Sunday, July 22, 2012

Ocean City, New Jersey

Today was July 22 , which means that there are 6 more days left and also that this was our last field trip with summer discovery. We were headed for Ocean City , New jersey. Everyone rose this morning at about 8 , and were all ready with their swimsuits and towels by 8:30 to get on the bus. The bus ride was rather quick compared to the other trips we took ,approximately a hour and a half.

When we arrived in Ocean City I was happy to find that the weather had gotten better than what it was in Philly. This morning the weather was gloomy , and simply not the type of weather you would want to have at the beach .We had  a total of 6 hours to spend on the there. This may seem like a lot of time , but it flew by like nothing.

I went out on the beach with a few friends and lined up our towels , set our stuff down . and then headed to the boardwalk to get a bite to eat. There were many pizza places , but we decided to eat at subway. After eating , we saw many people with bikes with steering wheels and even with 4 passengers on it. This intrigued  us and made us want to know where we could rent them. By the time we found out the bikes were no longer permitted to be ridden on the boardwalk , which was our home area.We decided to ride the go-carts and play in the arcade for a while before heading back to the beach to absorb the sun. After about an hour nap in the sun , we all decided to go eat again, but this time we got pizza.

We walked around for a little more and played in the sand , and it was almost time to head back to the buses were we would be going back to UPenn. When we arrived at UPenn ,I said my last goodbye's to the buses that had shuttled us everywhere for the last 3 weeks. The last couple of days are coming upon us quickly , so every moment I spend with my new found friends will have to be precious because I know that I wont see them again. 

Swimming With Dolphins

I can't believe it when I say it, but time was not a problem today. I went on a bold move and decided to wake up at 8:00AM, thirty minutes before departure to Ocean City. In those thirty minutes, I was able to get dressed, load up on snacks from Wawa, and apply a little bit more sun screen. I have been waiting for this trip for the longest, especially since the local students, Alec and Neil, kept talking about how fun it was going to be.

We arrived at the boardwalk at 10:30 with only two objectives: 1) get a spot on the beach and 2) have the most fun possible. I am proud to say mission complete. Although it seemed we were going to fail the first objective as we enter the beach, we managed to squeeze in. From there, it seemed that time slowed down, with every minute becoming a hour. It was typical summer beach weather, so after we found terrritory on the beach, the group went in search for ice cream (frozen custard is what I think it was called there). Walking on the boardwalk was the most difficult task in the world because it was swarmed with bike riders. So since walking was difficult, we decided to go rent som bikes for the rest of the day. Well that didn't turn out to be such a good idea because bikes are only allowed on the boardwalk until noon, which didn't give us much time. We did manage to find a Go-Kart track to take away our need for speed. I say that the karts were rigged, especially #19, mine, which was really slow, even though I was flooring it. Think about, I was the lightest of everyone there, my kart should have been the fastest. But when worst comes to worst, I ended up placing 2nd.

No more walking around, time to hit the beach became our chant as we found ourselves exploring the various stores. But when we got the beach again, everybody dropped out of going swimming. What appeared to be 7 eager swimmers, slimmed down to only three: Me, Kim, and Amiir. I for sure was going to get in the water because I haven't been to an actual beach in years. As I swam, I thought to myself, "I'm swimming with dolphins." Even though I couldn't see them, if I were to keep swimming, I would eventually find some. My thought is similar to that of Democritus, who said that if he were to cut an apple continously, there would be an atom. We can't see the atoms, but we know that they are they. I couldn't see the dolphins, but I knew they were there....somewhere.

The Calorie Filled Fried Oreos
After swimming for hours, I got tired and needed to load up on a girl's worst enemy, calories. We went to a pizza parlor, which was easy to find because the boardwalk was filled with them. After eating, I still felt that I need more, but I didn't want to some everyday food. I came to the East Coast for adventure and to explore, so I was going to explore and have adventure. Then as I nearly walked past it, I saw what I needed. Fried Oreos and Fried Snickers. I have seen something similar to this on television, so I just had to try it. It was so good that I could feel it hitting my insides instantly. And no this was no a heart attack, this was my stomach saying it sooooo gooood, yet sooooo baaaaaad. By the way, I ate only three of the five Oreos. The other two also went to adventurous people: Cameron and Tim. Ocean City was the most fun I have had in a short time because honestly, who can forget about Hershey Park.

The Also Delicious Fried Snicker

Feel The Sand In Your Toes

As we arrived at Ocean City, I was trying to imagine what the day would be like. I imagined it being filled with laughter, sand, and lots of sun. I was right. We got there at 10:30 AM and were taken to where we would meet at 4:30. Once we knew where to at the end of our day and had our maps pointing out our safe zone, we were free to go.

