Travel Log 2010: Day 3

Monday, July 26, 2010

Monday marked our first full day out on the beach and it didn’t disappoint. We slept in a little since we didn’t get back from visiting Tammy’s family until after midnight. We loaded up our bags and portable cooler and made our way down to the sand between 10 and 11 am.

Is That Your Doppelganger Hanging Out?
That morning we saw a doppelganger one of Jake’s friends, Kevyn (aka Ben Seaver) walking down the beach. Both Tammy and I seriously thought it was Kevyn, who went with us on the past two vacations (Gulf Shores – 2008 and Williamsburg/Virginia Beach – 2009). We both stared, trying to get a better look as we tried to determine if Ben Seaver had managed to make it three vacations in a row, one-upping Jake.

The real Kevyn (left) and his doppelganger.

This kid had the same body type and walk as Ben. He had the same colored hair and even wore his baseball hat backwards the way Ben does (or at least how he did). He walked past our position on the beach before I thought I should have taken some pictures. I made sure I had the camera ready for his return trip down the beach and sneakily snapped some shot so we could compare them to some of our previous pictures of Ben.

Weight of the World on His Shoulders
During the course of the day, hundreds of people walked in front of us on the beach. The majority of them were simply just nameless faces with varying degrees of sunburns and colorful swimsuits. But there were a few that stood out.

There was a group of men walking down the beach when Tammy saw what appeared to be a giant bug on his shoulder. Just the day before Tammy leapt into action at the site of a giant spider crawling around my neck, so she her mind was racing with what would be the best technique to rid him of his pesky critter. That’s when she realized what she was seeing wasn’t a bug. It was a giant mole.

I’m not sure where I during when Tammy spotted Mole Man, but it’s probably a good thing I wasn’t around because I’d have found a way to take some pictures.

Sweaters on the Beach
From what we kept hearing on the news, the Daytona Beach area was in the middle of a heat wave producing record highs. That’s what made what we were seeing on the beach even more confusing. We’d see guys walking our direction on the beach that appeared to be wearing sweaters. Appeared to be…

Once they got closer we realized that someone had NOT hand woven them a sweater. Instead they were covered with hair. EVERYWHERE! I shouldn’t say everywhere because some of them had more hair on their chest and back than they did on their head.

After seeing three or four men with enough hair covering their bodies to make Mr. Snuffaluffagus jealous Tammy implemented a new rule she’s hoping will be passed into law soon.

If your chest (or back) hair sticks out more than 2 inches from your chest, you are required to be manscaped (either by yourself or a trained professional).

Someone Saved My Life Tonight (Part II)
Later in the afternoon, we saw a cute little brown-eyed, barefoot boy, maybe four or five years old, wearing a blue floppy hat, red shorts with blue and white flowers, clutching his mini-sized boogie board walking past us. I could tell he was looking for someone by the way he was scanning the rental beach chairs and told Tammy something didn’t seem right.

We kept our eyes on him as he walked away from us continuing to search for a familiar face under the umbrellas while keeping his boogie board tightly pressed against his body. He kept walking and walking and we kept watching and watching as he got farther away.

That little voice inside kept telling me something wasn’t right because there’s no way a child that age should be walking that far alone. Just from when we spotted him, he walked close to 300 or more yards (it felt like we had been watching him for an eternity) when I told Tammy I had to do something. I got up and started walking in his direction when I saw him turn around; finally realizing he had no idea where his family was sitting.

Once I caught up to him, I asked if he needed help finding someone. He looked up at me with his big brown eyes, still holding his boogie board in the same position as when he passed us and said, “My Mommy” in such a scared little voice. I told him we’d find her and walked with him back to where Tammy was sitting; trying to make the best small talk I could for a little boy that had no idea who I was or WHERE he was.

I asked if he knew what hotel they were staying but he didn’t know. I asked if he knew what his mother was wearing and he said “green.” At least that was something.

As I let Tammy take over, I started walking toward the lifeguard stand, hoping they would be able to help. While I was gone, Tammy played 20 questions with Floppy, asking him if he knew his mother’s name, to which he replied “Mommy.” At least he was able to answer some of her other questions in a way that was a little more specific and helpful.

When I got to the lifeguard stand, I told him we had a little boy that we saw wondering down the beach looking for someone. He coldly replied, “Can you bring him here.”

I jogged back toward Tammy and Floppy and motioned for them to start walking my way. I reached them and told Floppy that if he ever gets lost again he should go to one of those stands and tell them he needs help.

