So a few years ago Mrs. Evil Captor and I were vacationing on St. Simon’s Island, Georgia. And we pulled into the tourist center at the beginning of the causeway leading to the island from the mainland. There was a young guy and a middle-aged woman staffing the counter. I figured they might at least give me the Official Word on what was good around there, so I asked, “Hey, you know where we could get some really good seafood around here? Maybe some fresh blue crab?”
And they conferred for a moment and said, “There’s a Captain D’s just down the road.”
Now, I got nothing against Captain D’s for what it is, let me make that clear. They’re a big chain like Long John Silver’s that serves a pretty good cheap fried fish or shrimp dinner. I’ve eaten there on occasion, and it was fine. But I knew going in that I was going to be buying frozen seafood, deep-fried to add flavor. It is not a place I would expect in my wildest dreams to find fresh anything in, much less fresh blue crab.
So why the fuck did these two yo-yo’s working in the tourist center recommend FUCKING CAPTAIN D’s for Og’s sake? Not just any tourist center, the goddam St. Simon’s Island tourist center! Home of Sea-Pak industries! Port of call to the Georgia shrimp fleet! All around the fucking little tabby builiding we were in were the fucking goddam Marshes of Glynn. And those marshes were undoubtedly jam-packed full of big, delicious Georgia blues!
Now, I know yer daddy musta got you the job, that’s understandable in a place where the economy is so weak that tourism and working at the stinky pulp mill is about it. But really, could you be bothered to learn SOMETHING about the place you’re supposed to promote? Especially the sort of things tourists might ask? It’s not like you’re standing on the sidewalk talking to visitors, you’re being PAID to hang out in a tourism center. You oughtta KNOW this stuff.
(Postscript: we DID find a couple of real crab shacks while we were there, the kind of places where you sit at a table lined with newspaper with a hole in the center to toss the shells and stuff down, because everybody knows the reason you’re there is to eat some of the crabs that were picking at foodbits in the waters just past the parking lot about fifteen minutes ago. And it was good.)
You’ve been stewing about this for three years or more? Man, I wish my life was that uncomplicated, that I could have so little to be pissed about that three years after the fact I slam some unsuspecting tourist center drones for daring not to have an encycopedic knowledge of crab restaurants.
Lived in Hawaii for 6 years. Never went whale watching. Been 2 hours from Tahoe for 5 years. Never went skiing. Apparently, pathetic losers live every where, including Georgia. We mostly keep to ourselves, but you found two trying to pretend they were important.
If you’re working in a tourist center you should have a pretty good idea about some of the attractions in the area. Even if shellfish makes you puff up and turn blue you should be able to suggest a few places unique to your area where one can acquire some crab on the island. It does seem kind of odd to start a Pit thread on an incident that happened a few years back though. Let it go Evil Captor before it gives you a stroke.
Meh. I’ve Pitted events that happened to me more than 30 years before. I’m all about healing the past. But then I usually title those threads something like “Share the rantlettes of your past.”
When I was on St. Simons about 20 years ago, we asked the concierge where the good places were, the places they normally didn’t tell us Godless Yanks about. He finally gave up the location of some broken down shack with no mailing address and an abundance of flies. The place should have been condemned, but for $5 you could get a plate of shrimp the size of your head. Thems was good eatin’.
Eat your heart out. I had forgotten all about it, then Mrs. Evil Captor and I talked about it for some reason and I thought it made a nice pitting. Uh, and there’s a difference between “encyclopedic” and “recommends Captain D’s.” I’ll grant you it’s a minor rant, but if I pitted the Bush Admin. every time they did something terrible, I’d be here all the time.
Fresh blue crabs taste better than anything else. Period. You might say they’re like perfectly cook filet mignon, but that’s misleading, too. Crab doesn’t taste like beef. Or chicken. It’s a very delicate flavor, which iswhy if you have the stuff fresh, you don’t want to add anything but clarified butter and maybe a few drops of lemon juice. Anything else is gilding the lily.
I’d like to tack on Woefully Ignorant Hotel Front Desk Employees to this. I swear I’m increasingly convinced I was one of only about 12 competent front desk clerks in history.
