NPF: BRAZILIAN BEACH BLAST

You all are well aware that I took a vacation recently. It is always difficult to return from vacation and dive back into the not-nearly-as-nice routine of our working lives. I had a particularly good time despite subpar weather on my trip, so the shift back to reality has been unpleasant.

At least I thought I had a good time. When I find myself trying to explain what I did for eight days it doesn't seem terribly exciting. Tell people you are going to Brazil and their first reaction is likely to be, "Oh, Rio! So fun!" or something else with strong undertones of Sex, Drugs, and Party Time. Alas, those things were absent from my trip (and life, but that's another story). Instead I took a lot of pictures of buildings and waterfalls. I know, I know. I am so exciting.

I have this recurring problem where I enjoy things until I have to attempt to explain them to other people and then when I see or hear the words coming out of my brain I think, well actually this doesn't sound like fun at all. This sounds like something a very boring person would do, perhaps due to some life-threatening allergy to fun or fundamental ignorance about how the concept of fun works. In short, vacation was fun but at 35 I still can't get comfortable with how lame my definition of "fun" is.

Yes, I know. Save yourself the trouble of rushing to the comments to First World Problem me. I realize that my life is very easy, I do not lack for any necessities, and I can afford things like vacations to other hemispheres. It is an opportunity that many people both here in the U.S. and around the world never get. I get it. Despite that, I feel like having Actual Fun, the kind that people who understand the concept of enjoying life have, would be good for me. It might even make me less of a wet blanket all the time not to mention that I might experience strange feelings like…well, not happiness, but maybe Not Misery for a while. It is not, however, in my DNA. I know a lot of things but how to be fun is not one of them.

So, hello. My name is Ed and I'm a no-fun-a-holic. I'm here today because I went to Brazil on the itinerary of an elderly woman not unlike your grandmother. If I can't learn to be fun at this point I might settle for not talking myself out of it when I manage to do whatever embarrassing things I find enjoyable. On the plus side, it was really interesting to have nobody to talk to for a week in an entirely different country! Gotta change things up every so often, variety being the spice of life and all. So that was exciting.

It's good to be back.

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68 Responses to “NPF: BRAZILIAN BEACH BLAST”

  1. J. Dryden Says:

    Oh My God You Are Not Alone. I myself am utterly and completely incapable of Fun as it is understood by hoo-mans and packaged/offered for my consumption by those whose business it is to provide such things.

    For reals–I cannot have fun in the way that I am supposed to have fun.

    When I was in my 20s, I chalked this up with my usual Caulfiedesque snottiness to my intellectual superiority to those bovine masses who blah blah blah you can fill in the rest of this paragraph my God I was awful and I apologize to everyone I knew back then.

    Needless to say that when I hit 30, I realized that I was wrong–that there was something wrong with (or at least awkwardly different about) me, not the legions of normal, sane people.

    Note to posterity: If one person is happy and the other person is miserable, and both are of the same age, education, status, etc.–the happy person is the wiser of the two. Occam's razor, y'all.

    Anyway, part of the reason I don't travel more is because I'm only ever in new places long enough to do what such places offer for the brief visitor–the touristy stuff–and I cannot go to such places without feeling so squeamishly awful that I end up curled up in a fetal ball in my hotel room thumbing through my phrase book to find the words to yell at the maid to go away.

    Point is: Hi, Ed. You made the right decision to come here tonight, and just know that you're with friends. There's donuts in the back, and if you need a sponsor, see me after the meeting.

  2. Mo Says:

    I just spent 5 days putting 1200 miles on a car, driving around looking at coulees and waterfalls, taking pictures of buildings, and enjoying myself at probably sinful or insane levels.

    I resisted snapping a few photos of swarming giant crickets, which I now regret.

    Donuts in the back, eh, Dryden?

  3. argleblargle Says:

    I've never understood the point of a vacation where all you do is go to famous places and take pictures of them. Can't you just stay home and look at pictures of those places on the internet?

    Going to famous places to do drugs and have sex there I can totally understand, though.

  4. Ochtona_Princemps Says:

    Dude, you of all people should know that most people's definition of 'fun' is horrible. Are you really jealous of the people getting skin cancer in Lake Havasu or wading in the feces-tainted waters of Panama City?

    You need to learn to own your hobbies. Fuck other people's standards of enjoyment.

    Also, waterfalls and buildings are objectively awesome. It's not like you're into NASCAR or scrapbooking.

