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You know, I should dislike this airport. It has the personality of a farmboy who's never left the field and the décor of a 19th century London sweatshop. Everything seems to be cast in a blue pall, including the food fare.
Their rental cars consistently are unavailable. And when they are they're stupidly expensive. Don't ask me why.
But let's consider the other options to visit my family in Middletown:
-LaGuardia (and take Metro North to CT)
-JFK (and...take Metro North to CT)
So, 2 stars for Bradley and one extra for not being in NYC and not being Tweed-New Haven or Providence Airport.
1 in the afternoon on a Monday. Myself and four of my game developer buddies walk in. The place is packed, which isn't difficult as there are only seven tables and it seats 25. We wait for what seems like an eternity, but really is only 30 seconds. Another table of people, coincidentally from the same game development company recognize us (well, my companions), and get up to leave, as if by some secret arrangement. I begin to sweat, thinking that this is a plot. A plot to kill the voice-over guy. Who is me. I am the voice-over guy.
We sit. Small talk ensues about chickens, the NFL, and World of Warcraft stealing gameplay from Asheron's Call. The threads are so unconnected that they wind into a single strand of disjointed yet fluid conversation. One of the owners delivers menus.
"Can you handle hot foods?" my longest-acquainted buddy asks. My terse reply comes Hemingway-esque.
"Get the spicy fish."
Chicken talk resumes. And then the youngest one speaks up. "I'm not sure I can do this. I grew up being forced to eat things." Conversation abruptly ceases. The woman to his left looks at him as if he were turning into Jeff Goldblum in the 2nd half of The Fly.
Far from being sympathetic, the rest of the table berates this boy unmercifully for not only lacking a sense of adventure, but also a palate and perhaps a penis. He reluctantly orders fried chicken wings. No one bothers to tell him that, being in an Asian restaurant, they may be dove wings or crow wings, or were currently being cut off of the chickens out back that had just had their necks rung. The rest of us look at each other knowingly, and order exotic, flavorful dishes with vegetables, peppers, sauces and noodles. He'll never know, and then we will watch him slowly turn purple after he's eaten them and we tell him what he's ingested.
I order the spicy fish.
The fish is not something tasteless, like tilapia...the tofu of fish. Nor is it something foreign, like blowfish or sperm whale or Patagonia bonefish. No, this is something familiar yet bold, a fish with enough flavor to cut through the sweet and the hot and the crunchy. My mouth is exploding with flavor. I wish I had a Thai beer, but alas, Asians in Norwood MA apparently do not imbibe.
We determine it is haddock.
Later that night, when I meet with another long-time game developer from another company, I mention to him this place, this Thai Thani.
"Oh, Dude. That place is awesome."
This is the man who developed Asheron's Call. He has recently given up eating chicken. We discuss the Patriots and the Colts. He, too has eaten at the Thai Thani. We have come full circle, and I believe Thai Thani to be responsible. As I look into the night Massachusetts sky, I realize that Thai Thani is in control, and I am merely a passenger on this journey.
Yeah, it was that good.
Ranger Catherine started us off by being the Perkiest Park Person Period!! Gotta like a ranger who truly loves her job. Although, she did sell my mother-in-law a National Park Pass for seniors for only $10, which admits her and anyone in her car to all National Parks and Landmarks free of charge for the rest of her life. Sigh, so now I guess we gotta drag Mom along to every National Park experience, 'cause we're gonna save ourselves those $10-$20 admission fees. Good thing she's an easy travel companion.
I digress. As I often do.
Here's what we noticed that others might not have:
-The practice of medicine in the mid-to-late 1800s is well-documented in the mostly restored hospital. Let's just say that getting sick on the fort might have consistently come with the statements "Measure him for a box, Doctor Sawsalot." "Yes sir, Doctor Mallard."
