Monday, April 2, 2007

Revolution, Thrills, and a Food Coma

Williamsburg, Virginia, Day 3:
We had amazing weather yesterday for walking through Colonial Williamsburg: 60 degrees, partly cloudy, with a slight breeze. I slung my camera over my shoulder and prepared for a good old educational experience. The trouble is, when you buy a ticket, it’s hard to know what you’re getting. Williamsburg is still a city; the whole thing is not officially “colonial.” So, if we hadn’t bought a ticket, we could have walked around, visited the shops, and had lunch with no problem, but there would have been no tour of the governor’s palace or visits to various tradesmen. In that light, I’m glad we bought tickets for all of the exhibits, but I’m not sure it was worth what we paid. I do think that all of the “character interpreters” we met were incredibly knowledgeable and friendly, so the entire experience was very pleasant and informative. I snapped far too many pictures of flowers and farm animals, but JG and I had a good time being outdoors and stopping in to the little stores. All told, we probably walked about five miles, which is five more than a usual day in my life. I felt like I got some exercise and learned a thing or two, and at the end of the day, JG even commented, “I wasn’t sure if I’d like that, but it turned out to be really fun. Good idea, kid.” Aw.

We spent most of today at Busch Gardens, which was a lot of fun. Unfortunately, the day started with insanely inefficient processes for parking and ticketing and I got a bad impression from it all. During the worst of it, JG and I were trying to redeem our pre-paid, turnstile-ready tickets that we had printed at home. The ticket readers were machines that were supposed to scan a bar code, take your fingerprint, and let you through. Evidently, they needed a person to assist with the bar codes and fingerprints, which totally defeated the purpose of the automation. When my bar code didn’t scan, the woman at my station punched in a 16-number code, very slowly, after she said, “See, the printer makes the bars too close together. Looks like you need a new printer.” I really wanted to fire back with, “No, my printer is fine. If the ticket prints out incorrectly, it’s the fault of the system and any convenience I thought I had was totally shot by your inefficiency and incompetence.” Instead, because I knew it wasn’t only her fault, I chose to stare daggers at her. I was good and worked up after that, but JG got me walking at a trot – each of his steps is about 2.5 of mine – and my mood burned off quickly when we rode a giant coaster twice in a row with virtually no wait. Woo! Going to an amusement park is one of my favorite things to do with JG because we’re both so focused on a strategic route that will result in minimum wait time. It sounds super-structured, but we have so much fun once we actually get to the rides. Going roller coasters for five hours is such a departure from my workday and I really felt like I was on vacation when we were there. It was very nice.

Oog. I’m typing under the influence of an incredibly filling meal from Pierce’s Pitt, a Williamsburg fixture where you order and pay at the register and then pick up your food when your number is called over a tinny intercom. We had plenty of time to pick our poison since we were in line behind a group of teens from a Baptist church in Ohio who arrived, just before we did, in one of those truncated school buses. JG and I both decided on the Barbecue Dinner, which consists of a half-pound of pulled-pork barbecue and a choice of three (!) sides. We both chose fries and mac-n-cheese, but JG went all-carb with the addition of hushpuppies and I chose collard greens, you know, for a balanced diet. Well, our friends weren’t kidding when they billed Pierce’s as “old-school, cheap, and a ton of food.” Oh, my goodness. The barbecue was comforting, stick-to-your-ribs, and full-flavored with just a tiny kick at the end. The meat seemed to expand in our stomachs alongside the side dishes that complemented the sweet-sour tang of the sauce. It was one of those meals that made me sorry that it would be over at some point, but no matter how much I liked it, there was no way I could have finished it all. JG cleaned his plate, but he practically rolled himself to the car and then collapsed as soon as he got back. I did my best, but I was only able to eat all of the barbecue and the mac-n-cheese. It’s about prioritizing, right? That said, I wish I had already brushed my teeth before I started to type because, man, standing up is going to be rough.


alyndabear said...

Sounds YUM. Your blog makes me hungry, RA, cut it out! ;)

It's so hard to know whether booking things ahead is helpful or not, but you've just got to take a bit of a gamble! Sounds like you're still enjoying yourself, which is the main part :)

L Sass said...

That delicious BBQ looks like a dream come true!!

zandria said...

That is so great that you had a good time! I'm glad it was so nice outdoors for you. I'll definitely have to make it down there one day myself.

Those outlet stores are great! I HAVE been there, at least. :)