The last several times I’ve stayed in hotels I’ve asked such complicated questions as “where’s a good place for breakfast?” or, while staying in freaking Charlottesville, Virginia, which is famous for exactly one thing, that being it’s connection to Thomas Jefferson, the sage of Monticello, “What’s the best way to get to Monticello from here?” (I can find it on a map, of course, but often there’s a route known to locals that may bypass Interstates or whatever), only to hear “Hmmm… I just moved here from Kentucky a month ago”.
Yeah, that’s very interesting. I had an aunt who mixed chocolate Yoo-Hoo with Jim Beam each morning. Now that we’ve exchanged pointless if interesting biographical trivia as local etiquette evidently dictates, where’s a good place for breakfast and how do I get to Monticello?
When I was staying in the Chinatown section of DC recently I asked at the front desk, knowing exactly my odds of informed response but nevertheless hoping for a longshot, “There is a Chinese restaurant somewhere in this neighborhood that was once Mary Surratt’s boardinghouse where the Lincoln conspiracy was hatched. By any chance do you know where that would be?” The three (3) desk clerks all shook their heads and clearly had no idea what I was talking about or who Mary Surratt was or that Lincoln didn’t die of Lyme Disease and had only the vaguest notions they were in Chinatown.
Well suh, I found that Chinese restaurant. It is called Wok n Roll if you’re interested and is identified as the Surratt boardinghouse by a big historical plaque outside. And I was extremely irritated when I found out that the people at the desk didn’t know where it was. Is it because I think they should be experts with strong opinions on the heavily disputed role played (or not played) by Mrs. Surratt in the conspiracy that killed the 16th president? Not really. Is it because I think they should know every single item of interest no matter how peculiar or minor in all of D.C.? P’shaw, no I don’t.
But I don’t think it’s unreasonable of them to know the location of an interesting historical landmark that is now curiously a cheap Chinese buffet that is…
LOCATED NEXT FRIGGING DOOR TO THE HOTEL (Red Roof Inn, if you’re interested) WITH A GREAT “THIS HYEAH WAS MARY SURRATT’S BOARDINGHOUSE” SIGN THAT THEY HAVE TO PASS BY EVERY SINGLE TIME THEY GO TO OR FROM THE METRO STATION A BLOCK DOWN THE STREET! Oy.
And this is just one example. I increasingly hear the voice of Eddie “Rochester” Anderson from his first appearance on the Jack Benny Show (it’s before he played Rochester). He played a railroad porter who’d never heard of “any place called Al-bee-quirkee” even though the train stopped their on ever run coming and going. His descendants and followers now populate hotels and tourist bureaus everywhere.
PS- That’s an old picture from when it had a different name. The alley to the left of the picture is all that separates it from the Red Roof Inn.
When I worked for Marriott I occasionally travelled to cities I’d never set foot in to relieve their desk staff. The FIRST THING I did at all of them was look up what restaurants were around and get maps that showed the way to any local attraction, which is why I have no patience for the “I just moved here” comment. I don’t care- I don’t expect you to have a Mapquest chip in your mind, but you can f-i-n-d o-u-t by something as simple as looking in a phone book and then referencing it to the map on your desk.
I work in a museum in a town which gets flooded with tourists every summer. Some of the things visitors have told me that they heard at the Visitors Bureau have been downright bizzarre.
One family was very dissapointed when they visited us and discovered that no, we weren’t dressed in 18th century costumes, cooking over an open fire. They’d been told we did re-enactments every day. Uhm, actually, we did one, two years ago, for one day only.
The VB is two blocks away!. They send people in once a week with new brocheurs for our rack-- didn’t any of them ever note that we were all dressed in modern clothing? No, the culprit wasn’t a “new guy”, but a woman who’s been working there for years.
Another woman came in and wanted to see “the secret door that the little girl ran through when her family was murdered.” I was stumped by that one. The visitor was quite angry when I told her that there was no secret door, nor had anyone in the house ever been murdered. Later, I related the story to my curator, who told me that one of the exhibit cases used to swing out so the staff could go through it to the back rooms. That “door”, installed in about 1970 (but gone now,) must have been the one to which she referred. Where in the hell she got the story of a kid fleeing through it to avoid being murdered with her family, I could not tell you, but I have dark suspicions that someone at the VB was trying to make our museum sound more exciting.