This trip to Atlantic City would not have been possible if not for Ayeen
's friend Jimmy who has been behind the wheel from Philadelphia to Atlantic City. He's been driving us around, showing us new places to see.
We crossed the Benjamin Franklin Bridge
from Philadelphia to Camden, New Jersey. Just a few minutes after crossing the bridge, we read a sign that says, "Welcome to New Jersey". Truly, living in the east coast makes "state-hopping" a walk in the park.
An hour later, we found ourselves in the midst of shopping malls and casinos. Billboards have started to look exaggeratively bigger. Signs of casinos have started to look louder and badder (if there's such a word).
As we walked towards the Boardwalk
, we saw a facade that depicts an old American town. This theme goes all throughout the length of the Boardwalk
, which Wikipedia says is the longest boardwalk in the world. We went inside some of the casinos. We went inside Bally's
and enjoyed an old American Country feel. There were very tall cactus, vultures, a carriage, wooden storefronts, and haystacks.
It was mighty cold outside. The wind from the
beach made the cold even harder to bear. Atleast, the view was pretty. Not bad for a trade off.
Because of the casino-y feel of this place, I did not expect to see something less glamorous at the Boardwalk
. I am talking about those small, wheeled "cabs" (?) that are literally pushed around by its owner. The "cab" can carry four adults inside. Back home, we have these attached to a bicycle. Thus, we call them pedicabs
. I wonder what they call theirs... push-a-cab?
Another first off my list
Despite the popular casinos that line the Boardwalk
, there were also many small shops selling cheap t-shirts and souvenir items. There were tarot-card reading stalls, massage parlors, etcetera. There were ice cream shops which we ignored, ofcourse. But when I read "funnel cake" on one of them, I decided to order one and have all of us take a break.
I am glad to have finally tasted the funnel cake
, which I have never heard of back home. (By "home" I meant my homeland, Philippines.) I read that it's a popular fried food enjoyed in summer carnivals. I watched how they made my order.
They simply poured their prepared batter into a round metal tube immersed in a big deep-fryer. In less than a minute it turned golden brown and they took it out of the hot oil. They sprinkled a generous amount of confectionery sugar on it. Ahhh, why are all things fried and sugared so good?! Yumm.
The fried and sugared treat made me a feel a little guilty. I am not a calorie-conscious dieter but atleast I shared (read dispersed) the calories with 4 other people! Haha! Besides, we're walking the Boardwalk
again so we need that sugar-high to keep up energized. Excuses! Excuses!
Our last stop was at Donald Trump's Taj Mahal
. It was very colorful and very, very well-lit. There were 4 limousines by its entrance doors. It must be really glamorous inside but we were happy enough to snap pictures from the outside. It's getting late and we still have to drive back to Philadelphia.
Ala Las Vegas
I can't help but compare Atlantic City with my year 2000 trip to Las Vegas, the Entertainment Capital of the World
. Atlantic City did not have as much extravagant energy and flamboyance as Las Vegas. There was way more to see
and enjoy in Las Vegas. In Las Vegas, I remember riding a rollercoaster, seeing replicas of the New York Statue of Liberty, Venice waterways, Arc de Triomphe, and more! I had the impression that Atlantic City was still new, and is trying to be like Las Vegas. But I proved myself wrong as I did some research online.
Atlantic City used to be the popular destination for people to spend their vacations in. It was the popular resort town in the 1800s because of its proximity to the east coast major cities like Philadelphia and New York. Trains conveniently take people to Atlantic City to enjoy its beaches and hotel-casinos. Just like all other cities in the US, it suffered enormous decline in profit during World War II. After which, several cities across the US have grown and developed their own travel destinations leaving Atlantic City stiff competition in attracting visitors.
I feel fortunate for having this chance to see Atlantic City. I may not have seen it in its most glorious days. It may not be the "entertainment capital of the world". But I enjoyed every moment I was there because I was with my friends
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