AK and I flew out this past weekend to visit his parents, who are now proud owners of a new condo in Ocean City, Maryland, a small beach town on the Eastern seaboard. It was a grueling weekend of trains, planes and automobiles! (Ok, no trains – that was just for effect.) Our trip began with an obscenely early flight on Friday at 5:30 a.m., which translated into getting out of bed at 3:30 a.m. (the only benefit being it allowed us to get a jump start on acclimatizing to Eastern Daylight Time!) After a brief stopover in Detroit, with a surprisingly modern and spacious airport, and a 2-hour delay, we arrived at Washington Dulles airport ready to begin the 3-hour drive to Ocean City. After logging more miles, we finally walked through the door a little past 9pm, and my in-laws immediately swept us away to indulge in the seafood buffet at Hall’s across the street (what is the Asian obsession with buffets anyhow?). Food was pretty decent quality, though gluttony is always mildly off-putting and tinged with regret. At the moment, however, everyone seemed happy and dazed in a food coma.
Saturday morning is usually reserved for my long run. Not wanting to derail my training program (13 miles this week), but unable to get up any earlier, I lumbered downstairs to start running only after 9:00 a.m. rolled around. As soon as I walked out the door, I was enveloped by a wave of hot, humid air. O.M.G. It was HOT! My guess is mid- to high 80s, plus 90%+ humidity. I have not been on the East Coast during the summer since I interned at the Federal Trade Commission more than 10 years ago, and it’s always good to get a reminder now and then of how awesome Northern California weather is and how much I love running at Sawyer Camp trail near my house! Drenched in sweat, I run down Coastal Highway and try to greet, wave, nod or encourage other runners on the same road. Not only is it good etiquette I’m told, supposedly it helps motivate yourself. Strangely, the vast majority of the runners either growl or ignore me! I reported this back to AK and he informs me that “Ocean City is basically Jersey Shore Lite!” I do recall running past lots of spring breaker-looking types with cases of beer on their shoulders. AK also told me about some young ladies (if you could call them that) who got smashed at a bachelorette party the night before, one of whom was so drunk that she kept tripping and falling down on the street, at one point lying on the side of the street amongst some parked cars. Yes, college co-eds at their best!
Unfortunately, AK’s dad’s original plan of commissioning a boat to go fishing in the bay was foiled (shady bait-and-switch practice by the outfitter), so we sat out by the dock and enjoyed the view. Even had time to take a few fun photos!
After getting back to the condo, the afternoon sun lulled me into a long nap, during which time AK and his sister (CK) went crabbing with the dad. I did not know it was so easy to catch a crab in Maryland! The family trio was only out for about an hour, and they caught 4 large crabs (anything smaller than 5 inches needed to be tossed back)! It appears that all one had to was to put out a crabbing net, some chicken neck (not sure about the origin of this bait), and BAM! Crabs just show up. This is how I know that there aren’t too many Chinese people living in the area because all those crabs would be gone, haha. The claws of the crabs really are so blue!
The next morning, we had to hit the road at 10:00 a.m. to rush back to Washington, D.C. for our afternoon flight. We actually got back into town early enough for a detour to one of President Obama’s favorite burger joints – Ray’s Hell Burger!
We ended up going to Ray’s Hell Burger Too a few doors down because it served burgers of a smaller size (the “Little Devils”). I ordered the classic burger grilled medium rare, with lettuce, tomatoes, grilled onions, pickles, cheddar cheese and Ray’s special “heck” sauce. We also shared an order of sweet potato fries.
AK ordered the normal size burger – you can tell how much larger it is!
The burgers were juicy and delicious, though I probably prefer Umami Burger in Los Angeles/Hollywood because of its more tender patties and spongy buns (apparently crowned GQ’s Burger of the Year in December 2010 – see story here).
Although it was a compact trip, I felt that we actually did a lot and enjoyed the company of family. The trip also made AK’s parents really happy, so I would say mission accomplished!
Ray’s Hell Burger
1725 Wilson Blvd.
Arlington, VA 22209
Ray’s Hell Burger Too (4 doors down)
1713 Wilson Blvd
Arlington, VA 22209