Monday, October 05, 2009
My Vacation Let Me Tell You It Part One
We left for Gatlinburg on Friday around twoish. Yes, the plan had originally been to leave tenish and then noonish but we all know how those plans go. Annie and Joey and I all piled into Audrey's car with the approximately 150 pounds of food we weren't able to squeeze into Susan's car (thank you Susan for carrying all my stuff to the mountains and then taking my auntie on back! I owe you major beers!) and we proceeded to Cherokee and points beyond. We took 441 across Great Smoky Mountains National Park. I think it might have been a beautiful drive if we had been able to see even five feet in any direction but since we were trapped deep in the kind of fog that Victorian London could only dream of, we have no idea. We were luckier than the car in front of us - they disappeared completely. Unless they were a ghost car to begin with, which is possible. Never drive a white car on 441 - you'll wake up in the Bermuda triangle.
The house we had rented turned out to be fully awesome, if also about half the size it looked online. That was okay! There was a hot tub and a pool table and three different levels, which worked out beautifully. We liked it. We were not the only ones who liked it - about twenty minutes after we arrived Audrey started screaming. "A BEAR! A BEAR!" So we rushed to the windows, also screaming (this family never wastes the opportunity for a good scream) and there was, indeed, a bear. Joey, who has seen bears before, opined that it was a young, small bear. Considering that it was about the size of a Newfoundland and about 40 feet away, I thought it was big enough. It came up by the side of the house, glanced at us, ignored us and headed up the road with this sort of world weary air.
So that was fully amazing and then, as Audrey and Joey and I were sitting on the downstairs deck (two decks, y'all. For the weekend, you could call me Felicity "Two Decks" Green) indulging in intoxicants along came Mama. She was so close I could have spit on her, if, that is, I was suicidally foolish. She was also completely uninterested in our screaming and my terrible camera work - she looked up at us and headed along the same path her child had taken earlier. Mama was the size of a pony and she inspired great awe in me, so I called my brother, who was planning on arriving by motorcycle, to tell him there were bears all over the place. Once an older brother, always an older brother.
Him: "Yeah there are tons of bears up there. Didn't you know that? It's a real problem. They kill people."
Me: "What the hell do you mean they kill people?"
Him: "At night, you know, when they climb in the windows of those rented houses or get on the deck and drag people out of the hot tubs. A few tourists die every year. What, didn't you bring a gun?"
Me: "SHUT UP!"
The bears did not return for the rest of the weekend, however, which saddened Susan and Laura, who got in a couple hours after we did and secretly relieved me, who that very night had to get out of the hot tub and go upstairs and plead for someone, anyone, to come on down to the hot tub just, you know, in case of bears. What can I say? I'm bearanoid.
On Saturday we went to the aquarium, where we met the delightful character pictured up at the right. Cuttlefish are my new favorite animal. This is the second time I've been to Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies and man, I love that place. I know, it's Ripley's, yadda yadda, but seriously I think it's one of the best aquariums in the country. I love it. I recommend it. It makes me happy. Yes it is hokey - of course it's hokey, it's in fucking Gatlinburg, Hoke Capital, USA - but the exhibits are amazing well done and all the fish look great and, which I think is good, they do not have whales or dolphins or the kind of fish who I feel are unhappy in tanks. I started hating the Baltimore aquarium when they put in the dolphin show.
There is more to come! The vacation continued through more Gatlinburg and cable cars and trams and a vastly hilarious trip to the horrifically depressing outlet centers of Pigeon Forge (there is nothing like going to a bra outlet to make you feel like a mutant, let me tell you) and all that will come tomorrow. Why tomorrow? Because, hon (may I call you hon? Will you think it is wrong and weird? What planet are you from anyway?) this is long enough and I am still on vacation WHOO and it is now time to drink beer and luxuriate in that incredibly wonderful OMG I STILL HAVE TWO DAYS OFF feeling. Yay!