Thursday, August 28, 2008

Ocean city NJ

Awesome. One word. No meaning. At least, not here in the United States, where it's bandied about willy nilly to describe everything from the size of the known universe to a cheeseburger . However, it's a word that kept reverberating as I walked around this most american of cities.
Ocean City. New Jersey with it's Cotton Candy, Ferris Wheel, shooting galleries, hot dogs, pinball, boardwalk, beach front, family-run motels, gelato and surreys. Awesome. Freakin' awesome.

The sun shone steadily, and the Atlantic was an inviting temperature for the first morning arrivals to the beach, staking their claim with parasols, coolers and towels.
The beach front stores had already woken up . Books, beach clothes and bad food were all there for the taking, along with every garishly colored chotchke imaginable, and before I could drag myself back to the motel, I already had three books, a souvenir lighter for a friend, and a hankering for some early morning ice cream. Time to go.

The motel, The Trade Winds, is a family-run, accidentally retro affair, given it's age. Everything clean and simple. Everything works, including the pool in the parking lot.

It felt a lot like the beach town setting for "Jaws", but without the blood or the shark, and as a dry town , it keeps the "Family" in "Family Holiday", and clearly, families have been flocking here for a long time -the boardwalk boasts businesses that were established in 1888 , and by necessity, it has been divided into lanes for joggers. walkers, bikes, and surreys. Indeed by mid afternoon, just crossing from the beach to the street demanded rapid neck movement, or maybe eyes in the back of your head

So if for just one day (or longer) you want to forget the job, the diet and the heavy traffic, I think I know a place where the gelato, the pizza slice and the lungful of fresh atlantic air will knock 'em all right out of your head.
Ocean City, NJ, you rock (dude).

Denver CO

Durn it. It seems that this blog entry on Denver has less to do with the city and more to do with the ups and downs of the touring musicians life. The festival schedule allowed little time for sight seeing, and with the glory of the Rocky mountains dominating the horizon and the sun shining from a clear blue sky, it was all i could do not to fire myself and just head for the hills. Maybe it was the lack of oxygen up there in the Mile High City, but it wouldn't have taken much to send me over the edge and looking at real estate.

The rigors of life on the road were summed up very succinctly by the band leader, Cathie when I said I'd be staying with a friend instead of the hotel; "Awww", she whined " you get to sleep in a house..." . It's the little things.....

I did manage to get into town for breakfast at a neat little place called "Dozen's". "Hm, odd name" I thought, until I opened the menu- -the theme is eggs and the menu is splattered with pictures of chickens and deliberate misspellings like " eggsactly" and "eggseptional" - the kind of thing that computer word processing software hates, as is being made very clear to me right now.

After that , it was time for a stroll, passing the colossal Denver Art Museum, I say passing and alas, not entering - the little window of time was closing fast.

Drun thing doesn't even fit on the screen.............

The stroll was nice, though, with the streets in Sunday mode - mellow and slow moving around the pedestrianized mall area, and i got the impression that even on a busy week day, the pace would remain pretty relaxed. This city is a world away from it's coastal peers, with a character all it's own.

Back to the festival grounds for the final performance, then eating, drinking a beer and hanging with the other bands and the hardworking volunteers, then back to the hotel for a few hours sleep and from there to the airport, where I am right now, New Jersey - bound for the next gig, the glorious Rockies watching each one of us get in line, take off our shoes, find our gate, wait for seat assignment etc etc etc etc . When I grow up, I want to be them.