Ghoul Pool Update: In light of the news re: Barbara Bush’s health, I used my second trade to swap Ed Kranepool for her. I am not a fan of the Bush family politics, but I’ve always liked Barbara’s outspokenness. I hope her final days are as peaceful and pain-free as possible.
Don’t Analyze This Dream: I was in a taxi with three other people, going to a hotel in Austin, Texas for the National Storytelling Conference. I mentioned that I knew at least two people in Austin and one of the other people in the car agreed that she had introduced me to one of them, who also showed up at the hotel. As we were walking into the hotel, I ran into another friend, who handed me several hangers with her clothing on them, but one of the other people grabbed those and took them up to her room. I checked in and got a room key which read 5B-123. I was disappointed to be on the 5th floor, which was the lobby level, but I felt better when I saw the rooms were off in a side corridor, past some shops. There were several hotel employees watching videos and one of them tried to show me how to use my key to watch movies. I explained that what I really needed to know was how to find my room and they laughed at me. Eventually, I found the right corridor, labeled B100-199, which involved going through another door.
Atlantic City: This past weekend, I did something I hadn’t done since college. Namely, I took a Greyhound bus. It was a convenient and relatively inexpensive way to go to Atlantic City for a weekend. The trip up, on Friday evening, wasn’t too bad. The bus leaves from Union Station and stops in Silver Spring and Baltimore on the way. Because the route to Silver Spring goes up North Capital Street, it went through parts of D.C. that I don’t usually see. There is, for example, some appealing architecture in Eckington. I suspect the Prospect Hill Cemetery just north of it is also interesting. Cultural Tourism DC does not appear to have a walking tour of that area yet, alas.
Anyway, we got to Atlantic City pretty much on time and I checked in at Bally’s. I checked out the casino fairly briefly, as I was tired. I was annoyed to discover that smoking and non-smoking areas were divided only by signs, with no physical separation to keep smoke away from non-smoking areas.
I should also note that my room featured three of my pet peeves with hotel rooms. The light switches were difficult to find. There were inadequate electric outlets (and none at all near the bed.) And I had to rearrange furniture to close the drapes. At least the bed was reasonably comfortable.
I got breakfast at Maria’s Luncheonette, which somebody had recommended to me. The omelet I had was good, but the hash browns were terrible. The coffee was strictly medicinal, but I expect that when away from home. (I am an unrepentant coffee snob. The only place I’ve ever traveled where I could get consistently good coffee was Vietnam.) The atmosphere was fabulous, though. It definitely felt like a local diner, completely lacking in tourist glitz.
The main purpose of my trip was doing a volksmarch along the boardwalk. I do enjoy being near the ocean, though the Atlantic City boardwalk provides obstructed views of the water much of the way. It does, alas, provide unobstructed views of the plaid-shorted domestic tourist. It’s also obvious that the area is not doing well economically, with several shuttered casinos and a certain amount of frozen construction. (That’s a term I learned in Russia many years ago, referring to buildings that were started but for which money ran out before they were completed.) Still, the weather was nice and I felt nostalgic for trips I had taken to Atlantic City with my mother, who I could usually persuade to take a break from the casinos to walk along the boardwalk.
The other thing I had planned was seeing the Atlantic City Ballet, doing their production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. This was at the Circus Maximus Theatre at Caesar’s Palace, which is a huge space that the audience came nowhere near filling. Overall, it was pretty good. I was particularly impressed by the athleticism of Caio Rodrigo, who played Oberon. And I thought Kristaps Kjkulis, who played Bottom, was particularly expressive, making his performance all the more humorous. I did think that there’s a certain amount of dancing for the sake of dancing that does nothing to move the storyline along, but that’s all too typical of ballet. Overall, I enjoyed it.
I did spend some time gambling in between things. I look at gambling as entertainment. That is, I budget what I can afford for it and don’t worry if I lose. I came home with less money than I’d left home with, but so be it.
The trip home did not go as smoothly as the trip up. Greyhound tells you that the bus will board 20 minutes before departure time. Ha! Every bus was delayed by at least a half hour. Mine was delayed by nearly 2 hours, with little information provided. The lack of information is, of course, the bigger issue than the delay itself. It did not help that it was cold and windy. I was relieved to get on and be warm again. I did manage a good nap on the way home, at least. But I don’t feel any particular need to repeat the experience.
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