Holly Folly in P-town

Real, ready for folly Réal, ready for folly!

'Tis the season

It was much too cold in Palm Springs last Friday, so Réal and I went some place warmer — Provincetown. Yes, that Provincetown, way out there on the tip of Cape Cod, exposed to the harsh elements of a New England winter. But the travel gods shined down upon us. When we left Palm Springs Friday morning, it was 38°F. When we landed in Nashville, it was 65°F, and when we got to Providence, where we began our drive to the Cape, it was 69°F.

In fact, the gods were good to us from the very beginning. Although we had boarding passes in group A, we had dilly-dallied over our breakfast and arrived at the gate to find almost everyone else on board. Nevertheless, we were still able to score two aisle seats near the rear of the plane. Then the flight attendants asked for a volunteer to give up an aisle or window seat so a mother could sit together with her two small children. Hearing the magic words "free cocktails to Nashville," Réal immediately offered his seat, and we quickly negotiated free cocktails for me as well. The trip was off to a great start!

The forecast had been for miserable weather in P-town: cold, wet, and windy, with cryptic comments about a "best day for skiing." The weather forecast was, as usual, wrong. We awoke on Saturday morning to brilliant blue skies and a warm sun. The wind was a bit nippy, I will admit, especially if you got out of protected areas. But for December in New England, it was marvelous. The same was true of Sunday.

Tennessee Williams

We had booked the Tennessee Williams room at the Carpe Diem guesthouse, where all the rooms are named for famous authors. Our hosts Rainer, Juergen, and Hans could not have been more gracious. Inasmuch as we were arriving a bit late, they left a key taped to the door with a note giving directions to our room, where a plate of freshly baked Christmas cookies was waiting. "Keep away from the cookies," intoned Réal, and I obeyed, while he was watching. When he turned his back I did sneak one of the smaller ones that wouldn't be noticeable by its absence.

Our days began with a sumptuous breakfast buffet that featured eggs cooked to order by Juergen. Nourished and energized, we shopped 'til we dropped, since practically everything in town was on sale for at least 25% to 50% off. It was the Holly Folly weekend, the last gasp of tourism for the year, and the merchants wanted to clear their shelves and ring up as many sales as they could. It can be a long, hard winter in a seasonal town.

sneaker coasters

Without a doubt, our best find was sets of coasters in the form of little sneakers to fit over the "foot" of your wine glass. Who could resist?

Evenings were devoted to folly. Saturday night we attended a concert by the Boston Gay Men's Chorus, followed by dancing at the A-House. And therein lies a tale. While we were dancing, a screw holding the right lens in my eyeglasses fell out, and the lens popped out onto the floor where it disappeared among the fake snowflakes, despite the best efforts of half a dozen people searching for it. When it seemed irretrievably lost we resumed dancing, with downcast eyes nevertheless, hoping to see a glint of light off the lens. It was not to be. About ten minutes later, however, I felt something under the heel of my boot and there it was — miraculously unbroken, unscratched, and none the worse for having spent at least 10 minutes among the feet of dancing dervishes.

Real and Holly

On Sunday, Réal's friend Holly drove all the way from Manchester, NH, to have lunch with us.

And then the rains came. During Sunday night, it began to rain heavily, and by breakfast time on Monday the rain began turning to snow. A light covering of snow could be seen in many places along the road back to Providence.

When we booked our flights (using free tickets on Southwest), our choice was to leave Providence early in the morning or late in the afternoon. We chose the afternoon departure to allow more time in P-town and time for a relaxed trip back to the airport. The confirmation only showed flight 2802 leaving Providence at 5pm and arriving Ontario at 10:30pm. It seemed odd that there would be a full planeload of people wanting to fly everyday between those two cities, but.... whatever. It was only a few days before we departed that it finally dawned on me that flight 2802 might be a direct flight (no change of planes) and not a non-stop flight. Who knew we would be making stops in Chicago and Phoenix? However, we managed to snag seats in the first row, so we had plenty of legroom. No tray tables, mind, but lots of legroom.

When the plane arrived at Chicago Midway, we realized there is a downside to those seats. While the plane was being serviced, they had the doors on both sides of the fuselage open, and the wind simply whipped through the cabin. Only three of us remained on board, as we were the only ones continuing on the flight past Chicago. The new flight crew took great pity on the two pathetic shivering souls in the first row and fetched every available blanket on the plane to swaddled us in layers to keep us warm. It would have made a great picture. You'll just have to imagine.

Later in the flight when a passenger gave the flight attendant a bunch of extra drink coupons, the attendant came and offered us free cocktails! We had clearly made an impression.

And speaking of pictures, check out the slideshow.