Nothing is more depressing than having to come back home to reality after a great vacation. Such are the lives we lead, myself looking forward to another standard Monday tomorrow morning. I’ve just gotten back from a weeklong trip to Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina with the East Aurora crew, and I don’t think I’ve ever had a better time on a vacation. There are plenty of pics to check out in the image gallery, and I’ll have some video up shortly. In lieu of a fully-realized trip report, I’ll stick to the highlights, bullet-style:
- I flew into an overcast Charleston, giving me some pause about the weather cooperating this week.
- Met up with Ross, Andy and Courtney at the airport, followed by a quick trip to see Andy’s house in Charleston, where we were all attacked by the wild cats and dogs living there.
- We made it out of the house alive and drove about 20 minutes to Sullivan’s Island where we came upon our incredible house backed by a huge deck facing the beach and offering breathtaking views of the Atlantic. We all immediately got beers in our hands and the debauchery began–mainly at the hands of platter after platter after platter of Jello shots.
- We also had what would be the first of many unbelievably great dinners–this time at the hands of Martha, Jenna and Jamie. I don’t remember everything we had but there was some damn fine shrimp, asparagus and some nachos. If that isn’t a perfect dinner, I don’t know what is.
- The night climaxed with a heated game of Flip Cup, with Team B.D. dominating Team J.T.T. If you don’t know what either of those acronyms means, consider yourself lucky.
- Woke up to some overcast skies, but like a switch being flipped, the sun came out and quickly burned the clouds away, replacing them with brilliant, white-hot sunshine. I, of course, ignored everyone’s pleas that I put on some sunscreen while we played bocce and wiffleball on the beach, and thus received hideous sunburn on my legs and face, as per my style. That’s how I roll!
Other than my trip to the burn unit, the day was again punctuated by a seemingly endless supply of Jello shots and beer, creating an environment rife with potential for all manner of catastrophic injuries. It’s a miracle no one fell off the deck or decided to hurl themselves through a plate-glass window, Hollywood stuntman-style.
- Basically, the day consisted of lots of lying around, drinking and messing around on the beach. A perfect vacation itinerary, if you ask me.
Oh, if you look at the last house on the right in the above shot, you’ll see a white, stucco house with pastel green railings. We dubbed this the “Miami Vice House,” and convinced ourselves it was probably haunted by the ghosts of Crockett and Tubbs. (Crockett and Tubbs probably aren’t dead, but hey man, it’s our story.) We might rent that house next year and throw parties which you can only gain entrance to by wearing silk suits, no socks, and deck shoes. Alligators optional.
- I woke up with two grossly-swollen, bright-red cement “stumps,” much to everyone’s amusement. Lots of wincing for me on Monday as I spent most of the daylight hours indoors.
- I think this is the first day we noticed a few “visitors” offshore as the tide went out: a number of dolphins went back and forth in front of our beach on a daily basis, surfacing for air every 50 feet or so. That’s right: dolphins. We were in paradise, folks. Though, after that first sighting, we entered the water with some degree of trepidation, knowing all too well that no one has ever survived the sudden, vicious attacks dolphins are known for.
- Later, we took a quick trip into Charleston to walk around and see some of the sights there, mainly some street markets and shops. The city feels very much like a culturally scaled-back version of New Orleans. Charleston doesn’t quite have the richness of ethnic culture that the Big Easy has, but it’s palpable enough to appreciate.
After some beer and wings at a place called T-Bonz, we made our way back toward the Island and had dinner at a nifty restaurant/bar called Red’s, right on the river. It had about three or four different levels, each one with its own bar. Great food; and by this time, many of us were in the full, drunken swing of what would become a night full of memorable acts of alcoholic stupor. I think Jeff S. was ready to stand on the table, rip his shirt off and start shouting in victory toward the latter stages of dinner. (Victory over what exactly, I couldn’t say.) Lots of excitement.
This is a good time to mention Allen, a housemate of Andy and Courtney’s, whom they had met just days prior to our arrival in South Carolina. Allen got swept up in the unstoppable wave that was the EA Crew and their wildly excessive array of vices. I’m not sure he knew what he was getting into when he joined up with us. Needless to say, by the time he left us on Tuesday or Wednesday, he looked like he had aged 10 years. Rolling with our crew isn’t for the faint of heart.
- After finishing up dinner, we made it back to the house for yet even more Jello shots and beers. There may have been a game of Flip Cup in there somewhere as well, but your guess is as good as mine. By this point, everyone was becoming belligerent, and I think some board games may have been sacrificed to the ceiling fans.
