take me home, country road

now we come to the finale of my summer this year. the supposed last hurrah before we start preparing for the colder months. it was a trip that we've planned for so long. a trip that had (wether we admit it or not) made some people feel unwanted. but dwelling on that wouldn't be right anymore. so i'll go on and tell you the crazy things we did on those five? six? days (oh i don't even remember!) of being away from jersey.

our road trip started out as a 6 hour drive to virginia beach. it took us almost 8 hours i think, including the stops for lunch, gas fill ups, bathroom breaks, wrong turns and exits and the like. i was driving believing that the route we're taking was gonna bring us to chesapeake bay bridge tunnel. apparently it didn't. to the disappointment of everybody. we arrived at virginia beach with just enough time to get some rest and have dinner (which consists of iris' delicious chicken adobo imported from new jersey) before we went out to explore virginia beach.

we headed off to the boardwalk (which isn't really made up of boards but of concrete). we saw how people were riding this multi bike that could be driven by four persons and we immediately decided that we should rent one. so there we were 5 girls pedaling their way through the bike path checking out the sights and sounds of the virginia beach boardwalk. there was a lot of things happening there that night. a lot of parties going on, which is explained by the fact that this is the week of the annual surfing competition. so naturally there were a lot of surfer dudes roaming the boardwalk.

day 2: we went to busch gardens in williamsburg. it's a europe themed park where you can walk, ride the train or the cable cars to and from different european countries. we had a blast with the water rides escape from pompeii, roman rapids that we had to go on it twice. the 3D rides were great too. it was so much fun feeling like tiny little people on a match box on corkscrewhill. while the curse of the dark kastle was also a great ride which is very similar to the men in black ride in universal studios in florida. but it was hannie who outrode us all by riding solo on griffon. all those rides and all the walking we did, worked up quite an appetite, so we ended the night by forgetting about our diets and lining up on a seafood buffet. that, i say is how you end a night.

day 3: was spent doing something that all of us girls haven't done before and that is to get a pap smear. just kidding! we went ahead and signed up for parasailing. yes, we have some kind of a death wish going on... he he he. hannie and i paired up and opted for the 1000 feet ride and even asked to be dipped in the sea on our way back to the boat. joyce and maricar on the other hand went for the conservative 800 feet, while iris wanted to stay safe and was happy just being an observer slash photographer. it was one of the best things that i've done in my life so far. the feeling of just being there, suspended high up in the air is so relaxing if you could just ignore the feeling that at any moment, the rope that connects the chute and you to the boat is gonna break. while we were up there hannie and i were the queen of morbid thoughts, thinking of the worst case scenarios that could happen. the funny thing is that we were both calm but we were trying to plan what we would do in case the rope breaks. it wasn't long until our 15 minutes up in the air was done, and i felt that we were slowly descending straight to the water. going for the dip was the best part of parasailing. it was like we were wakeboarding and it was immediately over before i knew it. maricar and joyce went after us and like hannie and i agreed while we were up on the air, we wouldn't tell them that it was a little bit scary up there. "usap lang kayo sa taas." was our advice to them. i was glad they didn't backed out from it, because it was totally worth all the jitters. i was still all smiles from the experience while we were driving to tita emma's house.

when we got to tita emma's house, all the talk about parasailing was lost to the sight of food on her table. crabs, pancit, shrimps, lechon kawali, fish, kutchinta, watermelon. whoever was thinking about the word diet in front of all those food is not in her right mind. after the heavenly lunch, we got to meet tita emma's kids and they were all very nice and warm. oh and i fell in love with somebody. yes, intriga ito! i fell in love with their dog ella. she was so adorableand gentle, i could just eat her up (not literally!). when night time came, we had to say goodbye to them and moved right along. our destination: durham north carolina.

