Oh, Amangiri, how I miss thee. I have been told many times that I should write my stories down, not just about travel. The things I say in general but I do talk to people about travel a lot. Mine, theirs, a relative’s, someone they used to know. It doesn’t matter who went on the trip, travel is a good topic. Though, I never really know if they think my stories are interesting or they just want a written record to read on a dull day. Maybe laughing at my expense. Sometimes I spend too much time thinking of their ulterior motives. This time, however, I have taken the suggestion and I am running with it.
You get a bit of everything in my stories, reminiscent ramblings, description beyond reasoning and maybe even a chuckle. In there somewhere, if I am telling you in person, will be a pause and confession that I forget what my point was or where I was heading. I can completely forget why I even started speaking in the first place.
Usually, it starts from a place of deep passion on the subject but where it ends up is anyone’s guess. A prompt from someone who was listening can help me get back on track. Otherwise, I either continue with another story. Stop dead even if I was mid-sentence. Or my brain might just reignite its passion for whatever it was and off we go again.
No straight lines in my stories. If I am purely recounting something – like my Singapore posts – I tend to stay on task but the thrill of the story is lost.
Back in November 2016 we had a pre-wedding holiday. It was actually a pre-wedding event. We couldn’t afford a wedding at Disneyland. We had an option for people to join us at Disneyland before our wedding. Inviting them to attend on a Halloween night. This was cheaper than a day pass ticket and we could stay all night. We had dinner with those that came, at the Blue Bayou restaurant.
It was an amazing trip. One I will never forget. TW’s friends got engaged on that trip too but not when we were with them. After meeting in LA we all went our separate ways. Everyone who came did live on the east coast of Australia at the time, so it was a long way to come just for us.
I was a little sad that I didn’t know they were going to get engaged. And that I didn’t get to plan their trip. I would have made it killer awesome. They had an amazing trip, don’t get me wrong but I could have pulled strings and got something extra for them along the way. I understand though, I tell everyone everything. I don’t know if I could have kept the upcoming proposal on the down low. It does add to our fun though, they came to the states for us and left engaged. I still feel slightly involved.
After LA we had a bit of an extreme luxury vacation. This isn’t the story about that trip though, this is the story of a hotel. Given the heading, I am sure it isn’t a spoiler to let you know the hotel is Amangiri.
Amangiri is holiday everyone needs to take at one point in their life, if they can. It is super pricey but worth every penny. We did get an amazing agent rate but we still spent close to what a nightly rate would have been. The issue with that comparison is that we got close to spending the usual fee for one night with all the food and activities, and we stayed a couple nights.
We paid about 10% of the standard rate for the room but it was low season. Most people were paying a low season (not a standard) rate themselves. Low season generally has the meal plan included for free along with a cheaper nightly price. We did have to pay the usual taxes and buy our own breakfast, which is fair enough. We were being stingy so we didn’t go the whole meal plan. In hindsight we should have because we ended up spending more on food there than the meal plan would have cost us. We chose, however, to per order. Meaning all those amazing things on the breakfast buffet – their intricately handcrafted loaves of bread were off limits, cheese and fruits were all off limits. We could order that but it was more than we wanted to pay per breakfast. Next time, I know what to do though.
My point is, sometimes places are worth every penny. Every penny that we pay which could be a lot less than the actual price. And we then discuss between ourselves if the hotel is worth its standard price or just what we paid, or somewhere between. This time, in my book anyway, it is worth every cent they charge. I would pay retail but I would pick dates in low season when they had a promotion for the meals to be included for free. While I think it is worth what they charge, I always look for the best value I can find.
I have sold some Aman hotel stays and we were desperately trying to get our wedding trip or even the wedding itself at one of the Amans in Rajasthan. By the time we decided that the proposal wasn’t actually as much as we thought it was initially, the hotel had been sold out. It was fully booked for a travel agent famil trip. My boss at that time happened to be invited on the trip. If he wasn’t on it, then I wouldn’t have known why it went from vacant and available as exclusive use to sold out in 3 days. But we missed out by mere days.
Back to the point. Amangiri. The hotel that I have nightmares about. It might sound odd to have a nightmare about a hotel that I am saying is amazing. The nightmare is that I will never get to go back. I have a recurring dream, a memory turned dream, of roasting our s’mores at the fire pit of our little terrace. Just relaxing. Enjoying the view and the romance of it all. I am teaching TW how it is done. Don’t burn the marshmallow and don’t worry, it will melt the chocolate. This is his first real s’more. I am going to call it real, even though we aren’t around a campfire. There were flames and sunsets so it still counts as a real one. Sitting in the dry and crisp winter air. Looking out over the mesas and watching jackrabbits play.
It is just this completely serene escape. And then slowly the image in my head starts swirling and the sounds and smells of where I am takeover. I start to wake up. Suddenly I am drawn back to reality. The reality that I am not in some untouched paradise that very few know about or even get to see in their lifetime. I am, in fact, in a small apartment, without any chance of fire roasted s’mores.
There are very few hotels that you remember so vividly. You might have nostalgic memories of childhood holidays with your family – if you were lucky enough to go on them. The ocean and the smell of salt water or a thunderstorm blowing in over the sea jolt some back to childhood. We only had two family vacations when I was a kid. One was a fishing trip and we stayed at a caravan park and the other was Sea World on the Gold Coast.
We had moved states and lived away from my grandparents, Aunts and Uncles. So, we often visited our relatives during school breaks but those aren’t family holidays. I remember those two holidays where it was just us, as a family of four, hanging out and having a good time. I am lucky to have had those holidays and I don’t take them for granted for a minute. Not everyone gets family holidays.
What I did get to do all the time when I was growing up though, was travel in the truck with my Dad. School holidays only but great fun. Sometimes it was my sister and I. Others it was just one of us at a time. The truck had bunk beds. We ate a lot of cool mints on the road, actually cool fruits.
If I am missing home or my childhood, I don’t take a trip to the beach or look for a certain smell. I have a meal at a truck stop or what TW calls my “tradie breakfast”. A pie and coke or better yet, a servo chicken drumstick – when they have it – and coke.
I am the daughter of a pilot or electrician, I am not too sure which my father would identify the most. He happened to be a truck driver while I was a kid. I often called him a truckie, my friends didn’t identify him as a truck driver. He was always something they considered a truck driver was not. I knew no different, he drove a truck and thus I thought all truck drivers would be like him.
Driving trucks was the best paying job for him at the time and he had a family to support. Who needs hopes and dreams when you have a family to feed, right? You just have to get on and provide what you can the best way how. Don’t worry though, he has a plane now and gets to have fun being a pilot. Parents give up so much for their kids. Your kids just want you to be happy so I am glad he finally gets to fly.