Tuesday, August 25, 2015

On the Boardwalk In Atlantic City

Started a sunny, slightly humid morning with Garfield In Paradise. Garfield and Jon are off to Paradise World, an island tourist trap that was the cheapest tropical place Jon could get them to. Their trip doesn't start off well, thanks to a falling-down hotel run by an owner who tells Jack Benny jokes. Things take a turn for the strange when their 50's rental vehicle takes them to the village of a group a doo-wop-worshiping natives...and a volcano that's about to explode!

Headed out even before the cartoon ended. I wanted to take my annual summer trip to Atlantic City today, while it is still summer. I was on the train to Lindenwauld by quarter of 11 and in Lindenwald by a little after 11.

Instead of sitting on a hot train station platform for an hour or wandering around Walgreens, I decided to have an early lunch. There's three restaurants across the street from the Lindenwald Train and Bus Terminal. I finally decided I didn't have enough time for the sit-down diner or Indian restaurant and opted for Burger King. It was the fanciest Burger King I ever saw. It must have been either just-built or very recently remodeled. They had a huge dining area with a separate room for parties, TVs everywhere, and even a counter with Wi Fi and computers. I took it all in while eating my Whopper and fries.

Even with lunch and buying my ticket, I still spent a half-hour waiting on the platform for the train. Thankfully, it was only about five minutes late. The train was half-full, mostly with the lunch crowd on their way to a day trip in AC like me, I suspected from the college students across from me. At any rate, there were no problems whatsoever getting there, and I enjoyed a very pleasant ride.

As soon as I arrived in Atlantic City, I strolled down straight down Michigan to the Boardwalk, passing a newly repainted Bally's on the way. (I'm disappointed they painted over all the cute Wild West-themed sides they had. Now it's just a mellow if slightly bland yellowy-tan.) Even as I walked, the clouds were gathering, and it was killer humid. It spit a little as I headed onto the boardwalk.

The Boardwalk was as busy as it always is during the summer. I went in the direction of Resorts, the Taj Mahal, and the Claridge this year, since I went towards Caesars and Tropicana last year. My first stop was Peanut World, the coolest souvenir store on the boardwalk. They have every kind of junk you can imagine....including a counter with some of Atlantic City's least-expensive candy. I went with my favorite fruit slices in pink grapefruit flavor. I desperately needed a can of Diet Rite too by that point. It wasn't that hot, but the humidity was horrible even close to the water.

Hit the Casino Pier next to try my luck at the cranes (and to avoid a sudden shower). (And to make up for not hitting the arcades this year.) I tried one with some very large Peppa Pigs. After I gave up on Peppa, I attempted one with more generic round stuffed animals. Nope. No luck.

The sun was out again by the time I made it to the Taj Mahal and Steel Pier. Steel Pier isn't really "The Showplace of the Nation" anymore, but it is the only amusement park in Atlantic City. I strolled around, watching people enjoy themselves on the rides. The place was surprisingly busy for a day with such iffy weather. I found a couple of wire tables with umbrellas between the Slingshot and the Rock and Roll and looked out onto the misty, hazy beach and deep green-blue waves.

(And yes, I saw the Dinosaur Beach logo on the Crazy Mouse roller coaster. Evidently, the same people who now run Steel Pier once owned the mid-90's jungle/dinosaur-themed Hunt's Pier revamp in Wildwood. Thanks to Matt at Dinosaur Dracula for pointing out this bit of lost Jersey Shore history!)

I was hot and sweating like crazy. It was time to go back. I stopped at one store for water and at one of the bathrooms. I really wanted ice cream, but most food is expensive on the boardwalk, and a lot of those small booths don't take credit cards or have a minimum. I didn't have much cash on hand.

Having done most of my clothes and shoe shopping earlier in the summer, the only store in the Tanger Outlets I was interested in was Toys R Us. I wanted to see if they had some of the new Ever After High dolls, but I wasn't keeping my hopes up. They were an outlet store.

