Sunday, July 3, 2011

Coeur d'Alene

When I got dressed yesterday morning, I was expecting a slow day mainly spent indoors. Or something along those lines...reading on the banks of the Spokane River sounds pleasant.  Had I known what was in store, maybe I would have put on a cute dress...I don't own any shorts.

What I was not expecting was my lazy comment of "let's go to Longhorn for lunch" to morph into "we should go to Wolf Lodge. The good one". That, of course, means the one in Idaho. So, off we go in the car, because who wouldn't be open at 3:00 on a Sarurday. Wolf Lodge, that's who.

Ah well. No biggie. It was just a 20+ mile drive. But in good news, that opens up the world of Coeur d'Alene to us. There's always that fantastic Greek restaurant. Or somewhere new. We dont often drive all the way out to Coeur d'Alene for food. Lemongrass Asian French fusion looks good. Or Grille From Ipanema. Brazilian steakhouse? Really? In Coeur d'Alene? That's crazy talk. Next you're going to be telling me that they have an Ecuadorean restaurant. Moving on, there's Bonsai Bistro, Calypso's Coffee, Takara, and Toro Viejo...and those are all ones I remember from the top of my not-so-great memory, not mentioning the street vendors or candy shoops.

Here I am talking about food again. I'll hurry it along. In the end, we decide that Coeur d'Alene is the ideal plac to go. We circle back around the lake and make our way to downtown aka the resort district.

It's one of those clouds-completely-evaporated-yesterday sunny days. After lunch, we meander around the streets, enjoying people watching. Seriously, a 16 year old was walking down the street in a furry tank top with holes in her fishnets, a denim miniskirt, and something resembling an animal shrieking on her feet. I'm not making it up. Who wears stuff like that? I can understand beach attire, or the casual I-don't-care-how-you-see-me look.  I can't count the number of people milling around in bikinis that I need glasses to see, or males strutting around shirtless with either a farmer's tan or a sunburn.

What I notice most of all, though, is the sheer number of people smoking.  I can't take three steps without walking into the smoke trail of another person. I'm guessing roughly one out of every three people that was at the lake yesterday had a cigarette clenched between their teeth.  Really, if you want to kill yourself, I can't stop you.  But c'mon, I don't deserve to die from your addiction.

Lines of cars and boats wait for their turn to launch or pull out of the water. Off to the left of the parking lot is a beautiful although rocky area to enjoy the water. Many people are taking advantage of it, and jumping in amidst the peals of laughter from their friends. The water must be cold, but I'm too far away to get wet, and not exactly dressed for it in jeans and a t-shirt.

Beyond the swimmers, a path leads up the hill, and groups of people can be seen hiking or leisurely strolling along the paved trail. We start on our way up, but we've been standing in the sun for at least half an hour.  We take two steps upwards.  Forget the trail. I'll look at the flower signs. We instead veer off to the left and after a glance at the signs, head for shade.
The alternative to hiking

It's nice to sit and cool down a little.  And so we sit and watch the world circle around.  One clearly brilliant person decides to drive their extra large boat between the trees and cars at the edge of the parking lot.  If their goal was to leave with a piece of each tree, they succeeded.  It sounded like sasquatch having a temper tantrum as they hit every tree and branches broke off into the boat.  A poor guy walking his dog under the trees had to run for cover.  Ah well, as my brother says, half of people are below average intelligence by definition.

In case the people in swimsuits and/or with boats weren't enough entertainment, there is also a baseball game being played right in front of us.

I took the liberty of explaining the basics to the Russian, because, well, that's about all I know about sports.

Eventually, we decided to continue walking.  The Russian had the brilliant idea of going on a cruise around the lake, so we headed toward the boardwalk.  By the hotel, there's a huge sign that explains the different types of cruises.  One is six hours and goes all the way to St. John River.  Sounds interesting.  We miss the daily cruise explanations until we have traversed the whole boardwalk and figured out that we missed the last cruise with the exception of the sunset dinner cruise.

Deciding that we should either purchase tickets for the Sunday brunch cruise or the 12:30 lake cruise, we  head down the beach to buy tickets.  Note: it takes us an hour to figure out where to buy tickets.  By then, we aren't sure we care enough to purchase them.  Instead, we keep walking through the smoke and sunscreen, past the superman underwear, through scantily clad women and people who should have covered their bodies up more.  Eventually, we arrive at the park.

It's pretty obvious I wasn't expecting prolonged exposure to the sun today, with my too big jeans elevating my core temperature.  We sit at the park and watch the basketball game and people grilling on a portable grill.  This reminds me that the 4th of July is almost here and we don't have a grill.

It's a tragedy.  How do you eat potato salad, grilled chicken/hamburgers/hot dogs, watermelon, and desserts with no grill?  I doubt we'll get a grill by the 4th.  Maybe the Longhorn will be open for take out? there's an acceptable solution.

But back to the day at hand.  We've spent quite a while perusing the streets and watching people run around in beach attire.  I cringe at the thought that I need to buy a swimsuit.  I'm one of those people who shouldn't put on a suit.  Nope.  Don't have the body for it.  But if I want to swim, I need one.  And, frankly, you can't go to Puerto Rico and never hit up the beach.

We while away the day people watching and eventually make our way over to trendy Calypso's for coffee* before facing the heatstroke inducing car.  We could have spent more time looking at the stores, but that's what we did the only other time we went to Coeur d'Alene.  We did browse an interesting art gallery last time.

To just waste time, our trip was fun.  Now it's time to buy me some shorts.  And I really need to learn Russian if I'm going to successfully eavesdrop while people watching.

*Very tasty.  I recommend it.

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