the drive to durham was nice. there was no traffic as it was night time and the road was pretty much straightforward. i was really tired though, because this was the third day in a row that i was driving. all the way to durham, i was counting down the miles left before we could finally rest and eat something (na naman!). when we got to the house, we were all impressed because it was spanking brand new and huge and the neigborhood was quiet.

day 4: we heard mass at st. matthew's church and later on planned on going to the shenandoah caverns which didn't happen because of time constraints. so we just drove around looking for something to do and just decided to go shopping and buy some groceries and then headed home to lounge around in the village pool.

day 5: we finally went to the shenandoah caverns. it was a four hour drive from durham. this time hannie took over the wheel for a while which i was thankful for. it was a nice day for a drive, and it has been like that since we started out on this road trip. thank heavens! we reached the caverns with no problems and we were immediately taken down on an elevator down to the mouth of the cave. sosyal ang mga cavemen na nakatira didto, naka-elevator! so we toured the insides of the cave and took loads of pictures on every stalactites, stalagmites and columns we could find. ethan, the tour guide pointed out the water that drops from the roof of the cave and called it the "kiss of the cave". if it drops on you, it means you've been kissed by the cave... and i was, a couple of times...which means the cave likes me!

the rest of the day we spent getting pissed at the inefficient cafeteria staff, looking at displays that i really don't care about and looking for the authentic local barbecue place na may sign na baboy. it was recommended by an old lady at the register. she says to just follow route 11 for 21 miles until we see a place with the picture of a pig. so for 21 miles, there was the 5 of us all hungry with eyes on the look out for a picture of a pig. go figure. true enough, the food didn't disappoint. the baby back ribs were good, but when i ordered the barbecue, i was imagining pieces of pork cooked from a grill. when our orders came, it was strips of slowly cooked pork with barbecue flavored sauce on a bun. it was tasty but not the barbecue that i imagined it would be.

before we headed back home to durham, we decided to drive up the skyline drive in shenandoah national park where we flirted with a park ranger, defied death by taking pictures on cliffs, bought souvenirs and took pictures of wild deers roaming around the forest.

day 6: was the day we headed back home. hannie was once again the designated driver. this time though, it wasn't uneventful. there we were cruising through a north carolina highway, talking about speed limits when joyce noticed a police car behind us. his lights and his siren were on which means that he was pulling us over. so after 5 days of driving around, we got ticketed on our very last day, hows that for a treat? it was actually kinda funny because i was trying to get it on video complete with ambush interviews of the eyewitnesses at the passenger seat and an interview of the culprit while she's putting make up on. however, i didn't get it on video. disappointing, yeah.

on the way home we had a hard time looking for *chesapeake bay bridge tunnel. we've been meaning to go through these series of bridges and tunnels since the first day of our trip. however the gps navigator keeps re-routing us away from it for some reason. so we had to find our way through it the old school way which is to ask for directions and pray that we would hit the right road. "just follow the gulls" is what the old man from the vietnamese restaurant told us as he gave us directions in a very "hagrid" like manner. except that hagrid told harry and ron to "just follow the spiders!"
we were supposed to be following these sea gull signs along the road

so follow the gulls we did and in no time we were paying toll to get through the chesapeake bay bridge tunnel. it seemed to me that there were a choir of angels singing hallelujah as we were cruising the length of the bridge. sa wakas, the search for the fuckin' bridge is over and we can drive home peacefully and live to tell about the road trip that was.

the chesapeake bay bridge tunnel is a 20 mile long series of bridges and tunnels that provides direct link from southeastern virginia and delaware and maryland. it's supposed to cut 95 miles from your travel if you're coming from delaware going to virginia beach. more here.

exit 0

i just remembered that even before i went with friends to nantucket, there was this long weekend that i went to cape may with joyce and iris. see, i told you i couldn't remember what i did this summer chronologically.

it was at the end of spring, early summer that we drove to the southernmost part of jersey. we had high hopes for this trip, this being the first time we are going for a longish drive. 3 hours by garden state parkway down south to exit 0. we had a nice sunny weather on our drive going there, but it was as if the weather had this devious plan to ruin our cape may weekend by sending his gloomy dark clouds and rain showers by the time we got there.

