A Sideways Glare at Contemporary Society
I love the art of travel. (Have I mentioned we’re in Italy?) Anyway, here are a few travel tips I’ve picked up that may help you in your journey.
Packing – Don’t start too early, or you’ll pack a bunch of crap you don’t need. The accepted rule is 1) pack your suitcase; 2) pour an adult beverage; 3) take out the golf umbrella, the snowsuit, one swimsuit, the extra evening gown and four pairs of shoes; 4) bring the wine to the suitcase; 5) dump everything on the bed; 6) look at the mess you’ve made; 7) cry; 8) finish the wine and throw whatever clothes you can into the suitcase ‘cause your flight leaves in 4 hours.
Stuff you’re going to forget – Subconsciously, you didn’t want to bring it anyway.
Foreign languages – Wherever you’re going, learn to say hi, goodbye, please, thank you, where and how much in the local lingo. After that, you can get by with a series of gestures, grunts, moans, puzzled facial expressions and pantomime. Practice in front of a mirror. (A dog ate my passport is particularly difficult.)
Foreign languages (Part Deux) – Don’t learn too much, and make sure your accent sucks. If you’re too good at simple phrases such as “Where is the toilet?” the locals may answer you with detailed instructions– and then you’re screwed.
Money — The accepted rule is 1) make a stack of money (5 cm is a good start); 2) pour an adult beverage; 3) double the stack; 4) pour another adult beverage; 5) go all in and remortgage the house.
Airport Security – Don’t sweat the details. At least you’re not totally naked – yet.
The flight – Getting trapped for 9 hours in a giant aluminum cylinder with a bunch of strangers is no fun. However, if you can survive that, cobblestones, art galleries that never end, food that looks like it’s already been eaten and the surly waiter who brought it are no problem.
The Hotel – Of course it doesn’t look like the website! (What are you — a child?)
Sightseeing — After you arrive at your destination, the accepted rule is 1) make a list of all the things you want to see; 2) pour an adult beverage; 3) burn the list.
Souvenirs – Aunt Mamie doesn’t want another snow globe of the Vatican. That piece of the Berlin Wall – isn’t. And the miniature Eiffel Tower that plays La Marseillaise whenever the wind blows is going to annoy the hell out of you in three months.
Passports – Always remember that when you start to look like your passport photo — go home!