Long Branch

5 years ago when my mom planned the family vacation to Puerto Rico, I thought the Ejaz family had experienced the worst vacation ever. We still tease her about it whenever the opportunity presents itself. Last month, my dad planned a get-away for the two of them to Costa Rica. After reviewing the itinerary, which was obviously dad-focused, (checking out the aviary, tropical fish, alligators and the like) she expressed her concern that his schedule only allowed for one day at the beach. “At least we’re not staying at a medical center,” he shot back.
If only it had turned out to be a medical center. What my mom thought was a conference center/hotel turned out to be something else entirely. We must have been a sight; the seven of us sunburned and crammed into an elevator that smelled of bandages with our sunglasses and beach bags in tow. You can imagine our horror when the elevator doors opened to reveal the recovery unit in a hospital. When your hotel check-in is at a nurses station, it’s a bad vacation. We didn’t stay there though apparently some people do…for fun. In hind-sight it’s hilarious.
Fast- forward 5 years.

At the end of August the sisters took a mini-vacay to Long Branch Beach, NJ. It was supposed to be a super-girly, end of summer adventure. We’d spend most of the day on the beach. When we were bored of that we’d shop and all the while we’d be eating. Before we even left, Medina ditched us for cheerleading try-outs. Whatever. Should have been a sign.

On day 1 I met Aziza and Sameena at the King of Prussia Mall which was a great start. We had lunch, caught up, and spent hours ogling at the designer gowns and shoes at Neiman Marcus. Then the rain.

The next day we drove to Long Branch. Our hopes for a break in the weather were still high. I mean, it couldn’t pour for 4 days straight. We had picked the nicest hotel available, the Ocean Place Resort and Spa. Turned out to be a great choice because we were indoors for 4 days straight. We were totally bummed. We didn’t even want to take pictures to later be reminded of our time there. Each morning we’d draw back the drapes with great anticipation. Today there would be sun. Not so much.

We tried to do what any resourceful girls would have done; we started calling spas. Sameena must have called 20 places with no luck. They were either booked, didn’t speak English, or wanted $60 for a pedicure. A salon then. We would all get our hair done. That could be fun. In desperation we ended up in a mall salon. We ate at the mall too. It was so sad.

On the last night we went to a coffee house. It was about 10:30 when we tried to leave. I say ‘tried’ because the car didn’t start. The car that has never had any hint of an issue didn’t start. Again, we did what any resourceful girls would have done; we called our dad. Obviously, he’d be able to help from 2 states away. He told us to call AAA. We did, only to find out that as his children, we weren’t covered. I called Riz. He told us to wait 20 minutes and try starting the car again. 20 minutes later we were calling a cab. We started brainstorming ways we may have wronged the guy upstairs. No one said it, but we were all thinking “what if we can’t get out of this place…?”

The next morning we took a cab back to the car. My dad had thought about it overnight and suggested we step on the gas before we even turned the key and then never ever turn off the car. It worked and we tore the hell out of there. We haven’t talked about it since.

Someday this too will be hilarious, girls. Maybe 5 years.

Thanks to Aziza’s creativity, we do have a single fond memory of our vacation. Butter balls.


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