  5. Ed W. Says:

    I am going to go with an internet diagnosis of post-vacation depression. There has been research that has shown that vacation happiness actually peaks somewhere around day 4 or so, then starts declining, so this is all perfectly normal. In some cases, people are happier in the build-up to the vacation (where everything is perfect, it's falling into place) than they actually are *on* vacation, where the reality of delayed flights, jet lag, bad hotels, and food poisoning have started kicking them in the ass. So this is not unusual at all, and is to be expected.

    Wait, I forgot, you're kinda like this all the time. Never mind.

  6. Graham Says:

    So, what buildings did you like?

  7. US in the UK Says:

    @argleblargle: Why go to foreign countries? You could be an 80's style Young Republican right at home: http://crooksandliars.com/2014/05/republican-party-monster

    It's a toss up – you can't go that far and not see the thing that everyone is going to ask about when you get back (e.g. Eiffel Tower, Paris). And, to be fair, some of the stuff that is famous is famous for a reason (depsite the crowds). But for many of us – Dryden inter alia – sometimes it just feels good to be out of your element and 'lost' (or 'hidden' may be more appropriate) from your own personal grind for a few days.

    There is no shame in *just going*. Your time spent somewhere else isn't meant to appease others' curiosity. Sometimes you just can enjoy not doing something (or the same thing) for a few days. As long as you are happy with it….

  8. Michael Bloom Says:

    I never did the Brazil-as-Club-Med thing in half a dozen trips. (To be blunt, I was constrained to avoid pissing off my wide, as she was the one with the Portuguese skills.) But I would certainly say I had fun, just watching manifestations of a climate and a culture profoundly unlike my own. There was the time we were sunning on a random beach and we saw some dude lugging a big heavy duffel bag, which he set down on the sand, opened up and began pulling out random drums, which he passed around to his friends, and they played spontaneous samba music for the next hour. There were the ubiquitous juice bars, where you could drink the fresh squeezings of yummy fruits I'd never heard of before. There was the discovery that one could buy guitars in the shopping mall, and the local Caetano Veloso wannabe who gave lunchtime concerts there. The cat in the herbalist shop near the art museum. The hummingbirds. The fresh coconut at the beach. The fact that Rio's international airport is named after Antonio Carlos Jobim. I hope you got to experience something like that, and enjoy it for its non-First World quirks.

  9. Matt Says:

    Seems to me that, if you had fun, other peoples' definitions of fun may not matter. "Did my vacation meet up to some imaginary other person's standards?" is a pretty crappy way to judge your trip.

  10. Sarah Says:

    Dude, people are into what they are into. You were enjoying yourself while you were doing what you were doing, weren't you? Bear in mind that the ones who were doing the "sex, drugs & rock'n roll" itinerary are hung over and getting treated for VD afterwards.

  11. Slim Shady Says:

    I'm just back from 8 days in Southern Utah. Fun included the best Huevos Rancheros ever for breakfast, and sitting freaking out on a wide spot in the trail on Angels Landing in Zion, baking in the sun, getting bitten by plague ridden fleas (turns out they weren't carrying, but I had to ride out the incubation period), while my wife completed the climb, and searching to no avail for the State run liquor stores that I was told existed in UT now.

    It was a blast. Made sifting through the 500 emails waiting when I got back worth it.

  12. Slim Shady Says:

    Also, our Company Cafe is staffed entirely by Brazilians. Before they open up in the morning most of them have driven around deliverying newspapers. Some of them have a 3rd job in the evening. And somehow, they are the happiest people in the entire Campus. It's pretty remarkable, I wish I knew their secret.

  13. c u n d gulag Says:

    Welcome back – officially!

    And you got out of the US for over a week.
    THAT'S fun, in and of itself!
    And THAT'S something I don't think I'll ever do again – sadly.

    I'd actually love to get the fuck out of here permanently, but…
    Ain't gonna happen.

  14. jestbill Says:

    I had a similar conversation as this about 10 years ago when I was twice your age.
    Fun is not interesting.

    Listen to old people. What experiences do they talk about? They talk about the times they were stranded somewhere with no money. The times they had to solve problems.

    Fun is a restful break from actually living.

  15. Dorothy's kid Says:

    MY grandmother's a BLAST.

  16. RP Says:

    Dude, the best vacation I've had in the past five years was three days in Nashville, alone, while my wife attended a conference for work. I still can't believe it. Fun is in the brain of the beholder, or something.

