Saturday, July 24, 2004


It seems that if you live in New Jersey, it is essential to be able to say, “I’m going down the shore” or “I’ve been down the shore”.  Perhaps I am now a fully-fledged New “Jerseyanese” because I have done both!
The aspect I love about going down the shore is that there is this whole other life thing happening a mere one hour and ten minutes drive from my front door.  As a child in South Africa, when we went oh holiday (as opposed to vacation), we would go down to the coast (as opposed to the shore), and the nearest destination from Johannesburg was 6 hours to Durban.  These were always a hellish six hours of someone getting car sick (as opposed to motion sickness) and generally vomiting (as opposed to throwing up) long before the Grumplestiltskins (thanks Dooce, as opposed to parents) had time to pull into a garage (as opposed to gas station) for us to get to the toilet (as opposed to bathroom) before the projectile.  This was also long before the days when the kids were anaesthetized in the back by means of DVD’s in cars ~ bordering on obscene but A+ for long journeys.

We stayed in Seaside Heights at the Belmont Motel.  Given that it was last minute, it was a really good find.  When I called to make the booking (as opposed to reservation), I asked if the room we selected was on the ground floor as there is no elevator in the building (of course!).  I was pleasantly surprised when the lady told me that it was on the ground floor and was in fact a disabled friendly room.  It was a pleasure to have a ramp to the room and a bathroom with a walk in shower.  The rooms were nicely appointed, very clean and the owners are super friendly.  They made us feel like we were regulars who had been coming to stay every year, for years.  It’s a nice feeling that – you walk around the place feeling almost like you own it!

One night, Ross crept into our bed, which was King size so there was plenty room.  As the three of us lay there in the dark, I heard this really strange sound coming from what sounded like right outside our door.  It was a kind of whoosssshhhh sound as if something was swooping over the parking area, just above ground level.  What was freaky about it was that it sounded like it was coming in under the door.  It happened a second time at which point I really thought the room was about to light up and out of the bright light would come walking some short people with big heads.  Ross came a little closer and asked “what is that noise, Mom?”.  This was clearly one of those times where I could not say “nothing”.  So, what do you do when you think your motel room is about to be invaded by aliens as the third whoosh sound whooshes by your door … you say “let’s ask Daddy”.  Daddy is well away in doo-doo land at this point so with a somewhat forceful “Daniel – what’s that noise?”, we go through the usual “huh – what noise, where, it’s nothing?”  “No, no, no … not this time, there really is one strange noise out there.”  With that WHOOOOSSSSSHHHH! “Shit, you’re right” he says.

Moments later, Daniel is at the window in the front room and sees a couple of motel guests being driven away in a police car.  They had been letting off fireworks rockets outside our door and had them whooshing and zooming around the parking area.  How sober do you think they might have been to think this would not get the attention of even the sleeping guests?

The teenagers shared a room on their own and aside for injury, money and food stops, we hardly saw them.  When we did, it was the usual Grumplestiltskins exchange.  Interesting phenomenon with teenagers, they are lured by food and finance.   They had themselves a good time and came back brown as berries.

The boardwalk was great and my lovely friend Chris won me a Shrek Donkey by shooting water into a balloon and making it explode.  Ross and Daniel did all the rides and Ross won the bravery award over Daniel, hands down!  While watching Daniel, I was convinced that the ride called PHAROAH’S FURY would be DADDY’S POOPEY!.  It was too funny for words.  Chris then introduced me to FUNNEL CAKES.  I think this might be a reason in itself to return to the shore before the season ends, even just for a day trip.  Totally yummy Jersey Shore delicacy!

We enjoyed some really nice meals typical to the area and occasions.  The excellent Italian restaurant called ON TOP OF SPAGHETTI offered the highlight meal.  Unfortunately they do not have a web address, but their phone number is 732 854 9400.  Their food was excellent and if you ever find yourself in that area make sure you stop in and try their almond Tiramisu.  

When I asked Ross which he enjoyed most, the beach or swimming in the pool at the Motel, he answered “the Water Park”.  He could happily have spent his days there on the slides and rides and just generally raving in the paddling pools.  It really is a cool park and there are comfy chairs for parents to kick back on and watch the kids. 

The four days away were fun and one hour and ten minutes after we got into the car, we were home with the quintessential Jersey Shore vacation under our belts.