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Virginia Beach 2005

Part 1 – Part 2 – Part 3 – Part 4

Part 3

August 24, my third day, and last full day at the beach, was a real beaut.  The clouds and rain and nastiness that had made Tuesday a gloomy day had dissipated, and so we were in for a great day.


It was a beautiful day at the beach!  It was a beautiful day at the beach!

It was a beautiful day at the beach!


After my Pop-Tarts-and-soda breakfast (the breakfast of champions!), I marked the date on the camera by holding up three fingers for a photo, got dressed for a swim, and applied a liberal amount of SPF 30 sunscreen.

This year, I used the aerosol-style sunscreen in a can.  You push the button in, and you get a continuous flow of sunscreen out of the nozzle.  The advantage to this over conventional sunscreen is that the sunscreen is of a much thinner consistency.  Thus it’s easy to apply sunscreen to your back, and to get even coverage over complex terrain, like your face.  For my back, I simply reached over and sprayed it on, and then rubbed it around as well as I could.  For my face, I just closed my eyes and mouth, and aimed for the center as I shot my face with sunscreen.  The only real disadvantage is that the propellant used in the can has a very strong smell, and so it’s wise to use the stuff in a well-ventilated area or outside, because it can get a little overwhelming.  All in all, though, I got a good application of the stuff, and it did a good job.  After a quick hand-washing to get the excess off my hands, I headed out to the beach.

On this particular day, the lifeguards had their red flags out, which indicates that the surf is rough.  Fine by me.  Keeps the jellyfish away.  Plus I know how to swim (learning quite early in life), and am quite comfortable in the water.  Plus the rougher surf keeps things interesting.  My goal in the water was to ride over some waves, ride under other waves, get smacked by some waves, etc.  And of course, the water is very calming.  It’s a time where you can think about stuff.  It’s a little quiet place in my little world in the sea of other people enjoying their own vacations.  To make sure I didn’t drift off, I made sure I was in front of the Fairfield Inn (which is next door to the Travelodge) at all times.


The red flags were out on this particular day.  Some of the flags were straight red, while some were printed with "DANGER NO SWIMMING".  The red flags were out on this particular day.  Some of the flags were straight red, while some were printed with "DANGER NO SWIMMING".

The red flags were out on this particular day.  Some of the flags were straight red, while some were printed with “DANGER NO SWIMMING”.


I actually spent a good several hours in the ocean and had a lot of fun.  Very tranquil.

After a nice, long soak in the ocean, I returned to the hotel again.  I wanted to stop at the outdoor shower again to rinse off, but as there was a long line, I skipped it and rinsed off in the shower in my hotel room.  Whether that was good for the plumbing to do that or not, I don’t know, but I’m guessing it’s not the best for it.  I had reservations about it at the time, but it was either that or wait in a long line in the hot sun with a bunch of cranky tourists for about 60 seconds under the water to get the sand off my legs.

Following the shower, I reapplied my SPF 30, exchanged my swimsuit for a pair of regular shorts and a t-shirt, put on my glasses, grabbed a freshly-charged Big Mavica, and headed back out to the beach.  I was doing some beach photography.  I honestly don’t know what I’m going to do with the photographs from this part of the trip yet.  I got quite a few gems.  Some are pegged for photo features, but with my current operating procedures, that doesn’t lock a photo out for other uses.  So we’ll see.

I started by going straight down to near the water.  Now sometimes when you go to the beach, it’s a smooth slope from the end of the beach to the water.  Other times, the surf has carved out a bit of beach, creating an upper level and a lower level.  The latter is how the beach looked this time around.  You have the wide beach above where the surf is striking, high and dry.  Then the beach drops a foot or so, and you have the wet area, where the ocean laps around people’s feet.

