Monday, October 02, 2006

Arkansas Part 1

We made it back from Arkansas in one piece. It was looking a little scary there for a while, but we made it safe and sound.

We left Friday morning (late of course!), and made it to Pinebluff before 6:00. We drove past a city lake less than a mile from the hotel, so Chris was pretty excited that there would be nearby fishing. About 2 blocks from the hotel we watched a crack deal going down (great), and when we checked into the hotel it looked pretty good, they were obviously doing some remodeling but there was no obviously damaged areas until you got upstairs to the rooms, which were nice and big and had balconies and a fridge and coffee pot in the room. They also had water damage and peeling wallpaper, but you know, when you pay $70.00 for a room what do you expect? (That was the PTK discounted rate, regular rate was $85.00.) Of course, I expect at least the quality that I would get for $40.00 at say a Motel 6 or wherever, but that’s just me.

I had a meeting Friday night, so Chris went up to the room and took a nap (that he wouldn’t wake up from) and then I went to the room and tried to sleep over the DJ and karaoke that was playing 5 floors below me. They sounded like they were right on my balcony. I gave up trying to sleep and decided to watch tv, but had to turn it up so loud to hear the dialogue that I was really surprised I didn’t wake Chris up. Then I decided that since I wasn’t going to sleep, I might as well make a pot of coffee, because surely there was going to be some at breakfast in the morning, so I wouldn’t need to have coffee in the room. Right? Except the coffee pot and both of the cups they provided were dirty – as in they might have been rinsed out after the last people used them, but they sure as hell hadn’t been washed. I think there was still some left-over creamer in the bottom of one of the mugs!

Saturday morning we get up and head downstairs to get our complimentary breakfast. You’d think by this point that I wouldn’t have high expectations, but I’m an eternal optimist and was looking forward to some eggs or bagels or something. How about a nice bowl of cold cereal along with a shriveled up apple? No coffee. There was orange juice, and what I hope was apple juice, but I wasn’t getting anywhere near it to find out for sure. Chris and I headed for McDonalds, where we ordered our usuals and where, as usual, they messed up the order. We finally got that straightened out and were enjoying breakfast until I bit into my hashbrown and some brown shell thing that I didn’t look too closely at. Sometimes I just really don’t want to know!

We made it back in time for my meetings to start, they were about what you would expect. The conference was a mini-institute over PTK’s honor study topic for 2006-2008, which is Gold, Gods, and Glory – The Global Dynamics of Power, a relevant topic for the times. We had 3 general sessions for everyone, one on Gold, one on Gods, and one on Glory. Then there was a “breakout” session where you got to pick one of 5 speakers you wanted to go listen to. 3 of them were related to the 3 G’s, one was on this case study deal, and one was on the PTK alumni organization. I chose to go to the Gods breakout session, and the speaker had me from the very beginning. The first words he said were “There is only one God. Whether you are Muslim (he was), Christian, whatever, they are all the same God.” Which is pretty much what I’ve always believed. So we had an interesting discussion about the 1st Crusade, and how it was just as much about Gold and Glory as it was about God. Very interesting.

Then we went back for the Gods general session where we got to listen to a minister (who convinced me he was a fanatic) try to give us logical reasons why Creationism should be taught in school right alongside Evolutionism. And then there was a lively debate afterwards that looked like it could have gone on for hours. And it was lunch time and I was hungry (scared to eat, but hungry), so luckily the question and answer segment of this session was cut short.

On the subject, my main question about teaching Creationism in school is “Which version of the creation story are you going to teach? The Christian one? The Muslim one? How about the many Native American ones? Or the Buddist, or whatever other ones are out there?” Isn’t that part of what you learn at church – whichever church you go to? And what about the atheists? Are you going to force them to learn your religion regardless of their beliefs?

Then we went and had a really awesome catered lunch, after which I called Chris to see if he wanted to come and visit before the next session started. So he did, and informs me that he had gone to the lake to see how the fishing looked, and ran into a local who told him that that was the best fishing lake in the area, but that he didn’t want to go there. Chris asked “Alligators?” cuz apparently there are alligators in the area, so you don’t want to do any swimming there, and the guy says “No, you’ll just get mugged and shot.” Oh, well, if that’s all! Apparently, we were not in a particularly safe part of town.

That was the last exciting thing that happened in Pinebluff. As soon as the last session was over, we hoped in the car and got the hell out of there! We headed toward Mt. Ida to camp since I wanted to do some digging for crystals the next morning. More about that later since this is already a long post.

To be continued……

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