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Location: Dallas, Texas

oh, I'm still making art in the urban forest

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

How Hot Springs Attracts Tourists

Hot Springs (Arkansas) is its own little Wonderland. Everyone should go at least once. Stay at the Arlington or the Majestic. The Majestic lobby is more classy Victorian but the spa entrance is all Neiman-Marcusy. Whereas the Arlington has remodeled its huge high ceilinged lobby and added an echoey, noisy band, the spa entrance looks about the same as it probably did a hundred years ago. In our "mineral water" room (meaning all the water was direct from the springs), the signs on the inside of the bathroom door were original, yellowed, MANUALLY typewritten, dated 1912 or something, from the Department of the Interior. The handhold in the tub was the original brass, the shower nozzle some splooshy twelve selection thing from Wal-Mart. The tile floor original, the sink with 70's faucets, the bedspreads about 24 count non-Egyptian thread and the ongoing theme: magnolias. Ahhhh. And you can smell the spa on every floor. Old. Water. It's just delightful.

The baths at Hot Springs reached peak attendance in 1946, a few years before I was born. My friend Laurel noted that as medical science progressed, this delicious place declined. It's too bad, but you can see it on Central Avenue....chi-chi stores next to deserted buildings....attempts to remodel and revive, next to attempts to remodel and revive that failed. We bought overpriced plastic jugs at a tourist store and stopped to fill them up at the public fountain - where anyone can drive up and fill jugs for free with spring water, hot and steaming from the depths of the mountains. We shared faucets with a family who'd "got burned outta our trailer 'couple months ago, cause the landlord jus' din' fix the lectrical" filling up everything from gallon jugs to Ozarka singles. And a couple in a BMW outfitted in the latest Banana Republic.....filling up gallon jugs and Ozarka singles. And then we came home to Dallas.

All of this, to me, is wonderful. I don't need perfect history or perfect elegance or perfect luxury. This mix is so haphazard, so (like my house, remodeled by crisis), so full of history, so fucked up, so completely, exquisitely, American.

Everybody should go to Hot Springs at least once. The Indians discovered it thousands of years ago. Not enough people know about it now.


Blogger Eye said...

They sell those 24 thread-count sheets at Home Depot under the name SANDPAPER.

21/6/06 2:42 PM  
Blogger Lori Witzel said...

Miz Write Actor, why no fresh posts?

I have some extra words lying around in a shoebox you're welcome to use, if you don't mind picking through the syllables and phonemes (words are such fragile things.)

8/7/06 6:54 PM  
Blogger pamdbigd said...

oh, i dunno, I have wondered the same thing, I guess I could post old stuff. Maybe the erotica? Busy a lot. However, I did start up Pamenagerie, which I haven't figured how to customize yet.

8/7/06 7:54 PM  
Blogger Lori Witzel said...


Will run to see.
But, hhhm, where?


Well, if Anne Rice could get her erotica out there (it really was out there, too) I'd say go for it. Could lead to fabulous movie contracts for baroquely-made vampire novels...or som'pin.

11/7/06 4:16 AM  
Blogger Rrramone said...

You know, for about 7 yrs I used to camp every winter about 10 miles from Hot Springs on Lake Ouachita. I love that place.

17/7/06 11:48 PM  

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