Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Lazy Days Are Here Again

It feels as though I only post to this blog when I'm on vacation. I'm not sure if that's because I've convinced myself I have no time to write (which is true) or that I have nothing to say at the moment that will be interesting to a wide majority (which may also be true). As I found myself drawing closer and closer to Spring Break, I realized that I had waited too long to do my standard trip to Los Angeles since plane far was over $800! I also had to admit that while my southern California trips are wonderful, I often come home just as tired as when I left from trying to see as many friends as possible. This spring, I needed something different.

On Sunday afternoon, I headed to Biloxi, Mississippi after finishing my responsibilities at the church. Located on the Gulf Coast, Biloxi has proven to be a charming community with a constant breeze and the smell of the sea in the air. I'm finding myself at home! As soon as I arrived, I realized this trip would not be quite what I expected. My hotel sat directly across the street from the Beau Rivage Casino and Resort. In case you don't know, I have had many fond memories at casinos (in Las Vegas) with close friends over the years, but not for the reasons you would think. While I am fascinated by the gaming, I don't generally spend much time playing. What I love is people watching, taking in the shows, and eating the food.

After grabbing a quick bite to eat at the Hard Rock Cafe, I decided to call it a night and head back to the room. Monday morning got started much later than I expected; I slept for 11 hours! Needless to say, I was feeling GOOD on Monday. I don't guess I realized how little rest I had gotten recently. Since I was so rested, I decided not to make any major plans for the week's activities and just see where things led; I also knew that I wanted to have lots of comfort food around.

I began the day with the first of 2 buffets. Breakfast at the Hard Rock Casino left a little something to be desired, but the atmosphere and pastrys were EXCEPTIONAL! (You got it, as long as the desserts are good, I'll keep coming back for more and more and more!) After having purchased 2 soft drinks from the vending machines, I knew I needed to buy a 12-pack to get me through the next few days. While checking out, I asked the clerk what else there was to do in the area other than visiting casinos. She and the young mother behind me in line gave resounding praise to the Washington Avenue area of Ocean Springs. What a great tip!

Washington Avenue is a quaint section of the city that is filled with lots of vintage shops. I loved checking out the local artists, restaurants, and toy stores. I almost headed home with 2 dolls: a Scarlett and Rhett that each stood 18-24 inches tall. They were beautiful, would have made a great Christmas present, but I was frightened at the prospect of having enormous sticker shock.

While on Washington Avenue, I visited the WAMA (William Anderson Museum of Art) that I had see in several guide books from the area. William Anderson was a local artist in the 1960s who was a bit of a hermit and took his inspiration from the wildlife of the area. His work is highly geometric and has a native, almost tribal, quality to it. While I did not like much of his work displayed, the painting of the Koi and the Birds of Paradise were exquisite! As I found myself in early afternoon, I still wasn't hungry (especially after the breakfast buffet), so I decided to simply follow the road without any direction. This turned out to be the highlight of my day as I found my way to the beach.

This section of the Mississippi shore was near the marina and was marked with several piers jutting out into the muddy waters. The pier on the east side consisted of 2 watch areas housing wooden benches. The furthest watch porch was empty, so I quickly made my way out. As I sat there alone, I was able to empty my mind, do some quiet reading, revel in some memories and simply breathe. For some reason, I always forget what an important role the water has played in my life over the years. Even though I can't swim and don't find myself playing in the water, it always provides a respite from the storm....a place where I can simply "be" while the world continues around me.

After sitting on the pier for an hour or so, I noticed that I was tired again and headed back to the hotel to rest. Following an afternoon of napping, reading, and watching television, I headed across the street to the Beau Rivage Casino for dinner at the buffet. AMAZING! That's all I can say about it! The only way it could have been better was if I could have followed the entrees at Beau Rivage with the desserts from the Hard Rock.

Today's plans are questionable. It's a beautiful day, but extremely windy. With winds gusting up to 45 mph, driving, sitting, and walking can be treacherous. I'm planning to finish reading The Hunger Games today and trying to visit the Center for Marine Education in Gulf Shores. Beyond that.....I have no idea. We'll just see what the day ahead holds. I'm certain of this one thing though: above all else, this will be another day full of rest and relaxation.