First trip out after cancer… Well that’s a big deal..I mean it marks moving forward with a life that could have easily been halted. Living after cancer is probably the biggest “f*ck you” you can give it. Needed something memorable and that was going to give the most bang for my medically financially suffering buck.
As a child my mom would tow me with her to Atlantic City. I would hang out in the room or the pool, while she hit the slots…the penny slots…so , well …she would be there for a looooong time. Spending a weekend in a hotel was kind of a normal occurrence. Growing up in the Bronx didn’t give me much opportunity to jump in the pool. So staying at a hotel with a pool that allowed my inner guppy to thrash against the waves of my imagination was a perfect way to spend “family time”.
When I received this assignment as an option, I thought…well … Maybe it’s time to do Atlantic City my way, with a lot less guppy; cuz now as an adult doing my hair takes far too long to just let myself thrash around a pool …besides, I’m a grown ass woman.. Its time to pretend I have it all together.
In researching airline tickets, Spirit Airlines had some amazing prices..which get even better if you’re a member of their 9$ fare club. If you’re not and you travel at least once or two times a year… it will actually pay for itself. As far as the cost of additional luggage…well… That will be advised on another time. But know this. I have NEVER paid for luggage and pack for 4-5 days of travel…change of shoes and underwear included.
With my ticket less than $100, hotel options were needed. Though hanging under the boardwalk, like a young Bette Midler in Beaches did dawn on me. My inner female voice screamed bloody murder and put me in my place, so a hotel room it would have to be.
Booking.com had some great deals…some rooms in well established places like Bally’s or Tropicana for as low as $35 mid-week. Which listen…when traveling on a budget wipe the weekend getaway out of your filthy head… I was traveling from Tuesday to Saturday….so I get a taste of the weekend with out all the financial caloric backlash.
Groupon offered by far the best deal. Though the price was comparative to booking.com. The room was a deluxe along with a $20 per day food credit as well as spa access ( don’t get all exfoliated… By spa access it means pool and workout room) though…they do have a spa “spa” on premise too. Massages and full body treatments..etc. All reasonably priced.
Now Groupon sometimes can be funny. It’s usually not Groupon’s fault but more like the establishment that offers the deal. Maybe the employees are not properly made aware of the special deals being given , or their systems are not input with the correct information. I don’t hold that against Groupon or the establishment, so long as they are open to learning and fixing it.
Anyway, flight booked…hotel booked…Uber prices for transportation checked and verified along with the comparative pricing of traditional local taxis to get me to and from airport.
One of the wonderful transportation options in Atlantic City is the jitney. The AC Jitney Association services all of the hotels, casinos and sites, including the Atlantic City Aquarium*, Outlet Shopping, 1 block from the AC Boardwalk on Pacific Ave, convention services, Boardwalk Hall, and the light shows at The Pier. they also offer a Senior and Frequent Rider Discount and their buses come along every few minutes. Learn more about their route and your options here.
The flight is so easy peasy. From Florida it is only a lil over two hours… Which is the equivalent of some car lines when you pick your kid up from school, and it was a smooth quiet evening flight with few pockets of turbulence.
Upon landing, transportation was already available and waiting. The weather was in the 50s but these day I’m always hot so it felt fantastic. Much of Atlantic City reminded me of parts of the Bronx. It was obvious that gentrification is slowly making its way into some of the areas. There were souls wandering. One I may not want to cross paths with at night and in heels, but overall the beautiful architecture of some of its buildings and churches were breathtaking. The clear divide between tourist areas and residential was florescently clear. You could smell the sea air even past the artificial taxi air freshener. I have arrived.
Due to my late arrival, an entire day would basically go to waste, I was traveling on my own terms and everything was so cost-effective, it didn’t matter to me. Upon arriving of course, front desk had my reservation but the Groupon was not noted and so she needed a manager. I was not in the least bit worried. She seemed more than competent. Manager came out and quickly cleared the issue. Provided me with an upgrade so that I can celebrate my return to life properly. I was told that another woman on the premises was also celebrating being a survivor and found it funny and confirming that some ALONE time is incredibly necessary afterwards. I do appreciate my family and friends and how much they have been their for me, but being poked and prodded and asked if I’m OK for the past half-year actually does take its toll. Sometimes you say your OK for their benefit. In my case it was because I knew I would be, and if even in that moment I wasn’t, it was not a burden I wanted them to bear, because I’m strong enough to carry that on my own. Worry brings out this anxiety in people, that sometimes feels suffocating to me.
I honestly didn’t expect to walk into the room that I can only assume I walked into because I’m almost certain I was floating on air. Resorts Hotel and Casino spoiled me good. The room had two bathrooms which had me alternating my midnight pee trips simply because I could. The living and dining area with wet bar felt so homey and elegant at the same time. Nice size fridge within the cabinets and separate thermostats for the bedroom and living areas. I set both to “Welcome home Satan” and removed every article of clothing. I could do that…I could so totes do that. Listen when you’re a mom of boys walking around in the nude is an absolute luxury, besides, I have new boobies… And they’re really, really nice.
I stood there in the middle of the room thinking…omg… Is this for real? Did they really just give me the best upgrade ever? Then that home alone moment hit me…you know, the one where Kevin discovers he’s all alone, no one to answer to, not have anyone to keep on schedule and alive. DAILY! Well not exactly, but you know the part right? I just couldn’t stop walking into every room…including the two double door closets. Sitting in a dark closet is quite peaceful by the way. The king size bed called and coaxed me out of the closet, so sleep I must.
