Sunday, May 31, 2015

Persian Pickle Club, Sandra Dallas

As I was reading this book, I kept wondering about living back in the 1930's. I sure was not going to like it, or I sure was not going to like the version Dallas painted by chronicling the story of Persian Pickle Club. Quite a peculiar name for a club of ordinary women from all walks of life. There was definitely nothing specifically "Persian" about this club. Interestingly Dallas (in)advertently didn't let on the bond amongst the club members --so the end came as a surprise to me.

Being a part of the Pickles was an honor and attending the gatherings was the thing to look forward to in lives of these women who were otherwise (not so) busy with the chores of a sluggish farming season due to lack of rain --at least this was the case for Queenie Bean the narrator.

So, what happens when a new inductee to the club, not by choice but by association to another member, turns into a reporter and assigned to report on a local crime. Well, solving the crime is more important to Rita Ritter than being accepted to the club --this could be fine so long as the club doesn't have anything to hide.

Interesting read, written in old fashioned, supposedly 30's style language. At times I had doubts about whether Dallas was being true to that era, however I read someone's review on GoodReads who assures this indeed is the case, Jim Butler says: "Trust me, Sandra has done an awesome job of describing the people and the period in the flint hills area outside Topeka. One should read this book to truly understand our mid-American heritage and character. The plot is just a vehicle to get to that knowledge."

Mont-tremblant in April

You can get to Mont-tremblant ski resort by air too, but we decided to take the road.  There are a couple of options for flying there.

1. Fly to Montreal-Trudeau airport and take the shuttle, operated by Autocars Skyport, to Mont-tremblant resort.
2. Fly to Mont-tremblant airport and take the shuttle from the airport to the resort.

But if you decided to take the road, then prepare for six hours of straight, or nine hours of driving with breaks.  Most of the drive is in Ontario and on route 401 East.  Unless there is a an accident, the Ontario portion of the route is pretty straight forward.  If you get in a situation of abrupt halt and backed up traffic due to road construction or accident, it is best to look for the best way to get to, County Road 2 (formerly Highway 2), that runs in parallel and merges with 401 west of Brockville.  As for the Quebec portion of the route, I can only say --stay alert and pay attention to the signs!

We had a rental car, and although most of the route was in Ontario but had to pay $5 extra per day for permit to drive in the province of Quebec.  Tallying all the cost of renting, parking and filling up the tank of the vehicle we save $100 (per couple) over the price of air travel to this destination.

Booking hotel stay, ski lift, ski equipment, and spa in advance saves one up to 30%.

We stayed in Mont-tremblant Westin resort with special advance booking rate for the Starwood Preferred Guest members of $229 a night + $15 daily charge for parking.  I used the hotel gym and utterly enjoyed my indoor walks through the scenic forests of New Zealand and Germany on the treadmill.  The other nice thing about this hotel was the fire place in the room.  There was a well equipped kitchenette in the room which could have made up for the not very healthy and very expensive restaurants if we had taken our food with us.  The local supermarket has limited choices and is expensive.  Having said that dining at Maison De La Crepe provides an opportunity for a healthy start to the day. 
Maison De La Crepe, 113 Kandahar, Mont Tremblant, QCMiss Vitamines $11.33

The hills were covered with mix of man made and natural snow --which was more wet than powder.  But compared to skiing in Ontario even this was superb!
The South side of Mont Tremblant, the "trembling mountain." The summit is at  875 metres (2,871 ft), which makes it one of the tallest peaks in the Laurentians. [source: Wikipedia]