Wednesday was our “vacation from vacation,” in which we didn’t attend any parks. Instead, we spent time on the boardwalk, swam in the pool, and the kids had more fun than at any other point in the vacation.
To be fair, the Boardwalk is spectacular. Lined with shops, restaurants, and clubs, it’s open all hours of the day and far into the night. Every evening you can walk by a number of interesting street shows along the lines of magic tricks and juggling. It really hit the perfect line between child-friendly and adult.
It was at this point that the kids saw the multiple-person “bicycles” for rent. Costing a mere $24 per half hour, these strange contraptions allowed the whole (normal-sized) family to squeeze in and circle the entire boardwalk.
Amazingly, they allowed all six to nine of us to squeeze onto the device. I had hoped I would be excused from this family event, but they needed someone else who could reach the pedals, and since I (sadly) made the height requirement by two inches, I was instructed to come along.
Florida is actually quite nice in November, but only when it’s cloudy and not humid and you don’t have to live there.
It was not quite as bad as I had feared, although there was a colossal spat about who got to ring the bell, which resulted in us careening down the boardwalk, frantically ringing the bell at each and every passerby to warn them that The Family was there and that we couldn’t slow down because we were too busy trying to separate some squabbling octopuses.
After this ordeal we were all hot and sticky, so we changed and made our way down to the pool. This pool, I should note, was pretty spectacular. It was massive. There was a bar. There was a hot tub. There was a kiddie pool with an attached playground. There was an elaborate twisting water slide.
Naturally, the only picture I took of it was of this lizard, who was admittedly very cute.
We spent all afternoon in the pool. I introduced the younger boys (not yet good swimmers) to the idea of a hot tub, which became their new favorite invention and from which they had to be coaxed regularly so they did not overheat. The older boys, meanwhile, went down the water slide approximately eighty times.
After a few hours of this, everyone was given baths and dressed in nice shirts and slacks, because we had a reservation at “Flying Fish” on the boardwalk. It turns out Flying Fish is far, far fancier than it sounds.
But still fish-themed. These are the chandeliers.
I tried not to take too many pictures; it seemed inappropriate given the circumstances. Fortunately, I didn’t have the opportunity to be tempted to do so, as I immediately went into damage-control mode. I sat with a few of the boys on my end of the table, and devoted everything I had to keeping them seated, facing forwards, not fighting, not yelling, not playing with the wine glasses. We played an outrageous number of games of “I Spy”.
When we were given the menus I sorted out what they wanted first (fish and chips. All of them) before I picked up the menu for myself and realized I was thoroughly out of my depth.
I’m still convinced most of the dish names were in some strange medly of Italian and French, and therefor completely unpronounceable. The descriptions were cryptic at best, promising things like “ancient grains”, “Mascarpone-laced Risotto di Carnaroli with Prosciutto di Parma Cracklins“, and “Red Wine-Cassis Butter Reduction“. In the end, I chose the cheapest dish I could find ($37). It had “salmon” in the name, which I was reasonable sure I could pronounce.
When it arrived, the entire dish was the size of my palm and had some strange pea-sized orange orbs sitting on the top. I surmised that these were a new type of caviar, as when you ate them they burst in your mouth with a sudden fishy taste.
I scraped them off and hid them under the sauce, and thought about the fact that I could be eating 37 McChickens for that price.
I put all of my nanny school training into eating dinner correctly, foggily recalling my 800 page etiquette book and the extensive chapters on dining, but I needn’t have bothered because absolutely no one else in the restaurant was bothering to do the same.
I ordered the only desert that sounded human, and it was… well, it was a fancy restaurant desert.
No wonder the service in this place was so slow.
All things considered, it really was a good thing that the portion sizes were so small, because I could have eaten eight of whatever strange, chocolatey thing they gave me.
Two hours and seven trips to the bathroom later, The Family and I stumbled back to our rooms, thoroughly exhausted by our vacation from vacation. After a while of listening to the chaos in the room next to me, I went for a walk on the Boardwalk by myself. It’s really not so bad when you can choose where to go and what to do on your own.