Tag Archives: travel

Travel Plans

Good old FOAF – that’s Friend Of A Friend – has come to my rescue yet again while my brain (what’s left of it) gets rejuvenated:

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I have been in many places but I’ve never been in Kahoots. Apparently, you can’t go alone. You have to be in Kahoots with  someone. I’ve also never been in Cognito.  I hear no one recognizes you there.

I have, however, been in Sane. They don’t have an airport; you have to be driven there. I have made several trips there thanks to my spouse, children,  friends, family and work. I would like to go to Conclusions but you have to  jump and I’m not too much on physical activity anymore.

I have also been in Doubt. That is a sad place to go and I try not to visit there too often.  I’ve been in Flexible but only when it was very important to stand firm.

Sometimes I’m in Capable and I go there more often as I’m getting older. One of my favorite places to be is in Suspense.  It really gets the adrenalin flowing and  pumps up the old heart! At my age I need all the stimuli I can get!

I may have been in Continent but I don’t remember what country I was in.  It’s an age thing. They tell me it is very wet and damp there.

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Nautical Sense of Humor

A nautical sense of humor …

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My Big, Fat, Cheap Vacation

As a Curmudgeon-at-Large, I can’t afford expensive holiday trips.  There are no Ritz-Carlton’s or Waldorf Astoria’s in my future.  I needed to get away but I needed to economize.  I kept looking and looking and finally found one of those inexpensive, all exclusive vacation packages – courtesy of FBN Travel – that sounded too good to be true.  It was.  Only later did I find out that FBN stood for fly by night.

My first clue should have been the name of the ship on which we were booked.

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This is the last time I take a cheap vacation by booking a room on a freighter!

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After our rescue, we arrived at port.  I was provided with a rental car that fit my budget.  (They gave me a tarp in case of rain.)

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I drove to our destination.  It was advertised as a remote, exclusive getaway off the beaten track.

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I had been told that accommodations were authentically rustic.

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Economy lodging certainly has its drawbacks.

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The beaches were not exactly pristine.

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Dining was a unique experience.

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After a relaxing vacation, we looked forward to getting back.  We only needed to traverse the TSA conga line at the airport.

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Yes, I know that all of this is lame but surely you can outdo me with bad vacation experiences.  I await your responses.

Coastal Maine

I’ve hit the trifecta – photography, travel and food in one post.

I have mentioned several times that I love the idea of traveling but hate to travel.  One of the travel goals of many US travelers, including the less adventurous like me, is to travel to all fifty states.  The rules are pretty lax – in fact, there are no official rules – but it seems reasonable that you should see at least one notable sight in each state to have it qualify as a visit.  Since I had never been to Maine, I just got back from a trip to Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor.

Bar Harbor at sunset

Acadia near Thunder Hole

Is it possible to take a bad picture of coastal Maine?  I guess so but I wasn’t able to do it, not with my version 1.0 digital camera or with the camera in my cell phone.  All the usual phrases apply:  rugged coast lines, scenic byways, crystal clear streams and lakes, picturesque and laid-back towns (though Bar Harbor, at the height of tourist season, was bustling) and an abundance of fresh lobster.

The lobster comes in every form imaginable – lobster bisque, lobster rolls, lobster thermidor, steamed lobster, lobster tacos, lobster quesadilla, eggs benedict with lobster and lobster ice cream (yes,  that’s right, lobster ice cream) – to name a few.  There is currently a lobster glut in Maine.  So much so that lobstermen are refusing to go out for a daily catch because they cannot sell lobsters at prices that pay for their expenses.  Bad for lobstermen but good for lobster foodies.

Acadia: Jordan Pond

The Island Explorer bus service in Acadia offers free shuttle buses in the summer months to many locations in Acadia National Park.  In fact, it is possible to visit without a car at all.  Fly into Bar Harbor airport (technically, the Hancock County Bar Harbor airport), take the shuttle bus to your campground, bed & breakfast or hotel and then catch the bus to sightsee throughout the park.  While your car will take you some places that the buses don’t go, you avoid the hassle of looking for a parking space in heavily crowded parking lots at favorite locations.  And you get to see more of the views and less of the road, which is the whole point of a vacation.  You also get the convenience of being dropped off at one spot, walking or hiking to another and then getting picked up and taken back home.

Overlooking Bar Harbor from Bar Island

Now in case you are worried that I have become a softie for someone who professes to be a curmudgeon, let me point out that being there was wonderful; getting there and back was a different story.  The cattle car atmosphere called modern air travel can spoil the best of vacations.  I’ll leave that complaint for another time and give a big thumbs up to coastal Maine.

Around the World in Eighty Seconds

Around the World in Eighty Days is a classic adventure novel by the French writer Jules Verne, first published in 1873. In the story, Phileas Fogg of London and his newly employed French valet, Passepartout, attempt to circumnavigate the world in 80 days on a £20,000 wager set by his friends at the Reform Club.  The proposed itinerary takes them by rail and steamer around the world.

The Proposed Schedule

London to Suez rail and steamer 7 days
Suez to Bombay steamer 13 days
Bombay to Calcutta rail 3 days
Calcutta to Hong Kong steamer 13 days
Hong Kong to Yokohama steamer 6 days
Yokohama to San Francisco steamer 22 days
San Francisco to New York City rail 7 days
New York to London steamer and rail 9 days
Total 80 days

In the best known film version David Niven (as Phileas Fogg) and Cantiflas (as Passepartout) engage the same wager but conduct the journey by hot air balloon.

Today, you can fly around the world by private jet as part of a National Geographic excursion on a twenty four day world tour for a mere $68,000 USD (per person).  It starts and ends in Washington, DC on a whirlwind journey:

The Proposed Schedule

Washington, DC NA 1 day
Machu Picchu SA 3 days
Easter Island Pacific 2 days
Samoa Pacific 2 days
Great Barrier Reef Australia 2 days
Angkor Wat Asia 2 days
Chengdu, LLasa Asia 3 days
Taj Mahal Asia 2 days
Serengeti Plain Africa 2 days
Luxor, Giza (the pyramids) Africa 2 days
Marrakesh Africa 3 days
Total 24 days

Now I have to admit that, other than Washington, DC, I have not been to any of the other places but would dearly like to go.  (To be more precise, as a bad traveler, I would like to have been.)  However, until I win the lottery or get that inheritance from my long lost Uncle Louie, I will rely on the internet and the blogosphere to provide at least a virtual experience.   Hence, eighty seconds versus eighty days.

Personally, if I had the money, I think that I would select something akin to the hot air balloon for the trip rather than a private jet.  Perhaps a modern day dirigible, which I would dub The Curigible.

If you got to devise your own personal around-the-world trip, where would you go and by what means would you travel?