Sunday, April 25, 2010
perhaps a vodka gimlet...
Over the years, I’ve found that I can pass time faster while herded through miles of aluminum railing by looking at the other park guests. It’s hard not to look at them. You pass by many of the same faces every four minutes or so.
But the best people watching happens not at the regular amusement parks that sport roller coasters, it’s the water parks that provide the most stellar sights.
Boo had Friday off from school this week. So a few of us KoffeeKlatch moms took advantage of a weekday offer at Kalahari that was hard to pass up. A room with four water park passes, 14” pizza, 4 fountain drinks and a full spread breakfast buffet…all for the low, low price of $129.00 +tax.
Normally the same room with amenities goes for $299.00 (the cost of water park admission alone is $39 per person for an all day pass), so immediately I’m feeling all warm and fuzzy about our visit to one of the areas nicest water park facilities.
There are several Kalahari water parks. Fredericksburg, Virginia; Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin; and Sandusky, Ohio. It’s about an hour away from our home. Easy enough to get to without becoming time consuming. It’s a great mini-vacation spot. Lots of things to do; spa, rope course, game room, various restaurants and bars, shopping and yes…an indoor and outdoor water park.
Now, I’m not a big water park gal. The idea of over chlorinated water, standing in line with others while wet and in a bathing suit doesn’t really appeal to me. Walking up stairs behind strangers with their behind in my face doesn’t appeal to me. Walking up stairs with my behind in strangers faces doesn’t appeal to me. But on the urging of my friends and my daughters insistence that “This is going to be great!”, I succumbed to the pressure and booked a room.
Checking in was a breeze. There was no line for the valet. No line for the concierge. No line for the elevator and no waiting for the bellboy. This made me happy. We looked through the large picture window displaying all of the indoor wonderland and lo and behold! there were no major lines for any of the attractions either. We raced to the room, changed into our bathing suits and off we went to see what sort of wet mayhem we could get into.
Slipping into my suit was slightly anxiety driven. I’ve not had it on since last summer. Will it still fit? Why didn’t I try the bloody thing on at home first? kept running in the back of my head. A little snug across the bust line but surprisingly a little looser across the bum. Thank you, treadmill. Bear had hers on in record time and as I was adjusting, turning this way and that in the mirror, making sure that I wouldn’t entirely embarrass myself when I dropped my cover up, she was impatient and nudging me, “C’mon already! You look fine….”
“Good enough”, I told her, “Let’s go! Nothing I can do about it now anyway!” I hadn't noticed any 10 minute liposuction kiosks on the way in, so this is as good as it was going to get. Today.
Once inside, we found the rest of our group. The adults concluded that a little liquid confidence delved out from the Tiki bar was all that was needed to drop the cover and hit the wave pool.
As I stood there dodging the waves (too much fun), I looked around me. I don't know why I had gotten myself worked up about my appearance. I hadn’t anything to worry about. I mean, yes, I would love to lose a few pounds; get myself back in to my comfort zone. But geez, some of the people here need a lesson in proper attire.
There’s the older woman, whom by the look of her figure, her hair is premature gray. White really. In good shape for her age, perhaps even a tad too thin, but has seemingly borrowed a bikini from her 17 year old daughter. It’s nice that she can borrow her daughters bikini, but I hasten to think that a string bikini adorned with bedazzled skulls is not befitting a woman of her years.
Or the late 20’s gal with her toddler son. Granted, she obviously gave birth 16 months ago, but perhaps you might save the skimpy (very skimpy) two peice for when you lose the baby weight? A few to many folds to content with…and darlin’ please! Do not bend over to grab your boy! There are people behind you! Ugh.
Or the body builder guy all tatted up in his Nautica swim trunks. Not bad. But the color combination was not. They were white, he was dark skinned. Add water…what do you think happened. Yeah. He needs a little personal grooming. Double ugh.
Not everyone at the park were Galmour No-No's. There were some very tasteful swimsuits on all kinds of body types. But there were some seriously out of shape people traipsing about in very skimpy coverings. I stood there not really worrying about my own shape any longer. But I thought about what I was seeing in front of me.