-Who's bright idea was it to get Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to narrate the movie about the fort's history? And couldn't he have done at least 2 takes? My God, as someone who directs voice actors for a living, he seriously must have read the script for the first time while he was narrating, and they didn't have time to have him re-do lines. Seriously, he mispronounces words, he stumbles and adds "uhs" and "umms." And he does it with the personality of a 12-year old reading the phone book. I mean it's not like he hasn't acted. Besides, what does a New York City kid of a transit officer and a retail clerk have to do with a West Texas frontier army post? Did he donate his time and then get pissed when he found out he had to go to the middle of the desert?
-Hiking trails: awesome. Twisty, turn-y, microclimates, rock, wild animals, water. C'mon Mom II; it's only 94 degrees, far cooler than it should be this time of the year. So what's this complaining about overheating? Whadda mean you gotta rest? What are you, a senior citizen? We're only climbing a few thousand feet; think of the view!! Wimp. Gimme that Park pass.
All in all, there is a lot to see, and since they're still restoring it it's going to get better. As it is you can easily spend several hours here, and if you do like to hike the trails are way worth it. Plus the town of Fort Davis is quaint, albeit in a "we don't serve alcohol at restaurants" kind of way. But that's our torch to bear, now isn't it?
Let me start by saying the pool is fabulous, even if building it did actually destroy the natural environment that it originally created, and only decades later have they tried to artificially restore it.
On with the actual review.
What we wanted:
After approximately 7 years of not camping, we wanted a place that would be easy (e.g., no packing in), quiet, a place where we could view the stars through our telescope unencumbered by light pollution, and a great base of operations to explore an area we'd never been. In fact, we decided to go during the week to further ensure that we would likely have this experience.
What we got:
-Take 2 acres of land.
-Remove all the trees.
-Divide it into approximately 25 roughly equal areas with a road running right by all of them. Electrify 21 of these, and call each space a campsite.
-Spread the word that there's a spring-fed swimming pool.
-Invite every parental unit that has screaming children that think nothing of staying up late, encroaching on their neighbors area, shining big-ass truck headlights into your campsite (not intentionally..they're merely stupid and selfish), and make sure you get folks who will leave the bathrooms completely filthy.
-Fill each and every campsite with said people.
As one example, picture this: it's our last night there and we're a bit tired of the constant cacophony of boomboxes, loud talking and cars driving by illuminating everything when the...umm..."family" in one of our neighboring campsites (all 10 of them and their dog) decide that THIS is the night that They Are Going To PARTY!
I learned that 3-year olds could cry for 2-1/2 hours straight.
Did you know that if you leave your dog tied up for 3 hours it might start barking?
When was the last time you played that old party game, How Drunk Can Mom Get And Swear In 2 Languages? She obviously grew up playing that game. Wonder why Dad was nowhere to be seen...
Why bother putting out a fire using that tired old method of spreading the logs out and throwing dirt on the embers. Why not have 5 young boys stand around and pee on it? While Drunk Mom takes pictures??
Had I gotten to know Ranger Tom a night or two earlier instead of fetching him when we'd finally had enough we might have felt a little less trod upon. Or perhaps we should have nixed the camping altogether and just stayed in the hotel room. Stupid Randall. I'm sure it was all my fault.
What we wanted was a scenic, easy foray back into camping. Instead, we got rednecks in a parking lot. Not that I'm completely against rednecks in a parking lot. It can be a fun scenario for tailgating, barbecues, fireworks, or clay pigeon shooting. I just don't particularly find it symbiotic with camping.
$4.50 for a chilled beer mug of wine, or roughly 2 glasses. $4.50!! And it's not total crap.
Outside patio seating where you can watch the Myrtle Beach crowd go by. And, they allow dogs in the patio area.
The seafood is not the greatest, but it's pretty decent. Shrimp was well-cooked and had a bit of nice spice to the batter.
$4.50 for 12 oz. of chilled white wine in a chilled beer mug.
People smart enough to shoo the gulls away instead of being all redneck Texas gulf coast and feeding them. THAT'S worth a star or two by itself.
Yep...12 oz. Two 6 oz. pours in one frosty glass. Under $5.
I'm pleasantly buzzed just thinking about it.
