This is Part Two of my story of winning the grand prize in the ‘Kensho: A Modern Awakening’ contest. You can read Part One here.
We are celebrities, uh huh
I won the ‘Kensho: A Modern Awakening’ contest in the winter of 2011 but the 2012 4th of July holiday turned out to be the perfect time to go. Caitlin was now living in Dallas and could either stay with us or at least hang out when she wasn’t working. The certificate said to call the executive offices to make our reservations. That was my first clue that this might not be your normal hotel stay. They in turn instructed me to go to ‘Celebrity Services’ when I checked in, not the usual reservation desk. This turned out to be a very good thing since the line for that desk was pretty long on the morning of the 4th.
Celebrity Services was behind a frosted glass wall in the lobby, with no signage. It looked like it might just be executive offices, or something like that. I suppose real celebrities would like that better than a big neon sign saying ‘come bug us, we have celebrities in here!’ In spite of my new found celebrity status I was not expecting a rush of autograph seekers.
I was grateful for them because most of the other patrons had luggage amounts like this to check in.
A third Celebrity Services Peep (not sure if they have an actual title, their card just says ‘celebrity services’), Paula, brought us up to our room along with the Bell Hop and luggage to explain the details of our new humble abode, the 5th floor Presidential Suite. This was a good thing since Jed Clampett (me) didn’t really know where to start. This is why.
The one oversight was that she didn’t explain was the shower, which had about 14 knobs and a steamer that I didn’t figure out until I was in the middle of a ‘death by steaming’ James Bond assassination attempt. But I survived not terribly worse for wear. It made Linda laugh at me til she cried, so there’s that.
One of the best things as we arrived was we got to taste the amazing treats Caitlin had made the night before for us. She loves doing holiday goodies so why not make them for the 4th of July, right? Check these out. They were SO delicious!
This was our view.
After we settled in we went to the outdoor pool (they also have an indoor pool and a waterpark). The pool was filled to the brim with kids splashing and having fun and I didn’t feel safe bringing my camera phone out but here is a pic of it when it is pretty and empty.
Trust me when I say it was hot, fun, crowded and loud, just like it is suppose to be on a summer holiday. My exercise in the pool was swimming underwater from Linda and Caitlin’s dangling legs to the opposite side of the pool and back, my challenge was winding my way through legs and bodies. I did that again and again. It was fun and I only kicked one or two people. Really. I do think one lady thought I was an octopus or something when I swam by.
After we finished with the pool we went back upstairs and changed for dinner. We had originally made reservations for the Hotel’s Italian restaurant, Zeppoles, for that night but decided we would go into the small town of Grapevine and see if we couldn’t find a more 4th of July, American type dinner. We ended up at Pappadeaux’s, a cajun restaurant, of all places. It wasn’t exactly ‘all-american’ but it was really good anyway!
As we drove back into the hotel area the roads were packed with people coming out to see the fireworks. Luckily we got a bit lost and took the road behind the hotel to get there, missing the main drag filled with cars. Mistakes happen for a reason, right? As we went into the lobby Linda and Caitlin decided they wanted to get a drink to bring up to the room. I don’t drink so I just went straight up while they went to the bar in the lobby. When I get upstairs, what should I find but that my new best friends at Celebrity Services (as Linda kept teasing me about) had a bottle of champagne and 3 Creme Brulee desserts waiting for us!
I immediately called the girls downstairs to tell them not to bother with the drinks, but they didn’t answer their phones. I arranged some chairs and placed the champagne and dessert cart near the window from which we would be watching the fireworks. I then waited and waited, continually opening the front door, hoping they would be up soon since I knew the show was about to begin. Finally they showed up, having gone to another bar in the giant atrium in the center of the hotel complex to find a quicker bartender. So much for that idea. Anyway, we popped the champagne right as the first fireworks exploded in the sky.
We not only saw our fireworks perfectly but we could also see at least 9 other fireworks going off in the far distance. See the photo of our view in the daytime above and you can imagine how easy it would be to see them. We turned on the TV and it had a fireworks show with great music on. It was a perfect accompaniment. After the music stopped Caitlin started singing every patriotic song she could think of and Linda and I sang along. Amazingly we knew almost all the words to all the songs! It really was a fantastic night.