Saturday, February 07, 2009

Game on

Play with me
Deerfield Beach, FL, December 2008

It's 8:40 in the evening, and we've just arrived at my in-laws' place in Florida. We're all rather hung over in that tired-but-happy-to-be-here fog that you get after a long drive. Like most families, we've evolved certain rituals since we began coming here, and CiCi's is one of them.

For the uninitiated, CiCi's is an all-you-can-eat pizza restaurant. If you've ever wanted to watch gluttony in action, this is the place. The cafeteria-like row of pizzas and fixins is a veritable free-for-all of conspicuous consumption. It's not fine dining by any stretch of the imagination, and one shudders to think what the nutritional labels would say - well, if there were any.

But it makes the munchkins happy, and someone else cleans up. So here we are. And we're not alone. Friends and family from the Great White North have also migrated here, and as in past years, we bump into them and hold impromptu, boisterous reunions amid the randomly arranged chipped formica tables. It's a happy moment rich with memory, and I stop to take it all in.

That is, until I realize our youngest has wandered to the games area in back. I follow his wiggling form as he scoots from machine to machine. He doesn't want to play anything. He's just looking. The dimly lit area looks like it hasn't seen a paintbrush since long before little man was born, but he doesn't seem to mind. Neither do I as I notice the stark lines of the air hockey table and get yet another compositional idea in my head...

Your turn: The first thing you do when you arrive on vacation is...?

One more thing: Thematic Photographic explores "down" this week. Head over here for more.


kenju said...

Unpack and rest! I sure don't go to Cici's, since the one and only time we ate there, we both got deathly ill.

Michael K. Althouse said...

I'll have to climb into the way-back machine - it has been so long since I've taken a proper vacation...

If I have a car, I like to explore. Not the typical "tourist" destinations (although I'll get to them eventually), but rather the local flair.

And of course, I'll be sure to take my camera...

As an aside, have you read the reviews of the new Canon 5D Mark II?

I'm salivating...

Tanya sent me,


mo.stoneskin said...

First thing I do? Knock back a cold beer, I usually deserve it. LOVE the photo mate.

Mojo said...

We've got CiCi's here too, but I don't know that I've ever eaten there. But other pizza buffets have known the carnage that is Mojo with his hungry on. And yeah, there is no clearer example of hedonistic glee.

First order of business when I arrive at my destination varies widely on how long I have and whether or not I have an itinerary. "Vacations", in the sense that most people think of them anyway, are pretty much alien to me. Mine usually involve manufacturing a long weekend either at the coast or in the mountains. So I don't really have a "routine" because vacations are anything but routine for me.

Food would probably rank high on the list though since I tend to eat very lightly while actually on the road.

mw said...

I'm bemused that I don't have an answer. Though I travel often, I don't ever have a destination, and so I don't know what it means to arrive.

When I'm camping, I usually am in a hurry to get things set up before the sun sets. If it's above freezing, I'll usually set up portable shower and enjoy the wonder of a cold water shower in the great outdoors, then settle in with a campfire and a tasty beverage of the alcoholic variety. Sometimes I'll join with or be joined by other campers, and then things can get quite entertaining. You might not believe this, but I tend to tell stories once the fire and I are lit up... :).

If it's a motel, I call a local pizza place, take a shower, then flip on the TV and explore the wonders of cable television. Man vs. Wild works for me...

I loved the picture of the air hockey table - I used to think that game was the ultimate in bar activities...

Here from Tanya - wonderful post - than you...

Man Named Kim said...

i LOVE air hockey!!

NetChick sent me today and...

I'm with Kenya - unpack then wander about to check out my environment.

Nikita said...

If it's in a hotel... I go and pick everything up which won't affect the function of the rooms. For example... snitching the loo rolls on the first day leaves for an interesing first night.
Doesn't matter how many hotels I stay at, still love free toiletries.

Anonymous said...

First thing I do while on vacation is check for Wi-Fi connectivity where I'm staying. This way, I can keep up with posting my photos on Flickr and writing my blog.

Also, I've never been to a Cici's Pizza before. What's it like? Is the pizza really worth the price (both $ and calories)?

Lastly, I loved the photo of the air hockey table. It's been way too long since I played a game of air hockey. Thanks for reminding me that it's still around!

carmilevy said...

Judy: I can understand the correlation between CiCi's and illness.

Mike: I have dreams about the 5D Mark II. That is one incredible piece of optical engineering.

mo.stoneskin: Thanks! I'll substitute tea for beer. Hops make me loopy :)

Mojo: I'm glad you don't follow routine. It's a language I very much appreciate in you. I suspect CiCi's would lose money on you, then!

