Virginia Beach, VA

Hey hey guys! Albany John and I hopped a Chinatown bus down to Virginia Beach this week. It was pretty awesome – nice weather the whole time we were there.

We went with one of the busses from Allen Street in NYC. It was only $80 round trip for two people! Way cheaper than driving ourselves. Although service is generally something to be desired. It’s usually a toss up between somewhat decent, and incredibly rude and hostile.

We hit up this shop in Manhattan Chinatown before getting on the bus. We so didn’t prepare for a bus ride. But this place was pretty quick about getting us in and out, although we were so bad a time, we ran for the bus and just barely made it! Phew!

Albany John got some dumplings. Tasty, and cheap at $3 per dozen.

I got beef tendon soup with hand cut noodles. Eh, the noodles were kinda thick and gummy. And the soup was pretty bland.

So my big fear was that the bus was gonna crash, or something like that, and mid-nap I wake up to hearing people shouting about smoke and fire. Turns out it was nothing (maybe someone trying to smoke in the bus “toilet”?), but I was sooo jittery after that!

It was pretty rainy, and it took us about 9-10 hours to get there. Ugh. Sooo freaking long! But still safe, so okay.
We got in and checked in, then hit up this place (this is just a daytime pic) called The Boxx. They had the best music going when Albany John and I were walking around.
Cheap drinks, good music, happy people. I would so go back here again. I wish we had a place like this in Albany. There was also this dude kitted out in neon lights. Sweet.

St. Germain in the hotel room = vacation time!

The next day we walked over to Big Sam’s (300 Winston Salem Rd, Virginia Beach, VA). We were in the center of the VA Beach strip, so this was about 1.5 miles south. A nice little jaunt.

It was a Sunday, so we had to wait a little bit. But nothing too shabby.

THEY HAVE SEAFOOD HAPPY HOUR!!! Which meant 1/2 lb of gulf shrimp for Albany John and me. So good. So big. So delicious. Only $5.99 per half lb!

The only “off” thing here was the “butter” it was melted margarine. Ew. Please don’t call that butter. It’s gross and oily. But also unnecessary with shrimp this good.

A Big Sam’s limeade for $5.75 for me, and a $2.99 24-oz can of Modelo for Albany John. That cocktail had a kick to it!

Some more seafood. We got the she crab soup ($5.99) which was like creamy crab soup with lots of crab chunks in it. Not bad, but a little heavy. In the foreground are fried crab balls. Which I couldn’t really eat b/c of the holistic diet and all, but Albany John soldiered through.
I made do with the 1/2 dozen raw oysters and dozen raw clams in the background. *sniffle* I love you seafood happy hour. So. Much.

The crab balls were very crabby – not a lot of filler, and good chunks of crab meat.
I managed about this much of the drink before getting a little too heady and bright red (the Asian alcohol flush). Awesome. Albany John helped me with it.

Then it was time to stroll up and down the beach!

It’s not an Albany John family vacation without mini golf. This was 3-D and blacklight. $7 per person.
I tried to take a picture through the 3-D glasses. It was super cool and nerdy. Kind of a small space, but still – when do you get indoor 3-D blacklight mini golf?

Omg, epic Engrish sign. Susi & Wind? I think it was supposed to be sushi and wings.

There was also this thing called Crushfest going on at Waterman’s. We waited in line to get in (really ineffective bouncer), and yeah. Too many people for me. Man, I don’t even want to know how packed it gets during prime-time season.

(Another shitty day-time pic) Then we went to Abbey Road, possibly the worst dining experience we had in Virginia Beach. We had walked around a lot, and were in zombie mode. Food. Mouth. Whatevs.
Abbey Road is a Beetles-themed faux-English style pub with a huge selection of overpriced beers. There was live music when we sat down. Not that great.

I got a broiled crab cake. It was okay. Not too much filler. Side of broccoli instead of chips because I needed a veggie at that point. They were like mush. Oh well. Only $9.99. But not very filling for some reason.

Albany John got a roast beef sandwich ($8.99), and he asked the waitress for help deciding between this or another sandwich. WHAT THE HELL WAS WRONG WITH THE OTHER SANDWICH??? She was ALL about ordering the roast beef.

