Saturday, June 19, 2004

I Belong at Sea Level

My mom and I are in Aspen until tomorrow morning, when we're leaving for Salt Lake City. I don't like Aspen much: though surrounded by picturesque mountains and all manner of babbling brooks, greenery, and chirping aviary, the altitude isn't good for my head. Neither are the price tags and people that pay them.

I have, however, seen many a prairie dog, and for that I am grateful. Or something.

I even saw one popping its head out of a hole!

It totally reminded me of this game I had (which was promptly taken away due to its violent content) where you shot prairie dogs. No, not Oregon Trail. That was hunting, for life-or-death purposes, not just shooting helpless but potentially diseased rodents for pleasure. And in the end you still got dysentery and died in your caulked wagon while your family hocked three sets of clothes to pay for your funeral on the side of the dusty road.

So, anyway, Aspen is not my kind of place. There's no...what's the word...poor people? That probably sounds bad, but I realized that the thing I like about big cities that do have all this fru-fru shopping and gourmet restauranteuring is not that it only has those things, but that those things contrast with the amazing range of diversity of people, culture, socioeconomic status, and, of course, food. I don't know what to think of $9 falafel. It's just unheard of.

(Okay, so actually I had the $9 falafel in Boise, and it was really tasty, but I wouldn't put it past these Aspen culinary snobs.)

Just, I don't know. Anywhere that doesn't have at least one part of town devoted to thrift, eating on the cheap, and people who don't own $3 million summer homes isn't my kind of place.

It's reverse snobbery, but whatever.

Boise was surprisingly nice. We had a bad experience at the Pizza Hut getting my brother some takeout dinner, but what do you expect from teenagers in the middle of Idaho? The cities in Utah sort of frighten me, but the scenery is lovely. Not as lovely as Colorado, but lovely like Arizona but without the totally insane heat. Just unpleasant heat. The town we stayed in, Green River, is a glorified truck stop in the middle of nowhere, the junction of SR-6 and I-70.

I'm thinking that when I get back, I need to make a mix CD (or just a playlist) of songs detailing the road trip. Yes, John Denver's "Rocky Mountain High" will make an appearance, if only because my mom loved John Denver and had to play it soon after entering Colorado, in part as retribution for all the raunchy comedy CDs my brother and I played. But so will Built to Spill's "Twin Falls," because every time the signs said Twin Falls I started getting that song stuck in my head:
My mom's good, she got me out of Twin Falls, Idaho...

There will be more.

Anyway, as I said, tomorrow we're headed for SLC once more. I'm hoping to have a gander at Arches National Park, having read a book about it once and finding it interesting, although we'd be doing just the thing the author of the book found so stupid: driving right through. The next day, we're off to Reno, because... well, it's on the way. Then, we're planning to go to Yosemite, which neither of us have seen, and scatter some of dad's ashes, because he wanted us to. Then it's to San Francisco to collect Margot, and we're off to a few days in Santa Cruz, which I am definitely looking forward to. Movies, hippie towns with good food, a record store I actually like, gorgeous ocean views, the beach--ahhhh.

I think we're going to explore a little more of Aspen's downtown today, have dinner with my brother, and try not to spend a third day in a row watching cable in the condo we're renting. Because that just isn't right.

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