Myrtle Beach is a major resort area. Its main business is tourism and there are very many resorts, hotels, restaurants, amusement parks, and every kind of attraction/shows that anyone could think of to extract tourist money. There's nothing wrong with that other than that it's done on top of all the ills of modern life. The whole area is an example of suburban sprawl and that struck me on the ride over--the endless highways, power lines, featureless shopping centers with their acres of parking lots, garish billboards and garish "welcome centers." Most people don't notice all that any more than they notice the SAG trails overhead, but I've become sensitive to it all. Even though there are spots of beauty (or at least, not eyesores), the subconscious question has to be: "In the face of societal collapse, is all this worth saving?"
One thing I would not want to save is the crass commercialism that supports the sprawl. I could see that the "timeshare virus" was active in the area. We encountered two instances of sales-persons offering discount tickets to attractions in exchange for a time of "just listening" to a sales presentation for a timeshare. Now, we stayed in a resort apartment that was someone's timeshare, that is, we were "renting" the little two-bedroom apartment on the edge of a golf course that someone had purchased as a timeshare. It was certainly more comfortable than a hotel and probably less expensive. Renting the place for a few days was certainly much better than owning it, which would be like another mortgage. It would only make sense, to me, for someone with a lot of money and a desire to make (at least) yearly trips to the resort area, but the sales reps push them like "Breaking Bad" meth.
We didn't take the reps up on their offers. I have learned my lesson about timeshare presentations. They are the definition of hard sales and I've had to break from my normally calm demeanor twice, with much rudeness, to fend off such attacks at Disneyworld and in Mexico.
Back at Myrtle Beach, we did visit one "spot of beauty" at the Broadway at the Beach shopping and amusement center. This was a boardwalk around a big lake or inlet surrounded by restaurants and shops. At one end was a small amusement park and the Ripley's Aquarium. The aquarium was pretty cool and it featured a "tunnel" walk through a tank that contained sharks among other fishes. It was neat to see and I took a lot of pictures, but always with the realization that sea-life is dying off even faster than life on the land, and huge parts of all the oceans are dead zones. That's the reality behind the fun.
We took this trip over the weekend of April 25, which was Earth Day. The weather was mostly sunny though colder than normal (and some rain did come through and it kept us from visiting the actual beach). SAG spraying was lighter than usual. I've heard it was the same throughout most of the US and I suspect they held off since people might be a little more cognizant of the bizarre skies during a "nature" holiday. But they didn't stop altogether and I got a good picture of a SAG trail and spraying artifacts over our apartment's back patio. That's the reality behind the fun.
At one point, we were having breakfast at the resort's $8 buffet. It was in a large room with windows at one side that overlooked the palm and shrub-lined street and let in a lot of sunshine. At one end, a video projection covered a section of a wall. It was of a sunset over a beach with a sound track of shushing waves. It was a nice touch, and it reminded me of the 1973 movie, Soylent Green.
At the end of that movie, an old man (played by Edward G Robinson) is voluntarily euthanized because he can't take anymore of the horrid condition that life on earth has become. So he takes this option that is provided to everyone by the ruling powers and, as he lies dying, he is shown a huge video of natural scenes of earth as he remembered it from childhood--the way it "used to be." We're at that point now. I doubt the skies will, in my lifetime or my sons' lifetimes, return to what they were in my childhood.
Even so, with the holdback of the SAG spraying this weekend, the weather was closer to normal than I've seen it for a while. The sky was bluer and the clouds almost looked natural. It makes me think that if the ruling powers did stop the spraying, then the weather would return to a more normal state than many activists think (though there would be a "rebound" of severe weather and we would be far from being "out of the woods").
So you might be asking yourself at this point: can't he just relax and enjoy himself? I often ask myself that question, and the answer is that sometimes I can. I did have some relaxing moments over the weekend and I didn't talk about any of this. It's just that it's always there, and I know it. That's the reality behind the fun.