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August 21, 2014

Osoyoos and the Spanish Inquisition

After the pure pleasure of Idabel Lake, we managed to wend our way to Osoyoos, visiting a few wineries along the way. Osoyoos is a desert community at the southern part of the Okanagan Valley. It's population of slightly less than 5,000 swells in the summer months and on this 38 degree day near the beginning of August it seemed as though another 15,000 had arrived at the same time.

Of course most people travelling at the height of summer and on a weekend make some sort of a reservation for accommodation. Not so for Jeem and the writer. "We can find something when we get there." and "It will fine. There are lots of nice places on the beach."

Well. It wasn't quite that easy, and Jeem will know better next time. We did find a place and it was on the beach. It was a little rough around the edges and when later we looked on-line we noted some reviews and observations on tripadvisor and similar sites: "Worst motel in Canada." "I wouldn't recommend this place to my enemy let alone someone I cared about." My favourite comment: "...the person behind the front desk seemed annoyed when we checked in" which was our exact same experience. He knew we were not his kind of customers and that we would probably complaining the moment we saw the room, and he put us off as best he could. We were determined however and somehow we were finally granted a key to number 17. On the second floor. Hasn't been updated since 1982. A queen size bed that might have originated around the same time, and a Magnavox television from 1987 at best. We didn't complain. Number 17 might have been the last room in town.

In the end it wasn't all that bad. Some of the reviewers obviously had a less than satisfying experience, including the noise level. True, we couldn't hear our neighbours through the paper thin walls because the clanking of the room's air conditioner made human interaction within our space almost impossible, never mind hearing the snores from next door. Probably a good thing. It was a great place about 25 years ago.

Many of the motel's patrons are regulars and have been coming here, according to Jay, "the person behind the front desk," for years. In fact, when Jay warmed up to Jeem and the writer (when we were leaving), he said the motel is almost fully booked through the summer and almost entirely with repeat customers.

These regular patrons like spending their vacation sitting in the parking lot, or as near to their pick-up trucks as possible, with classic hits from the 60s, 70s and 80s booming in the background and the beer almost cold. Never mind that the beach, where the water was a wonderful 24 degrees, was only a few metres away. Smoking on the beach is not permitted, hence setting up in the parking lot, or in the doorway to their rooms, blowing smoke into what are supposed to be smoke-free rooms. None of this mattered.

We enjoyed the time-warped reality situation, and the beach was lovely. Jay even suggested we would be welcome again anytime. We've made the regulars list it would seem. Somehow I don't think so.

As for the Spanish Inquisition: the name of this wonderful establishment is Spanish Fiesta. It only seemed like torture.

Photos by Jim Murray. Copyright 2014.

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