- I should probably take the opportunity, at this point in our tale, to mention a certain little stuffed cat that may or may not have been unceremoniously thrown to its death (multiple times–there’s that whole “nine lives” thing) in a ceiling fan.
Above is the only known, existing photograph of the elusive cat, which is rumored to be making a return at 2007’s trip. As of press time, the current whereabouts of said cat are unknown. The aforementioned ceiling fan may or may not have suffered some superficial damage, but that could neither be confirmed nor denied.
- Today, we had our first departures, already foreshadowing what would be the sad end to our vacation. We lost Steve, Jeff, Martha and Jamie in an inexcusable display of responsibility on their parts, as they returned to their precious jobs and loved ones. Bah!
We wouldn’t let their leaving deter us, however, as we quickly moved to enjoy the rest of our night.
- We had a great dinner of softshell crab, shrimp and grits cooked by Courtney and Andy, with assists from the rest of us peeling shrimp. I loved the grits, but I don’t think they’ll be fully digested until Thanksgiving.
We actually had a “nice,” sit-down dinner in the dining room. I guess we figured we should try and use every room in the house, but it felt weird to be sitting down with actual table settings; it was analogous to a drunken hobo used to sleeping in a cardboard box getting a room at the Waldorf for the night.
- We returned to Charleston on Wednesday for some more extensive shopping most of the day, which basically meant that the girls went to eighty-six different stores while the guys stared out the window, desperately looking for the nearest bar.
We did eventually make it back to T-Bonz for some drinks and wings before heading back to the Island for some crab.
- And crab we had. All-you-can-eat crab legs for 22 bucks at a place not far from our house. Delicious, as you can imagine.
Some of this crab ended up on the deck back at the house (maybe someone wanted it for a souvenir?), but that’s as much detail as I’m willing to go into about it right now.
- My recollections of the rest of the night after that are fuzzy; suffice it to say there was far too much drinking and cigar-smoking, which resulted in a significant loss of clothing for some individuals. I think ping pong balls were also involved somehow.
Andy may or may not have attempted to surf in the outdoor shower.
- Everyone woke up today feeling, more or less, like death itself. Thus, Thursday consisted of lots of sitting around and moaning in an effort to recover some semblance of good health. I think most of our day was spent watching “The 100 Biggest Celebrity Oops!” on E!. Clearly a great use of our time.
- That night, “Team Poonicorn” tried its hand at trivia during dinner at a local dive (I use that term with affection) called Buffalo South, adorned with all manner of Buffalo-centric memoribilia. Alas, despite our team having nearly 20 members (the next largest team was probably five), we only managed a 3rd place finish. Still feeling the brutal effects of the previous night’s events, we made quick departures after that and headed back to the house to go right to bed.
- The remaining group woke up early today to make a trip out to the sandbars at low tide, hoping to capture a haul of rare sand dollars and maybe some pirate booty. We saw a few random shells and a dead jellyfish before heading back in. Not exactly what I’d call “booty,” but it worked out well enough.
- Other than that, Friday was another low-key day of sitting on the deck and the beach, with some wave-surfing mixed in. By wave-surfing, I refer to the act of bodysurfing on the waves coming in with the tide until coming dangerously close to smashing our faces into the rocks onshore. We lost another member of our crew, Jenna, who left to catch her flight around 4. Another early end to the night for all of us, none looking forward to our flights and drives back home on the ‘morrow.
- A wholly depressing day started at 4am with the departures of the last few remaining members of the EA crew, save myself. After Sean and Victoria left around 6:30, the house was eerily quiet. Despite the early hour, “quiet” isn’t the type of environment you want to be in after a week full of ridiculous amounts of fun.
- I cleaned up the kitchen a bit after watching the sunrise and made countless “walkthroughs” of the house to check for belongings left behind, not quite wanting to acknowledge the fact that I’d have to leave shortly.
- Andy arrived to take me to the airport around 9; and we left the house already in the early stages of “fun withdrawal.” The EA crew had departed Sullivan’s Island, but we left about 68 bags of garbage and assorted alcohol containers for the next residents. Enjoy. They can only dream of having the amount of fun that would result in that much waste. Good luck.
All in all, one of the best experiences we’ve ever had (I feel safe in speaking for the group there). The weather was perfect each and every day; the house was probably the best on the Island; the food was outstanding, and I don’t think anyone had any complaints, perhaps other than not being able to stay there long enough. I cannot–CANNOT–wait for next year’s trip. Until then, it’s back to reality and the 9-to-5 grind for all the crew. Weep for us.