Friday, May 19, 2006

How to Feel Rich Without Actually Being So

If you follow celebrity gossip as religiously as I do (and you SHOULD), you may have heard that billionaire Brandon Davis was taped telling Paris Hilton regarding Lindsay Lohan, "I think she's worth about seven million, which means she's really poor. It's disgusting. She lives in a motel." (I just realized, "Paris Hilton" is totally the name of a hotel too!) If $7,000,000=poor, then I really should be dead, having succummed to scurvy because I could not feed myself on my meager pennies.

And what does this have to do with anything? Well, it has to do with a class trip I took to Longwood Gardens last week. Longwood was previously owned by the Duponts, who pretty much owned everything in eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware at one point in time. Although Dupont probably didn't make fun of people who had $7 million, he did built a 175-room mansion on his 2500 acre estate, which is basically the same thing. Luckily for us, however, Longwood gardens (not the same thing as his house) is now open to the public, so everyone who has $16 can feel rich too.

I began my exploration by walking out of my huge conservatory to observe my multiple fountains. (Although they suck because they don't shoot 240 feet into the air and dance to music like the ones in Las Vegas. The Duponts have no taste, really.)

I then strolled through many well-groomed trees (some with Christmas lights still on them!), and toured the inside of one of the many homes on the property. I saw the Italian Water Garden, and a large pond that had actual fish in it. I was a little disappointed. For a place with a $10 million budget, I at least expected baby sharks and clown fish. I wandered on back to my massive conservatory and saw THE COOLEST BONSAI TREES EVER. Mr. Miagi has nothing on this:

My favorite room overall was the "silver garden," featuring mostly cacti and the biggest agave I've ever seen. I find it ironic that after living in New Mexico for two years, I had to come to Pennsylvania to see a giant agave. I guess rich people think its a fun challenge to raise non-native plant species to giant proportions. (Come to think of it, I DO have a 50-foot saguaro on the porch. . .)

And finally, I was forced to engage in some predicable tourist behavior: taking close-up flower pictures. They make you sign a form when you go in saying that you will do this. True story.

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