restaurant are a whopping twenty-six inches in diameter! That’s about as big as the tire on a mountain bike. It was insanely big. The shop even had a challenge that they offered. The challenge was that if one person could finish one of these pizzas in “x” amount of time, they would get “y” amount of free pizzas (ex. If you finish a pizza in forty five minutes, you get twenty-five free pizzas). I was tempted to try it, but before I could give it much thought, they informed us that the challenge was only available on Tuesdays. This probably worked out in my favor…

After lunch, we learned that we had to return to the busses at 2:30 due to thunderstorms off the coast. This was saddening because I had hoped to get more time in the cold ocean before having to return to the humidity of the mainland. We used the remainder of our time to look at some of the shops that they had on the boardwalk. They had things such as mini golf, sweets shops, and a lot of custom t-shirt shops. I tried to buy a shirt that had Charlie Sheen’s face on it that said “Winning”, but they were all out of that design. Luckily I was able to get a shirt with an equally amusing design. I found a shirt that read “Cool Story Bro”, which is a phrase my sarcastic friends and I like to use every now and then when we feel like giving each other a hard time. I think my friends will really get a kick out of it. Soon enough, it was time to return to Penn.

On the ride back, I decided to relax and listen to some music. The ride back seemed to go much faster than the ride there…that is until we hit traffic from the Phillies game. That added another half hour to our travel time. When we got back, I tried to get my things back to the dorm as quickly as possible so I could be one of the first on my floor to get a shower. I really did not want to have to wait for all the other guys on my floor so I was trying to seem inconspicuous and move quickly at the same time. Luckily I was one of the first in the showers. After I cleaned up, I waited for Onur, Fred, Alison, and Brian to do the same so we could go to dinner. We ate at the commons tonight, which actually wasn’t bad because the food was better than it has been the past few times I had been there. After dinner, our group disbanded and we went to do different things. I returned to the dorm, Brian and Fred went to the gym, and Alison went to study. Onur stuck around with me and it was nice to have company.

Although the day was not as exciting as I had originally hoped, we all still had a good time getting pushed around by the Atlantic and touring the boardwalk. Our final week is beginning. The next couple of days in class will be spent in our three different lab groups (one from Hershey, one from our special interest groups, and another from our exponential change labs). We will be preparing presentations on our respective topics and will have to present them over Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. The last leg of the race is here. I feel very prepared to present all of the material this week and I feel confident that my groups will do well.

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