A number of people noticed my camera.  Not really as much what-are-you-photographing as it was what-kind-of-camera-is-that.  People often look at Big Mavica and see its unusual shape (round!) and ask me about it.  One lady commented that for going to the beach, she uses a disposable camera, since she won’t risk messing up her digital camera.  I take Big Mavica with me onto the beach because of all its usual features, plus I’ve taken Big Mavica in harder settings than this, plus when it comes to getting great photos, if I’m going to lose Big Mavica, it might as well be in the process of shooting a great photo set.  Of course, I won’t do anything stupid for a photo that will put either the camera or myself at any physical risk.  It reminds me of what Robert Ballard said in his book The Discovery of the Titanic about ANGUS: “What the hell.  If I was going to lose ANGUS, I couldn’t think of a better time or place.”  Besides, from my experience last year, the only thing I really had to worry about was fine mist from the ocean dirtying up my lens and my glasses.


The beach and the ocean were just teeming with people.

The beach and the ocean were just teeming with people.

The beach and the ocean were just teeming with people.



As I mentioned earlier, the beach had a bit of a ridge on it, and there was about a foot and a half's difference in elevation.

As I mentioned earlier, the beach had a bit of a ridge on it, and there was about a foot and a half’s difference in elevation.

As I mentioned earlier, the beach had a bit of a ridge on it, and there was about a foot and a half's difference in elevation.


Some people took advantage of the ridge as a natural seating area.

Some people took advantage of the ridge as a natural seating area.


Some people spent time burying each other in the sand as part of their fun in the sun...

Some people spent time burying each other in the sand as part of their fun in the sun…


...while others built magnificent sand castles.  ...while others built magnificent sand castles.

…while others built magnificent sand castles.

...while others built magnificent sand castles.

...while others built magnificent sand castles.


The surf, meanwhile, was a little on the rough side, but it was nice.  The surf, meanwhile, was a little on the rough side, but it was nice.

The surf, meanwhile, was a little on the rough side, but it was nice.


As sometimes happens in DC, random people came up to me on the beach and asked to have their picture taken.  And as I said about the same situation in DC, what do we do?  We take the picture.  It's a whole lot easier than arguing with them.

As sometimes happens in DC, random people came up to me on the beach and asked to have their picture taken.  And as I have said about the same situation in DC, what do you do in that situation?  You take the picture.  Why not, right?


A sea gull stands atop the ridge along the beach.

A sea gull stands atop the ridge along the beach.


Soon, I approached the fishing pier, jutting out into the ocean.

Soon, I approached the fishing pier, jutting out into the ocean.

Soon, I approached the fishing pier, jutting out into the ocean.


South of the fishing pier, a group sits on towels and watches the surf.

South of the fishing pier, a group sits on towels and watches the surf.


I walked south along the beach from the Travelodge all the way to just past the fishing pier, at 15th and Atlantic.  This took me underneath the fishing pier to get there.  People were surfing near the pier, and one girl in a gray bikini was standing away from the others while holding a surfboard.  Turns out that the reason for her standing with the surfboard was as follows: “I have no idea what the hell I’m doing.”  Understandable.  She eventually sat down again with the rest of her group without surfing.

Then I went back to the boardwalk, and took a few minutes to clean up, which consisted of getting the sand off of my feet from a spigot that appeared to have been designed for that explicit purpose.  It wasn’t a full shower.  Just a tap for feet.  And that was good for me.  I had Big Mavica, plus was fully dressed, and so I couldn’t use a full outdoor shower.  In fact, I had to ask another person if they could turn on the water for me, because if I bent over, it would take Big Mavica too close to the water.  Don’t want to short out Big Mavica.  I also ended up making conversation with the couple who helped me with the water.  Turns out that they were from New York, but the girl had spent much of her life in Washington DC.

Boy, did they choose the right words to use.  I love talking about DC.  And I still want to move there.  I just have to find a job up there first.  We spoke of Metro, protests, Malcolm X Park, driving in Washington, and so much more.  It was a lot of fun.

After we parted, I sat down for a moment.  I’d been walking around and such for some time, and I was starting to get sore.  So I took a ten-minute break.  Then it was time to go to the fishing pier.  On the way in, I noticed a large kite being flown.  It was actually six kites connected together to act as one, each with its own tail.  Its owner was flying it around a bit.  I even got a movie.  Then the owner accidentally crashed it.  He sent his kids out to get it flying again.


The six-part kite flies through the sky, viewed up close.


