Monday, October 10, 2005

Blogging from the Mountain Tops

‘Tis me, dear readers, about to experience a most enjoyable Thanksgiving Weekend. After my grandparents, who had previously hosted the large holiday dinners like Thanksgiving at their house, moved from said house to a luxurious condo, we’ve always had the big feasts at our house. They are worth the trouble and the effort, in the end, but really, it does take such a great deal of trouble and effort to organize the whole affair, to cook and baste and stew enough for fourteen people, to bring up the wooden leaf to extend the table, to put on three layers of tablecloths and polish the silver and assign the seats and scrub the house clean.

Not this Thanksgiving, though, thank the Lord! This year, my grandparents have whisked me and my immediate family off to an exclusive mountain resort, where they have secured an entire deluxe cabin for our lodging. We shall be having turkey and stuffing and cranberry sauce, but now it will not be up to us to make them, and it won’t be up to us to clean up afterwards. Joy of joys!

Everything is excellent. Mum and Dad, Nana and Papa, and my Sisters 1 and 2 all share rooms together, and I get my own (with a king-size bed!). Each room has its own adjoining bathroom, two nighttables and lamps, a phone, a TV, a closet, and a chest of drawers. Not only that, but because we have an entire cabin to ourselves, we also have a fully furnished kitchen, game room, TV room, and living room for our personal amusements.

We spent four hours in the car driving up here, which meant we spent three and half hours listening to loud music by ourselves, and half an hour rubber-necking to see all the mountains. We were warned upon checking in that it was elk mating season, and to not interfere between a bull elk and its harem of attractive elk concubines, because horny male elk tended to smash everything that moves near their pretty ladies. I figured this was to warn people who were going to take nature walks, and was most unnerved to find not one, but three bull elk and about thirteen cow elk clustered around our cabin. They were eventually chased off by a caretaker with what looked like a gigantic bright-yellow mop, but I will have to remember to be careful when I move from my cabin to the reception desk and the heated pool.
Of course, while all of this was all well and good, it was getting a bit late, and so we headed down to one of the restaurants around the resort for supper, on our grandmother's reservations. We were ushered into a dimly-lit establishment with musak (the worse kind, the kind with jazz sax and clarinet!), where we had to wait another hour to get our food, which was burnt. After alerting the staff to my fatal allergies, I was not allowed to eat bread, and the waitress mixed up our drink orders after spending ten minutes getting them. The only consolation was my dessert, which was specially made for me (the manager was actually quite helpful and accomodating), which was a large plate of fondue with pieces of cake and cookie and strawberry and melon to dip into it.

When we finally went to bed, we found the elk all sleeping around our cabin.

On Saturday, the elk were gone, and we all went our separate ways for the activities. My sisters went swimming, and I followed them after a time, eventually purchasing goggles so that I didn't have to doggie-paddle towards the the shore of the pool with my eyes tightly shut every time my head went underwater. We had a long lunch (long due to the service, because the resort was very busy for the Thanksgiving festivities), my sister #1, Mum, and Nana went on a kitchen tour, my father on a nature walk (which turned out to be intended for children), and I went back to the cabin to work on my short stories.

The dinner this time was a buffet, and since my mother had the foresight to call attention to my allergies during the kitchen tour, when we arrived at the dining hall, a very nice sous-chef named Todd came out to lead me through the whole buffet. Soup was in, bread was out. Meat was in, cheese was out. I managed very handsomely (although I limited most of my choices to meat), but could only manage some ice cream for dessert, because all of the deserts had been exposed to nuts and the kitchen was far too busy to do anything else, something I completely understand.
We have a sing-along on Saturday night (during which every family member is annoyed with at one point or another - the "young'un's" like my sisters and I because we don't know all the old Irish hymns my grandparents sing, and the older ones because they don't approve of the word "ass" in the songs that the "young'uns" choose), and then charades--which was quite hysterical during some parts of it, because we knew each other so well, one would only have to charade one word for a family to call out the eight-word movie title they were thinking off.

Sunday morning, no elk. We went to church in town, where I was reduced to pent-up hysterics by the end of it due to the creepy priest, who spoke horribly slowly with a terrible accent and a half-disgrunted, half-murderous look on his face. We finally managed to leave, and participate in the brunch, where Todd again leads me through the buffet.

I love brunch buffets--because it usually means waffles, the large, thick belgian kind, with lots of whipped cream and berries and hot syrup to go with them. I was horrified during the buffet tour because Todd told me to AVOID the waffles because they bought the batter from a company that might have exposed the batter to nuts. Without pastries or bread or cheese allowed, I began to miserably plan my meal around slices of greasy bacon, pan-fried potatoes, and bacon-potato salad, when Todd showed up again to correct his previous statement - as long I wasn't allergic to soybean oil, the waffles were fine. To my delight, they didn't just have hot syrup, they had hot MAPLE syrup, something so expensive that I rarely have it but tastes heavenly on waffles.

We go shopping afterwards, but no one gets anything after we entered a shop that actually charged about $25 more then the prices they advertised, which is illegal. We left in a huff, and alerted the front desk to their activities.

Mum and Dad and I go for a short walk to see the other Special Cabins. We saw the one that the Queen usually stays at, that actually burned down in 2001 and had to be rebuilt identical to what it had been for $3 million.

We also saw the special cabin that was reputed to be haunted (some homekeepers still refused to clean it), after a staff member in the 50s broke her neck falling down the steep stairwells.
I finished the first draft of my short story, "The Desert Muse". I'd started it a few months ago, but stopped working on it after I felt too disgusted with it to continue. Needless to say, I finished it, and while it still needs work, at least it's finished.

Dinner was a plated meal, and even with my allergies I didn't miss much - I still got to have turkey and candied yams and pumpkin tart.
After supper Mom and the girls and I watched Desperate Housewives before going to bed.

Monday (today)
The elk returned, and came so close to the cabin that we watched, in still-faced wonder, as the bull elk of the herd nibbled the hedges beneath our first-floor window. We spent most of the morning watching them, when we were not packing and getting ready to leave and discovering that I'd lost my goggles. I think it's safe to say that after such a wonderfully luxurious stay, I've been forever spoiled for other, lesser hotels/resorts.


  1. Alas, I feared it might be the case, dear girl. However. I'm prepared to bet that a nice 69$-per-night Holiday Inn with a waterslide might well elicit the words "Man, this is even better than the Jasper Park Lodge!" from my girls.


  2. Bet how much?
    Bet enough times, and I'll be able to send myself - BACK TO JASPER PARK LODGE!