Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Texas Town of Lies Part 2

After lunch, we headed out to hit the shops. Ben was jovial and friendly, holding my hand as we walked down the street. At first, I just saw typical boutiques stuffed full of the usual rhinestone studded purses, broomstick skirts and embroidered shirts. Then- I saw it. The Christmas Store! When I was young, Mom used to take us to Texas Town all the time for shopping and poking around. The Christmas Store was one place we went to every year, because it was all about Christmas! I pulled Ben inside, beaming happily.

"Look!" I sighed in delight as we walked inside. Christmas trees and twinkle lights were everywhere, with red and gold ornaments covering every square inch of the store. Ben looked horrified.

"You can buy something if you like," Ben said. "So shop around and have fun."

I was examining the ornaments on a tree when I was struck by a brilliant idea.

"OOOOOHHHH!" I shrieked. "I know! We can get a Christmas ornament. When we would go on vacations, we always picked out a Christmas ornament as a memento."

"We have Christmas ornaments," Ben said, unimpressed. "We don't need to buy one just to buy something."

"But it's a tradition," I pleaded.

"Well, get one you like," Ben said. "Don't buy crap just to buy crap."

We set off to the back of the store where I ran into some cute displays. They were whimsical and very Grinchish- a ballerina frog on top of an open flower, a person turned Christmas tree, and mice wearing giant hearts.

"Aren't these cute?" I exclaimed. I picked up a piece to look at it closer. I began to put it back in it's spot, when all of the sudden, something fell off it.

"You broke it!" Ben gasped in horror.

"No I didn't!" I said, panicking to pick up the tiny bouquet. "Where did this thing go anyway?"

Ben peered at it. "The frog was holding it," he said. "You broke it." He scowled when he saw the price tag. "This is fifty dollars," he said, looking at me with an expressionless face.

He took it up to the counter and told the lady I had accidently broken the bouquet and we were willing to pay for it. The woman picked up the bouquet, which broke in half, and looked at it. She told us not to worry about it and put the piece in the back. I felt horrible and relieved.

"Well, keep looking," Ben said as I scurried off to hide in a room. I wanted to die.

"Let's just go," I muttered, looking around frantically for the nearest exit.

"No, we need to buy something now," he said. "They were really nice."

In the end, I bought a $5 flamingo ornament and a few patterned Kleenexes.

Relieved, we continued to shop where Ben purchased a few fun things for his office and we walked around. After awhile, the heat and lack of originality began to wear on us. When I was younger, the stores were more unique. Now, the boutiques were beginning to meld into each other, with the same silver jewelry and funky dishtowels and bathsoaps.

However, I was on a mission. We couldn't check into our hotel until 3, and it was a little after one. In my Internet research, I had discovered a infamous bakery. A bakery stuffed with cookies, sweet rolls and concoctions. A bakery with cinnamon rolls as big as your head. I had to find these cinnamon rolls. It was the Holy Grail of our journey.

After we had walked up and down the entire street, I had not been able to sniff out my bakery. We stopped in an ice cream shop to drink some water and relax in the cool air. I found a free map and pounced on it, searching the ads. There it was! The fabled bakery! And best of all, it was only a block away! I was exhilarated. Refreshed, I dragged Ben down the street to the bakery. We wound through a garden and the backs of buildings until we emerged onto a great patio. Stone pathways carpeted the grass as a blackened fountain burbled quietly in the background. The bakery was the bottom half of a two story house, and diners were eating on the patio. I had been there before. I sensed it.

Plunging into the store, I fought the yuppies who were getting smoothies and soy lattes. I pushed my way forward until I was face to face with the window, scanning the shelves. Eagerly searching, I found the cinnamon rolls. And felt disappointment hit me like a rock.

These cinnamon rolls were not big. They were only a bit bigger than my fist. And- horror of horrors- they were stuffed with nuts! Big, thick disgusting nuts. I was depressed. I was distressed. And I had a violent craving for sugar.

We slunk away, Ben patting my shoulder. They had lied to us about lunch, and they had lied to us about cinnamon rolls. I was about to find out that the biggest lie was about to slap us across the face.

After walking around, the heat was just too much. We decided to head to the hotel a bit early and check in. After swimming and relaxing, we would try a Mexican restaurant some locals had recommended. I was very excited, and grinned the whole four blocks there. It was a short trip.

We checked in, and drove around to the side. I felt an uneasy feeling in my stomach as I looked at the hotel. The rooms opened to the outside, and it had more of a motel feel to it. It did not look like the website at all.

"This doesn't look like the picture does it?" Ben squinted, staring at it.

"No," I admitted. "Should I get the bags out?"

"Let's go check things out first," he said, locking the car. We opened our door, and walked inside quietly. The room was a standard motel room: Cheap furniture, ratty carpet and a grimy bedspread. To clarify, I have nothing wrong with motels. From the website and cost of this place though, this was not what I had expected. Still, I remained hopeful until I looked at Ben's face.

"You don't like it," I said.

"It's crappy!" Ben exploded. "This is a crappy motel! This would be find if I was staying here for business for a night, but this isn't where you stay on your honeymoon! I wanted it to be romantic, sweet, fun......I'm going to have to deal with screaming kids next door."

I wanted to cry. " Well, do you want to check out? Think they'll give us our money back?"

"We can try," he said confidently.

So we drove back to the front and Ben told the woman that we were not pleased with our room and we wanted our money back. He was very blunt about the website, and she admitted the pictures focused on the pool, the best area of the hotel.

"What do you want to do now?" Ben said as we posed at the car.

"Let's go home," I said. "We can go swimming and have hamburgers with Karen and Dave."

We drove back quietly, both trying to cheer the other up. Ben was depressed because he thought I would be sad. I was distressed because after getting Ben out and researching everything, it had all been lies. After a comforting meal of overflowing waffles and late night swim, I crawled into bed with a lighter heart.

The moral of the story: Never trust a bakery that claims they have cinnamon rolls and never stay in a small Texas town for your honeymoon. Go find a big fancy hotel that has pictures of the rooms. Otherwise, you could wind up sleeping with roaches. And you know what they say- don't let sleeping roaches lie.