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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Lake Placid (The Budget Version)

Except for it being the title for a horror movie (something to do with giant man-eating crocodiles), I have never heard of Lake Placid. It doesn't help that outside of cheering for the Jamaican bobsled team in Cool Runnings (now that was a good movie), most people on our side of the globe don't follow the Winter Olympic Games. Wherein lies Lake Placid's claim to fame.

Lake Placid first hosted the Winter Olympics in 1932 and again in 1980. Now, we all know how stiff the competition is amongst cities to host just one year of the Games. This small lakeside town must have been pretty good at it. Along with St Moritz (Switzerland) and Innsbruck (Austria), it is one of the 3 places to have twice hosted the Winter Olympic Games.

Another interesting fact we learnt on the hour-long cruise on Lake Placid: the water is so clean that it can be drunk straight from the lake. It's what you get running from the taps in hotels and restaurants, filtered but not chemically treated. With the lake being a source of drinking water for the town, while it is continually fed with clean water from springs and mountain streams, much effort is still put into maintaining the water quality in the lake. Similar to reservoirs in Singapore - although instead of springs and mountain streams, ours are fed with rainwater runoff from storm drains and canals. Wonderful.

Crystal clear lake water

There are about 300 houses on the lake, many of which are accessible only by boat. Read: rich people's houses. Many of these lakeside villas remain unoccupied throughout the year as their owners only stay there in summer, earning these houses the nickname, "summer camps". These sprawling bungalows come complete with boathouses and private docks, and may be available for rent. You just need to have truckloads of money spewing out of your ears. That's all.

Even the lakefront lodges and resorts compete for the title of 'Most Atas'. Especially the Lake Placid Lodge with it's sans children rule. Apparently, Bill Gates wanted to bring his family and kids to stay at the lodge, and offered to book and pay for the entire resort, so that no other royal guests would be disturbed by his children during their precious vacation. Nope. Sorry. Nada. The rule could not be waived. Not even for one of the richest people on earth.

It's really nice to know that money can't buy everything.

Even then, I wasn't too happy to find out that I couldn't walk around the lake. This was because most of the lakefront property is privately owned. There is hardly any public access to the shore. It may be a unique real estate arrangement that New York is proud of, but seriously, it's just not cool. The lake is public. No one owns it. But plebians like us are prevented from enjoying it, short of paying to eat at one of the fancy schmancy lakefront restaurants or paying US$15 for a seat on the cruise. Seriously guys, not cool.

Summer camp on the lake

There is some 'good' news though. There is a public campsite, located on prime lakefront real estate, that is free of charge. Yeah, you read this right - F.O.C. The catch is, it's by boat access only. Don't own a boat? Forget it, matey.

Sure, you could rent a boat but there's another catch: it's first come, first served. So if you pay through your nose for something more than a rubby dinghy, only to find the camp full when you pull up on shore... too bad! Nyeah nyeah.

That said, Lake Placid isn't really that exclusive a place. If you're content to just jet around powered by your own arm-power in a kayak. Or just soak in the view (and the petrol fumes) on the public dock. Or just forget about the lake and head into town or into the woods and alongside pretty rivers instead (see next entry!)

Drinking lake water was the only thing within my reach

PS: There are no crocodiles in Lake Placid.


WeLoveRoy said...

Heh heh heh.. she said placid..heh

Dannie said...

WeLoveRoy: Ummm.. you're aware that the 'funny' word is actually flaccid, right?

WeLoveRoy said...

Heh heh heh.. now I made you say it.. heh

Yi Lin said...

Aiyah, I said it all the time in biology lab when I was 15! E.g. Observation: the potato sticks were flaccid/turgid.

Go...play with some potato sticks!

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