The six-part kite flies over the beach, viewed from a distance.  A gentleman can be heard giving a sales pitch for the Boardwalk Hotel.


With the oceanfront hotels in the background, the kite flies.  With the oceanfront hotels in the background, the kite flies.

With the oceanfront hotels in the background, the kite flies.


Then I went onto the fishing pier, paid my couple bucks’ admission, and then took a stop at the men’s room.  I mainly had to take a moment to clean up.  Wash my hands, clean my glasses, and also wipe sunscreen and other debris off of Big Mavica.  Then I continued down the pier.  I got a lot of great shots off the pier of the ocean and the beach and the hotels, and also a number of action shots of the people trying to surf.


These people tried their hand at surfing, and did quite a job on it, too.  These people tried their hand at surfing, and did quite a job on it, too.

These people tried their hand at surfing, and did quite a job on it, too.

These people tried their hand at surfing, and did quite a job on it, too.  These people tried their hand at surfing, and did quite a job on it, too.


Meanwhile, further out, waves approach the beach.

Meanwhile, further out, waves approach the beach.


Lots of people were out fishing off the sides of the pier on this particular day.

Lots of people were out fishing off the sides of the pier on this particular day.


At the end of the pier, there were two children running around with fishing poles.  Something told me to keep my distance from these two children.  I had this feeling that they would accidentally hook either themselves or someone nearby who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Then nearby, a woman caught a crab!  That was quite a sight coming out of the water, with the crab still moving its legs as the woman put it in her bucket.


The crab is caught!

The crab is caught!


Going back down the pier, another woman had a whole pile of fish that she’d caught on the fish-cleaning table, and was prepping them.  She rinsed the fish off, de-scaled them, gutted them, and then rinsed them off inside.  Kinda gross.  But such is how you prepare a fish.


Preparing a fish - de-scaling, slicing, and removing the guts.  Preparing a fish - de-scaling, slicing, and removing the guts.

Preparing a fish – de-scaling, slicing, and removing the guts.

Preparing a fish - de-scaling, slicing, and removing the guts.


By the time I got done with the fishing pier, taking time to spend some more time watching the kite in action, it was starting to get dark.  I took my time getting back to the hotel, and spent a little bit of quality time in the hotel room, both on the balcony and in the room.  I also watched a little TV.

I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do for dinner entirely, but I kind of had an idea.  As it turned out, I ended up at Albie’s Pizza, which is next to Guadalajara Mexican Restaurant.

But on the way there, I ran into a Canadian group singing folk songs.  For those of you who are not familiar, the city of Virginia Beach provides street entertainers on most evenings with nice weather.  This group, dressed in red, and with the maple leaf flag nearby, was singing I’se the B’y (I’m the Boy).  That song goes like this:

I’se the b’y who builds the boat,
I’se the b’y that sails her,
I’se the b’y that catches the fish,
And takes them home to Liza.
Hip your partner Sally Tibbo,
Hip your partner Sally Brown,
Fogo, Twillingate, Mortens Harbor,
All around the circle.

I was familiar with this song!  I first heard this song on Today’s Special as part of the “Medley of Canadian Folk Songs from Newfoundland and Quebec” that Sharon, Lois, and Bram sang in Songs.

About the restaurant, I had to say this: Albie’s had great food, but the restaurant was definitely done on the cheap.  The chairs were plastic, and thus the backs bent easily.  Everything was paper or plastic.  The silverware was plastic, and the plates were paper.  And for those of you who are familiar, plastic silverware, or “plasticware” as I like to call it, is no good on anything that requires work to fork or cut.  And on the stromboli that I ordered, the plasticware was nearly useless.  But it was good food despite all obstacles.  I think that the only thing that was served in anything that they wouldn’t just throw out was my frozen margarita.  That was served in a real glass, and it certainly hit the spot.

After the restaurant, I headed back to the hotel.  I was considering another walk with the tripod down the boardwalk, but decided against it because I was tired and a little sore.  So I called it a night.  And what a lovely night it was, too.

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Part 1 – Part 2 – Part 3 – Part 4

Part 3