IFO took a day and a half off to great benefit and for surprisingly small cost.
Metropolitan Opera performance – $17
Park Motel – $46
Dinner – $6
Transportation – $23
Meeting new friends, finding two news/feature stories, being overcome by emotion at opera – Priceless
Here’s how to have a luxury experience on a shoestring. The opera was the Met in HD. The motel was a hidden gem in expensive Newport, Oregon, dinner was Asian food about a 30 second walk from the motel, transportation was gas in my 24 mpg, 10 year-old Nissan.
The dinner at the Kum Yon Restaurant was so huge, IFO could only eat half, so the rest will be nuked tonight. The restaurant is so local, it doesn’t have its own Web page. The waitress was sweet, even though the menu sounded very unfriendly (“No substitutions!”). She offered to give an extra spring roll in place of BBQ Pork and changed Pork Fried Rice to Steamed Rice. She brought the traditional little take-home box for the remaining Kung Pao Chicken without being asked and personally put the leftovers into it at the table.
The motel, which looks much worse in real life than on its Website quoted a room rate that was LOWER than the lowest one on the site! When have your ever seen that??? Right – only in Switzerland, and then you have to be sure to insist on the room you actually reserved. The Park’s room was like a trip back to the 1950s – clean, but small, dark beige walls just crying out for the neon turquoise and pink of that era, but it had WifFi, for goodness sake! What do you want for $46!
It had a surprisingly large, new bathroom with water controls that didn’t require an engineering degree to operate. And finally, it was clear the owners were foreigners, because they assumed a high level of learning on the part of their guests (similar to their own, perhaps), with courteous little notes placed all around requesting things like “Open the window a crack in the bathroom while you shower to avoid setting off the smoke alarm.” and “Please turn off the wall heater before you leave the bathroom.” And “Please do not remove – this is the WiFi booster.” Another point in their favor – the TV clicker was not fastened down.
The owner of the Motel was from Jamaica, whose parents were from India and France; his wife’s parents are from China. “Wow! Your kids must be geniuses,” IFO exclaimed without thinking. “Well,” the owner said, modestly, “My son has just flown in to Portland to do some work for Oracle.”
The opera was a favorite – Lucia de Lammermoor. The atmosphere at the Performing Arts Center was beach casual – friendly, talkative, jolly music lovers.
To top it all off, today was the day of the Annual Blessing of the Fleet – a very emotional time when fishermen and their spouses remember their lost comrades and celebrate the joys of fishing for a living. It will make a great story if we find a buyer.