Next morning I opened my eyes to say…wow..I don’t think there was a yawn..it litterally was a wow. The sea was at my window. Waves, seemingly knocking even though I was on the 53rd floor. I have never wanted to be awake and ready to go out so much in my life. The tide pulled out my soul and it was my job to get out there and bring it back. But first…clothes…clothing is essential.
Walking on the boardwalk is nothing what I remember. As a child it all felt either to hot or too cold. Most of the time we were shuttling between hotels that offered my VIP mother comp rooms and so bags trudged with us and my packing skills were no were near as honed as they are now. This was not a fun part of our excursion.
Today however…the boardwalk was mine…no clackety clack of pulled luggage against the boards of the walk, the weather was an amazingly warm 62 degrees, the salt air bathing my body and caressing my scalp as I headed for the beach.
I found myself careful not to disturb the foot prints of others. Simply because, I knew with each step I was taking I was walking toward something and was certain these prints all were too. Who am I to erase proof of their paths in search of my own. As I got closer to water on the compacted sand, my heart raced. It’s not the first beach I have seen, definitely not the last and it’s not even the most beautiful, but it is the body water that I’m familiar with. Like an old blanket, I know this ocean… I know it’s waves. This coast is familiar. I shared these waters as a child, I cut school to hang out in these waters, as a teenager. Orchard Beach, City Island, all shared these same waters and it called at me. With each wave, a kiss of a reminder of what is important. A sense of clarity was delivered by the tide.
As I made my way back to the boardwalk, squirrels as fat as puppies kept the area free of litter… seagulls stood their ground and allowed me in their space in hopes I may have a crumb or two. Something Atlantic City requests is that you do not feed the birds! Much like Vegas… Everything was bigger than normal, out there and themed.
The mall on the pier invited me in with its name “The Playground” well…ok.
Was surprised to see such high-end quality stores such as Luis Vuitton, and Tiffany’s. But my heart was be stilled when I got up to the third floor….it was as if my room view was converted to high-definition as the entire right hand side of the building showed not just my familiar ocean but the sun setting upon it. With adirondack seats and a beach like setting INSIDE. This was purposely positioned and created for this moment. At the end of the pier…a balcony with a completely unobstructed view of the ocean, beach and boardwalk, and more seating to remind you that someone really thought this through..must have been someone stressed..only a stressed person can evoke such relaxation….they work from experience.
It was easy to stay within the confines of $20 per day for food. I tend to only eat one big meal and graze for the most part. I always asked to include dinner rolls, which lots of butter was always supplied and the room had coffee pods and a machine. A short walk to the local bodega got me some milk since I’m not a fan of powdered creamer, which meant morning coffee and a buttered roll at my beautiful table with a view was very easily achievable. Their award-winning seafood soup was to die for and so was their french onion… It was easy to order a soup and salad and save the salad for a lil later as my grazing tummy desired. I suggest ordering their pizza early on in your stay cuz even cold..the pizza was still damn good…beside if your creative you may remember to also get some foil paper and use the iron ala college student style to reheat said pizza…I mean I assume that’s why irons are triangular.
Though service fee are included in your room service bill, it usually puts your meal a lil over $20. I do prefer to tip a lil more so basically my $100 room deposit will pretty much cover any additional incidentals including the in theater movie that I rented my last night there. Home Again, with Reese Witherspoon…now wait..before you condemn me for sitting in a dark room under the covers with my Soup Man lobster bisque and chocolate chip cookie watching a chick flick understand…I’m actually not a gambler… I tried..I really did.
When I was around 27 my mother asked me to drive her to Mohegan Sun for the night which me having a new car I wanted to break in seemed like a great idea. As a thank you she gave me $100 to play with. Now… In my head I’m immediately think what new pair of shoes can I buy…but decided I would at least play for the experience of it all. I inserted a twenty-dollar bill into a dollar machine and pulled the lever…. nothing…. It spun and nothing … I thought…this is silly, one dollar…down the drain. Being inexperienced and not knowing how to cash out I figured well I have 19 more pulls I’m stuck with, so I did…I pulled it… thinking about all the outlet shops that surround the area and what I’m missing out on. Well in all that is holy, the damn thing started yelling and screaming with flashing lights…. I gotz my self $1000. I ask how the hell do I get it out of the machine, learned how to cash out and walked my ass straight to the parking lot to my car where I slept until my mother was done playing..I mean..broad didn’t raise no fool!
So this time in..I hit the penny machines..it’s true what the say, ignorance is bliss…I’m too smart to know..I’m not looking to lose dollars plus the machine was called Wolves and Selena Gomez just released a song called Wolves, so like… I felt this was the machine… Pull…. Nothin….. Pull…. Nothin… Well.. maybe I really should stop following Gomez artistically I mean hello… Bieber… She obviously is if not more a hot mess, like me. Anyway after about 40 bucks I thought… honestly there’s gotta be a better way to get you kicks… Which is when… through the jungle, through the woods, the darkest Ally’s and dark side of the moon, past strangers, anger and crying…I found SOUP MAN Right there in the middle if the casino. Alongside of other “quick bites” like Famiglia pizza which sells by the slice, Ruby’s diner and more…. Well, I did all I could to get to you…to get to you.. I mean well, to soupman…grabbed my lobster bisque and garlic knots form famiglia and came to terms with the fact that I am not a gambler…I am a foodie and shoe addict… If I give you money you better shoot out either or… Just saying.
Overall, I came literally sewn back together and I’m leaving more put together than any strand of medical glue can piece back. I’m ready to get back into the swing of things and anymore upcoming surgeries that await. Knowing that if it all gets too much, an easy getaway is just a few hundred dollars away…almost cheaper than that well recommend psychologist.