Welcome to Ocean City!

The usual crew, which includes Alysa, Chloe, Clara, Mariko, and myself, quickly gathered together to discuss what the plan was. We decided that we definitely wanted to go enjoy the water before it got way too crowded and hot. The water in San Francisco is always freezing cold, so I naturally assumed it would be cold here too, but oh no! The water was the perfect temperature! It felt great to be able to enjoy the motion of the waves without bumping into anybody or worrying you'll die from hypothermia. A lot of people get really irritated when they get out of the water, and find that all the sand in the world is sticking to them, but I really enjoyed that part. Normally I would be upset, but today it was nice.  We spent a good hour and a half in the water before we decided it was time for lunch.
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We walked down the boardwalk for about a second before we saw a food place and decided we had to look no more. There were a lot of food places around, but we kept it simple with pizza. We ordered an 18" white sauce pizza with mushrooms, green peppers, and sausage. It sure did hit the spot!

White sauce pizza with mushrooms, sausage, and green peppers.

After lunch we explored the boardwalk. I was on a mission to find the perfect One Direction T-shirt, but sadly I failed. I looked in so many different stores, but they were all convinced that rainbow lettering was the way to go. I am not a fan of really bright neon colors, so I ended up with nothing. I don't regret not settling a tacky T-shirt, because I have a feeling when I get my first One Direction Tshirt it is going to be absolutely perfect. Oh, and I guess I should probably mention for those of you who don't know, One Direction is a very popular UK boy band.

Aside from pizza and T-shirt hunting, we also managed to squeeze in some other things. I tried my very first frozen custard, peanut butter and chocolate. It was really good, but after a while the flavor was a bit overwhelming. We all tried water ice, my first time! This whole trip has included a lot of firsts for me. Anyways, we still had about an hour and a half before it was time to head back to the flash point, so we decided to go back in the water. The shore was ridiculously overcrowded at this point, and that includes the water too. It was impossible to not bump into somebody every ten seconds. The water was still warm and the waves were still coming, so it was still a fun adventure.

Soon I found myself looking out of the bus window, wishing this day didn't have to end. The bus ride was around ninety minutes. During that time the girls and I recapped on the fun day and planned out our last week in Pennsylvania. I still can't believe it's going to be over so soon!

Diving Into Jersey

When I first heard we were going to Jersey Shore, I made an immediate connection to the reality television show. Seeing as I am not a fan of the TV hit, Jersey Shore, I was skeptical because I didn't know that it was an actual beach. When I discovered, however, that this place lies along the New Jersey shore, I was very excited to head over there!

As we have done for all of our trips, we left the quad before 9 AM and piled on to our respective buses. During the ride, they played Napoleon Dynamite, but I read some of Italo Calvin's Invisible Cities for most of the 90 minute trip.

Now, this was my first time at Jersey Shore, but I kept getting major déjà vu because it reminded me so much of the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. There were a ton of people there today which makes sense because the weather was absolutely perfect! Not too hot, but not too chilly either. We spent a couple hours at the beach, first dipping our toes into the water and then diving into the waves. I had so much fun and the water was a great deal warmer than in the California coast.

Later in the day we walked up and down the boardwalk, which made me think about how consumerism is embedded into American's daily lives to such an unbelievable extent. It was impossible to even walk along the boardwalk without seeing a clothing store or food stand; which isn't something that is unexpected, but I felt it was such an extremity today.

I love that they took us to the beach because it reminded me so much of home and how excited I am to see my family. At the same time though, I really do not want to leave, this has been such an incredible experience for me and I am so grateful to be here. I know I have said this before, but I will miss it here in Philly so much, and I cannot believe we only have a week left! If this was a Facebook status, I would feel it appropriate to put an unhappy smiley face at the end of that sentence, just to show that I will be truly sad to leave here. However, I am very excited to share my experiences with my family and friends, and also to incorporate my newfound leanings into my community back home. In all I would say it will be a bittersweet goodbye, but I still have a week to go and I plan on making the most out of it.

I'm Walking on Sunshine

I know I have blogged about Wawa before, but I think we just need to take a moment and appreciate its awesomeness.  This morning, I woke up around 7:45, and it was 8:15 before I was ready to go.  I hadn't eaten breakfast yet, so I rushed down the street to the Wawa on the corner.  I had a breakfast and a snack, which I ordered on a computer screen,  in 10 minutes and I made it back just in time to board the buses at 8:30. I love Wawa.