  17. Leslee Says:

    Because of how I looked when I was younger, people often mistook me for the "Party Sexy Fun-Time Girl", when in fact my personality was "Giant Intellectual Nerd". This often meant that the "fun" came to me, whether I wanted it or not.

    (Like the time I was mistaken for a prostitute. While putting gas in my car. At 2:00pm on a Wednesday. While wearing simple jeans, a t-shirt and Doc Martins.)

    Because of this, I've had the sort of "fun" that's depicted in "Porky's" movies and cheap beer commercials. But to be honest, the memories I have of touring the Rijksmuseum, or exploring architecture in Puerto Rico are far more meaningful and lasting.

    I think it's perfectly OK to define "fun" in your own way – whatever that might be.

  18. Amelia Says:

    Alternatively, other people need to broaden their definition of fun if they can't relate. I, for one, would not have expected to find visiting the home of a coinmaker to be all that interesting, but I went along with someone and found it delightful.

  19. Turkle Says:

    "Fun" – wild saturnalia, drugs, indefensibly loud music, what HST called an "illegal smile," etc. – is little more than a distraction from the horrible inevitability of death. Once you've fully embraced your existential situation, you find you don't need it anymore. I certainly don't.

  20. Jex Says:

    There comes a point in your life when you have to decide which is more important to strive for: being cool or having fun. Sounds like you're feeling wistful about "cool" but cool by itself is rarely fun; let it go.

    p.s. in my life the line in the sand is Polka. If you won't get up to dance one of the simplest dances in the world to ridiculous music because you'll look/feel silly, cool has won and I can't help you.

  21. Ursula Says:

    Sign me up for the not-fun mailing list, and yes, I will attend the quarterly polka dances. Are the doughnuts any good? I do enjoy some coffee.

  22. Xynzee Says:

    For someone who can turn a phrase like a knife, you should know the basics of recounting something in a far more interesting way. I once heard a guy use his shopping list to tell the most engaging things, we're not talking about just the strawberries and honey here. He had us in stitches over his toilet cleaner and the battle of the bowl. You're telling people facts, and not bringing them into your passion.

    But really, it's what Jax and others said, stop worrying about others' idea of "fun" and own your own.

  23. Pat Says:

    "I have this recurring problem where I enjoy things until I have to attempt to explain them to other people and then…"

    Sorry, dude. You don't have a problem. What you have is a condition.

  24. acer Says:

    I used to have the sort of fun that's associated with the word, until the party was shut down by pancreatitis and other health problems more common in much older alcoholics. Now, I'm learning to have fun your way.

    @slim shady:
    My fondest memory of the Utah Canyonlands – aside from the surreal, lonesome gorgeousness of them – is scanning the AM and FM bands and getting nothing but sweet static. Good times.

  25. Andrew Says:

    I'm the same way. My idea of fun is driving the entire Trans-Canada Highway. Over the years, I've managed all but the section between Thunder Bay and Toronto. I don't like nightclubs, tourist spots, cruises, package holidays, or all-inclusive resorts, and a little sandy beach goes a long way with me. I travel to see new things and have new experiences, or to do nerd things (Mensa Mind Games, American Crossword Puzzle Tournament).

  26. slimlove Says:

    I just came back from two weeks in the UK. Aside from one interesting night in Edinburgh, my trip varied very little from one that my mother would plan. There was a time I would have considered this a failure. I didn't see everything! I didn't go out every night! I clearly wasted my money and my time.

    But as I've gotten older, I've realized that there are no rules. I don't have to see everything the guidebook highlights. I don't need to spend a ton of money getting hammered in clubs every night. I saw the things I wanted to see. I did the things I wanted to do. I took a nap whenever I wanted to. I had a great time being boring, as did my friends, and I came home well rested and relaxed (two things I rarely am in my normal life). It was the best vacation I've ever had.

  27. Star Says:

    I've been 80 since I was about 10. My idea of fun is…well, a total bore to 99.lotsofnines percent of the people I've encountered. But most people bore me to death, so it all works out. I'd rather have (boring to others) fun than spend interminable moments doing something I hate.

