My eyes were already open by the time the girls started shifting around the hotel room in the dark. I was hoping I’d drift off again before it was time to really get started as I had a bit of trouble finding my way to dreamland last night. As soon as I remembered that today was somebody’s thirteenth birthday though, the day already started to look brighter. It’s not everyday one starts the journey into teenager-hood. So, I rubbed my eyes, took a survey of sore body parts, and stumbled my way into the bathroom to change clothes. I blinked furiously, hoping my pupils would adjust to the glare from the porcelain appliances. Once it was bearable to open my eyes, I pulled on my swimsuit and tossed a loose shirt on over it. Today was water park day!
Unfortunately, the breakfast options this morning were the hotel free breakfast or McDonalds. The hotel’s breakfast is fairly atrocious, but I’ve so many moral and ethical objections to the evil Mickey D’s corporation that I opted for a small bagel and some frozen cream cheese. It wasn’t bad, really, once everything thawed out, and it weighed much lighter on my conscious. In truth, my primary objection to the fast food chain is my tendency to projectile vomit after eating it. Ever since I was a child, their products never sat well in my stomach. However, knowing that McDonald’s is a major contributor to rainforest destruction doesn’t sit well with me either. Everything from the soy that feeds their chickens to the coffee they brew is directly linked to acres of Brazilian rainforest we will never get back. I could go on, but that’s another post (or five) for another time. Suffice it to say, if you love rainforests and hate climate change, you don’t support McDonalds.
Back to water park day. After another pleasant drive through rural Kentucky, our tires crunched against the gravel of the Venture River Water Park parking lot. We made our way swiftly through turnstiles and picked up the key to our little cabana. Two plastic deck chairs and a wooden lockbox waited for us in the shade under a wooden rooftop, where we unloaded towels and cell phones and flip flops. Diving right into the action, all four of us headed to a cluster of pink and purple pipes to pick up matching inner tubes. I can’t help being a little proud of the way ELW’s seven-year-old tackled the slides so fearlessly. I’m sure I practiced my rollercoaster scream on every single one.
Without delving deeply into politics here, I have to express that I’ve been a bit anxious about traveling with so much violence in the news lately. I’m afraid any large gathering is going to disintegrate into a race riot. But, today I saw people I would describe – for lack of a more fitting term – as rednecks being just as friendly to the park’s black patrons as they were with each other. I saw a number of Muslim women in line for water slides free from harassment, discrimination, and even the whispered derogatory comment. It’s a welcome sight. I have a little more faith now. Which is good, since I’m heading into what all signs indicate will be one hell of a gathering of people. Every hotel within 200 miles is booked up.