Granted, water parks aren’t where you’d expect to find the pretty people of the world. They are out in hot tubs on private yachts, lounge chairs on cruise ships and lying on beaches in Cabo. They are not at Kalahari on discount days. Even so, this is a sad state of affairs if the majority of middle America is grossly overweight.
It made me think about parts of the movie, Food, Inc. It followed a family whose parents in the documentary couldn’t afford to buy fresh fruit or vegetables for their brood, so they ate fast food instead. They wanted to buy organic for health reasons, but could only afford the dollar burgers instead. The movie is fascinating, yet disturbing. On many levels.
I love corn. Corn on the cob, canned corn, corn muffins, creamed corn. Hell, I even like corn puffs and popped corn. I got nothing against good ol’ corn. Rightly American, corn seems to be. I’ve never been to a barbeque where there hasn’t been some sort of corn product. Or two. Or three. I know when I eat corn. I can tell by the next time I use the bathroom. Not to disturb you, but after I eat corn; I inevitably can see it has passed through my system. It’s right there in brown and yellow.
That’s disturbing enough. But did you know that corn and corn by-products are hidden in products that you wouldn’t have suspected have corn in it? Most kinds of baby powders, foot powders and feminine powder use corn for their primary ingredient. Duracell Batteries, Kingsford Charcoal and Febreeze Deodorizing spray is also corn. Natural Living bedding at Target is corn. I mean, even Q-tips use corn for the stick! Who knew?
But it’s the high fructose corn syrup that is in everything. It’s a substitute for sugar and adds body to the product. Most processed foods in the USA contasin high fructose syrup. Did you know that the average American eats 41.5 lbs of high fructose corn syrup per year? Peanut Butter, condiments, breads, cereals and soft drinks to name just a few.
Outside of the fact that beverages containing high fructose corn syrup have high levels of reactive carbonyls which are linked with cell and tissue damage that leads to diabetes, they are just not good for you. With a 12 oz Pepsi containing 103% of your daily allowance for sugar (32g or 8tsp) at 150 calories and 41g of carbs, it’s no wonder there are so many overweight people. How about yogurt? Thought that was a healthy addition to your lunch routine? All those Activia commercials got ya’? 110 calories, 2 g of fat, 19g of carbs and 5 g of protein. But it contains high levels of what?…yup. High fructose corn syrup and MSG.
Corn in itself is hard for the body to process. And much of the corn we get is from Monsanto Genetically Altered corn, which scientists have just recently found causes liver damage in rats. Nice. So by reducing our intake of corn, we not only are being nicer to our bodies but may make a difference, however small, in how the mega companies make the food we eat.
I’ve given up sodas. Every once in a while I crave one, and succumb to it’s bubbly goodness. But not often. I’ve started buying from our local growers and buying organic (actually super organic as many organic products are marketing ploys). Trying to be a smarter consumer makes me feel as if I do have a choice. I remember the days when I was blissfully ignorant of everything confirmed by Food, Inc. It just makes your head spin. I hope I don't end up like Red Buttons character on the original Poseidon Adventure. A health conscious Habasasher, he places before him the pills he'll take through dinner. Not that he was having dinner like the rest, he took the pills as a substitute for actually eating. Geez, and that was back in 1972. Before Monsanto. Before Food, Inc.
I’m hoping that this time next year with the changes I’ve been making in my grocery list, I’ll be that much slimmer when I put on my bathing suit at Kalahari. Every little bit counts. Or perhaps even some of the other guests at the park might have done the same. It'd be nice not to have to endure all the plumber butt cracks and personal grooming faux pas.
But I suppose that means I'll need to pass on those Pina Coladas. Too much corn syrup. And no Icees for me ever again. 280% of the daily allowance of sugar. And that Cuba Libre? Nope. Can't have that either.
I wonder, is vodka made with corn? God, I certainly hope not.
Then I’d be royally screwed…