Unguided Tour

After arriving at the hiking spa in Vermont, I worked on getting settled into my room while waiting for the spa director to call for our tour and orientation.  They’d given us some paperwork to sign when we checked in.  I was more than a little shocked when I realized one of the things I was supposed to sign was acknowledging that I was going to be on a restricted calorie diet.

I somehow missed that there was going to be a limit on calories.

Under “special dietary needs,” I made sure I put that I needed at least 1800 calories a day if I was going to be hiking and working out, worried that this was some kind of crazy starvation diet.  Then, I stared at the phone.

There is nothing I hate more than waiting for a phone call.  It’s been so long since I’ve even had that experience that I’d forgotten how annoying it is.

I tried to find things to do.  After taking photos of the room, I opened a bar of soap and washing my hands.  No call.  Then, I moved to unpacking.  I hung things up in the closet.  I placed folded things into drawers.  I got out my toiletries and lined them up on the bathroom sink.  Still no call.

I called the front desk.  The front desk guy said he would call the spa director again.  We waited another 5 minutes and then we took off.

We wandered down the hall and found some stairs.  We were deposited in an outdoor courtyard.  We walked around, discovering the golf course that abutted the hotel lawn.

The indoor pool looked a little suspect and the hot tub that was supposed to seat 10 looked like it would only be comfortable for 4 people who knew each other well.

We wandered around discovering the features of the hotel and eventually found the front desk.  When the guy at the front desk saw us, he rolled his eyes as he asked if we still hadn’t been called.  I smiled and explained that we got bored and left.  The front desk guy called the spa director and told him we were in the lobby.

The spa director found us and took us on a repeat tour, showing us far less than what we saw on our own.  His idea of showing us something seemed to be waving his hand in the general direction while we were standing in the hall.

I can’t say that I understood any of the positive reviews of the spa or the staff by the time we’d completed our orientation.  He hadn’t asked us a single question about why we were there or what we were hoping to accomplish and he had rapid-fired information at us.

I chose to simply be amused by this adventure.  After all, we were there, it was beautiful outside, and we were only staying for 3 nights.  I could think of no reason to complain.

Drive-by Shooting

Sometimes, I ignore what I’ve learned and regress to just snapping pictures.  They say the definition of insanity is repeating the same actions and expecting different results.  I’m not insane.  I just sometimes decide the awful results I know I’ll get are OK.

Sometimes, I just want to take snap shots.

That said, there is something fundamentally wrong about pulling out a Canon 5D Mark III with a 24-17mm f/2.8 lens on it and shooting from the passenger side of a shuttle van through the windows while moving at speeds up to 55 MPH.  I believe it violates the 11th commandment:  Thou Shalt Not Waste a Really Great Camera by Using it Poorly!

It’s times like these I wish I had one of those little compact point-and-shoots that you can pull out of your pocket and look like a typical tourist.

On the flip side, I hauled 17 pounds of photography equipment with me through 3 airports to get this far and I sure as heck was not going to fail to use my camera.  Unfortunately, when I look at these images, I can’t say I’m glad I did.

What does one do with crappy vacation photos that are too ugly to use for anything but too evocative of memories to get rid of?  If you’re like me, you probably have thousands of pictures that you can no longer identify what the subject of the photo was supposed to be or the subject is obvious but completely blurred or has a street sign coming out of its head or is underexposed, but it’s the only photo you got of that really great subject, so you hang onto it for dear life.

Sometimes, it’s better just to delete.

I’ve written before about the joy of an uncluttered life.  And how that includes an uncluttered hard drive.  So, this is my pledge:  I’m deleting all of these photos.  Well, I might keep the Psychic Gallery one.  And the one of the ski runs.  And maybe the church.  Why is it so hard just to hit the delete key?

But, I digress.

Continuing my travel story from two days ago, having safely arrived at the Rutland, Vermont airport, we were greeted by our driver, Terry, from Gramps Shuttle.    (I’m pretty sure there’s a joke in there somewhere.)  He knew our names, he greeted us like friends, we laughed all the way to the hotel.

Along the way, I shot anything and everything that was even semi-interesting.  The sign for a Psychic Gallery really threw me.  I pictured an art gallery that displayed psychic events instead of art.  Or perhaps performance art installations involving levitation or telekinesis.  Or maybe just a collection of fortunes from Chinese fortune cookies.  Terry enjoyed contemplating what it was, but he didn’t offer to stop to find out.

It was just as well–it would only have resulted in more bad pictures.