Saturday, July 25, 2015

Memories of Things Past

I must be getting very nostalgic in my old age. I was putting some old pictures away in a scrap book and came across a picture of the girl I used to call my "Chinese daughter." She was Chinese, and as a kid from the age of 8 until high school graduation, she and my daughter were inseperable, which meant she practically lived at my house. She had three sisters, one older, two younger, and they all lived with their Chinese father. Her American mother came and went in their lives, and most of that time she was gone.

Anyway, this all brought back some really funny memories. One was of a vacation that I took the girls on to Canada. My son was in college and working in the summer, and didn't want to go on a two week trip with "all girls." My husband was busy, also, so the three of us took off.

Everything was fun and games until we got to Seattle. I had booked all our rooms ahead of time, and in what I thought were some great hotels. Hmm. The room I had booked was for three people. Well, it did have three beds, all lined up like in an Army barracks. ( Growing up as an "Army brat", I was quite familiar with barracks.)

The problem was, in order to get to the third bed, you had to literally climb over the first two. Guess who got that one. There was a closet in the far corner, opposite that infamous third bed, but in order to open the closet door, you had to push the bed out of the way. In order to do that, you had to open the room door, push the first bed sideways out the door, push the second bed over to where the first bed had been, push the third bed out of the way, and then open the closet door. So okay, we didn't need the closet after all.

There was one window. Opposite the third bed, of course. I opened it, and tried to stick my head out to see whatever "sights" there were. Only I could have easily bumped my nose against the brick wall of the building next to us. So much for the "sights." Below was an alley. As to fresh air, that was a matter of opinion. If you didn't object to the smell of over-cooked Chinese food and burnt cooking oil, I guess you could call it "fresh" air. We kept the window closed.

Then there was the bathroom. Which, for a change, you could actually open the door to without moving all the beds. I walked in to take a shower and began laughing hysterically. It seems that the bathroom floor sank in the middle of the small room by about six inches. I thought for sure I was going to slip right through and land naked in the lobby below. When the girls got me calmed down enough for me to actually step into the shower...which was in the bathtub, and that's another story...I started in again. It seems the shower "curtain" was one of these folding screen things that did NOT stretch out to shelter the entire tub when one is taking a shower. Instead, it slid from one end of the tub to the other, but never opened up at all. So there was a space of about four inches that was contained by this so-called curtain.

I finally stopped laughing, said "oh well," and turned the faucet on for the shower, and waited for the water to come out. And waited. And waited. When it finally turned on, it was full force, turning from hot to cold with no help from me, and getting both me and the bathroom floor completely wet. That was the shortest shower on the face of the planet.  When I stepped out, it was into about six inches of water right into the hole in the floor.

We did have a good dinner that wasn't Chinese and it wasn't at the hotel. On the way up to our room, the bellboy accompanied us in the elevator. Bellboy ? Maybe in the 19th century he had been a boy. The girls named him Iago. He was really creepy, and he was always right there, in front of our door. Before we went to bed, we pushed the one and only small dresser up against the door. We left that hotel very early the next morning, and didn't breath a sigh of relief until we were miles away!

Canada is wonderful, beautiful, and full of fresh air! All three of us fell in love with Vancouver. Oh, and our hotel was beautiful, the room was huge, we had three beds we could actually walk between, a big closet we could open, AND no holes in the bathroom floor!

That first night, the girls wanted Mexican food. Really? Mexican food in Canada? Well, okay. We found a Mexican restaurant and it was really pretty. Bright colors, good smells, Mexican music playing softly ( that was a change), and lots of people. We breathed in the smells, smiled at each other, and blithely ordered chicken tacos, rice, beans, and tortillas. Now...we live in California, where Mexican food is practically a staple of our diets. I've also lived in Mexico, so I know something about GOOD Mexican food.

Our dinner was served. Hmm. The rice was coucous, not real rice, and none of us like coucous. The beans were some kind of red bean, but they looked like they were ready to hop off the table. They weren't all smooshed up like real Mexican beans are supposed to be. And there was no cheese melted on top. We just looked at each other, and I said, "Well, I'm sure the tacos will be good." Oh wow. I'm sure the chicken was at least twenty years old when they killed it. If it was even chicken. I didn't want to mention my doubts to two teen age girls, however. You know what hysteria does to a crowded room. At least, there was some lettuce in the tacos, but the rest of the filling was either corn or something that closely resembled corn. To this day, I wouldn't swear to it.

My daughter took one bite of her taco and I thought she was going to spit corn...or whatever...all over the room. At the same time, my Chinese daughter took a bite, and promptly choked. She finally got some sips of soda down, and was all right. Good thing, as I was about to do the Heimlick manouever on her. The girls looked at me in a questioning kind of horror, so I quickly said, "Okay, don't make a big deal of this. I'll pay the check, and we'll go find some hamburgers." They were out the door before I'd picked up my purse.

Before leaving, I took a quick peek under the red-checkered napkin that covered the...tortillas.  I was glad neither of them had looked.

Until next time,
That's a wrap.