The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Notes from a service station at mile marker 144 along the Florida Turnpike

Bunny and I are going out of town for the weekend. We're on the Florida Turnpike, and had just turned into the Port St. Lucie Service Plaza only to find a total mob scene.

It wasn't just crowded. It was packed with barely enough room to squeeze inside the main service building. There were literally over a thousand kids milling about the place, over a dozen long distance touring buses, and State Troopers stationed liberally throughout the parking lot.

The kids were all from Broward and Palm Beach high schools, headed north for some large powwow in central Florida and by pure coincidence, all the buses had decided to stop at the same plaza just minutes before we arrived.

The State Troopers had nothing to do with the students—they were there due to a “heightened security level from the Department of Homeland Security” (which to me, is something I would have expected from the Soviet Union, not the United States). Nothing more was said about the threat.

First impressions of Chalet Suzanne

So Bunny and I arrive at Chalet Suzanne in lovely Lake Wales, Florida. Bunny made the plans a few months ago, wanting to stay at the historic hotel and eat the six course dinner at its renowned dining room. How renowned? It has its own airstrip!

We arrive and I am … underwhelmed. I heard “Chalet Suzanne,” “4-star dining,” “private airstrip” and I'm picturing something along the lines of Biltmore, a stately building reminiscent of classical French or Swiss architecture, and yet, here we are, at … um … eclectic Disneyesque.

[It's … eclectic] [But this is said to be a 4-star restaurant]

It certainly has character.

But the staff is proving to be very nice and helpful. We're lead to our room, which is above the dining lounge, towards the back of the building.

[Character!  It has character!] [They sure made it easy to get to the roof.] [The Governor North Room, where we are staying] [The porch continues on around the room]

As we were lead to the room, I couldn't help but feel like I was on the set of Popeye.

[I did not realize this is now a tourist attraction in Malta]

I have to keep reminding myself that this has character, although I doubt that the Popeye set was across the water from a modern housing development.

[It seems the Hinshaw family did not own all the property around the lake]

The Governor North Room itself is quite nice, if you don't mind its non-Euclidean geometry. There's the low and uneven ceiling; the slight north-sloping floor of the entry hall and sitting room; the bedroom is about six inches lower than the rest of the suite, and the color, which some would call “pastel green” I would characterize as “institutional mint green” (in other words—it's not a color I would use).

Character, in other words.

[The sitting room, no television, amazingly enough] [The writing desk—granted, one can move the chair] [The bedroom; this room has the television, viewable from the bed] [The bathroom.  It's … uh … pink] [Dispite how ridiculous it looks, it is quite comfortable] [Complimentary bathrobes in the pinkest closet I've ever seen]

As we were getting settled in, one of the staff hand delivered (did I mention how nice the staff is?) a plate of two chocolate truffles. If these were anything to go by, the food should be quite good here.

Our plans for tomorrow include dinner at this renowned 4-star restaurant, plus a possible visit to Isengard, weather permitting.

It has “character”

I wouldn't say I hate Chalet Suzanne; it's just that I'm having some cognative dissonance between my expectations, Bunny's enthusiam, and the reality of the place.

In fact, out entire dinner conversation this evening was spent talking about the right word to describe Chalet Suzanne. I offered my description, but Bunny felt the connotations were too negative, and offered a few alternatives. But I felt the connotations of the words she suggested were more negative than the word I used, and countered with some alternatives. Bunny countered that those were too negative and suggested some other ones, which I felt were more negative than what I was feeling.

Yes, our entire dinner conversation was spent trying to compromise on a word that describes Chalet Suzanne, and about the best we can agree on is “character.”

It has “character.”

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