Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Livin' it up at the Hotel California

I was in Palm Springs, CA last week attending a soapmaking conference (yes, they do have those) I had a blast and when it was over me and three of the attendees, Georgia, Eleanor and Gili headed out to take the Palm Springs Tram tour. I recommend it highly for anyone going to that area. As we headed out to the base of the mountain at 2,600 feet above sea level our car just decided it didn’t like the grade of the mountain. The speed limit said 15mph and by golly our car wasn’t going to go any higher. After parking and getting out of the car, we didn’t know if we were even going to make it up the parking lot to the entrance!! People all around us had hiking boots, walking sticks, walking poles, etc. Yes, we were in trouble! As we were walking up the hill we hear “Helloooo my ladies!” It was a jolly man from Austria now living in California. Apparently, he had a season pass and walked the mountain every day. He called us his little girls and encouraged us to keep walking that we would enjoy the beauty of the squirrels and other wildlife that we might see once we took the tram up. According to Frank (our Austrian friend), the tram is Swiss made making it one of the best. Everyone piles in and as you go up the 4 mile rail, the tram rotates 360°. It takes about 10 minutes to get up to the top of the mountain, but once you are up their the temperature drops to around 62° and it is just fresh, clean air. There are a couple of nature trails that you can hike. One is very gentle and the other has a couple of hills and is about a mile and a half long. Georgia chose the gentle path whereas Gili, Eleanor and I chose the latter. The scenery is absolutely gorgeous and we stopped and took many pictures as we walked about. As we came back around we heard weird squawking sounds. Lo and behold, it was our friend Frank. He was calling to his lovely animal friends as he called it and was tossing them bits of food. He had Stellar Jays, a raven
and a very brave Ground Squirrel
that kept running up to him and grabbing a cracker out of his hand. We took a few photos of this and made our way back up to the main building as we had now built up quite an appetite. Inside, there is a really nice restaurant with floor to ceiling windows so that you can look out all around at the mountains and what’s below. We're seated near the back end of the restaurant. We’re enjoying our lunch and our company when a fly lands in my meal. I'm thinking the thing that has landed in my food will just fly off, but it doesn't!! I think, my gosh! It died!!! I had to scoop it out with my spoon and stick it on the napkin!! Uh,,,,waiter? Then, Georgia says Nikie what's on your jacket? I look and I have a moth on my jacket so I brush it off. I go back to enjoying my meal sans fly and I see something down on my right hand side. I look and jump! It's a squirrel!!! There is a squirrel in the restaurant and it's looking up at me like it's going to jump in my lap!!! Gili jumps up and screams, which startles the squirrel and it scampers off. My friend Georgia is trying to get her camera and I'm grabbing mine cause we think it's hilarious that there's this squirrel IN a restaurant!! How the heck did it get in there!!! So, we can't find it and go back to eating. Next thing we see is the waiter shooing the squirrel down the carpet!!! We said, wait, we want a picture of it. So, he calls it! He gets down on his knee and acts like he has food and the squirrel comes running back to him! Eleanor takes one of her French fries and lowers her hand to the floor and the squirrel runs towards her and jumps on her purse. It then proceeds to climb up the chair and jump in her lap!!! She now has a squirrel in her lap getting a french fry!! At this point we are now the paparazzi and taking pictures of this animal just enjoying itself. The squirrel jumps down, eats the french fry on her purse and proceeds to scamper it's way out of the restaurant. At this point we can't stop laughing because we think this is the funniest thing ever. We look outside the window and there on the sidewalk we see this squirrel walking towards where we are sitting, but it's outside. I raise my hand and do a sideways wave and say Hello little buddy and I swear, cross my heart that the squirrel stopped walking and raised its paw up and waved back! Georgia and Gili saw it too!!! We all shouted that the squirrel waved back, and no Georgia said there is no way that that squirrel just waved at you. It then went along it's merry way down the mountain!!! Needless to say after that nothing else could be topped so we headed back on the tram down the mountain. But, if you ever go to Palm Springs and take the Tram Tour be sure and stop in their restaurant and say hello to our Little Buddy! She just might be there waiting to jump in your lap!