Friday, 29 August 2008

Montana again

I usually have a shopping list when I go to the states because the exchange rate is so favourable and Walmart and Target have really affordable items. This trip was no exception. the problem was that I didn't have a car and the distances are so vast that walking is usually out of the question - and I have never seen a public bus in Bozeman . (Amazingly there is only one taxi company and that nearly folded. The new owner put up the fares to make it a viable concern. So a taxi fare from Bozeman to the airport trebled in a year.)

My friend runs a cleaning company and as she is a hands on boss she had a job on Sunday she needed to do so I offered to help her and her colleague do the job in return for her taking me to the shops - sorry... stores. In the USA a shop is a workshop like a car repair place. It was very hot and the house (a rental) we were cleaning had no air conditioning.

One of the things on my list was curtains for the house. There were actually curtains or blinds up in all the windows but some were awful. My lovely friend took me to several stores both before the conference and after it, but I only managed to get some lovely sunny yellow material to make a roman blind for bathroom.

I managed to arrange a lift, sorry... ride, down to the conference site which is 6 miles from an entrance to Yellowstone park.

The conference was a 50th anniversary of the founding of the Summit Lighthouse. An organisation dedicated to spreading the teachings of the Ascended Masters. I didn't actually get to attend much of the conference but I had a great time volunteering at the information booth and as a conference program assistant . I enjoyed the challenge of troubleshooting the last minute organisational stuff, like where do the few hundred conferees put their glad rags for the gala dinner when they brought them from their accommodations in the morning, and how to feed at least 100 people who wanted to climb a mountain on the day after the conference, and formulating notices and posters that needed to be translated into 4 languages.

Last year when the jubilee was being first talked about it became apparent that many Europeans who had never been to the States were planning on attending the conference this year. There is a conference every summer in this place, more or lass in the middle of nowhere, and accommodation is not always easy to find with so many tourists visiting Yellowstone Park and surrounding area. So I decided to rent a house or two and sublet it to any Europeans who wanted a cheap bed. The flights from Europe in the summer are so expensive especially as Bozeman is such an out of the way place, that a saving on accommodation is welcome by many.

I found a house on the Internet in the town of Gardiner at the entrance to the Park 6 miles from the conference site. the owner said the house was divided into two apartments - the attic and ground floor. I took both of them. The attic accommodated all the Austrians with some Swiss, about 15 women I think. This suited them 'cos they all spoke German and most could speak no English. Some people were on blow-up mattresses on the floor. They shared 2 bathrooms.

On the ground floor there was a bedroom for the 4 men and the other rooms accommodated 13 women. There were 2 bathrooms also. This American house was so enormous that even more people could have slept on floor mattresses if there had been more bathroom facilities. There were people from about 6 countries and all spoke English apart from one lady from Portugal.

I also rented a cabin accommodating 7 Portuguese ladies and a little boy by the river.

I found I was one of the last to bed and one of the first up so I was a little tired by the end of the 6 day conference. On the way home I didn't give a prayer about helping people and didn't meet anyone to help. But it was a definite overnight flight and I stayed in my seat more and actually slept quite well.