  28. MikeofVB Says:

    Hey Ed, chill man, it’s okay … you did what you wanted to do … you'll be all right, man, so relax. Trust me, it’s cool. Extensive traveling to foreign and exotic places, both famous and "where the fuck am I?" un-famous during my time way long ago in the Navy has taught me that other people are assholes (go ahead, you can say it too… really, it's okay). What they (the assholes) want to do IS the touristy stuff, like stay on the beaten track, take pictures of that famous place they were told to take a picture of because it's so famous, send postcards home of all the famous places they've been to even though they have a 4GB microSD card full of pictures of the exact same place to prove they really, really were there. Or get fucked up and look for hookers. Mostly look for hookers. Because Sailors. But here’s why doing your own thing is totally worth it:

    There's nothing quite like walking alone, well off the beaten track, at dusk, down the dirt side streets of Pointe Noire (in one of the Congo's – can't remember), talking to the locals, letting them welcome you into their home to sit down and share a dinner of freshly killed bush monkey stew prepared for their extended family of twelve, walking away with your belly filled by a hearty, home cooked meal of an undetermined species of mostly cooked monkey, and *bonus* all of your money and limbs intact.

    Or walking through the rice paddy fields WAY outside of Medan, Indonesia, again alone, smiling at and meeting the local rice paddy farmers, taking pictures of them and their children and unintentionally stealing their souls, finding that one "wise" farmer holding all the liquor and toasting many times that we live in a very small world but since you don’t speak the language you’re not really sure, waving farewell so they can continue their rice paddy farming ways, walking the wrong direction trying to get back to the place that you think you decided to have the single-seat motorcycle rickshaw driving guy drop you off at, about a mile later discovering a group of British Ex-pats gathered in a field and drinking from a keg in the back of a van after just finishing a hasher, drinking with them because a) they have beer, b) they’re funny as f*ck, c) they have a ride, and d) they’re willing to take you back to your ship but ONLY after the keg is finished.

    Or, while walking alone, again, through the non-descript markets of Jebel Ali (UAE) and lucking out by striking up a conversation with the one guy in town who knows where the good surf is at, has an extra board AND asks if you want to go with him, napping while he’s driving then waking up to the sound of him breaking out de-booted snowboards from the back of his Range Rover (they all have Range Rovers), finally looking out of the window and seeing nothing but sand for forever so snowboards are actually quite appropriate, then forgetting you don’t have any water because you didn’t think of bringing water ‘cause you didn’t realize you were going to the f*cking desert to “surf,” and it’s only two-bazillion degrees Celsius (of course) outside, but it’s cool because Middle East Surfing Dude tells you “it’s okay, my friend, you’ll still have fun!” And you do. Good times.

    All of the above is I swear no-shit true, as is marching in a May Day Parade in Sydney because it passed by the bar and why not, Sailors can be commies, too. Also being abruptly awakened in Olongapo in the middle of the night by six Filipinos wearing camouflage and carrying M14s because one of them decided his sisters apartment was a great place to crash for the night and get some food, only to have his sister tell you that it would be a good idea if you left (don’t judge).

    Now, if I would have stuck with the touristy stuff like a proper human, I would have never eaten delicious monkey, sand surfed, got drunk with nice peasants, nor had a rifle pointed in my general direction while naked. I feel fortunate. But you know what? I’ve never seen nor taken pictures of a waterfall in Brazil, which would be pretty cool, too. Although I do have some pictures of the souls of some Indonesians, so there’s that.

  29. Karl Says:

    This fun you're talking about is very much overrated and being a wet blanket has many benefits.

  30. MikeofVB Says:

    By the way, bush monkey – when properly prepared – tastes a lot like Yak, or what i think a Yak would taste like.

  31. anotherbozo Says:

    I just heard one of the staff of UPenn's online poetry class say the upcoming poetry session was going to be "fun." James Watson joined Francis Crick in the discovery of the double helix in genetic research after asking him, "So what looks like fun?"

    So it's a matter of who defines it.

    Sometimes going to a new place is 9/10th of the "fun." A totally new, 360˚ change of environment. Exhilarating, renovating, fascinating in itself. But many of us, and I suspect Ed among us, try to have "fun" wherever possible. Insulting students, making jokes, being a curmudgeon. Writing blogs that deliberately provoke all these interesting responses…

  32. mothra Says:

    I'll echo everyone else: the important thing is that YOU had fun. In your way. Who cares if anyone gets it? I also get the "crestfallen face" from people asking me what I did on vacation in well-known places. Just got back from NY. Everyone was shocked to hear I had a restful time. Well, of course. I didn't spend much time in the city. I hung out instead in my friend's lovely house and yard. Perfect.

