Column: Making the least of your summer
Cover your ears, Resort Association members; North Lake Tahoe is a bad place for a summer vacation.
Simply put, there’s just too much to do: hiking, rafting, going to the beach, horseback riding, shopping, dining out, movies – just watching those promotional shows on Channel 12 to see whom I can recognize exhausts me.
Downtime should be spent in a location with a minimum of purposeful activity, where exertion consists of adjusting the back of your lounge chair twice in one afternoon or stirring your blended drink with the straw too vigorously.
Just what is my idea of midsummer mecca?
The Las Vegas Strip.
That’s not to say the five days I spent there last month were a mindless exercise in sloth and hedonism. As I sat in the Reno airport I reviewed my lofty vacation goals; (a.) to relax and (b.) to buy an ankle bracelet. The need for the former was impressed upon me as I eyed two of the preboarding passengers with contempt. Did those two 13-year-olds really deserve first crack at the good seats because they were children traveling alone, or because their sundresses appeared to be too short to stow their collection of ‘N Sync CDs in the overhead storage bin without exposing the rest of the passengers to a viewing of something that could constitute a third strike in most states? I sighed wearily and thought about what style ankle bracelet would be most flattering.
The first morning I was roused by what has come to exemplify the dynamic quality of most Strip hotels – construction noise. The hammering annoyed me, the drilling infuriated me and the jackhammer eight stories down could have been outside my window.
I had opened the curtains and just emerged from the Roman tub/shower that was located in the middle of the bedroom in inimitable Las Vegas style when I looked up in a myopic haze to see a construction worker walk past my window.
I was stunned – and naked.
Three of his coworkers sauntered by as I hit the floor and crawled nonchalantly toward the curtain pull. Chagrined and panting (strictly contrary to my vacation prohibition of physical exercise), I pulled on more clothing than I had unwittingly modeled for four members of some Las Vegas Labor Union and hauled my body down to the pool, hoping the other guests would mistake my rugburns for a lapse in sunscreen application.
Our hotel had three swimming pools from which to choose. The main pool had the greatest number of children in attendance. Surmising that the urine-to-water ratio might be disturbingly high there, I decided to forego that location. The second pool permitted “European-style (apparently not to be confused with the tawdry American version) topless sunbathing.” An exploratory cruise revealed two practioners of this activity, both large-size Slavic women with a penchant for frequent anointment. Fearing that this low-grade voyeurism might distract me from serious ankle bracelet cogitation, I opted for pool No. 3.
This was undoubtably the best option because I was able to spend the day in relative peace, marred only by the repeated traversing of a man in his mid-50s wearing a thong (bikini, not singular footwear). His smugness telegraphed that he felt he was showcasing “buns of steel” although they were really more reminiscent of a much softer metal – say, aluminum, or, more accurately, rice pudding.
Repulsion aside, the epiphany made me realize how hungry I was, what with all the crawling and foot jewelry rumination. Not surprising, since it was now 5:30 p.m. I cringed slightly; even though my vacation goal essentially was to not have one; an entire day of my sojourn had elapsed and I had nothing to show for it. Corrective action was necessary.
I resolved to go buy that ankle bracelet right after dinner.
(Kelly Truro lives on the West Shore of Tahoe, and realizes that her vacation views, like attendance at and/or viewing of the political conventions, are not for everybody.)
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