Monday, April 09, 2007

how I spent my Passover vacation

Well, I’m back from the chilly East Coast. I ate a lot, I slept a lot, and overall, it was a pretty good vacation.


* As previously mentioned, I seriously got my feed on. Madre is a phenomenal cook, and she makes the best cheesecake I’ve ever had, along with fantastic flapjacks, amazing roast chicken, and chocolate cupcakes filled with cream cheese that made my eyes roll back in my head. Aside from our day at Six Flags, we only ate out once, at a little place called Elements of Asia that served Japanese, Chinese, and Thai cuisine. I had teriyaki chicken and tempura, as well as two glasses of the exquisite wine Padre had brought along, and Padre and I shared an order of Thai mango sticky rice for dessert. The mango tasted like lip gloss, but the sticky rice was flavored with cinnamon and coconut milk and was quite happymaking.

* After four Seders in two years, I think I may actually have the Haggadah memorized.

* Took several long walks.

* We visited a museum in Princeton that had a wonderful Pop Art exhibit.

* To my delight, I managed to track down a Good Humor Toasted Almond ice cream bar. I’ve only had this delicacy twice, both times in Las Vegas, and have never seen it again. It’s almond ice cream covered with slivered almonds and little candy bits. Apparently not a big seller in Jersey, since it had obviously been in the freezer for a while, but it was still delicious and, if it had been fresh, would have gotten a 9 on my Taste-O-Meter. As it was, it still got an 8.

* G’s parents acquired an enormous, Chihuly-esque blown glass sculpture which hung in the stairwell and swayed ominously in even the slightest breeze. It looked like a snarl of animal horns and intestines, and when Madre asked me what I thought, I said honestly, “That is truly something.” (I took a picture, but Photobucket is being churlish, so I’ll try to upload it later.)

* Not a minor detail, but it doesn’t fit anywhere else: my brother had surgery on Friday to correct his breathing problems, so I called home to see how it went. He was in good spirits and said the pain was so minor he didn’t even need to take his prescription painkillers, opting instead for Tylenol.

* On the flight home, I shocked G by buying a fruit and cheese plate and eating everything but the strawberry and the cubes of pepperjack cheese. As he stared at me in awe, I smirked and said, “I like to keep you guessing.”


Madre, Padre, J, and A wanted to spend Wednesday in search of cultural refinement, so G and I took the kids to Six Flags in Jackson. Upon arriving, we noticed something rather unusual:

Orthodox Jews.

I’m not just talking about a few Jewish people; I’m talking a good 60 to 70% of the crowd. The males wore yarmulkes and, in a few instances, those long side curls; the females wore ankle-length skirts. G (who, remember, was raised Jewish and can therefore get away with this) said, “Must be half-off today, or they wouldn’t be here.”

Unfortunately, many of the rides were closed due to wind, and we waited for over an hour at the Batman ride only to have it literally close as soon as we got to the front of the line. There were mascots roaming around the park, but you couldn’t use your own camera to take a picture of or with them; there was an official park photographer accompanying them, ready to sell you a shot. We ate at the Papa John’s kiosk for both lunch and dinner, because we’d gotten free coupons for buying our tickets online, but if we’d had to pay for those meals, not including drinks, it would have cost $75, which was an abomination even by theme park prices. We briefly entertained the idea of scalping our extra coupons so we could buy a Flash Pass (yes, they actually had the gall to charge an extra $30 for a service Disney provides for free), but decided against it.

So yeah, Six Flags was trashy and freezing and mercenary, but we still managed to enjoy ourselves. The Spongebob Squarepants 3D ride was surprisingly fun, and the Superman ride was scary as hell; if it had lasted just a minute longer, I would have added my lunch to the vomit that pollocked the sidewalk at the end of the ride. All in all, though, I’d recommend against it…or at least going during the summer.