I suppose if I were short, deaf and blind with no palate this would be a great place to stay. But since I'm not (ok, I'm blind, but science comes to the rescue)...
Wow, a wonderful view of the Exxon or the Golden Corral, depending on which building you get. Or if you're really lucky, you can get an interior room with a view of the parking lot!
I think the building was last updated...let's see...when did they build it? 1975?
Yeah, the rooms are "suite-style." All 280 square feet of it. I've had larger bathrooms. Putting a large bed into the closet...err, bedroom...just accentuates how little space there is. And who's idea was it to encase the mattress in rubber? Granted, this has nothing to do with the complex, since we rented our room from a condo owner, but are they renting by the hour? Catering to senior citizens with bladder problems? It was so much fun hearing balloon noises every time either of us would move. Oh, and the rubber really breathes. And the fitted sheet doesn't slip at all, nosiree. Which might have been true had you used a fitted sheet instead of an oversized regular sheet.
Yes, we were across from the beach. The part where they apparently leave all the bulldozed kelp, and where anyone at least 100 lbs overweight gets a free beach pass from the state of Texas. Because that's all that's there: kelp and bulbous flesh.
Nice restaurant choices: chains that serve food in troughs (hey...they know their audience) and McDonald's. Oh, and one Mexican restaurant that showed promise, until we realized that they, too, know their audience. "Yes sir. Everything is fried, comes with cheese, and has had all the flavor zoned out. But there's a lot of it. Would you like another mediocre margarita?"
Your internet provider SUCKS! I pay $16.00 for weekly access? How about calling it weakly access? Daily it kicked me off. Once I called tech support (where I got some slacker dude who's too cool for school). The rest of the time I just logged on and off until I got some semblance of a connection.
No, it ain't the Ritz alright. Maybe a ritz cracker. By the way, who put the herd of elephants above us? And who was the asshole that parked behind us and blocked us in? I guess when you stay in the Myrtle Beach section of Galveston you're going to get the Myrtle Beach crowd, so other hotels & condos in this area are probably very similar. Methinks we'll be staying on the west end of the island in the future.
2 stars instead of one because the staff was gosh-darn friendly and happy.
Another ballpark to tick off my list. Yay, me.
Pretty park from the outside. A bit less impressive inside, but that could be because I was expecting something a little more unique, and really the inside is just kind of another ballpark.
But...the biggest plus is that the people working the park were incredibly cordial, even though I was wearing clothing that betrayed that I might not be rooting for the home team. The fans around me were almost evenly split between home team & visitors, but other than some good-natured ribbing there was no animosity, and the Ranger fans were friendly, talkative and respectful.
Except for the one Ranger fan who got all mouthy and bet the people in front of me (who were there for a bachelor party & rooting for the visitors) $100 that the Rangers would win, and then left the stadium before the game was over so he wouldn't have to pay up.
Dallas weenie. All hat and no cattle.
"Say...that's a big a** wall o' liquor. Whadda ya think?"
"You serious, Clark?"
So we went pre-Rangers-Cubs game (because we were hungry and it was close to our hotel) as well as afterwards (because our hotel screwed up our room & we needed to go out for food & drink). And yes, the 3-story wall of liquor was pretty impressive. I believe the words "This is so us!" crossed my friend's lips.
Service...well...let's just say the first server we got was...ummm...I'll be kind...slow. And clueless. Nice, though. I know, you're thinking that in this economy, it's hard to get good help, right? Yeah, me too.
But, the microbrews, while not special, were decent. The food was ok, but it's a sports bar. (If you're going to a sports bar and you expect great food, let's just say you might think that Rock and Roll Part 2 is the best song ever and Dale Jr. is the greatest Uhmairikun ever. So I can't take off for the food.) The atmosphere was pretty cool: big, spacious, 3 stories of liquor. So 3 stars.
