Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Jackson, Wyoming

This past weekend we headed south to Jackson, Wyoming, which required a drive through Idaho. It was my first time to see Idaho, and let me tell you, that potato stereotype exists for a reason. Anyway, Jackson is an odd place. The town is obviously extremely wealthy, and filled with expensive shops, art galleries, and only white people. Everyone is dressed impeccably and there are plenty of BMW's and Audi's parked along the streets. I looked at some real estate listings, and it seems pretty difficult to buy a decent house for less than $1 million.

Oddly, Jackson still tries to have an "old west" atmosphere, which comes off as out of place and sometimes, just plain wrong. A perfect example of this is the "shootout," which happens in the town square every night. I was expecting some guys running around shooting blanks at each other, but instead got an actor dressed like an old west cowboy lip-syncing to "Bad to the Bone" and wiggling his hips about in a non-western-cowboy fashion. There were also these "dancing girls" who pulled a poor man out of the audience and forced him to dance with them. Weird.

There are plenty of shops in which to browse, and some very good restaurants. We ate at a Thai restaurant (called "Thai Me Up") that, despite its cheesy name, had excellent food. This was the first time in many, many months that I actually enjoyed a restaurant's food and felt that I couldn't have made it at home.

Because, predictably, even the Motel 6 costs $100 a night, we camped 10 miles away in Grand Tetons National Park. It was August, so I couldn't figure out why it was winter in Jackson - the temperature dropped to into the 40s that night. (Before going back to the campground, we tried to find a coffee shop to sit in to pass the time and get a warm drink. But there wasn't one! If anyone needs a sure-fire investment opportunity, open a Starbucks in Jackson. You will get rich.)

The Tetons are quite distinctive; pointy and jagged. I wasn't even tempted to hike in them because they are so much cooler to look at from afar.

The next day we took a ski lift up to the top of a mountain right next to the town. It was my first time on a ski lift, and I was a little anxious about the jumping on and off, but it turned out to be really fun. This ski resort also has an "alpine slide" - a slide that is almost a half-mile long! I was SO excited... but then I found out (1) that one ride costs $15, and (2) you sit on a little board with wheels and go down a concrete chute. If I could have sat on a burlap bag and shot down a wooden slide, I totally would have done it.

By accident, we happened to visit the weekend that Jackson's Scottish Festival was going on. I was super excited for this, because I had not been to a Scottish festival in years and I am a former Highland dancer. As you remember, the Irish dancing at the Sweet Pea Festival turned out to be majorly lame, so I was happy to see some talented girls. If I ever move back to a city, I'm going to continue Highland dancing... I'll be the weird old lady in all the classes, but at least from the back I still appear to be a 12-year-old.

There were also bagpipers, of course.

Also, there was an Art Fair going on the same weekend. I know - two festivals in one weekend?? Stimulatory overload! We walked around and saw a lot of neat art, but of course it was too expensive to buy (well, maybe not for the wealthy Jacksonians.) All in all, a pretty good weekend.
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