New Friends, ABBA and Gambling in Tahoe

24 08 2010

[Warning! We’ve been having so much fun in Tahoe that we haven’t kept up with our day-to-day blogging. This one will keep you busy for five solid minutes, so in this short attention-span Internet age, get ready. For those who can’t handle the length but still want to read, we’ve bolded some highlights.]

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We spent the past five days in beautiful Lake Tahoe and I haven’t been able to get enough of it!  Tahoe seems to have all the goodness of the parks (beautiful trails, a sparkling lake, lots of green) with the glitz and fun of the city (theater shows, music, fine dining).

At first, we were almost overwhelmed by the number of concerts, shows and activities scheduled for the weekend.  We slowly weeded out the ones that were not of interest, too costly or taking place on the other side of the lake and after all that we still had a decent selection left.

On Friday afternoon, we bumped into a local car show featuring stunning and glossy antique automobiles in tip top shape and then continued on to a local library sale.  On the way to the library (a 2+ mile walk), we spotted a few signs for yard sales listing bikes and detoured to check them out.  Little did we know that these yards were an extra mile plus in the wrong direction!  The bicycles were kid-size, so the sales were a no-go but the library was a huge success (over ten books and a stack of magazines for $2) and we managed to pick up a hitch bike rack and locks later that weekend.

Part Of The Antique Car Show

Part Of The Antique Car Show

After restocking on groceries, we hitched a ride back home with a couple from Maryland and struck up a great conversation.  Karen and Jim were the first people we hosted in our RV and it’s amazing how much you can have in common with seeming strangers – whether that Karen almost converted to Judaism and is practically a scholar of Orthodox theology or that Jim is getting surgery for a torn meniscus in a few days (like Jay had last year) or that both of them hope to retire to RV living in a couple of years.

Saturday morning started with a relaxing walk to the beach, followed by an afternoon in the hotel next door’s jacuzzi.  We then decided to splurge on ABBA tickets for the Saturday night show.  (I grew up on ABBA music.  My family has seen Mamma Mia at least three times, twice in New York and once in London, and I wanted to skip my senior year of high school to tour as a dancer with the off-broadway show.)  ABBA itself is no longer together, but the cover band that recorded the Mamma Mia CD – Abbacadabra – currently tours and they were fantastic.  I spent the hour and a half jumping and dancing, and I felt like the singers were performing to me at least half the time as the rest of the crowd was somewhat older and were stuck in their seats.

The Concert In Full Swing

The Concert In Full Swing

Amy With Three Of The Band/Cast Members

Amy With Three Of The Band/Cast Members

I convinced Yair to let us sign up for one of those timeshare presentations on Sunday, which would get us seventy-five dollars to use at any of the local restaurants, shows or shops. It was a grueling two hour presentation and of course they promised that no part of it would be high-pressure.  Ha!  Jay and I agreed that we would tell the salespeople that we couldn’t make a decision on the spot.  This made me all the more surprised when at the end of the presentation he turned to me with a smile and said “It’s up to you, sweetie.  I’ll do whatever you want.”  I almost said “Okay, let’s do it!” just to get back at him for putting the refusal on me.  The nerve.  🙂

We’ve been using every drop of our seventy-five dollar certificates living and eating like kings, and the best part of the presentation was meeting a very fun and interesting couple: Shea and Warren.  Like many of the people we’ve met here, they are military folk (marines and navy) and we spent a great evening together having drinks, inhaling the hotel’s all you can eat buffet and topping it off with a night swim.  As we sat down to the table with our food, Warren and Shea extended their hands and – when we were all holding hands – asked if we wanted to say grace. We deferred to them and he proceeded to ‘thank our heavenly father lord above for the food we are about to receive’.  Excluding an occasional television show, I had never actually seen anyone say grace and it was kind of sweet.

Warren and Shea stopped by our place the next afternoon to see if we wanted to meet up for a hike and… we had vanished!  Really we had just driven to the local Starbucks for a few hours of computing, but we were a bit amused by the idea of our entire house having moved or disappeared – kind of mysterious!

Reflecting on the weekend, I am definitely more frugal than Jay, but – after spending a little of our money on a great show and a little of someone else’s on great food – I can’t help but think that I’ve been too frugal.  I wouldn’t have gone to either the show or the buffet without Jay’s encouragement and both experiences have been highlights of our weekend.  You can get a lot of things for free in life, but sometimes paying money for a little extra something goes a long way. (On the same note, people’s immediate enjoyment of things often increases in line with money spent.)

On Monday afternoon on a lark, we decided to check out a local hotel called ‘The Fantasy Inn‘.  I was half terrified to go inside and suspected that we would find vibrating beds and kinky accoutrements, but it was actually a Christian-run establishment dedicated to romantic getaways with “Romeo and Juliet” suites and the like.  The coolest room of all was the Rain Forest suite, which had a 4’x9’ sunken jacuzzi pool in the room, two open air showers, plants, flowers and murals lining the walls.  We didn’t stay overnight, but will definitely keep it in mind if we ever find our way back to Tahoe.

One Of The Rooms With A Sunken Jacuzzi

One Of The Rooms With A Sunken Jacuzzi

On Monday evening, we met our final interesting character of the weekend: Bud, a former construction worker in his mid-50s with modest means who lives in a run-down RV from the 1970s that he fixed up himself.  We spent a good half hour talking to Bud, the type of person you might peg as homeless (based on looks and demeanor) if he did not have a motorhome to call home.  What struck Jay most about the interaction was that Bud always has a pantry stocked with food so that he can help anyone who is hungry by sharing a meal.  Yair figured that if Bud is able to do something like this, then how much more so should we live with the same generosity of spirit.

We ended off our stay with a risky gamble and a whopping win in the casino down the street.  Jay twisted my arm and deposited an entire dollar bill in a Chinese-themed slot machine game called “Great Wall”.  Neither of us exactly knew how to play but after pressing the ‘start’ and ‘stop’ buttons a handful of times, our luck turned and our credits were increased from 38 cents to $1.38 at which point we triumphantly cashed out.

Retirement Money!

Retirement Money!

I’ve never been around casinos before and I imagine that they get old after a while, but all the glitz and excitement here in Tahoe has made the weekend such fun.  Reno and Vegas must really be something!

On that note, we head to Reno later today, where we hope to meet up with Shea and Warren and prep for Black Rock City and Burning Man.  Can’t wait!

posted by amybetho

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6 responses

24 08 2010
Talia

lol – that sounds like our “gambling” experience in Vegas.

25 08 2010
jayhorowitz

Won 38 cents? 🙂

26 08 2010
Diane

My friend and I were lucky enough to catch Abbacadabra in Reno for New Year’s this year. We had a blast. The woman seated next to us at the show was a friend of theirs and filled us in on their story. It turned out to be my friend’s very last New Year’s celebration and I take comfort in knowing how much he enjoyed the show.

27 08 2010
jayhorowitz

How cool! The New Years show must have been craaazy.

26 08 2010
Denise

Sounds like a lucrative deal out there in Tahoe! A whopping $0.38! Thanks for sharing.

27 08 2010
jayhorowitz

I’m not counting on it to pay for gas, but so far so good 🙂

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