Sunday, August 03, 2008

Devil of a Time

Eons ago the area around Yosemite National Park formed by volcanic activity. (And, that’s all the science you’re going to get here, I promise!)

The ranger guide explained it all but I was mostly thinking about lunch. All I heard was blah, blah, blah, volcano, blah, blah, pumice, blah, blah, basalt, blah, blah, igneous, lava, hot, and blah. The lecture got considerably more interesting when Mr. Ranger talked about how the Indians thought that the Devil’s Postpile was a prison into which the Devil had been lured and the steam hissing from the ground was the Devil cursing and snarling.

The Devil Story was too good to be true because soon we were back to basalt columns, blah, hexagonal framastats, strike-slips and dip-sticks. My thoughts drifted off into fire, brimstone and the Devil in a steamy pit.

I wondered if the Devil had Wi-Fi down there. I’m staying in a nice condo, no fire, brimstone or steam and still I have to walk down the street like a cyber-zombie homeless person devouring brain-packets from unsecured transmitters. No Wi-Fi at all would be hell, indeed!

Following Mr. Ranger’s talk we were directed to a large Forest Service map of the area where we could learn where all the various volcanic attractions were located. Here’s a short list of the hot spots:

Devil’s Cauldron
Devil’s Playground
Devil’s Backbone
Devil’s Claws
Devil’s Hot Tub
Devil’s Horns
Devil’s Hoof
Devil’s Tail
Devil’s Flatscreen TV

What’s up with all this Devil stuff? Well, the answer is obvious to even the most casual observer. Devil sells! Devil is tourism! Devil is exciting!

Imagine nice alternatives and ask yourself if you would visit these places.

Bo Peep’s Punchbowl
Elmo’s Playground
Angelina Jolie’s Lower Back
Rosie’s French Fingernails
Paris Hilton’s Pool
Boston Pops Horns
Sensible Shoes
J Lo’s Trunk
Fox News Viewpoint

I might give J Lo’s Trunk a visit but I would definitely avoid Elmo’s Playground.

Obviously, tourists have a dark side and are drawn to dark attractions. Why spend your time with Elmo when you could have the Devil, cursing and steaming. Never saw Elmo curse or steam. Case closed.

So, after visiting all of the Devil’s Attractions we were ready for lunch. I’d been ready for lunch since shortly after breakfast, but now my time had come. And what better venue than El Diablo’s Mexican Cantina! Perfecto, he said diabolically.

I chose the El Diablo Plate of Fire and was not disappointed. Succulent bits of dead animal covered in cheese and sauce and about a ton of chilies. I forked it down chased by a gallon or so of iced water and my mouth was still on fire an hour later.

El Diablo’s was infinitely more satisfying than Elmo’s Oatmeal, I assure you.

Unfortunately, for the drive home, all of us cooped up in one car, my fellow passengers had to endure the Sulfurs of Beelzebub.

If El Diablo is anything to go by it’s no wonder the Indians confined the Devil to the Postpile.

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