On heavy summer days, like the ones we’ve been having, one after the other in D.C., memories of childhood come back so strongly. Childhood summers that seemed to go on forever: evenings spent running barefoot, chasing fireflies through the night; long drinks from garden hose; hours spent balancing on the branches of a mulberry tree, trying to get to the berries before the birds did; lying on our backs, staring up at cumulous clouds from a freshly-mown lawn; sunburnt shoulders; endless games of Kick-the-Can; bicycle races, and sprints around the block; racing to get back home before the witching hour, when dark would become too dark and mom would be waiting, pacing the porch, angry and relieved at the same time.
All of this is lost to us once we reach adulthood, except for the beaches. In the water, we are all 10 year-olds again, doing somersaults and seeing who can hold a handstand the longest.
Given a choice, I’ll always choose the clear waters of a Greek beach, but since I’m denied that choice for the time being, I decided to lay my prejudices aside and explore the Delmarva peninsula.
The Delmarva gets its name from the three states that all lay a claim to the peninsula: Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia. It seems a bit of a construct — like they all wanted a piece of the pie– but fair is fair, and at least they learned how to share. We get the added bonus of traveling through three States and the District of Columbia in about four hours.
The beaches, Dewey, Lewes, Rehoboth, Bethany and Ocean City, all have unique vibes, e.g., family beach, party beach, etc… but I was surprisingly most transfixed by Ocean City, all because of its three-mile long boardwalk and its awesome people-watching opportunities. Usually, it’s the type of thing I run away from but, you know, it was fun. More on that in the next post.
Another curiosity in Ocean City is its population. It’s like Moscow on the Delmarva, not because of tourists or visitors, but because everyone employed in the service industry is from Russia or one of its satellite states. American teenagers used to hold these kinds of jobs back in the day, but now there’s a Russian monopoly. Perhaps there’s just aren’t enough teenagers in the area to manage the summer rush.
It was a strange alternate universe sort of experience: rednecks on the beach and the boardwalk, Russians everywhere else.
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