Tori was lying on the bed crying about how badly her swollen, red eyes stung. I blindly groped my way to the car to find a store that sold eye drops at 10 p.m.
Returning to the hotel, I dosed us both with eye drops and spent the rest of the night tossing and turning and hoping that I wouldn’t awaken to find that I had been stricken blind.
Kerri, in my absence, had slipped down to the front desk to alert them to the fact that their pool chemicals might be blinding customers and that many people might be reluctant to return to a hotel that permanently disabled them.
This morning, I awoke and was delighted to be able to see the Oreo cookie race car truck in the parking lot. It wasn’t the truck so much as the fact that I could see at all.
I slipped out of the room to grab some coffee from the Earthly Paradise of Eternal Breakfast downstairs. As I sat, slurping coffee and reading my book, the hotel manager (the same manager who had directed us to a delightful Italian restaurant yesterday) came and asked me if I was the person who had had a problem with the pool.
“If, by a problem, you mean that I was reduced to tears by the horrible, burning in my eyes, then yes. I am the person.” She apologized profusely and said that she would give us a free night to compensate us for any inconvenience.
“If I go swimming again tonight and it burns, can I get tomorrow night free, too?” I asked.
“I would suggest that if you swim tonight, you keep your head out of the water,” she answered.
I thanked her and zipped up to the room to share the glad tidings with my family. Awakening them from a sound sleep by shouting about a free room was, in retrospect, a poor idea. They did eventually recover and after a hearty breakfast of waffles, we headed off to Colonial Williamsburg.
Tori, at 10 years old, is enamored of ”the olden days” in a way that you normally don’t see in people who are younger than 95. She loves to read stories of colonial times, she sews her own dolls, wears a sun bonnet, and even made a sleeping cap like the kind she read about in Little House on the Prairie.
Colonial Williamsburg was a place she REALLY wanted to go. We were told by several knowledgeable friends that a visit to Colonial Williamsburg was interesting and should cost no more than the price of a new home. We were told by the same knowledgeable friends that Colonial Williamsburg is open to the public for walking around, absolutely free. Only a few buildings required tickets.
Fresh from the victory of scoring a free night at the hotel, it seemed that we might also spend a free day at Colonial Williamsburg. We wandered through the streets, feeling triumphantly brilliant, having beat the system, enjoying all the sights for free.
(The Governor's Palace)
Except for the sights that Tori really wanted to see. Like the palace. And the weaver. And the play. And the dressmaker.
While it is technically free to wander through the streets of CW, you are limited to wandering the streets and peering over hedges. They do allow everyone full, free, unfettered access to their many fine gift shoppes, but if you want to see anything besides the outside of buildings and the insides of gift shoppes, you need a ticket.
Alex and Kerri had no pressing desire to visit the dressmaker or the weaver or the palace, so they opted to wander around and drink $50 sodas. Tori and I got tickets and had a wonderful time touring the palace, visiting the copper and the weaver and the jail.
(Colonial Williamsburg's free babysitting service.)
The cooper spent lots of time explaining his craft to us and, as interesting as it was to listen to him, I was even more intrigued by how skinny he was. He was like a human skeleton. His ribs looked like those rollers that they use to display horrid hot dogs in gas stations and convenience stores. It made it hard to pay attention to his talk.
(The famous Drooling Oxen of Colonial Williamsburg.)
I learned many fascinating facts throughout the day. The most alarming was that when you were put in the stockades, your time actually locked in might be for only an hour or two, I always assumed that you were locked in for an entire day or more. But while you were locked in, the sheriff was obligated to nail your earlobes to the stock itself. To release you, he was required to cut your earlobes off. Hence the origin of the expression, “Earmarked”.
Don’t say you never learn anything reading my blog.
After a very fun day at CW, we headed back to the hotel, detouring slightly to take a ride on the Jamestown Ferry. The road between Jamestown and Scotland is bisected by a river, making driving difficult at best. Rather than choose the easy, obvious solution of building a bridge or redirecting the road, the brilliant engineers at the Virginal Department of Transportation came up with a wild, unexpected idea. A ferry. A ferry that runs 24 hours a day, every day of the year, ferrying cars across the river for free.
(The Pocahontas - used instead of a bridge in Virginia.)
We happily waited in line for the ferry and, when our turn came, drove on to the boat (we were on The Pocahontas). We spent 15 minutes tootling across the river, enjoying some delightful scenery. There was an upper deck that was accessible via a stairway. It was a bit treacherous going upstairs because you had to step over all the DOT employees who were sprawled out across the “NO SITTING ON STAIRS!!” warning painted on every step.
We enjoyed our trip so much that when we disembarked, we got right back in line for a return trip.
It was getting late and we were all hungry. We found a terrific little Mediterranean restaurant and enjoyed many kinds of kebabs and rices.
The soft scents of lemon and oregano wafted through the car on the ride back to the hotel. I was smiling contentedly, reliving the dinner in my mind.
My joyous revels ended abruptly when the muffler dropped off the car.