Saturday, August 25, 2007
Friday the 23rd we met Gosia's Polish friends at a townhouse in Denver. Tomek came over to the US a few years ago, and after getting a green card via marriage and working in Rocky Mountain resorts, saved enough to get a loan and buy this townhouse, which he rents to a few friends to cover mortgage payments. Great to see a guy from the former Soviet-controlled country living out the American dream. We arranged to meet the guys later on up in Silverthorne where they live, and drove on up into the mountains, about 60 miles west of Denver. Up at 9000 ft, the air was really too thin, and the Caddy wasn't happy with the reduced oxygen, sputtering on startup and climbing hills like an old VW bug. I turned the air filter cover upside down on the advice of a local mechanic, creating an open space where more air could get in, which seemed to help a little. Silverthorne is one of those upscale Rocky Mountain towns where people buy second homes, and go mostly to ski - the kind of place SouthPark pokes fun at. We passed the time in a local restaurant, where the conversation at neighboring tables seemed to revolve around real estate deals. When the boys came up and met us, we hung out in their bachelor pad a while, and then all piled into the Caddy to go to a bar where they worked. I was unaware of these plans, as was surrounded by 3 guys and a gal speaking Polish; kind of like the feeling I get in one of my local Greenpoint restaurants when they've got their TV station on - I like the sound of the language, but not one syllable makes any sense to me. OK, following Tomek's directions, we got to another town called Copper Mountain, where their resort is located. The resort is designed to resemble a replica of an Alpine village, little streets with charming little buildings, a little pond, colored lights strung from the building frames - but of course the whole place was deserted except for the staff since it was off-season. While the Poles had their free drinks in the empty bar, I stood outside gazing at the empty streets, the mountain peaks, the stars and moon above. And speakers above the door of every empty building gently filled the air with musak, which happened to be Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here - a totally surreal setting, in an absurd giggly sort of way. We hung out at another bar with more of the local staff, played some pool, and the non-drivers had more drinks, then headed back to the mountain pad. The temperature really drops at night at that altitude, but I kept the top down all the way, and the Polish dudes in the back seat never let on that they were freezing their asses off, whooping it up all the way in the huge American pimp-mobile.