Folic acid has replaced merlot. Hot dogs are temporarily banned and strange things are happening in my body. Clearly, this means we’re having a baby. Woofabbityhoo! Woot! Woot! Lalalalalalaaaaaaa! A real, live, human baby. Holy cow. He/she already has fingernails, working knee joints and body fuzz. Although we’ve officially graduated from embryo to fetus-hood, my favorite scientific term from the stages of development remains blastocyst. Baby Blastocyst is doing just fine and our initial shock is quickly transforming into total delight.
Oh yes, and complete and utter terror, naturally.
East doesn’t meet West nicely in Singapore. It’s more of a WWF smackdown that leaves you confused amidst the metal botanical gardens next to the famous ship on a hotel. Singapore is a lesson in wonderfully strange.
In a city state that seems to be equally proud of its bright shutters past as of its steel minimalist present, it seemed only right to add an unreasonable time restriction. JD and I had 36 hours to “do” Singapore in a glorified layover on our way to Bali. In just over one day we were meant to explore, analyze and report back on a place whose leading export is Strangeness. We were up for the challenge.
Some days are really great. Things go your way. You meet unexpected adventures that are surprising and fun, not euphemisms for an extra deadline from your boss. You appreciate where you are and enjoy the people you’re with.
I had one of those days yesterday. It was a combination of hiking, full moonlight and an impromptu party on the mountain – all on a Tuesday evening. And in the middle of hiking up Lion’s Head I realized what makes a really great day.
Why is Cape Town the top travel destination in the world? According to Tripadvisor it’s more beloved by travelers than the serene beaches of Indo, the mountains of Switzerland or the frenzy of New York. So what makes it so great? After two years in the Mother City, I have a hunch.
You’ve been there. Your eyes run almost as fast as your nose. Your tongue sticks out Gene Simmons style begging for water like you’ve been rescued from the desert. At some point you may begin to rock back and forth or curl into a ball. You might not realize how you look at the time, but your buddies will be sure to imitate it for years to come once you’re back home. Sometime after the burning (and sobbing) has subsided you laugh, or try to laugh, at yourself and remember you can’t handle the spicy curry in India.
Welcome to looking like an idiot.
Travel is the great equalizer between ages. Maybe you can’t teach old dog new tricks, but you can teach it to pick a point on a map and go there. Just think how many people use retirement as their starting point for travel. Travelling is open to people of all age because it’s only as comfortable or hectic as you make it. You can find travellers in strollers or in wheelchairs.
So if you’re never too old to travel, is it possible that you can ever be too old for hostels?
You’re Not a Local Unless You Are
How long does it take to really get to know a place? How long before you can confidentially say you’ve “been there”? Does a layover in an airport count as having visited a place? Does it take an overnight stay? A week? A month?
Whether you’re at home or overseas it’s important that you take your vitamins, put on sunscreen and, of course, Beware of the Crazies (or BOTC, as a tribute to my last post, TIA). Perhaps you’ve managed to surround yourself with semi-normals and are unaware of, or have simply forgotten the workings of the Crazies. Fortunately for you, I encounter Crazies both in travels and in my hometown, and am well versed in their antics.
The most important thing to remember about Crazies is that they make terrible travel companions. Sure, they might seem tons-of-fun at first and get you to “push your limits” by riding zebras bareback or getting a traditional (read: painful) Thai tattoo. But once the initial adrenaline (and tequila) wears off you’ll be left with one over hyped ball of nuts.