It took about an hour and a half to get to the Ocean City boardwalk, the setting of popular TV show, Jersey Shore. Because this was the only destination for our field trip, we got to spend almost 6 hours exploring the board walk and hanging out on the beach.  I spent the day with Alysa, Mariko, Chloe, and Ivette.  We had an amazing day, and the 5 of us have gotten closer and closer throughout this trip.  We started off on the beach, playing in the surf. Although cold at first, the water was much warmer than what I'm used to in Northern California. 

After spending over an hour in the waves, we got a pizza lunch and explored the boardwalk.  I enjoyed browsing in the numerous t-shirt stores and sampling some of the East Coast treats like frozen custard and water ice.  We went into the amusement park section of the boardwalk before returning to the beach for the remainder of our time.  I loved being in the water and on the sand, and the trip made me realize that no matter where I end up in the future, I would like to have a large body of water nearby.   

We left around 4:30 and made it back in time to grab some dinner at King's Court dining hall.  The girls reconvened after some showers and laundry for a movie night in Ivette's room.  The entire day was fun and exhausting.  The sun shined the whole time, and despite numerous re-applications, my sunscreen did not do its job and I am pretty sunburned.  I think it was worth it. 


This morning the campus was buzzing with excitement as if it were a normal weekday. I can't speak for the whole camp, but I know that the girls of the Penn team were looking forward to spending time at a warm beach. When we tell people we're from California, the common misconception is that we spend all of our time on surfboards in the ocean. As this may be somewhat true for our Southern California counterparts, us Bay Area girls don't spend much time at the beach.

At 11:30 AM a crowd was already building up.
Hm.. decisions, decisions. 
 We arrived in Ocean City at about 10:30 and headed straight for the beach. I was immediately surprised by the large amount of people at the beach. We quickly found a nice plot of sand and settled down. We played around in the water for an hour and a half before we decided to go get lunch. Not wanting to spend a lot of time trying to pick a place for lunch, we settled for pizza. It literally took us twenty minutes to decide on a pizza but the sausage, mushroom, and green peppers on the white sauce made of garlic, ricotta, and mozzarella was delicious. After lunch we walked the boardwalk a little before going back into the water. While walking the boardwalk we tried peanut butter and chocolate frozen custard(a frozen treat we were told we absolutely had to try) as well as water ice which is an East Coast specialty. 

In search for a restroom we found our way to the array of rides at the boardwalk. No one else wanted to spend money so Ivette and I rode the Cliffhanger. After exploring the boardwalk a bit more we went back to the beach to swim some more. We spent about an hour in the water then laid out on the beach to dry. Summer Discovery was supposed to meet at 4:30 but we wanted to check out the candy selection at Shriver's Salt Water Taffy Co. so we went over a few minutes early.

The bus ride home was relatively quiet. Instead of people buzzing with excitement, everyone was completely exhausted from a day of fun in the sun. This trip to Ocean City, New Jersey marks the beginning of our last week here. The Penn Team plans to fully utilize all that is available to us this week, including more fun outings!

Jersey Shore

Date: July 22. Importance: last field trip with Summer Discovery. Destination: Ocean City, New Jersey. The bus ride to Ocean city was quick compared to the rides to NYC and Washington, D.C. We arrived around 10:30 AM, with instructions to stay in a 5-block strip of the Boardwalk. With 6 hours to spend, the ILC girls immediately hit the beach to test out the ocean.

The beach was amazing; coming from northern California, we’re all used to freezing temperatures, but the day was sunny and although the water was cold, it was refreshing instead of bone-chilling. The waves were fun to dive through, and we spent a good hour and a half in the water. Eventually, we got hungry and left to go find food.

Clara and Ivette eagerly wait for pizza
After some pizza, frozen custard, and water ice, we spent awhile wandering the shops in search of a One Direction T-shirt for Ivette. She didn’t find one that she liked well enough to buy, and I must say I admire her refusal to settle for something that wasn’t what she was looking for, even for something as trivial as a T-shirt.

We wound up back at the beach again for the later part of the afternoon, splashing around, riding waves, and laughing our heads off. We walked back to the flashpoint with dripping bathing suits and legs caked with sea salt, but satisfied with a day well spent.

Each of the three daytrips has been phenomenal in a different way. New York City was exhilarating because of its chaos and novelty. Washington, D.C. was a little more momentous with its classic architecture and Smithsonian museums. Ocean City was fun and silly, an excellent break before our last week of class. And I’m happy with myself–I remembered to wear sunscreen!