Anyway, part 2 of my super fun vacation weekend takes us to the 26th and 27th of July, Saturday and Sunday. Remember, this weekend was my summer break from work, in lieu of the otherwise standard trip to Ohio for Gratefulfest that I've ruled out for this year. Hence, I stayed around home and did fun stuff all weekend.
Saturday brought me over to my friend and fraternity brother Mark Armstrong's house, who lives just over the bridge in West Conshohocken. I picked him up along with his younger brother Tom, and Tom's girlfriend, whose name eludes me at this stage in the game. And the four of us, accompanied by melodious tunes from Jerry Garcia's guitar, made the treacherous drive down 76 to Citizens Bank Park for a good ol' Phightin' Phils game. This was an afternoon game, starting at 4:05 against the Atlanta Braves, giving us enough time (but not too much time) to spend preparing ourselves in the K Lot. There, after buying some of the last standing room tickets available (at about 1:15) we met up with a handful of old friends, many from my fraternity at school, Phi Mu Delta, which we got closed down for three years thanks to our unquenchable thirst for sweet, sweet Mama Alcohol.
We drank, ate food courtesy of my big (frat) brother Erik's girlfriend Karen's very friendly parents, played buckets, and drank some more before oozing our way through the gates.
I was looking forward to this game particularly for the fact that Cole Hamels was starting. Hamels was, at the beginning of the year, considered to be the Phils' ace, though nowadays it's looking more and more like Jamie Moyer is...but anyhow, this was the first time I'd be seeing Hamels pitch in person. And unlike at the beginning of most games, my stomach was completely full of hot dogs and a hamburger from the parking lot. So I didn't waste my usual $15 or so on food that, inevitably, comes from the first vendor I see rather than walking all the way to Chickie's & Pete's or something. There are good places to get food in Citizens Bank, but I'm an impatient man, and usually I'll settle for whatever makes me walk the least.
Anyway, we were standing room only, so we got a spot out in left center field, pretty close to Harry the K's, which wasn't so bad thanks to the 'sauce'. The Phils broke out a 3-0 lead after a few innings, but without a whole lot of commotion. It wasn't really the most exhilarating game I'd ever seen, but at least we were winning.
All that changed in the top of the 4th, as Hamels began to fall apart. Baserunner after baserunner got on and came across, and after a gut-wrenchingly long inning, Cole had been pulled and the Phils were down 9-3. It was so bad that a few people we'd come with took off completely, before the game was even halfway through.
Not me, motherfucker. I stayed, and for what turned out to be a really good reason. Once the bottom of the 5th rolled around, the Phils' bats exploded for a 7-run inning capped by a 3-run home run by...shit, Greg Dobbs, maybe? I don't remember, to be honest. But it made for a great scoreboard shot.
Anyway, the Phils won by that same score, and we piled into the car and drove back to Erik's house to continue drinking. And we did, and caught up with people we hadn't seen for a long time, and so on, and so forth. Granted, I'd been drinking all day, but with my health and safety in mind - always following the drink-per-hour rule. Once I started to feel like I might be approaching that .08 level, I hopped into the car and called it a night, bearing in mind that I had to be up relatively early the next day.
To go here. A handful of my coworkers and I showed up at our restaurant bright and early at 10 am, and took a leisurely drive up the Northeast Extension to Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom in Allentown. Only about an hour drive, during which I discussed politics and Socrates with our busboy, Kevin, while his girlfriend sat quietly in the backseat, no doubt bored out of her skull.
When we arrived there were about eight of us or something, and we slowly made our way into the park. This place, let me tell you, this place was a stark reminder of America as a melting pot of cultures and races. Never in recent memory have I seen such a mix of white people, black people, Indian people, Asian people, Hispanic people, everybody but albinos. I didn't see one albino, or for that matter, one Amish person the whole time I was there. Quite an eye-opener, on one level or another.
Well, we sat down on a ride, and I got prepared to clench my insides and hope for the best. But alas, before the ride took off, the straps popped open and voice came over the loudspeaker saying, "Sorry, we have to shut down the ride for the weather." Sure enough, it had begun raining steadily, to the point that within minutes the clouds were really letting loose, and we retreated into a tacky joint that was trying to be a sports restaurant. The food was pretty terrible and equally overpriced, but very filling, and took long enough for us to wait out the storm and come outside to improving skies.
We hit a few rides, the ones that opened first - a sort of tilt-a-whirl thing, and then the Dominator, which brought us up about 300-400 feet and dropped us into a brief state of weightlessness. Pretty cool, as your stomach isn't full of nachos and cheeseburger. Mine was, which made the ride considerably less fun.
Then came the demon hellride, Voodoo. It's apparently one of their newer roller coasters, this abominable thing shaped kind of like a U with a really long bottom part. We started in the middle, with out legs dangling out beneath us, and after a "3...2...1" countdown over the speaker, we were violently shot backwards at, immediately, no less than 50 mph up one side of the ride. It bent us forward, while still travelling backward, and took us up a good 125 feet in the air so that we could stare helplessly at the ground beneath us before shooting us forward to do the same thing on the other end. Only on the other end, it fucking twisted us around in loops to further add to the nausea. It did this three times, but the last time we got held facing toward the ground, those motherfuckers made it pause for a split second at the top, so that our bodies slumped against our chest coverings and we all really felt like we were going to die. It was a goddamn nightmare. This ride was the kind of thing that someone who enjoys roller coasters would probably love. But fuck you if you're one of those people. I was not amused in any way, shape or form. It reminded me of why I never go to see horror movies: if I'm gonna be paying $10 for a ticket, and $12 for soda and popcorn, and not be able to drink alcohol, then I better be able to have a really good, amusing time, filled with laughs and enjoyment aplenty. I have a very stressful life and I don't see the appeal in paying money to enter into a private environment, only to get freaked out and come close to an anxiety attack. Fuck horror movies, and fuck roller coasters. It'd been a long time since my last visit to a theme park, and guess what? I don't enjoy roller coasters on any level, period, and I felt like a real asshole for paying 40 fucking dollars to ride them.
Thankfully, I was with a fun little group of people, all of whom were committed to having a good time. So we kinda seperated into three or four groups, and mine made our way into the water park. This was my kind of park, frought with leisurely attractions like a pool that people floated along underneath waterfalls and stuff. This part was doubtlessly more fun, but the lines were brutally long, and I couldn't escape the feeling that I was swimming in half super-chlorinated water, half child urine.
And at 5:00, I jumped into my car and drove home to call it a weekend. Definately a nice three days off, and since then I've been right back into the fray, working like a bee to save up money so that Joey and Sarah and I can make up for the fact that this year, I just don't get to have a vacation. Next year, however, will be very, very different.