Friday Five: Vacation

It’s vacation season and I’m on mine. It’s been a nice week of being … well, not disconnected, but at least less connected. So for this week’s fun thread, list your five favorite vacation spots. As always, the rules are fairly broad. It can be a place you’ve been to or a place you would like to go. It can be five affordable vacations or five not-so-affordable. It can be five “you must see this before you die” or five “boy, this is relaxing”. And, as you’ll see below, just sitting around the house counts.

My five?

Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons: I went to a wedding in Bozeman and spent a day just driving around the two parks. They are everything that are hyped up to be. And if you’re lucky, you’ll get to see some idiot get mauled by the wildlife.

The Canary Islands: File under “if money were no object”. My way was paid by a conference.

The Great Barrier Reef: The first time we went to visit my wife’s family, we took a detour up to Cairns. It was off-season, so it was much more affordable. We only spent one day on the actual reef. The rest we spent driving around and hanging out on the beach.

St. Thomas: My wife and I went on a cruise for our honeymoon. St. Thomas was our favorite place (although St. Martin is a very close second). It was relaxed and beautiful and we got to snorkel with turtles. Sal 11000 Beta was born nine months later.

Staycation: Last year, I had a lot of unused vacation time and no money to go anywhere. My wife was between jobs and my funding was uncertain. So I just took a week to stay at home. I really enjoyed it. There was no pressure to do tourist stuff. I read a lot, wrote a lot, finished a bunch of home projects and splashed in the pool with Sal 11000 Beta. The staycation is massively underrated.

The place I’m currently stating — the Outer Banks of North Carolina — just missed the cut. It’s affordable and fun and we come here almost every year. But the five above would be my favorite places.

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  1. salinger

    Bali – Away from the beaches and the drunken surfers up in the hills outside of Ubud. Great food, scenery and people. Fuck the monkeys.

    Fez, Morocco One of the oldest walled cities on the planet. Weaving labyrinth roads and alleys, some only two foot wide. No motorized traffic allowed. Again – amazing food, color and culture.

    Whittier, Alaska Miles long tunnel into the town that feels narrow enough that you could stick your arm out of the car’s window and touch the walls. In fact traffic can only go one way at a time – so into town on the hour and out of town on the half. Go in August when the Coho are running.

    Bangkok Insanity set at a boil. Food, smells, colors, people and heat. Get into a three wheeled Tuk Tuk and have more fun taking your life into your hands than you think possible.

    Vietnam Again – food, aromas, color and the uncanny ability to seat a family of six on a motorbike. Saigon for the best soup you’ll ever eat and Hanoi to have a tailored cashmere suit made for under 200 bucks.

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  2. Seattle Outcast

    Cozumel, Mexico
    Just about anyplace in the Rocky Mountains
    Just about anyplace with a great reef to dive

    Anyplace more than 500 miles from my wife’s family…

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  3. Mississippi Yankee

    Vancouver Island – Great hiking and salmon fishing. Then take the ferry back to the City of Vancouver to enjoy the best Chinatown in North America.

    The coast of Maine – Rugged coast line, tasty seafood and friendly but taciturn locals.

    The Greek island of Crete – City of Channa – Probably 35 small restaurants side by side all around the venetian bay. Absolutely crystal clear water for scuba and snorkeling. Topless bathers and authentic Greek food.

    Cajun Country – Basically anywhere south of I-10 in Louisiana. The diversity of food, ethnicity and culture is greater than anywhere I’ve ever been.
    “Laissez les bons temps rouler”

    Bangkok - For all the reasons salinger listed… and the women.

    Of all the places I named the food was a big part of the experience. At my age it’s becoming more memorable than the ladies I’ve met there.

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  4. CM

    U.S. Roadtrip – roughly around the perimeter, at 21 years old, with two friends, 10 weeks, 13,000 miles.
    Cuba – fascinating
    Iceland – otherwordly
    Russia – including an overnight train trip to a working monastery in Pskov near the Estonian border.
    Morocco – what salinger said, but also loved walking into the Sahara, and Marrakech and Casablanca

    Honorable mentions: Portugal, Berlin (along with NYC my favourite city in the world), Prague, Rome, Budapest, Mallorca, Venice, Hawaii

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  5. Mississippi Yankee

    There’s no guarantee that they ARE women.

    He likes to be surprised.

    I will admit being surprised at a strip club in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico back in 1978.

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  6. Mississippi Yankee

    Honorable mentions: Portugal, Berlin (along with NYC my favourite city in the world), Prague, Rome, Budapest, Mallorca, Venice, Hawaii

    Loved Rome, had to hold my nose the whole time I was in Venice. Will see Hawaii before I die.

    Honorable mentions: Trinidad – but I had four young elephants to watch at the time. Friendliest people I’ve ever met.

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  7. Seattle Outcast

    I will admit being surprised at a strip club in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico back in 1978.

    Ah yes, they were still doing the “Donkey Show” back then….

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  8. CM

    Had an unforgettable 5 nights at Kaanapali Villas on Maui. Just paradise. Oahu was great too though, walking up Diamond Head at dawn is something special. And Pearl Harbour is one of the world’s best memorials….seeing the USS Arizona sitting beneath the water is really moving and spooky.

    Forgot to add honorable mentions to Athens and the Greek Islands (Santorini and Crete especially), the Croatian islands (Korcula and Hvar) and Turkey (Istanbul, Gallipoli, and Cappadocia).

    Saw a weird live sex show in Amsterdam – got a little dull after a while and the wife and I spent more time chatting to a US army dude who was really interesting, it was late 2002 and he was waiting anxiously to see whether he’d be sent to Iraq if there was an invasion. We also went to a live sex show in New Orleans but I was too drunk to remember it properly. Might have been an all penis affair for all I know.

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