Someone must have just restocked the shelves. The Ever After High/Monster High area was full to capacity. The products were almost entirely brand-new. too, including two just-released Toys R Us exclusive Ever After High dolls, Royally Ever After Apple White and Heartstruck C.A Cupid. I also saw Way To Wonderland Apple and Maddie Hatter, the re-release of Poppy and Holly O'Hair, and Candy-Coated Cedar Wood for the first time.

My real interest are the Signatures (original release) dolls. They had Faybelle Thorne (peppy daughter of the Wicked Fairy from Sleeping Beauty) and Bunny Blanc (laid-back daughter of the White Rabbit) for $15.99, cheaper than the $19.99 I usually see them go for on Amazon. I grabbed them both,

Fortunately, the train station is only a few blocks from the Toys R Us Outlet. I darted there, bought my ticket quickly, and still made it on the 3:36 train to Lindenwald with time to spare. Other than the train stopping to let another train going in the opposite direction pass, there were no major problems. We arrived at the Lindenwald station right on time.

Went straight upstairs to the PATCO. The train going to Collingswood was a lot more full than the NJ Transit train had been. People weren't in great moods, either. They talked loudly on their phones and fussed at each other when they tried to move around. I was so happy to arrive at my destination and hurry back to the ground.

When I got back into Oaklyn, I stopped at Phillies Yummies to finally get my cooling treat. It was now a gorgeous day for it, too. The clouds and humidity must have all ended up at the beach. By 5 PM, the sky was a radiant blue, and it was dry and in the mid-80's, perfectly normal for this time of year. I had a mint chocolate chip water ice. It was extremely green - a neon green more suited for lime than mint. It was quite tasty and mint-y, though.

As soon as I got in and got organized, I pulled Bunny and Fayebelle out of their boxes. Fayebelle's been a real surprise. I didn't expect to like her character or her doll when she was announced on New Year's Day, but she's slowly growing on me. Fayebelle is a perky cheerleader who also happens to be an evil fairy. She loves cheering so much, she cheers her spells instead of chants them! While her sparkly tunic and simple leggings are kind of plain compared to some of the other dolls' outfits, she has some of the prettiest hair in the entire line. Like Darling and Kitty, it's very silky and smooth, with lovely turquoise highlights. I did have problems keeping her wings on once I took off the rubber band (which I probably should have just left on).

I had more problems with Bunny. Not only does she have an odd facial mold, but she had more gunk in her hair than anyone else but Poppy. She went right in the bathroom sink for a twice-cleaning. Even after that, her hair is still a bit thin and sheds like crazy, and her head is a bit floppy. Too bad, because I like her character. Unlike the object of her affections Alistair Wonderland, Bunny has no use for maps...or for rushing, for that matter. This jazz-loving rabbit girl always manages to get where she's going eventually. Her dress is adorable. I love the fuzzy white collar. (Even if I wish the black collar and pink ribbon were real and not plastic.)

Ran The Merry Widow while taking out the dolls, and later while making a chicken salad for dinner. The last of the Jeanette MacDonald/Maurice Chevalier/Ernst Lubitsch musicals takes us to the fictional European country of Marshovia. The king is horrified when Sonia, the widow of the title (MacDonald), decides to leave off mourning and decamps to Paris. She owns more than half the country. If she takes her money elsewhere, they'll be ruined. They send the charming Count Danilo (Chevalier) after her. The ruse works too well - he actually falls for her. Now he has to convince her that he's sincere, even during a trial when he's accused of being a traitor to Marshovia for letting her go. If you're a fan of operetta or these two, this one is a bubbly bit of fun that's worth tracking down in the Warner Archives.

Finished out the night with a nice, long bath. Oh boy, did I need it. I was hot and tired after my long walk, and my knees were so sore, they were barely moving. I enjoyed the sounds of big band music while looking over more Christmas With Southern Living books for holiday gift ideas.

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