Daily prompt: Not the journey

Daily Prompt
Tourist Trap
What’s your dream tourist destination — either a place you’ve been and loved, or a place you’d love to visit? What about it speaks to you?

Tourist destination? Tourist trap? Both speak to me of tatty souvenirs, rip-offs and more foreigners than natives, none of which actually grab me by the whatsits and say ‘Come visit’.

Furthermore, there’s the question of getting there. What you have to realise, you see, is that going anywhere from here (overseas, that is) involves interminable hours locked up with 300+ strangers in a tin can cruising at 30,000+ feet above all you hold dear, and most of the normal resources that make life comfortable. The coffee is foul, the seat in front of you gouges chunks out of your shins, the passenger next to you usually has unendearing personal habits, and if you’re really lucky, you get a pink lamington for breakfast. I kid you not.



If you decide to visit the UK, you have to endure 24 hours of this, with at least one stop somewhere along the way where you’ll be confined to the airport, and unless you’re a shopaholic, bored out of your brain for several more hours. Flying to the west coast of the US is slightly better – only 16 hours to LA – but the problem here is that you cross the International Date Line, which screws your circadian rhythms completely and leaves you thoroughly disoriented for several precious days of your holiday.

One of the most popular destinations for Australians is Bali. It’s reasonably close, and suitably appealing, particularly to the young which I’m obviously not. But unless someone manages to gag our leader sometime soon (see my previous post) it will probably be closed to Australian visitors within the month. Don’t start me.

There are several tips for Australians wishing to travel abroad.
1. Get rich first. This would allow you to fly Business Class (or even First) where you get far more room, and even a beddish thing. It would also mean you could pass the time in the transit lounge shopping til you dropped, or even book genuine stopovers of a night or two to break the journey midway.
2. Leave long enough between trips to ensure the horror loses its edge (like spacing your experiences of childbirth).
3. Investigate the possibility of knocking yourself out with a sleeping pill for the duration.
4. If you’re going to fly Etihad, check that the pink lamingtons are off the menu.

But despite all this, I’ve been O/S several times, and would probably go again to pretty much anywhere if I had the chance. The UK and Ireland are definitely my favourite destinations, though – but I’d rather hire a car and potter than ‘See Britain’ as advertised.

We booked something much smaller, but it turned out to be this or nothing.

We booked something much smaller, but it turned out to be this or nothing.

My kids insist that if I ever go again, it has to be to Paris, but you know what they say: See Paris and die, and I’m not ready for that yet.


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16 Responses to Daily prompt: Not the journey

  1. I am really up for it.

  2. bkpyett says:

    Good advice! I have never come across a pink lamington though! Enjoyed your post! 🙂

  3. Monicle says:

    Is that food?
    I’m with you; it’s too much effort now. Glad I traveled when I was young; now I’d rather enjoy the world in the comfort of my living room.

  4. Noah Weiss says:

    This was hilarious! I’ve never heard the term “tin can” used before to describe an airplane, but your flowery language kept me engaged throughout the post.

    My only overseas experience was from New York to Tel Aviv, and that was only about a 10-hour flight. I suffered disorientation on the return trip to the States.

  5. I have a family wedding in Australia next year. I just can’t do the long flight. I’d have to be sedated. I’m not proud of that. ☺

  6. wscottling says:

    I don’t do the whole flying thing…. but I’ve still have enough of the States, Canada, and South America to see to last me the rest of my life. ^_^ Maybe in the next life I’ll be born on the other side and I can start over. Ha!

  7. I’m very fond of tourist traps. Generally, they are town which specialize in the entertainment industry. They are hospitable, concerned only with the color of your money (as opposed to your skin) and know where the good restaurants are. Moreover, “tourist traps,” … like London, Dublin, Paris, and San Francisco, are where the interesting places are. Or National Parks, where they geysers and grizzly live together in peace. It’s those lonely, out-of-the-way places where you may find yourself in the middle of a revolution or ethnic cleansing, in some hideous damp prison without sufficient funds to bribe your way out. This will NOT happen in Yellowstone National Park, London, or The Grand Canyon.

    • Oh, believe me, I’m not nearly adventurous enough (or young enough) for lonely, out-of-the-way places, or even places short on comfortable beds and indoor plumbing. The ‘tourist traps’ I had in mind were those where the chief entertainments are shopping and other tourists. Haven’t been to Paris or SF, but London and Dublin I love. Just don’t insist I do an ‘organised’ tour, rushing from icon to icon.

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