I'm back! Did you miss me (as requested)?

I am very aware that it is difficult to make a case for the fact that I am mightier in the face of all the silence. I'll be honest; I've been tired. It turns out that meeting hmmm...let's say meeting 127 new people (There were 125 of us; I knew 2 before I got there; but I also chatted with several members of the hotel staff and the lead singer of the Ton Tons, so yeah. 127.), dancing, swimming, drinking, trying to make a plan for a shiny new life, and driving for many, many hours takes a lot out of a girl.

It was good. I wish you had been there.

I think I'm going to have to take it in pieces, so there will be further camp dispatches to come, but we'll start small. It's less overwhelming that way.

1. A salute to Joanne Harris whose book Gentlemen and Players--in CD form--I listened to alll the way there and allllllll the way home.

2. I stayed the night at the Crescent Hotel in Beverley Hills before I went to camp. When I pulled up to the [compulsory] valet (p.s. I never use valet parking because I resent paying for parking and I have tipping anxiety) I was all sweaty and t-shirt clad and shaky from the scary LA freeways and the disinclination of the populous to let anyone change lanes under any circumstances. I told the valet that I felt like I was one of the Beverly Hillbillies. I'm pretty sure that saying that made me even more one of the Beverley Hillbillies. I'm also pretty sure that he was from another country and had never encountered the Beverly Hillbillies. So that went well.

3. I bathed and changed and later looked totally like I belonged in the swanky lobby. In case you worried.

4. Marja came to see me, which is always a good thing.

5. The bartender gave me better directions to Palm Springs than Google did.

6. The Crescent has perhaps the most comfortable bed in the world. I also found the sheets to smell very faintly, and yet not unpleasantly, of grape soda.

7. I got out of LA without dying in a fiery crash, but I very much felt that it could have gone either way.

8. The Ace Hotel is a charmer. The rooms, though in the middle of the desert, have a nautical theme. Go figure. The shampoo, conditioner and body wash have rather masculine scents and there are many channels of gay porn available. I'm pretty sure these are serious indications that the Ace has been given the gay seal of approval. This means, of course, that its cool status is now official.

9. The Crescent has better beds, but the Ace has that warm, warm open-late-at-night swimming pool. Even. Oh! The Ace also has these lights over the bed that on one end is a bright, normal reading light or, on the other end, a red bulb with a dim glow. These made me sad to be alone as it would have been entertaining to have some witty fellow to make "Roxanne" jokes with and then share, you know, hotel bed shenanigans. Alas. 'Twas not to be. Someday I'm going to meet that guy, though, and then I'm going back.

10. The singer for the Ton Tons is almost too fantastic to be real. We pretty much all wanted to be her and use our hands in big dramatic gestures.

11. The chili at the hotel restaurant was too spicy for me to eat. I felt I had failed.

12. The tea at the restaurant was $4.85. I am still trying to get over it.

13. Many people you've never met before prove to be delightful. That was a pretty pervasive theme.

14. A lady admired my bathing suit. That's always nice.

15. There is a fig cocktail available, but I can't whole-heartedly recommend it. Get the one with gin and mint instead.

16. We were given small camp care packages: s'mores kits wrapped in bandanas. There was a chocolate bar, some graham crackers, and a little box of marshmallow peeps. That was jolly.

17. It turns out that a Space Camp themed costume party is way more fun that I imagined it would be. People from the wedding on the other side of the property showed up to do some dancing. Also, my large astronaut helmet (which, when on one's head, is like listening to a seashell in surround sound) was a huge hit both with other campers and with random hotel guests. Some of the latter group seemed to find it life altering. They were also sorry to have missed the hotel's monthly full-moon drum circle the night before. You may draw your own conclusions.

18. Previously, I had only been to camp once: Girl Scout Camp. It was not altogether a success. I was very shy, for one thing, and for another, they tried but ultimately failed to wake me up for the midnight fairy party and I still harbor some bitterness. Still, I'll bet we sang this Girl Scout hit "Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold." They don't specify which is which, but I don't suppose it matters. We will further discuss the real life enactment of this ditty another day when we address Things I Learned. To spare you the suspense I'll just tell you now that there was some crying. It wasn't all coming from me, though, which made for a pleasant change.