Tuesday, August 18, 2009

    Vacatoin Day 8: Mirror Mirror

    We spent the morning in the lazy river and on the beach. It's amazing what long naps the boys are taking, it's like they're exhausted when they get in from the morning... Logan has been consistently taking 3.5 hour naps since we've been here, and Cole is pushing 3 consistently.

    Of course, I say consistently but we've only been here in Myrtle Beach for 4 days now. It seems much, much longer than that. There is so much to do here! It simply boggles the mind. I wish that we could come back for this when our kids are older, it would be so much more fulfilling. As it is we are still packing in every adventure we can, but when you have to be home by around 8 and when there's a 3 hour block taken out for naps, you're kind of limited to what you can do.

    The real adventure came this afternoon. After naps we headed out to Angelo's Steak and Pasta for a pasta buffet (once again, provided by Jason's House). It was good, but man, the kids were cranked up! I felt bad for the 2 couples sitting behind us and there were a few times where I was a tad embarrassed. Angelo's is a slightly upscale restaurant. Even Ava was getting in on the action, adding in periodic squeals and yells.

    With dinner down we headed to the strip! Street performers and little hole-in-the-wall shops and people crammed cheek-by-jowl. There were a lot of people there.

    Parking proved to be a challenge and boy, did I get lead like a lamb to the slaughter into this one. I was following the parking signs and made a "wrong" turn down a little alley. There, at the end, stood the gnarliest and most grizzled old coot I think I've ever seen wearing a yellow shirt and jeans and waving me on into a parking lot. I'm sure his name was something like Hank (pardon to all the Hanks out there). A little hand painted sign proclaimed "All day parking" for a two row dirt lot. I stopped and asked him how much, to which he pointed and said "He'll tell you."

    He was pointing to his counter-part. Where Hank was rail-thin, this other guy, who we'll call Bubba (pardon to all Bubbas out there) was overly portly, wearing a sweat-soaked grey shirt and shorts. Now, in all of this, I didn't notice the hook that they had put in my mouth. I meekly rolled our van into the slot that Bubba was standing next to, rolled down my window and asked "How much?"

    Bubba, looking all the world like a man who is being reasonable and even kind, replied "Ten dollars." If the man had been within biting distance I just might have bit him! Ten freaking dollars?!?! But, alas, I had taken the bait, our van was parked and my wife (bless her heart) thought it was OK to be taken advantage of in this manner. I think she said something like, "We don't have to pay for the Mirror Maze, we can afford to get ripped off this time."

    Resigning all dignity and manhood, I pulled my children out of the car, made my payment to Bubba, waved to Hank, and walked on to the evenings entertainment.

    That entertainment was Ripley's Mirror Maze! The picture today is from that same spot. Now, imagine with me: A dark room, cold as ice (and blessedly wonderful after the 90+ degree heat outside), 3D glasses and lots of neon light strips and mirrors. The room was layed out in a large group of triangles. A mirror (or glass) could be placed in a slot in the floor but the slot was there regardless. You would think that walking around in a bunch of mirrors would be easy, I mean, don't walk into yourself, right?

    Man, you couldn't be more wrong! Since the mirrors aren't dead-on facing you, you're often getting an image of the corridor to the side of you. At one point I almost walked into a mirror thinking Dalynn was in front of me, only to hear her at the last instant behind me to the right. What's worse, some of the slots are filled with just glass! Every time you had to step through one of the triangle sides you have this sensation like you're about to walk headlong into a sliding glass door.

    Cole thought it was the coolest thing ever. Logan, on the other hand, got about half-way through and started signing, "All done!" frantically. It was really completely disorienting and I imagine that for a 2 year old, with a more literal sense of the world, that's a very disturbing thing. Logan was ecstatic to get to the end and didn't want to go back in whereas Cole and I went back through 2 more times. It got easier the more you did it. You developed a sense of the space around you, it was quite strange.

    After that, we moseyed on over to the Ripley's Believe It or Not museum. Did you know that Ripley's got its start as a clearing house for freak shows? I found that out tonight. As did Cole. Do you know what kind of imagination Cole has? At one point we stepped on a pressure plate and a mummy coffin flew open and made a whooshing sound like a big-rig's brakes releasing. Cole bolted! He headed back the way we had come and I had to chase him down in the room we had been in last and drag him physically back through the mummy room. When we hit the same pressure plate again he started screaming.

    Do you know what my precious wife did? She laughed. Hysterically. For a long time.

    We hustled through that museum after that, only stopping in a room that spun on it's horizontal axis. It left you with the impression that you, and not the room, were spinning. Cole didn't appreciate that very much. I had to carry both Cole and Logan through the rest of the museum after that.

    Now, Ripleys ain't run by a bunch of dummies, and I got a true sense of that tonight. The exit through the aquarium (also a Ripley's establishment) was through the gift shop. Did I mention that we didn't make it out without purchasing these awful guns that light up and make lots of noises (see the attached picture)? Well this freak show museum exited through an arcade. Do you know how hard it is to get a couple of toddlers out of an arcade without spending any money? It's impossible! So, we played ski ball and the like and someone donated us all of their tickets. We got the boys the typical junk that arcades are known for and headed home.

    All in all, a very good day!