A week has passed since the return from California, and I’ve had some time to melt the experience. A part of it is the difference between expectations and reality. In the plane to San Francisco we discussed what we wait for the most (see the quotes I picked from my blog post three weeks ago). And here’s what really happened.

In the expectations:

In reality:

Orvokki waits for the most: “Sunset at Grand Canyon and the Santa Barbara seaside hotel.” In our dreams, we would be sipping wine by the rim and watching the sun go down. And sipping some more wine, tanning ourselves and watching the ocean in Santa Barbara.

The reality in Grand Canyon: we were tired after an active day out in the fresh air. Miss H and I had flu, Orvokki had sore throat. The bus trip to the nearest viewing place, Hopi Point, would take at least half an hour. The time was close to six and the sun would set at 7.10 pm. We also needed to forget about the chardonnay: drinking in public place is strictly prohibited. No matter how sophisticated it would be.

I quickly took a shower in our Yawapai lodge and heard Miss H shouting: “Laura, how important is the sunset for you?”

“For me? I don’t care about it so much, I’ve seen the Canyon, I have flu and I’m hungry.”

“I don’t mind about it either.”

“But wasn’t it one of the highlights to Orvokki? That’s what you told me in plane…”

“Oh yes, maybe I did. But I’d rather go to dinner,” Orvokki said.

“Me too! But then there’s no need to rush!”

“Christ no, we’re on holiday…”

And then we relaxed, watched a bit more Frasier and E! and finally went to the Bright Angel Lodge to take a look at the view, without the setting sun in front of our eyes. It was bloody cold, so we were happy to have a tasty mountain-style dinner at Arizona Room with a margarita instead of the chardonnay. It was a holiday, after all.

About the reality in the Santa Barbara seaside hotel, then: Fess Parker’s Doubletree Inn was a traditional, classy resort, but failed with the most important: we didn’t see any tacky silicone/restylane blondes or Hollywood celebrities jogging past our patio! Maybe because it was rainy… But the warm Santa Ynez Valley wine trip and the posh complimentary breakfast outside in sunshine in the last morning made up for it quite a bit!

Miss H waits for the most: Las Vegas! ‘The suite and the Hangover the movie type of dagen efter…’

In reality… not too far! The suite was very comfortable, also in the morning after. Someone didn’t even want to leave it to go to the lunch buffet at Mirage… 🙂 I rest my case by saying that we didn’t need to return tigers to Mike Tyson like in the movie. Instead, we spent the next afternoon swimming and enjoying (alcohol-free) fruit punch at the TAO beach club.

Laura waits for the most: “Thelma & Louise feeling on the road. ‘So, it’ll be riding the mules over the canyon edge’, laughs Miss H.”

In reality, the mules were nicely tied 100 meters from the canyon edge and we went the last meters by foot.

About Thelma & Louise then: I wonder if they ever faced the problem we did. You are driving somewhere outside a big city, everyone in good mood (no one is hungry, hot or cold nor needs to stop for a pee or cig or wants to discuss sensitive topics such as the definition of ‘air-conditioned’). Anyway: all you need is some good music from the car radio. Surprisingly, there is only one channel with reception, and that is the religious music channel! The songs might sound like innocent pop, but soon someone rings to the studio and starts praising the Lord. At this point you try desperately to adjust the tuner to switch to another channel, and if you are lucky, you might find it. Now, that channel plays country music. And country music only. Trust me. If you run out of gas in the middle of nowhere in America, your thirst and starving to death will be accompanied by either religious tunes or Garth Brooks. At least you have a choice! 🙂

Back to the movie: We didn’t meet Brad Pitt or Michael Madsen, drive to the canyon, shoot guns or explode trucks. But still we got the feeling. It’s hard to point out exactly, but it’s somewhere along the road, when the sun is up, the scenery is wide and we’re not in a hurry. We can stop whenever and wherever we like, yet we know that we are on our way to some new, interesting place.

And in the best of these moments, we even found the rock radio on enjoyed some 80’s and 90’s hits.

Almost like Thelma & Louise. Better, actually. We survived. And I’ve never really liked Brad Pitt anyway.