Sunday, December 4, 2011

Road Trip!!!!!

Clarabelle with her Valet
 One of my favourite phrases in the English language is “Road Trip!” I just happen to like going places whether it’s to an exotic tropical paradise or a short two or three day out of town with Clarabelle. I am now going to proceed to bore you with some of my likes and dislikes about travelling.
In previous postings I have told you about a few of my adventures to Costa Rica, San Francisco and Cuba so I won’t go into much detail about these places again.
Lorraine in San Francisco
Up until recently with the exception of a few jaunts to Las Vegas , I did all of my traveling with someone else; either with family or one or two road trip buddies. Now that I am at least temporarily on my own, I’ve taken to exploring new and old places on my own. I must it admit it takes a little bit of courage to “fly solo” but there are some advantages to it. I am able to choose where and when I want to go.  I am able to go on excursions that maybe I only want to do and when I want to do. However the best thing about travelling alone is one tends to meet more people from other parts of the globe because you are forced to communicate outside your own comfort zone. The biggest bonus of course is to you, my potential travel companion. You are not stuck travelling with me; I can be the tour guide from hell because I want to see everything and I want to see it now plus there have been a few rumours that I snore. ;-) That being said there really is no better thing than discovering new places with someone else. Two places that I have no current intentions of returning to again alone are San Francisco and Cuba especially Habana because these locations are just meant to be shared. There are also a few new locales I don’t have plans on visiting alone for the same reason; Paris in particular comes to mind.

Automobile road trips are always a treat. It’s fun just to jump into Clarabelle and head out to a “not so exotic” locale. One of my favourite short haul destinations is Portland, Oregon, my second favourite US city; after all what more can one say about a city that has an unofficial motto “Keep Portland Weird”. This is a city that embraces its working class heritage. When you go into a restaurant or bar and see what appears to be antique furnishings you know they really are antique furnishings. Portland is also known for having the largest number per capita in North America of microbreweries and strip clubs; not that a good Catholic school boy like me would frequent either such establishment. ;-) Portland also has Voo Doo Doughnuts!!!
Another road trip favourite is Vancouver Island which is another world unto itself. The island pace is much more laid back than Vancouver. I’m sure anyone from Toronto or Montreal would go nuts trying to deal with this casual lifestyle. Road trips were the only thing I ever enjoyed about working for an employer I absolutely hated. At least four times a year I was sent out on sales calls throughout BC and got to enjoy the beauty places like the Kootenays, and the north central part of the province. Everyone should drive through the Rockies at least once.  And while we are talking about “just once” road trips, everyone should drive the Pacific Coast Highway between San Francicsco and Los Angeles at least once and only once. I highly recommend you do it in November where the powers that be add frost and fog to the curves and hills. ;-)
I am not one for roughing it when it comes to travel. Even when I was younger, I was not a fan of camping. I enjoy the outdoors and cooking over an open flame but my downfall comes when it is time to retire for the night. Having had a sleep disorder for most of my life settling down in a tent is most unpleasant. If you think I snore loudly in a comfortable warm hotel bed, you ought to hear me sleeping on the hard ground. I heard it described as a wart hog mating with a chainsaw! I prefer to stay in hotels with a minimum four star rating. My idea of roughing it now is when room service closes before midnight. Yes, I am a “Princess” and proud of it.
However, just because I like my creature comforts does not mean I plan to stay and soak up the sun by the pool while sipping a fruity cocktail. When I go places, I like to explore the country or city I am in and take a few risks but only to a limit on the adventurous risks, after look at the title of this blog.
One of the things I try to do especially in southern climes is to learn a little of the language. This shows the natives some respect and they appreciate your efforts even if they would ultimately want to learn English so they can get a better job in the tourist industry. I get totally peed off at a certain group of people from a certain country that expect servers to be completely fluent in English. Of course, these are the same people that chow down on burgers and fries rather than the local cuisine.
What don’t I like about travelling? Well the big thing I’m not fond of is flying. Not because I’m have a fear crashing or am claustrophobic but for some more realistic reasons. First off, one has to waste time getting to the airport ridiculously early for your flight so you can go through a pointless security system that is totally ineffective and only in place so the government can justify spending ridiculous amounts of money to look like they are actually doing something about safety and security and to give the masses that “warm and fuzzy” feeling that nothing bad will happen to them. The other problem I have with flying is that I am of above average size and height so I am usually wedged into a seat. I need an aisle seat so I can get a little bit of extension in my knees. Of course, I always seem to get stuck behind recliner guy as well so it’s even worse. Lately, I have been flying to my tropical destinations via Air Transat and they have a reasonably priced upgrade to their “Club Class” that provides added seat width and leg space as well as several other amenities. I find this a much better upgrade for your money than the more popular resort package upgrade to an ocean view room which by the way you can quite often get for free just by asking politely at the front desk.
Jakub and Yolanda from Czech Republic
What do I like best about traveling? Besides seeing amazing sights and doing crazy things, I would have to say it is meeting new people and making new friends even if it is only for a brief period of times all the people you meet permanently become a part of you.
Given an infinite amount of time and money, I would travel just about everywhere and return to all those places I loved. I won’t go into the very few places I wasn’t happy visiting.
Next stop Panama and the big ditch!! I promise I’ll post about a little quicker than Costa Rica. :-)
Thank you and enjoy the rest of your day here in the Magic Kingdom. Oh crap, wrong theme park! ;-)