    I am also very proud to say that though I have been to Paris dozens of times, I have never visited the Eiffel Tower. Or the Musee d'Orsay. I tried to visit the Musee de Cluny during a week I spent in Paris, but the museum workers had all gone on strike. So I posted manifestos from a frustrated tourist (in French) on the door of the museum every day. THAT was my vacation in Paris. Heh.

  33. EJ Says:

    Maybe it's because I live in San Diego, but usually when I'm abroad I figure, "why would I go just hang out on the beach and party? I can do that at home."

    @mothra I hear ya on just puttering around when you're on vacation; I've lost count of the number of times I've been to New York, but I've never been to the Statue of Liberty – it just seems kinda crowded and hectic.

    And I don't get the endless picture taking of internationally famous monuments. Sure, I'll get a few picture of my friends or have someone take a picture of me in front of [insert wonder of the world], but come on, you can easily find thousands of photographs, taken by professional photographers, of, say, Notre Dame, that look way better than your holiday snaps.

  34. Death Panel Truck Says:

    My wife and I are two of the most boring people I know. We go to the same place every August for a week to 10 days – the Oregon Coast (we live in eastern Washington). We don’t stay in the same city every year; we move up and down the coast. Anywhere south of Lincoln City is okay with us. We rent a big house so my wife’s brothers (from Portland and Eugene) and their wives can come to stay for a few days. This year we’re rented a place on the beach in Yachats. My father-in-law and his second wife are coming also. I’m dreading that, because the man is annoying as hell, but they’re only staying for one day.

    The donuts here are stale. Next week I’m bringing homemade chocolate chip cookies.

  35. EJ Says:

    To be fair, you were in Brasilia, which is internationally known mainly for its architecture, not so much its party atmosphere.

    I mean if someone goes to Washington DC, you don't assume they went there for fun in the sun.

  36. David Says:

    "Fun" is superficial – parties, bars, shallow relationships, disinhibited behavior while under the influence of alcohol or drugs – while "happiness" requires managing a balance of all the conflicts and needs in one's life.

  37. Chicagojon Says:

    Have you ever been on a "fun" vacation that meets the definition you seem to have missed?

    I was once — a early 20's trip to Vegas with ~13 ppl. We discovered that 2 limos weren't much more than 3 cabs and spent the weekend in limos, bribing a bouncer to get into a club, blowing cash on liquor, gambling & a 5-star meal we would normally never try. Sex wasn't on the agenda as I'm monogamous and my partner wasn't there, but short of that everything was in order.
    Of the entire trip the best day was at a water park being lazy. The clubs, limo, dinner, drinking was all perfectly forgettable. No pictures were taken.

    Contrast that with trips to China and countless photos of building tops, historic gardens, & the fastest train on the planed (for a $7 ride) and Egypt and it's no contest. Even better is a trip to Iowa to see the Mississippi with my partner on our first 'real' trip together. I don't even have photos of that, but I'll never forget it.

    Methinks you could use a travel partner. I think I mentioned this before but go be a teacher on http://www.semesteratsea.org. You are exactly what they need and would have a blast. Also – Chicago meetup. We can bring our architectural photos.

  38. Chicagojon Says:

    I have about 5 follows on Facebook. 1 is Ginandtacos. Another is the Dalai Lama:

    12 hours ago:
    Sensory experience does not offset the intense pain or pleasure we feel on a mental level; it may distract us, but doesn’t overcome it. On the other hand, if we have peace of mind, even negative experiences do not upset us. Peace of mind is also good for our physical health. Medical experts have found that anger, hatred and fear eat into our immune system. Being calm and relaxed is better for our physical well-being.

    In truth I'm more likely to read your posts than the Lama…he can be contrived at times.

  39. Dick Nixon Says:

    I was in a business when I was younger that required lots of travel. It's well known that business travel isn't travel in the esthetic sense–it's more like moving fom one enclosed building to another.

    My scam was this–in those days if one stayed over a weekend their flights would be deeply discounted. I made Monday and/or Tuesday client appointments, and convinced the powers that be that it was cost effective to send me out on Fridays.

    I had first class hotel accomdations, an expense account for meals, and got to spend random weekends in wonderful cities all around the continent.
    What was my idea of fun? Walking the cities and countryside, talking to locals and experiencing the food, sights, and ambiance of the location.

    I had many wonderful times just being myself–no sex drugs or rock and roll needed. I met interesting and sometimes famous people rolling around like this. The memories I have of those days far exceed the "fun" memories I am supposed to have.

