Myrtle Beach 2021

FIRST POST-PANDEMIC VACATION (Myrtle Beach – July 10-17)

A Reflection: Ocean Lakes, South Carolina (Myrtle Beach) – A trip to Trumplandia

Our first vacation after the pandemic was to Ocean Lakes, South Carolina. We originally reserved a beach house there to celebrate Geraldina’s 60th and Iggy’s 30th. The outing was delayed a full year due to the pandemic, and Iggy was unable to join us.

Before we went we discovered that we were stepping into the preferred vacation spot for Trumpistas Evangelicals. We had some serious reservations. But, we figured that this would be a good way to demonstrate to us and others that it is possible to co-exist; that we have more in common than separate us. And indeed that proved to be the case.

The experience was totally Stepford wives in reverse. Or a different version of it. It seemed like we had walked into a cult. You are around and they know if you belong or not. They just know. They seldom wave. Certainly never talk to you. They know you don’t belong. I have felt more welcomed in the South side of Chicago or in the rough neighborhoods of New Orleans. This. Is. Weird. (Towards the end of the stay we did have some rather friendly conversations with some folks. Goes to show you: First impressions are not always the best)

Having said that I also saw beautiful examples of families with children and friends hanging out. And no indiscretions. No foul language. Very much a precious family environment.

Undeniably Trump country. Christian evangelicals. And God-fearing folks. Our house is the only one with a Prius and a car with a bicycle rack. I made the mistake of wearing a shirt that is Biden blue – but no Biden text. The looks I got were telling indeed. Wear only red white and flag blue – or you don’t belong.

Having said that, there were no MAGA hats to be seen. Trump signs and flags on house, yes – particularly in the RV section. But no even t-shirts.

The signs of America’s new pandemic – obesity – was rampant. I have never ever seen so many fat people in one place in my life! I know this is not unique to this demographics. I know that obesity is also rampant in black inner city neighborhoods where there are food deserts. And I don’t mean this as a comment intended to body shame. I know plenty of overweight people that wear it well. Yet, the presence of these many fat people in one place is very noticeable. And alarming, with serious public health issues implications

O and the tattoos! Cheap tattoos at that. Ugly tattoos. Christian tattoos accompanied by gun tattoos.

There were clear signs of some limited social class gentrification. There was the rare sighting of someone wearing a ‘Be kind’ T-shirt. Or the occasional black person. Very few though. There were signs of internal rebellion with their own type – particularly the young people; i.e.: racing down the road in golf carts listening to loud urban music.

Golf carts rule. Cute indeed. But walking is evidently very much discouraged. Much less cycling. Take your life into your own hands. The folks do respect the 10 mph speed limit. And generally are courteous and fine.

The houses are built literally one next to each other with no more than 10′ separating them. The street network is awkward to say the least. There is no backyard and no front yard. All alleys and streets basically go in front and the rear of all the houses. Little houses next to big houses next to trailers and RVs. Including trailers that have been given a physical addition! Amazingly it seems to work. There is clear evidence of new construction. Including the new style of black on white siding with very rectangular linear lines. And a few with elevators. (Ocean Lakes was celebrating their 50th year. Every night there were fireworks at the beach.)

I am so glad we were able to coexist with these good folks that simply happen to have a very different political view. Clearly good people. Oh, but so clearly lied to. Ugh. Not sure what if anything can be done to overcome that. But for now, we had a good time in the same place at the same time. May we learn from that baby step.

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