The 4th star came when we returned in the evening. We sat outside on a gorgeous night. The Cubs had won. (Sorry Ranger fans, but if it means anything, I hold nothing against you. Your team has never harmed anyone.) And we had an awesome server who was dealing with the entire patio by herself, and managed to be both cheerful and prompt.
5-4 in 11 innings, by the way.
I tried. I gave the manager a chance to make things right, even just acknowledge my grievance. Said manager has ignored me. Time for a Yelp review.
Perhaps I'm about to be too harsh. So, let me ask you, Yelp reader, person considering this hotel.
Let's say that you're in a chain's rewards program. You stay at their establishments around the country routinely. You're loyal. You typically say nice things about their hotels.
Now, you decide to attend a baseball game and bring a friend. You make a reservation a month in advance. You pay around $100.00. You get an email confirmation.
When you get there, they say your room's not ready. No problem; it's about 2:40 and check-in isn't until 3pm. "That's fine," you say, "we'll just go and get lunch. Can we still check in?" Front desk dude takes your name down...writes down a room number (remember that) and says "We'll just take care of it when you return."
Fast forward about an hour: 3 people in line in front of you and none of them are getting the room that they reserved. Hmm. Maybe this is worrisome. But you're a rewards member and you already tried to check in . Surely this won't be the case for you, right?
Your friend asks front desk dude why he wrote our name and a room number down. He says that "other people haven't checked out" including the people inhabiting your room, which is why you can't have your room. And why they are "overbooked." This makes you ask out loud the purpose of a reservation. Or why they don't kick people out because their room has already been reserved. Or if last night's patrons try to game the system and just disappear, why don't they clear out their room and put their belongings in a safe place? Because...THAT'S WHAT OTHER HOTELS DO!
So here you are: two married, heterosexual men who are now looking at sleeping in a single king-bed room. And one with no microwave or refrigerator (which was what you had reserved). (Yes women...I hear your snickers. Very funny.)
"No problem...we'll throw in a rollaway, no charge." Oh really? How wonderfully magnanimous. No extra charge to get a much crappier bed to replace the one you reserved in the first place. That is so awesome. Perhaps they'll get a gold star from their manager. Who is likely too busy handing out gold stars to respond to emails.
So...you're now going to be forced to eat out (since you can't buy food or drink & bring it back). One of you is going to have to sleep on the foldy-style bed, which is always a treat. Oh...and the room wasn't made for 2 beds, so now you have the added fun of no room to move around. That's special.
Now, if that were you, AND you emailed the hotel manager telling him of your experience, and he/she doesn't even bother to respond to you a full week later, would you feel that hotel deserved anything better than 1 star?
The smoking continues unabated, but having been back a few times (no, really) I've warmed up to this place. The people are exceptionally friendy. I have yet to see a bar fight (and let's face it, that's a plus). I'm not even sure there are bouncers.
You just have to be ready to smoke 4 packs.
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"There ain't no 'p' in hamster"
Austin, TX, Vereinigte StaatenYelper seit
März 2007Dinge, die ich mag
great food, gin martinis, live music, and performing live music, the NFL, being outdoors, long-distance travel, and sadly - the Chicago Cubs.Hier bin ich häufig anzutreffen
any place that has a good gin collection, and even some that have a bad one.Heimatort
too many to settle on oneMein Blog oder meine Website Wenn ich nicht gerade yelpe, dann ...
Traveling, drinking heavily or climbing onto a stage. Or all 3.Warum du meine Beiträge unbedingt lesen solltest
I don't lie. In fact, I sometimes use my out-loud voice TOO much.Was ich zuletzt gelesen habe
The Red Tent.Mein erstes Konzerterlebnis
Neil Diamond. Seriously.Mein Lieblingsfilm
Almost Famous, This Is Spinal Tap, Amadeus. Can't decide on one.Meine Henkersmahlzeit
a midwestern steak cooked by me & a side of blue crab picked by someone else.Erzähl's nicht weiter, aber...
musicians can't dance.Meine neueste Entdeckung
I might root for Peyton if the Colts meet him in the playoffs. Might.Ich schwärme gerade für