the rainy weather did not stop us from making the most of our weekend there. when the rain was pouring outside for instance, we made use of the time to swim around the heated indoor pool of the hotel which we had all to ourselves. when the sun would come up even for just a little bit, we strolled around washington street mall, looking at shops, antique stores and buying souvenir stuffs. when we got a little bit of a rain shower, we hopped on a trolley tour which took us to the usual cape may attractions or we would drive around ogling the historical bed and breakfasts which litter the whole of cape may. we also drove to sunset beach and armed with our umbrellas went to the shoreline looking for cape may diamonds.

on the second day, we headed off to the boat that would take us for our second whale watching experience. it was a nice enough deal because along with the 2 hour boat ride and whale watching tour they served us free pizza and hotdogs. the boat took us around cape may but because it wasn't the season for whales it turned out to be a dolphin watching tour. since i was on this trip with iris, it only means one thing... that this is going to turn out as a photo shoot of sorts. so while the rest of the group were inside the boat stuffing on pizza and hotdogs, we were on the top deck taking pictures like mad.

on our last day, the rain was really pouring hard, but it didn't stop us from driving over to the cape may light house and taking pictures on the top amid the whipping winds and rain. the light house is a 157 foot tower that served to guide ships along the coast and into the delaware bay since 1859. it took us 199 steps and a thousand huffs and puffs before we got to the top just to take pictures and marvel at how beautiful cape may is from a bird's eyeview and how (because of the chilling winds) were my knees shaking even if i wasn't afraid of heights.

it was a really cold, we got wet, nobody had any idea where to go next, nobody had any suggestions where they wanted to go and that is usually a surefire way to irk me. but knowing me i easily get over things like that and i am back to my usual self by the time we got to morey's piers and we were walking the boardwalk and people watching before we headed for home.

hook, line and sinker

so i agreed to go with dichi and rheza to a fishing trip that was organized by aya and her friend. i've never gone fishing in the middle of the sea before so this is gonna be a fun first for me. with only 3 hours of sleep, i drove to pick dichi up from her apartment and we drove to atlantic highlands pier really early because i was scared we wouldn't be able to locate it and i'm certain we would get lost on our way there. i was wrong. the gods of traffic and the gods of map directions joined forces that day and helped us reach the pier 2 hours early. but those two hours weren't wasted for nothing. we used it to shop and look for shorts and other stuff.

with our thirst for bargain shorts quenched, we headed off to the pier where the rest of the fisherman wannabes were waiting. soon our boat was cruising the bay heading off to where the captain thinks is a good spot for catching fish. it was a bumpy ride. we encountered big waves that created big splashes of water against the boat. dichi and i had to hie off inside the closed area where the captain drives the boat (hey, i'm not a fisherman so sue me if i don't know what that area is called!) to prevent us from getting more soaked. one of the two anchors of the boat fell off and that was a signal for the captain to stay put. in short hindi na nag-ambisyon pa ang kapitan na pumunta pa sa kalagitnaan ng laot. according to him, he isn't gonna risk it because he's got women and kids on board his ship. what a wuss! he he...

when the boat stopped everybody grabbed a fishing rod and started fishing like they do it everyday. dichi and i grabbed the ones near us pretending like we know what to do with it. the guy with a really nice body who is by the way a crew of the fishing boat probably sensed the lack of my skills and knowledge when it comes to this activity came over and taught me how to hook bait, handle the rod, cast the line and how to reel it in. he even attached the sinker himself. he could do the entire fishing gig with me just looking at him for all i care and i would be happy. but i gladly did everything he told me to do and in a few minutes i was bored to death waiting for any fish to bite. an hour later nobody on our boat caught any fish except for a few stingrays and baby sharks which the hot fishing boat guy sent flying back to sea. i got quite a scare when i felt a tug on my rod and it felt really heavy while i was reeling it in. it felt like it was giving a good fight. i was like "this is it! i'm gonna be the first one to catch a fish today." somebody had to help me maneuver the reel because it was heavy, but then the line broke and there goes my story of the one that got away.