MW: Thanks for the reminder that it's time we tried pitching a tent. We keep saying we'd like to. Time to make it happen. We've got an amazing provincial park barely 45 minutes away from the house.

Kim: I like a good walkabout when I first land, too. Very grounding.

Nikita: I'm a huge fan of the little shampoo bottles. Not sure why.

Thomas: Glad I'm not the only one who prioritizes WiFi access. It's such a joy to be able to upload pics to my Flickr account from the road so folks back home can track our progress

CiCi's is quite inexpensive. Frankly, I have no idea how they make money. Quality? Um...variable. It's good, tasty food...but in a fast food, greasy, probably really unhealthy kind of way. To their credit, they do have salads, but between the pizzas and the pizza desserts (seriously decadent, but deadly-fatty) it's a nutritional nightmare. Still, after a long trip, it's a great treat.

OldLady Of The Hills said...

I'm glad Tanya sent you over today, Carmi...I see you around the blogesphere quite a bit...As I think I told you a while ago...The Font you use is so very small for these old eyes---I have a very hard time reading your blog. Sorry about's not something I can change---I wish it were....! (lol)

craziequeen said...

Hi Carmi - 4.30am here in the UK and I think your insomnia is catching :-(

It's been a while since I have been on holiday - BC last year was my first holiday in many years.
But it's the same wherever I go, first things first - put the kettle on for a restorative cup of coffee while I get my bearings.

This is a good question, and I love the loneliness of the long distance air hockey pusher.

And look - there's your double yellow lines again! :-)


Mojo said...

One thing that is consistent on any trip I take though is the camera is seldom more than arm's distance away.

I had to take another whack at this theme with a shot from my trip to Bethlehem (PA). Just because.
Thematic Photographic 35: "Down" - v.3.0 "After the Shutdown"

Snaggle Tooth said...

I visited a Cici's with my two sisters back in '01. I remember mobs running after new additions of strage flavors I'd never heard of, n a stack of dirty plates 2 feet high on each table... but for 5-bux each, the deal couldn't be beat!
It was certainly an experience!
I went for the Asteriods myself...

First thing of vaca, I get out to stretch the legs outdoors somewhere quiet with trees or water, n observe indiginous wildlife.

OldOldLady Of The Hills, usually on your browser theres a "page" dropdown setting option to increase the page size, which would help you with type and photos ("zoom, 100% to 150%, 200%," ect). Also you can copy n paste into a word program- I use notepad to paste in for better readability.

Snaggle Tooth said...

"Dueling puck-knobs"

Anonymous said...

Usually when I go to a place the first word that comes out from my mouth is: Where's the shopping center or the mall?

Well of course after unpacking and settling in a hotel.

Tanya sent me.


I am glad to visit here again since it's been a long time!

Anonymous said...

Btw, Tanya didn't send me but I just saw your link there. Hehehe my bad

Anonymous said...

We have Cici's here, and just the thought of it makes me cringe. We took my son there once and the only thing he liked were the cinnamon rolls. How's that for a nutritious dinner?

The first thing I do when I arrive on vacation is explore the joint that I'm staying at. Where's the pool?

torontopearl said...

#1 I still check out if there's a Bible in the drawer.
#2 If there's a local phonebook, I check the listings to see if someone shares my name.
#3 I check out the toiletries in the bathroom.

Bobkat said...

Just popped over and have been catching up on all your lovely pictures :) I really like the perspective on this one and the yellow lines. The two pics seem connected because of the yellow lines on the air hockey table too.

When I arrive on holiday I unpack and get out as fast as I can to explore!

Anonymous said...

the alien spaceships land on the deserted Nevada highway beside the double yellow line, warning the humanoids not to pass.
" You must obey !"

Dr. Oppenheimer

~j said...

love the air hockey pic...always a favorite game.

first thing on vacation? if we're visiting family, it's a huge pot of coffee and wonderful conversation.

if it's a new location, it's a long walk to get a feel for the place.

we always try to find a local eatery.....lovingly referred to as a "hole in the wall."

anita said...

first and always, ck the view..

re: cici's..we have done renno's on a few in florida..overnight rennos..i once saw roachs walking in and out of the crouton jar sitting by the sidebar. no covering, so i guess it was a roach vacation spot. oh, did i forget to mention, this i noticed AFTER i had taken a few the night before, yeah, not good.