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Virginia Beach, part 1

2005-06-21 - 4:39 p.m.

Friday R and I wound our merry little way to the creatively- and aptly-named Virginia Beach. Only instead of merrily, you may read: endured five hours of miserable and soul-crushing traffic punctuated with any combination of the following comments: "I really have to go to the bathroom;" "Do you want me to drive?;" "We've only gone two miles in the last forty minutes?;" and the all-time champion, "We're never doing this again." In fact, the high point of the drive came when yours truly was on the phone with E (who had invited us down for the weekend) and when your truly asked R how much farther we had to go, he screamed "I. DON'T. KNOW. I don't know! It could be three hours! It could be five hours! I DON'T FUCKING KNOW!!" I gently hung up the phone, turned to my husband and said, "We need to get off the road. Now. This traffic might not get any better, but it sure as shit can't get worse." So we pulled off into Hampton, right outside of Norfolk, and found this little hole-in-the-wal Italian restaurant with the most outrageously good food I've eaten in a good long while. After we were stuffed, our waiter coaxed us into trying a few samples of the gelato. Rick wound up having some banana sorbet that tasted exactly (no, really exactly) like eating a ripe banana. It was uncanny, to have perfect banana flavor in your mouth, but with sorbet texture. I decided on the sinful arametto gelato, as perfect a combination of flavors as anyone could wish.

After being fed, watered, and ice-creamed, R seemed to feel a thousand percent better. We finished off the drive, coasting through the tunnel that had previously been the scene of the most godawful gridlock I've ever had the bad fortune to witness. Moral to the story? When in doubt, seek out Italian food.

After arriving, we went for a walk on the boardwalk with our friends. Except I pulled a self-centered move and dragged everyone down to the ocean so I could walk in the water instead of on the boardwalk. I cannot adequately express how much my soul thirsts for the ocean, and it is pure torture to be close to it but not in it, especially when we are first reacquainted.

The next morning we got up, bought R a rocking pair of swim trunks and hit the beach. My friend E is not comfortable in the water--the ocean makes her deeply nervous. It's a mindset I can't understand. To me the ocean is, and always has been, my mother. Floating in her is like being rocked in a giant cradle by loving arms. When I submerge in her, I feel reborn, washed clean from all stains and impurity. Being in the ocean has always been a deeply spiritual experience for me, albeit often a deeply playful experience as well. TO immerse myself in the great waters is to immerse myself completely in joy.

Then we went back to the hotel and drank pina coladas, finishing off the rest of the Italian food from the previous night.

Saturday night we went out to dinner to a marvelous little place. Or so it seemed. Details to come.


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