    Other times, I've gone on programmed vacations where everyone seemed to be having a good time (the beach, the cruise,the Disneys, the museum walks, the tropics) and I have been bored out of my mind. I spent a lot of time reading in my hotel.

    To each his own, Ed. To each his own.

  40. ConcernedCitizen Says:

    I'm safely assuming I'm younger than most other commenters here. (I'm definitely younger than Ed.) And I still rely on drugs to fuel my fun now and then. But I can easily imagine the year I no longer will, and I have difficulty imagining going out of my way to get fucked up in a foreign country. Being in a strange place is already weird and fun enough! One of my favorite memories is hiking through Yosemite for a day, and I was sober as a bird.

    Then again, I can't get over how awesome acid is…

  41. E* Says:

    If you told me about your sex, drugs, and rock n' roll vacation in Brazil, I would probably be bored within minutes. I could listen to you describe local grocery stores/markets for days. So your audience's definition of fun differs by person as well.

    @ anotherbozo: When James Watson asked Francis Crick, "So what looks like fun?," do you think Francis Crick said, "Let's steal Rosalind Franklin's X-ray diffraction images of DNA, 'discover' the double helix, and take all of the credit"? Those crazy men!

  42. anotherbozo Says:

    @E* –
    All's fair in love and science…
    As I recall Franklin's response, she didn't begrudge the boys their "lucky guess", just resented those who didn't give her sufficient credit for her indispensable contribution. She would unquestionably have shared the Nobel Prize with them if she hadn't already died. Nobels can't be awarded posthumously. (Great BBC doc called "The Double Helix" never on DVD here)

  43. anotherbozo Says:

    P.S. @E*

    Watson & Crick stole nothing – the worst was that one of Franklin's photographs was shown to Watson without her permission.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosalind_Franklin

  44. Eau Says:

    But, ed, you're fun-NY. The same cockeyed (not to say jaundiced) view that sucks the fun outta 'fun' for you gives you your superpower: to take objectively depressing shit (politics, societal fuckedness) and make all of us laugh at it. Maybe that's small recompense, but there it is. Next holiday, come to Australia. I have some friends (who love b&t) who will show you a good time. Hell, they can squeeze a laugh out of me now and then, and I'm at least as morose and dull as you are, AND I'm not even funny.

  45. Eau Says:

    *g&t, obliviously. Fuck.

  46. el mago Says:

    ah, yeah, fun . . . monkies have fun flinging poo, bats have fun swooping from caves inhaling insects, druggies have fun with their substances for a few moments . . . and others have fun walking the streets of Amsterdam, crashing an art party, then going home . . . some people even have fun watching movies.

    Drama, there's enough to go around wherever one may find oneself, but that doesn't equal fun. guess it all is in the eye of the beholder. My idea of a good time is listening to music in the confines of my own home and sharing the food I cook with friends. Fun is a concept, over rated.

  47. Sharkbabe Says:

    Walking around looking at things – what better vacation activity is there?

    Like everything else, travel nowadays seems less about actual experience and more about bragging and narrative. Keep up, Ed!

    Heck, I've finally stopped even taking photos – felt like it was just another busying thing that gets in the way. My short how-was-your-trip answer anymore is "excellently indescribable and uncapturable, thanks."

    Anyway, welcome back to the belly of the thunderdome (aka USA) … In the end there really is nothing quite as wonderful as one's own bed.

  48. Tamarama Says:

    If it's fun for you, who gives a shit what anyone else thinks?

  49. cat lady Says:

    When someone says "Brazil," sure, a lot of people think "caipirinhas! samba!" But I think "state regulated import substitution" and seriously get chills of excitement. (Not kidding.)

    An urban-planning themed trip Brasilia is on my "dream vacation" list, and I'm totally jealous of you and your awesomely "boring" trip. [I'm also the same age as you -- but then again I have a bunch of cats, which might put me in the elderly woman bracket.]

  50. Robert Says:

    A couple of memories from the Caribbean (with my first husband). Walking down Bridgetown side streets late night, finding street food vendors and an open air party in progress, friendly locals and cheap rum. Fun.

    Contrasted with a package deal for tourists – go out on a mock pirate ship, with a full buffet and rum punch, optional plank walking and snorkeling over a shipwreck. The ad read FUN FUN FUN FUN (picture) FUN FUN FUN FUN FUN.
    Not quite as much fun.