At that point, I saw the Beach Police arrive just behind where we were. The policeman stopped his truck, got out and acted as if Tammy and I had just farted or something because he didn’t say a word to us. Instead he looked at little Floppy and said, “Ryan?”

I told Mr. Friendly policeman we had seen him walk by us and kept our eye on him because he walked almost all the way to the pier. No response. I started to walk away seeing that Mr. Friendly could have cared less that Tammy and I were even breathing. He had loaded Floppy into his truck as Granny Floppy walked up with two other children. I heard Mr. Friendly say, “He almost walked all the way to the pier.”

I turned around and told her we saw Floppy (didn’t actually call him that) walk past us and could tell he was looking for someone and that he nearly made it to the pier before he turned around. I could tell she was relieved to have Floppy back and thanked us for helping. Mr. Friendly didn’t say a word to either of us.

This little boy was around 2 ½-3 feet tall. There was NO WAY Mr. Friendly could have seen him because he was driving his truck BEHIND the line of chairs and umbrellas. I guess it was more comfortable for him to sit in his air conditioned truck and look for Floppy that to get out and actually walk the beach. Tammy was probably right when she said, “He was probably pissed because WE did HIS job and found [Floppy].”

Family Ties
Late Monday afternoon, Tammy’s cousins, Becky and Dixie, rolled into Daytona Beach. Becky was going to be crashing with us for the night because she had to head back to Atlanta late Tuesday. Dixie and her family were at Daytona to hear the Wyndham time-share pitch which gave them three free nights at the Hilton, right next door to us. We showered up and picked a restaurant right on the beach, Ocean Deck, to meet them for dinner.

Muscles and Molasses
Tammy and I arrived at the Ocean Deck first and decided to head downstairs to the open air seating where we could see the beach and ocean. Becky, Dixie and family showed up and we were chatting when our waitress, Ebb, introduced herself. After she walked away, Tammy wondered if she was a bodybuilder because her arms had muscles in places I didn’t even know existed in my arms.

She took our drink order and away she went. We waited and waited. When she finally returned, she forgot James’ (Dixie’s husband) drink. When she checked back with us a few minutes later, James reordered his drink. When it finally arrived, Dixie asked about the appetizer they ordered. Ebb said she thought we wanted it with dinner. I’m not sure where she got that idea, but a few minutes before our food arrived Dixie’s appetizer showed up.

Tammy got a seafood platter with steamed crab legs and shrimp. I got an Ahi Tuna steak with “Maui” sauce. It was a little overcooked, but wasn’t terrible.

The atmosphere was actually pretty cool with it being right on the beach and the food was average. But Ebb was horrible. It was as if she just forgot about our table. We could see her bouncing between the bar and her other tables, but not to ours. When we finally asked for our checks, she dropped it off but took so long to return that James went to the bar to pay their bill. Apparently they gave the money to Ebb and returned to the table to pick up the rest of our bills. She came back with James’ cash and our credit cards, she handed them all to James’ KIDS.

We sat down a little before 7 pm but it was nearly 9 by time we finally got out of there. Needless to say Ebb didn’t get much of a tip from us.

The Fifty Cents Off Store
Since Becky was staying with us, Tammy and I piled into her car to head back to our room. On the way back we stopped one of those beach/souvenir stores that had big “50% off” and “Everything Must Go” signs all over the windows. Becky said she thinks that store ALWAYS says it’s 50% off to get people in the door. I told her I didn’t care and wanted to check it out.

I tried as hard as I could to get Tammy to buy a cool shark towel but she wasn’t interested. At one point I was looking at something, I’m still not sure what it was, and asked Tammy if she knew what it was because it looked like stirrups. The people walking out of the door when I said that apparently thought it was funny as we could hear them laughing.

Stone Cold, Stone Cold
After the 50 cents off store, we headed down to Cold Stone Creamery for dessert. I was all set on the Apple Pie a la Cold Stone (French vanilla ice cream, cinnamon, graham cracker, apple pie filling and caramel) until about three seconds before I had to place my order. Tammy had spotted a sign for something called Peach Creamery, which was basically peach cobbler with ice cream. I got the medium size and the guy making it must have seen all of the peach love in my eyes because my cup was literally overflowing with the peach goodness.

We took our desserts up to the room and got Becky situated on the pull-out bed. I crawled in our bed and read a little more into “Everybody Wants Some: The Van Halen Saga” while Tammy sat in the living room catching up with Becky.

It was a long, yet relaxing day.

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