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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Vacation (All I Ever Wanted)

Until I was 34, I had never been on a real vacation.  My wife, Grace, gets the wanderlust every few years, and asked me if I would like to go abroad for a week or so.  I agreed, and left her to the task of choosing where we would go, and planning the trip.  Basically, she did everything, and I kicked in some money. In February of 2010, we went on a two week trip to Nicaragua.  This would be my first passport, first flight, first time out of the continental United States.  This was an eye opening experience for me.  Being lost in another country where no one speaks your language, feeling like you're in a movie but knowing it's real.  We rode horses, swam in the ocean, pushed our way through the packed market places, and walked for miles down deserted dirt roads.  We slept in grass huts next to the ocean, rode buses down dirt roads next to people with live chickens tucked in their armpits, blazed through towns in taxis that went too fast for comfort, and awoke to the shrieks of the jungle in the morning.  Everything went according to Grace's schedule, and we were never treated poorly, scammed, or robbed, with the exception of one guy that made a weak attempt at Grace's wallet.
I brought a cassette walkman on the trip, and kept a daily audio diary of the trip.  I also recorded the sounds of the Jungle and the marketplace.
About two weeks later, I was to take flight once again, this time with my boss, to Las Vegas for three days, to attend the 2010 Bar and Nightclub Convention.  This trip was more like a drunken nightmare with glimpses of sunshine and awe.  Highlights included :
- The convention itself, which was a stadium sized floor, with about 500 booths, each trying to sell their alcohol, beer, or nightclub related merchandise.  Basically, every ten feet you stopped to do a shot of something, all day long.
-The Stratosphere, highest building West of the Mississippi, I think.  Its a casino / mall / amusement park stuffed into something like Seattle's Space Needle.  Looking down from the top was dizzying.
-Being able to walk freely anywhere with a bottle of whiskey in one hand and a lit cigarette in the other.
The flight back was a bumpy, drunken hellride, and I missed my home badly.  Too much time with my boss, too much of the air conditioned daymare.  It was so good to get home, I had barely unpacked from the Nicaragua trip yet.  Getting away really helps you appreciate the things you take for granted, and reminds you that there is a world outside of the borders of your mind.

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