tito leo put it in this perspective. "isipin mo kung dito nakasalalay ang pagkain ng pamilya ko, tiyak diet kami lahat." a few more hours went by with no fish in sight. we got tired of reeling in stingrays and baby sharks which we had to let go back into the water. a lot of people were feeling seasick. i felt really seasick at one point and made an ass of myself by throwing up on the boat which was witnessed by the hot fishing boat guy. just my luck huh? he was really nice by the way because he brought a bucket of water to wash off the vomit from the floor of the boat while dichi was handing me paper towels. pakauwaw lang jud ko.

i was in high spirits again at the end of the day. a nine year old kid who threw up with me on the boat saved the day for us by catching an 11 pound blue fish. they were kidding me that i would be the next one to catch a fish since me and the kid got seasick at the same time. that was the catch of the day though. when the captain called it a day, the hot fishing boat guy came over to me to help me reel the line back so he can put the rods away. i learned he is just 19 years old. he's just a baby shark.... i had to let him swim back to the ocean.


overload. this is exactly the problem when you forego blogging for the million things you needed to do and the million places you needed to go to. two months i think it was, that i haven't payed a visit to my blogger dashboard. so what have i been up to? god! i don't think i would be able to remember the past two months in chronological order, but i will try my best.

first off, i went with my dmc friends to this tiny island of nantucket in massachusets where we gorged ourselves with lobsters while celebrating senen's birthday. we rented bikes and biked our way around the island, stopping every now and then when we think that we are on the verge of losing our lives to oncoming traffic and of course for taking pictures (which still remains to be in dichi's memory stick). i don't know how some people ride bikes, but dichi seems to have a knack for getting beaten around by her bike whenever she rides one. a week after our trip to nantucket, i saw her again on a fishing trip and the bruises on her legs were big enough to shame the meanest wife beater in town (but of course i'm exaggerating a little bit...he he). anyways, here are some of the new friends and people i've met on that little trip we made to nantucket:

aya - thank god for her, i didn't have to do any driving except for when we went to her house to pick her up. she was behind the wheel from new jersey to manhattan to boston. she just kept going and going and even handled the situation when we got *bumped in the rear by a black bmw suv the night we got to boston.

cheryl - this girl is rheza's friend who also works in new york presbyterian hospital. also a certified bisdak who hails from cagayan de oro. she's so much fun to be with, gladly going along with the flow. she was our official photographer when dichi and i were "pseudo surfing" on the beaches of nantucket.

jeff - he was senen's guy and i hope he still is up to now (but i heard they're breaking up which is sad but hey, such is life). he is a nice guy who gladly gave us a tour around senen's condo and who made the reservations for the ferry to nantucket which he quite bungled up but really felt sorry for. hey jeff.... tao ka lang... you make mistakes.. he he.

art - this guy is weird in a funny, makulit, interesting way. he's a close friend of jeff and senen who tagged along during the nantucket trip. i felt sorry for him because he's the only one who doesn't know how to bike and when everyone was biking around the island he was by himself walking around.

so that was the first part of my summer this year. for some reason dichi still hasn't sent me the pictures of our nantucket trip so i don't have pics to go with this post. i will try to write about the fishing trip and the road trip later tonight if i don't get lazy and if i don't get distracted by tv. so 'till next post.

* we were on our way to quincy market when this black suv driven by a middle aged woman with a bunch of twenty something guys bumped us from behind. while we were idle in the middle of the road dialing 911, the suv drove away. now here's the funny part. we were all of 5 girls in the car and for some stupid reason nobody thought of taking the plate number of the suv. anong tawag nyo don? if the word "engot" comes to mind...then you are right.