We were super tourists on Tuesday. We occupied our time with things specifically found in Myrtle Beach and nowhere else...
We woke up to a gray, gloomy sky on Tuesday morning, so we decided to go to Ripley's Believe it or Not! Museum on historic Ocean Boulevard (yes, I know that there are Ripley's museums all over the place...but it's still a big tourist attraction in Myrtle Beach so it counts!)
Playing in the fountain outside of the museum. I absolutely love Kyle's face in this picture.
The first thing we saw after walking in was this 8-foot statue of a man COMPLETELY made of old toys! (And, um...sorry about my little brother's head sticking out from between the guy's legs. I didn't even see that until right this very second. Also, I look very puffy in this picture. I blame the humidity.)
This is a model of the hand of Willie Camper, an 8'5 man who could hold a dozen eggs in one hand unstacked. You know what they say about men with big hands...
This was Kyle's favorite part of the museum. He was mostly freaked out at everything we saw, but they had this machine where kids could "color" a picture by pushing a button and then touching the screen. We had a hard time tearing him away from it.
This was quite possibly the MOST entertaining part of the museum. There was an image of an object at the back of this horned guy's "mouth" and you were supposed to put your hand in the mouth trying to touch it. My sister and I figured something scary would happen, and since we're super big chickens, we got Cole to do it. His facial expression isn't candid (he already knew what happened), but trust me -- Stephanie and I screamed.
After finishing up in the museum and being equally grossed out and amazed at the things we saw, we took a walk up Ocean Boulevard, which my siblings described as "like being in Mexico, only in SC." The street was lined with tiny tourist trap shops, made even dodgier by their proprietors standing outside soliciting potential customers. We ended our stroll soon after we began it and headed back to the condo.
After lunch and a nap (for Kyle and me) we piled into the cars and headed inland to Conway, SC. Conway is a quaint, historic river town on the Waccamaw River.
The Waccamaw is what's called a blackwater river -- a slow-moving river that flows through swamps and wetlands. Blackwater rivers get their characteristic color from tannins leached from decaying vegetation in the water. Conway has a lovely river walk built along the river, so we spent some time meandering along the boardwalk.
Kyle, of course, ran pretty much the whole time.
Cole and me on the river walk.
We found and fed a duck (yes, one duck. I'd always seen them in flocks before, but this was the only one in sight), which was Kyle's favorite part of the afternoon. Good thing I had goldfish crackers in my purse!
After getting our fill of river scenery, we took a short drive around some of the neighborhoods in Conway. We were looking for something specific, which we soon found:
Conway is full of old oak trees that are protected by law. When the streets were built, instead of cutting down the trees, the people simply paved around them. Now you can find several places where there is a tree very literally in the middle of the road.
On our way back from Conway, my dad noticed the car he was driving was having some issues. Apparently the engine was stuck in third gear and the transmission sounded like it was going to fall out (his words, not mine). This induced a little panic on his part and he had to take the car back to the rental place and get another. By coincidence he had to talk to the exact same girl that gave him so much trouble when he initially rented the cars on Saturday...lucky him.
For dinner, we decided to go to one of the seafood buffets that are ubiquitous in Myrtle Beach. Seriously...it's like LDS meetinghouses in Utah. We chose one called the Giant Crab -- it apparently had more than 170 items. It actually was really good! I'm not a seafood fan personally, but they had a station where they cooked pasta to order and a hibachi grill so I had PLENTY to eat. I DID try a bit of crab leg at Cole's request, but I have to stay I'm still not a fan. We also got our first taste of hush puppies, which are fried bits of...something delicious. I'm still not sure what they are exactly, but I'm pretty sure we each ate our weight in them that night. Kyle was over the moon because they had a fish tank with "Nemo" and "Nemo's Dad" (yes, I know his name is Marlin, but for some reason Kyle insists on calling him "Nemo's Dad"). He paid several visits to that fish tank during dinner. We got back to the condo that evening fatter and happier.
In the next installment: a bit of nudity, real alligators, and the zoo.