Trail of Crumbs

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Rand and Justin check to make sure that the water in the pool is actually wet.

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When Rand first told me that Bushman’s Kloof had not one, but several infinity pools, I promptly freaked out.

“How is that even possible?” I squealed.

“It’s a luxury resort,” Rand explained.

“That still doesn’t make sense. They are messing with THE VERY FABRIC OF SPACE TIME.”

With that statement, my husband paused, and took a long look at me.

“Sweetie,” he said, gently patting my hand, “you realize that infinity pools aren’t actually infinite, right?”

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I don’t really know how to begin telling you about Bushman’s Kloof.

Words don’t usually fail me. In fact, I often have them in excess. They dribble out of my mouth at particularly inopportune times. Like when I’m telling a story at noisy party, and I find myself shouting the gory details in order to be heard (my stories always have gory details, you see), and at that precise moment because of what I can only assume is a decades-old-curse that was placed on my head, the entire room sort of goes silent.

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No matter how much I travel, I find that there are things that still surprise me about Europe.

Like universal health care. Or the ubiquity of nutella. Or the fact that you can drive for a few hours and find yourself in a radically different country that isn’t Canada or Mexico.

And let’s not forget castles. It’s crazy to me that castles are actually a real thing over there, and not merely the stuff of fairy tales. (more…)

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The Duke at Queens in Belfast is both homey and palatial – a kind of interesting balance. We were only there for one night, but it was, as the Irish would say, just grand, and the staff was exceedingly kind and helpful.

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Every time that Rand and I stay in an old hotel, we have a similar exchange:

Me: This place is nice. Too bad it’s haunted.

Rand: Baby, this place isn’t haunted.

Me: You’d like for me to think that, wouldn’t you?

Rand: Yes. Yes, I would. I would very much like for you to believe that this place isn’t haunted, because it isn’t.

Me: Whose side are you on, anyway?

Rand: Um … logic’s?

Me: SO NOT MY SIDE, THEN.

Or something like that. The point is, I’m rather steadily convinced that every time we stay at an old, remodeled hotel, we’re going to be haunted right out of there, and Rand’s convinced we aren’t.

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Have you ever found yourself doing something and had the stunning realization that you are, in fact, a grown-up?

Like the first time you get behind the wheel of a car by yourself. Or when you put down the safety deposit on your very own apartment. Or when the D.A. tells you that you’re going to be tried as an adult.

The swift punch of adulthood is both terrifying and wonderful, isn’t it? Every now and then it still hits me.

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Some of the replies to last Thursday’s post (via the comments, Twitter, and Facebook) hit me pretty hard. I have figured that several years of blogging would have thickened my skin, so my reaction surprised me (also surprising: when I got teary over an Olympics-themed Visa commercial. These damn steroids have turned me into a moody softy). I curled up into a ball and when Rand asked me what was wrong, all I could mutter was, “People on the internet are upset with me.”

And he had a good laugh, because when the sum total of your problems can be expressed thusly, THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH YOUR LIFE.

But in the midst of the occasionally-heated discussion, an important point came up: this sort of reservation-mishap happens a lot (a big thanks to reader kokopuff for making me aware of this). Sometimes it’s an intentional scam. Sometimes it’s just an honest clerical mistake (I want to give our hotel the benefit of the doubt). Either way, you need to protect yourself.

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We stayed at the Harbor Court Hotel during our last trip to San Francisco.

Every afternoon they had chocolate chip cookies and popcorn in the foyer. I didn’t really notice much else, because come on – free popcorn and free chocolate chip cookies? I’d sleep in a Ford Pinto and give it five stars if you handed me a collection of treats provided by Messrs. Orville Redenbacher and Otis Spunkmeyer.

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