It was… hilarious in its poor execution. Thick nubbins of curled brown “roast beef”. Arby’s makes a better roast beef sandwich, and I’m not being sarcastic. It was still vaguely edible, and had we not been in zombie mode, or faced with loud not-very-good live music, it was a plate that would have gone back to the kitchen.

But hey, what’s vacation without one bad meal?

We chilled back in the hotel that night. Albany John ran out and got these really tasty pulled pork sandwiches for only $3! They were way better than our earlier dinner at Abbey Road.

The next morning we got Mexican food at a place right across the street from Abbey Road on 22nd Street. Fresh chips (that I couldn’t eat, boo!) with salsa, and very friendly service.

Some kind of a rum runner drink. Under $8.
I got chicken enchiladas with rice and beans. Not too bad, nothing spectacular, but fine overall and I’d get it again I spose.
Albany John’s plate came with some greenery and avocadoery.

Carne asada, I think? It said it was roasted, but I’m pretty sure it was deep fried at the last minute to warm it up because the outside was super-oily. Don’t get me wrong. It was gooood. But pretty sure it was fried at some point.

Then we walked some more, and I decided I needed ice cream. There are a few Kohr Brothers Frozen Custard stands along Atlantic Ave.

$3.75 for some custard. It was pretty creamy, but lacked the egginess of most custards I’ve had.

We beached ourselves for a while, and I got hit with 2 balls and had a kid trip over me 2-3 times in about 10 minutes while I was napping. The sun was great, but I swear I’ve got a magnet in me for sports balls to hit me in the face or chest, or for families to park by with their troop of hyperactive kids.

Then we walked back down Atlantic ave to check out a “park” that was basically a kids park. Yeah, not for us. But we did get a ton more walking in.

Then it seafood happy hour again, and we were right by Sam’s, so….
More shrimp for me!
Walk along Pacific Ave. The southern end has this nice boardwalk over some water.

Then we tried to check out the public transit, and… I have a new respect for the CDTA. The bussing system in VA Beach sucks. Straight up sucks. One bus stopped running at 7 pm, then we had to walk back a mile or two to the right bus stop, which only ran hourly and was incredibly packed and the bus driver kept missing peoples stops because some dude was hitting on her.

During one of our walks to the right bus stop, Albany John goes “If we see a Chick-Fil-A, we are going in for a snack,”, then lo and behold, there was a Chick-Fil-A right around the next corner!
Hoorah, Chick-Fil-A! Albany John got a spicy and a regular. The kid behind the counter asked if we were backpacking across the country. Heh, cute.

Grilled chicken sandwich. Yum! But pretty preservative-ified. It could have been like chicken-ham. So juicy.

And then we saw a Trader Joe’s in the distance.
This one had wine. We picked up some snacks for the bus ride back.

Here’s the VA Beach post of the Chinese bus. We got there way early and checked in. The driver was kind of a dick on this bus at first, but we got in pretty quickly, and the guy didn’t take a break (which is also kind of worrisome re: the whole not crashing thing), but we arrived safe and sound. Also, what’s up with almost all of the Chinese-speaking people getting primo seats up front, hunh? We were the first ones to check in, and somehow got middle/rear bus seats. I gotta learn Chinese.

Oh, there was also a 7-11 about a block and a half away from the bus stop, so I figured I’d give it a walk.

I’m not one of those chicks who’s all “I need a guy/group of people to walk with me at night”, but this area was pretty sketch after 10 pm. Some guy started shouting at me to come over to him in the parking lot of the bus stop (this might have been the same guy who was trying to sell Albany John drugs earlier), and… yeah. It was weird. Also, weirdos in 7-11, and it’s probably not that great of a sign when a manager leaves for the night telling the staff to be safe. After that, there was some guy that jumped in front of me going “Hi! Hi there! Hi! How are you!?!”. I just walked around him and stayed on the sidewalk (well lit area) to the bus place. After that I figured I should probably stay put and not go for any more late night walks in areas I’m not familiar with.

BTW, that Italian sub was pretty freaking good.