The writer's conference that I've referenced in earlier posts spoiled me with an inexplicably gorgeous venue along the cliffs of Big Sur; hot mineral baths, in which I could luxuriate under the sun and stars; newly renovated, cozy, heated lodging with plush beds and a bathroom shared with only a few others; incredibly entertaining and informative workshops; and divine food.
There were locally harvested fruits and vegetables, homemade breads offered alongside a multitude of fresh berry spreads; raspberry-lemon iced tea; approximately sixteen flavors of soothing herbal and caffeinated teas; coffee, organic honey, fresh lemon, and much more.
All of the staff and fellow attendees had been exceptionally nice thus far.
"Excuse me, do you have hot chocolate?" I asked one of the kitchen staff, on my first morning there.
"No!" the man grunted, then abruptly turned away.
Say what? Rude-ass! No chocolate? Am I being punked? How will I survive?
Somehow, I did. I suppose the Paradisial setting eased my five-day withdrawal.
While driving home, my head started to flop slowly sideways, and I labored to keep my eyes open. So I decided to stay at a hotel. It was July 4th, and I didn't want to be in crazed traffic anyway.
The young, cute hotel clerk said, "There's a party here too. Just for you! You can see fireworks from there." He pointed towards the outdoor patio to my right.
A decent hotel room? A party? For me? Young, cute hotel clerk? View of fireworks? This place has it all!
Incidentally, the party and fireworks were just alright. I was happy to watch a few bursts of color in the sky, dance a bit amongst college kids, and turn in early.
The next morning, I was pleased with a variety of appealing breakfast options: corn puffs, corn pops, and frosted flakes; bacon; sausage; scrambled eggs; fresh apples and bananas; do-it-yourself waffles; yogurt; coffee, and Lipton tea.
"Excuse me, do you have hot chocolate?" I asked a hotel assistant, as she re-filled the milk dispenser. The woman looked at me, eyebrows slightly raised, as if curious as to why I'd ask. I admired her almond colored pupils, long curled black lashes, and generally compassionate demeanor. "No," she said. "No hot chocolate."
No hot chocolate? Has the cocoa plant gone extinct? Is there a chocolate famine? Did I miss an important memo? Must I redefine my entire existence?
Thankfully, I found chunks of sweet, dark goodness upon my return.