At last, we’ve arrived at Swimsuit City. Let the vacationing begin.

We were supposed to be here yesterday, but we missed our connecting flight because someone tried to bring their comfort donkey on the plane. There was some confusion at the gate as to whether or not that was allowed, and if it was, whether the donkey would have to purchase a seat of its own. And could it sit in the exit row?

Somewhere in the kerfuffle, our comfort luggage was sent to Beach Ball City instead of Swimsuit City. The taxi to the hotel took the scenic route past hotel after hotel, condo after condo, all with names like Ocean View, Ocean Breeze, Ocean Waves, Sea Foam, Sea View, Sea Breeze, Sea Wave, Dune View and The Dunes.

On the other side of the road from the hotels was the strip mall. Sunglass City, Panama Hat City, Made in Pakistan City, Umbrella Town, Pancake City, Waffleville, Double-the-Price of Things at Your Hometown Grocery Store City, Sunscreen City.

Our hotel was called “Dune Walk.” I’m guessing it’s named that because it was about a half-mile walk to the dunes. But it had three stars: one for each bullet hole in our balcony window.

After a short walk down Shopping Avenue, Sue said, “Can’t we buy sunglasses and swimsuits at home? For about half the price?”

“Stop complaining,” I said, “We’re on vacation. That’s part of the excitement: paying double for the same stuff we could get at home and wondering if you’ll be able to afford to eat once you get back.”

Sue acted as if she hadn’t heard me. “And why would I want a T-shirt that says ‘Swimsuit City’ that costs twice as much as a plain T-shirt at home?”

“But a plain shirt wouldn’t tell people that you had been to Swimsuit City!”

“Yes,” she said, “I would have to use my mouth to tell them that. What was I thinking?”

“Exactly,” I said. “You’re thinking like a non-vacationing person. What do you think, do these clam-diggers look good on me?”

“Well, if you took off the flip-flops, wore a shirt with a collar, and dumped the Panama hat, you’d still look ridiculous.”

“Thanks. I’ll take them.”

“Can you put him and the pants in a bag?” Sue asked the clerk. I don’t think she was getting into the spirit of the thing. Some people just don’t know how to relax. Or maybe she wasn’t feeling well.

“Are you OK?” I asked.

“Oh, I’m fine. It’s just something that I married disagrees with me.”

Contact Jim Mullen at

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