Friday, March 1, 2013

Merry First of March from Santa Claus

Wow, it's been a long time since I've updated! Yikes. I still have most of a road trip to post about before I forget it all. So here's the next bit...

When we left off, I had just stopped for the night in middle-of-nowhere, Indiana. That overnight stop was notable because the hotel was the first I encountered with an open pool (and hey, that’s important). The hotel was also unusual in that it was literally on the border between Eastern and Central Time. Like, to the point that my phone kept switching back and forth. Unfortunately, the hotel was officially in Eastern Time while Santa Claus, my new first destination for the next day, was in Central. Since stuff there didn’t open until 10, I lost some time there. It’s not like I’d actually planned on visiting Santa Claus but since I was so close I figured I should. Ultimately, I don’t think it made much of a difference aside from the fact that maybe I’d have been able to fit in the next day’s stop a little earlier. But maybe not so it really doesn’t matter.

Santa Claus was both kind of amazing and incredibly pathetic. As you may know, the town's original name was not Santa Claus but Santa Fe (pronounced "fee") and apparently since there already was one of those, they had to change the name. As to why they chose Santa Claus, I've heard that was to drive tourism though I have no idea if it's true and if it is I’m not sure how well that worked. There isn’t much to the place, actually. I visited the strip mall that I’m pretty sure passes for the center of town. It contains the post office, supermarket, and massive Christmas-themed gift shop. What else do you need? I didn't see much else or even very many people.

There is a local theme park, Holiday World (I think it used to be Christmas World?) but that’s pretty much my definition of Hell so I definitely didn’t check it out. I did rather enjoy the gift shop. See, I don’t even celebrate Christmas and I find a lot of that stuff tacky to the extreme (no offense) and I get that it’s important to a lot of people but all this commercial stuff, every ornament imaginable, and people take it so damn seriously seems just a tiny bit over the top.

Anyway, Santa Claus is now one of those places I can say I’ve been, a little curiosity, just one of those bizarre little places that dot the landscape of this country. As for my trip, I continued through Indiana, Illinois, and into Missouri.