    A good friend went to an all-inclusive resort, and one of his stories culminated in drinking so much that he vomited so much that he lost a crown off a tooth. I do not think I would have found that fun. Staying up late 'partying' has never appealed to me. Touring the Louvre without taking pictures – that was fun. If you can't take pictures, you have to actually look at things. Visiting Versailles on a mind-roastingly hot summer day (no crowds!) and discovering that the living quarters reek – a very special kind of fun.

  51. What The Karp!?! Says:

    My ideal vacation would be going to Alaska to catch fish that are very similar to the fish we have here in Wisconsin. But I want to do it in Alaska before mining and drilling ruins it all.

  52. Cameron Says:

    Ed,

    I remember you like fast German automobiles. Look up the local SCCA (or BMWCCA), get some R compound tires, and run in some autocrosses. Don't worry, you won't break your car. You will have fun.

  53. piperspace Says:

    As always, I enjoyed the stories in the comments. I think @MikeofVB wins this one, though. Wow.

  54. Nick Says:

    Slim Shady: Utah resident here. If you come back, there's a package agency (basically a privately owned store that can sell liquor in some small towns) in Springdale, but the nearest actual liquor store is in Hurricane (pronounced Hurikun). On the plus side there's a decent brewery in Springdale as well. Glad you enjoyed Zion, Utah gets its fair share of shit (most of it deserved) but it's an amazing place.

    Ed: When I went to Prague, my traveling companions went out for a "hostel bar crawl," which in my limited experience involve lots of drunk Americans and Australians and skeezy locals trying to bang them. I passed and instead went around taking pictures of architecture in and near Wenceslas Square. Went to bed around 10:00, woke up at 7 the next morning, got coffee, and went to the castle before the tourists hit, where I also bought a CD from a delightful street band called the Prague Castle Orchestra. By the time I got back, my friends were just starting to wake up, having missed half of one of our two days in Prague. Despite my usual fondness for alcoholic beverages and staying up late, I regret nothing–if I wanted to get shitfaced and pass out at 4 AM and sleep until the afternoon, I could have done that at home. Instead I got to walk around in the morning, watching one of the most beautiful cities in Europe wake up. There's a place for partying on vacation, but fuck anyone who tries to make you feel like you missed out on something if you focused on the stuff you like instead. Glad you enjoyed your trip, ya nerd. Good to have you back.

  55. Entomologista Says:

    I probably have you beat. When people ask what I do for fun, I tell them I play board games. They think "Chutes&Ladders". No… More like strategy games that last several hours. And then I watch their eyes glaze over. But I'm right there with you when traveling. I travel for the history and the hiking. And I stop to look at all the pretty bugs.

  56. Drew Says:

    Good to have you back, Ed!

    I used to dig rocks (mineral collecting) for a hobby, which is not something people usually think of when it comes to vacating. Out in the hot sun, digging a big hole and sweating my balls off seems like work to most. But, I have figured out that most others don't give a shit about what makes me happy, so I have to do what makes me happy instead of what others think *should* make me happy.

    Drew

  57. Slim Shady Says:

    Thanks Nick, we're definitely coming back! We survived by hitting several restaurants that had full licenses. The place that had those huevos rancheros, Oscars, had this misleading painted Margarita glass on the windows, which had me all worked up the first day. But when we returned in the afternoon, we found they were 'Wine Margaritas'. Probably should have tried one, just for research purposes, but bailed out until dinner later in the evening.

  58. cromartie Says:

    I just spent a weekend driving 500 miles to attend art exhibitions and hike state parks.

    Part of growing up and older is enjoying what you do and shrugging and saying 'fuck it' if people don't agree with your idea/perception of fun.

  59. sinned34 Says:

    So you came back just in time to watch the Hawks get eliminated thanks to a bad bounce. Welcome back!

  60. Lless Says:

    Have you tried running, Ed? Get a copy of Galloway's book and walk till you run. Hurts a little at first. Then it gets better. All of a sudden you enjoy it. It kicks depression's ass.

  61. geoff Says:

    Ed, where're the Oscar Niemeyer pics? That stuff's interesting!! Mid-Century Modern 4EVA!!

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  63. sad Says:

    Even if you think it's inappropriate, or even make believe…

    It might still be helpfull for you to go through the process of defining who is ment by "us" and "them".

    I've never heard anyone do that.

    The hole idea of talking about "us and them" without definition, seems a little weird.

    Peace… sad

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