DAY 5 - Western Monuments
Had I known where this day was headed, I might have stayed in bed. Foreshadowing
We started early with the same breakfast buffet as the day before and climbed onto the motorcoach for a very long bus ride to Moab, UT. The exciting part of this day, I thought, was going to be a visit to the Navajo Nation. What Disney did extremely well on all of the other tours was give us immersion experiences into the cultures we visited that we couldn't create on our own. In Ecuador, we learned flute making and were given cooking and weaving demonstrations, for example. I was hoping for something like that.
What was set up for us was a horse of a different color. First, a group lunch in a diner run by a local tour company. They weren't really set up to deal with a group as large as ours so it was quite chaotic, but we did enjoy samplying a Fry Bread Taco. Fry Bread is now on my favorite foods list. Because it took so long to get served at lunch, we didn't have any time to check out the local Trading Post and see the Navajo products before we were whisked onto 'open air' pick-up trucks (seats placed in the open back end for us tourists) for a tour of Monuments Valley.
"Open air" is the operative phrase here. The wind was blowing so hard that none of us could look at the sights around us; we had to keep our faces as sheltered as possible to keep sand grit from getting into our noses and mouths We stopped at one point for a 7 minute shopping spree at some tables set with Navajo-made products, and the young woman told me there was a wind-advisory; that the winds were extremely high for the area. On the way back into the back of our pickup, I asked the Local Expert to please lower the plastic flaps on the sides of the pick up to protect us from the wind. He told me he'd see how it went, and left the flaps rolled up. At the next stop - another Navajo jewelry shopping opportunity - I asked our Adventure Guide to lower the flaps when I saw that the Local Expert wasn't going to do it. She told there wasn't enough time and if I'd asked earlier, they could have done it. I told her I did ask earlier, but it made no difference. The flaps stayed up, and we suffered through the ride back to the Trading Post (I think maybe she would have been more interested in bringing the flaps down if she'd been back in the open air with us instead of riding in the cab with the Local Expert) Add to this that the Local Expert forgot to turn his PA system on for the first half of the tour so we heard nothing but wind and sand beating against our eardrums, and the result for this experience is not a happy one. Local Expert: -2 Adventure Guide: -2 Tour -2
Back on the motorcoach, I made a point of letting the Adventure Guide know that the experience was horrible for me on all three counts. Her response to me was that the wind was always high on this tour and I was the first person she'd ever heard complain, implying I guess that I'm just crotchety. I suppose that may be the case, because I'm docking her another -1 for a dismissive response to feedback
We still had three hours to go on the bus. I had sand in my bronchials and throat, in my ears, in my nose, in my hair, and I felt grumpy with the experience in general. My all time cure for this kind of a situation: take a nap. So, I did, hoping for a fresh start in Moab.
We arrived on the late side at our resort, and headed inside for a Welcome snack and orientation. The snack was punch and cookies. I asked the waitperson if we could unsweetened iced tea or diet soda and maybe some fresh fruit, and she said no. The only subsitute was water... so, Alan and I sat and watched the others have a snack. As the Adventure Guides were handing out our room keys, I mentioned to her what had happened regarding the snack, thinking the hotel might not be set up for our special meal needs and asked her to check into it. She seemed to think it was already handled. She was busy with the keys so I let it go and hoped....
The room was spacious and much aligned with my previous Adventures by Disney experiences
After a quick bath to wash the grit (and memories) away, we headed to the hotel banquet room for what turned out to be a Taco Bar buffet. I got up to the bar, and the Adventure Guide informed that the only things on the bar that didnt' have meat in them were the taco shells and the refried beans. I told her this was unacceptable to me - I needed more than just carbs with type 1 Diabetes. She asked me what I wanted, and I suggested cheese for protein would be good, and she pointed to the grated cheese on the condiment bar. I was thinking more along the lines of an amount that would be equal to the size of a protein serving, but I could see that she didn't intend to do anything more than point out what was available on the buffet presented, so I did what I could to make a complete meal for myself. Adventure Guide: -1 Food: -1
LIke I said, if I'd known how this day was going to go, I would have stayed in bed.
At the Grand Canyon, there was wifi in the lobby. Here's Alan getting a final download done right before we climb on the bus. Has computer, ready to trek; >)
Fry Bread Taco for lunch in the Navajo Nation
Another option at the diner was Stew.. served with Fry Bread, of course.
This is where we toured. You can see how much sand is blowing.
This was the high point of the tour; he had some nice pieces of jewelry.. blowing in the wind :P
Our room at the Red Cliffs Lodge was spacious and free wifi IN the room.
Nice bathroom counter
and so glad to have a tubbie!
There was even a kitchen area, and it would have been really cool if we could have gone to a store and stocked snacks!
Our 'backyard' hosted a few feathered friends