Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Bald Head Island

This weekend, we spent a lovely three days (including drive time) with two of the loveliest people on earth at the very lovely Bald Head Island. And before you ask, I have no idea why it is called Bald Head. I could look it up, but I'm too lazy. Here is the website... knock yourself out. (Oh, and there is sound at the site, so don't open it at work. Oops... should have told you that before the link, eh? Sorry.)

Anyway, our friends Brian and Sophie invited us to the island last year, but we were unable to go at that time thanks to one of the kajillion hurricanes that blew through the South. So we got a rain check (literally) that we were finally able to cash in on this past weekend.

Brian used to be Chris’ office-mate at The International House of Business Machines. Despite that, we all have become friends. Then they moved from Cary to Charlotte. They say it had nothing to do with Chris or me, but I still have my doubts…

Sophie’s parents own a vacation home at Bald Head and it is where Brian and Sophie got married. Their wedding was the first and only time we had been to Bald Head. Well, it was their unofficial ceremony, actually. They officially got married quickly at the Justice of the Peace several months earlier before Sophie, who is one of them foreigner types, was sent back to Belgium with a “thank you for playing in America, but we wouldn’t want you to live here” handshake from the well-meaning but highly misguided INS. Brian, my hero, fell in love with her and consequently rescued her from that oppressive land of lace and chocolate where she can live here and hang out with me. Yay!

I love Sophie. She is an extraordinary human being. She has “helped” me at the last two annual Caran holiday parties. When I say that, what I mean is, she came to my house both days in the early afternoon and cooked her patootie off with me for 8 hours straight. One year, she even came the night before to help. AND, she cooked for a day with her mom and brought up all this yummy stuff from Charlotte. She has also provided free babysitting for us on several occasions. FREE! Now you see why I was heartbroken when they moved away.

Sophie also speaks French, which is very cool because I keep wondering why I took the damn language for five years when everyone in the world seems to speak Spanish instead. When I hear her chatting on the phone with her relatives, it reassures me that those years weren’t completely wasted. Of course, I don’t actually speak French with her, because all that would do is remind me that I wasted five years pretending to learn French.

So Sophie (who is a regular reader of this blog and who is now probably REALLY sorry she gave me permission to use her name) always tells me that she doesn’t really cook. So I prepare myself for some casual meals with standard stock ingredients. But let me tell you… Sophie CAN cook. When we arrived (two hours late thanks to my excellent navigational skills and the world’s slowest Hardee’s), she had prepared shrimp with homemade tomato sauce (prepared by her mom, but I have a hunch she could have done it) and feta cheese. It was absolutely delicious.

Upon arrival on the island, I purchased Eggos at the grocery store thinking that I would make our lives easier, only to realize later that she (and I, actually) would really have preferred to make them from scratch. It’s not like we had to be anywhere. I was horrified to realize that as I have been rushing through life these last two or three years, I have completely lost touch with my inner gourmet who had a goal to cook as much from scratch as possible and refused to eat almost anything that was prepackaged or considered “convenience food.” I almost cried at this little moment of self-discovery. Sophie, in the meantime, was very polite, let me buy the waffles, and then didn’t eat any. Smart girl.

How was our daughter on this trip? Despite the mouth sores, she did really well. She was quite happy and within hours of our arrival, she was dancing on the table. By Sunday, her blisters were only a minor annoyance, and by Monday, they were more like red patches that hurt only when she chewed on them, which she did more often than you would think.

She did not care for the beach too much. The water was warm and quite calm, but when she reached the water’s edge, she cried pitifully and clung to her father. He sat in the surf with her for a while, holding her and trying to get her to relax, but she hung from his neck like a piece of jewelry with her knees tucked into her chest so they wouldn’t touch the evil water. We did finally get her to play in the sand… but she was only mildly amused, even with all her cool new sand toys. We will try to get her more and more accustomed to the beach and beach-like places since that is the bulk of what we will do on our cruise this year. Just like the water park at her daycare (which she now seems to enjoy), we will force her to like the beach!

Bald Head does not allow cars on the island, with the exception of emergency vehicles. So you have to go everywhere by bike or by foot or by golf cart. The baby totally dug the golf cart. It was better than putting her in the car to get her to go to sleep. We’d just hum along at less than 18 MPH with the wind blowing through our hair and she would either get very drowsy and calm, or she would zonk out completely into a deep sleep. Honestly, I think we could have spent the entire weekend zipping around the island in the cart, and she would have considered it the vacation of a lifetime. Fortunately, she is not old enough to say, “Daddy, I want a golf cart!”

She also made a friend with a Golden Retriever as we were leaving the island. She was sitting with her daddy looking out at the marina, when the dog and her people came up and sat beside them. She immediately pointed to the dog and made her approach. She is not really good at being gentle with animals yet because she loves them so much she just wants to leap at them. However, she was very careful when she approached this one, and she petted him (or her) very gently. Soon, the dog licked her nose and Athena returned the affection by laying her head down on the dog’s big fuzzy thigh. This was remarkably cute… to the point that the folks sitting nearby all issued a collective “awwwwwwwwwwww.” The Cutest Baby in the Whole Wide World ™ strikes again! Fortunately, she is not old enough to say “Daddy, I want a Golden Retriever!”


JL said...

Uh, hello...Belgian waffles!!! Which, being the good librarian that I am, I made sure that this delicacy did indeed come from Belgium. But the internet, being what it is, has givem me a million different answers. I do know that waffles in Belgium are gauffre and the way they're described, it sounds like what we know as Belgian Waffles. I guess Sofie would be the person to ask. Feeding Eggos to someone from Belgium...what *were* you thinking!! ;-)

Sophie the Wise Belgian said...

Actually, we Belgians make the waffle issue much more complicated than that. We have TWO kinds of waffles. Gauffres de Liege and Gauffres de Bruxelles. The Liege waffles are more compact, doughy and have cristals of sugar in them. Gauffres de Bruxelles are light and fluffy, and can be served with fruit on top. Eggo waffles, which are not really waffles to begin with, bare a small ressemblence to the Bruxelles kind... **end cooking lesson**

The trip to BHI was awesome, Athena is quite the entertainer (uh, Mick Jagger, if you are looking for a replacement, the kid has your strut!!). We were quite happy to see Chris and Elizabeth, and took many parenting notes (you never know, they may come in handy). I hate that we won't be part of the cruise adventure though :(

eaf said...

I vote that we make gauffres for the holiday party this year to make up for my Eggo blunder! :-)

Anonymous said...

Sure!!! You got it!! Gosh, I miss Athena already....