Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Block Island Day 3 - Wednesday, August 19

As we expected, we woke on Wednesday to find that our backs were sunburned and painful. To avoid our desperate hunger issues from the previous day, we had a big breakfast before setting out. While we'd sorted out most of the mechanical problems with Kate's bike, we couldn't do anything about her old bike seat. She was in some discomfort from Tuesday's ride, so we opted to walk the mile and a half to the southern lighthouse and Mohegan Bluffs. By forgoing the bikes, we also forgot to bring along our water bottles.

The bluffs and the beach were a short walk south from the lighthouse, and the beach itself was at the bottom of a long, steep wooden staircase that ended in a rocky climb down to the sand.

The walk down didn't bother me at all, but I was worried about the walk back up and then to the harbor since we had no water. I felt much better about the heat once we reached the beach and tried the waves. For whatever reason the water on the southern side of Block Island was warmer than on the other sides. The beach had some large rocks which helped create larger waves than on the other shores.

While I could have stayed in the ocean all day, by early afternoon we decided we'd had enough of the beach and started back to the hotel. The walk up the staircase wasn't much worse than the "Exorcist" steps in Georgetown, but the walk back down the road to town was brutal.

Every cyclist and moped that passed us seemed to have water bottles glistening in the afternoon sun, tempting us with their cool delicious nectar. Kate was in the mood for a pina colada and we considered stopping at a hotel bar part of the way back instead of waiting until we got to town. But I couldn't bear the thought of having to walk again after taking a break to cool off, and since it was less than two miles on a well-traveled road, we pushed on. When we got to the hotel we ordered a couple of frozen drinks and some water and spent the rest of the afternoon sitting in the shade, drinking, and people-watching. Between the heat, the sunburn, and the long walk, pina coladas have never tasted so good before.

We thought we should aim a little higher for dinner on our last night on the island. We walked past Eli's, a small restaurant with a more distinguished menu than what we'd tried thus far. Another couple passed us and stopped to recommend the place, saying it was the best meal they'd had so far. And after we ate there we decided they were right. We had an appetizer of fried calamari with a sambal dipping sauce, and for dinner Kate tried the pesto-crusted mahi mahi while I had the scallops and lobster lasagna. Kate's fish was grilled on a bed of rice and vegetables, and my entree was the seafood in a tomato cream sauce with mushrooms and asparagus, all layered between sheets of fresh pasta. It was a meal worthy of a Manhattan restaurant and far surpassed the more touristy fare we'd had. We went for a long walk after dinner, then we went back to town for ice cream from the other parlor. The mint chip was decent but not much better than the ice cream we get in Brooklyn. (Stick with Aldo's if you go to Block Island.)

While we waited in line, we got to see some poor parenting in action. There was a woman with four kids behind us in line. Two of the boys were dark-skinned and -haired and were clearly brothers. The other brother and sister were light-skinned and blond. The mother had dark hair but it was difficult to tell which of the pair were hers as none of the kids really looked like her. But the whole group was in her charge that night. The younger dark-haired brother kept shoving the younger blond boy, despite the blonde girl's and the mother's efforts to get him to stop. First Mom told the dark-haired boy to stop, then she told him he was in trouble, then she warned him that he wouldn't get any ice cream if he didn't stop shoving the little boy. The dark-haired boy complained that the blond boy was trying to cut in line for ice cream. Mom reminded him that she was paying and that none of them were cutting in line. The shovings stopped, but the dark-haired kid kept making fun of the little blond kid. At this point, Mom said something about all of them being equal and that they'd all get ice cream eventually. Then she said something like "it doesn't matter if they're liberals." Kate and I exchanged a look. We had no idea what this woman was talking about. We lost track of them after we left the shop so we didn't know if the "bad" kid got his ice cream before the other boy.

After our dessert we walked back down to the beach to check out the stars. The sheer magnitude of the night sky was one of the highlights of the trip. Sitting on a wooden piling on a darkened beach, we were able to pick out stars and constellations I hadn't seen in years. I could have sat out there for hours, like I did back home growing up.

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