Re: Spring broke.

1

The closest I came to the cliché was a road trip my junior year. Best Friend and I drove from DC to Iowa City (to visit his family) and then to Chicago (to visit my family), then back east to Deep Creek, MD, where we'd rented a house for a long weekend. A bunch of people met us at the house, and we behaved like rowdy college-aged kids for most of the weekend (except during the part where Best Friend orchestrated a complicated set-up to propose to his then-girlfriend {they're now married}). It was (1) fun and (2) absolutely exhausting—I was coasting on fumes by the time of finals week.

All other Springs Break [sic] were spent waiting tables, beause I would have likely zapped any personal savings on book buying.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 1:19 PM
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Not exactly, but I've done plenty of party-roadtrip-rent-a-house-with-a-crowd kind of things. Good fun.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 1:22 PM
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I've never done anything like it but am intrigued and look forward to the stories, which will keep me from the misery that is sinus pain in spring in the OH River Valley. Being in a motel somewhere with a bunch of drunk kids sounds far preferable.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 1:24 PM
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No, I've never gone on a trip out of town with friends.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 1:25 PM
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Never! I wish I had!

The closest I can come is New Year's 2002, when we had an insane party that lasted several days, with a dozen or more people waking up in our house each night and starting all over again. Summers in that apartment featured a lot of similar stretches of time.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 1:25 PM
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Best places to do this sort of thing as an adult with disposable income: 1. Palm Springs during Coachella, 2. Miami Beach during WMC


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 1:27 PM
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I went to Paris with friends for spring break once.

It wasn't that fun because we were pretty lame kids, but I did get insulted by an angry Frenchwoman as I toted my bag towards the hostel.

Lest you think of me as some horribly privileged douche, let me add (though how effective a prophylactic this will be remains to be seen) that I was spending the next quarter doing a study-abroad thing in Athens, so I had to get myself to the continent anyway.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 1:30 PM
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We think of you as an unexceptionally privileged douche, neb.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 1:39 PM
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It would be pretty hilarious if I tried to deny the presence of privilege in my life, so the most I can hope for is that I'm not too douchey about it.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 1:41 PM
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hmmm, I'm thinking of an xkcd cartoon with "privilege" on the X-axis and "acceptable level of douchiness" on the Y.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 1:48 PM
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I'm not sure if they should be inversely correlated, or just a flat line.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 1:49 PM
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I'm thinking one of those inverse square functions. You should be allowed exponentially less douchiness the more privileged you are.

I've probably just declared myself unacceptably douchy.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 2:01 PM
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I had a series of egregiously stereotypical spring breaks. I didn't enjoy them but never permitted myself to acknowledge that at the time.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 2:02 PM
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I'm thinking one of those inverse square functions. You should be allowed exponentially less douchiness the more privileged you are.

It's not douchey of me at all to point out that an inverse square function is not an exponential function.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 2:06 PM
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14: Not at all. It's your privilege.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 2:08 PM
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15: Douché.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 2:10 PM
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14: Crap.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 2:11 PM
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I did several typical high school/college spring breaks, including two in Jamaica.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 2:13 PM
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Many times. One year (1973?) seven of us went drove a converted milk truck from (Chicago Area) down to a week in Pensacola drinkin and partyin, a week in Tallahassee, a week in St Pete, and then up for another week outside Mobile.

Another time four of us went to Laguna Beack and environs.

Often we would need to find new jobs. Somewhere.

I was usually the instigator. For about 15 years I took off every spring. Even if I didn't say anything to anybody, I would get quiet(er), restless, needing harder drugs, staring out the window. My friends would throw parties, introduce me to girls, take me on day or weekend trips, try to find me projects. They would get angry and bitter:they were usually friends of 6-9 months. My bosses would give me raises and promotions. People would confront me, tell me I had a good thing going:why why why. I never said a word, I had feelings, a feeling I couldn't really articulate or understand. In the hippie era, sometimes a band would say "fuck it" After 1975, I would just wake up one morning, make no calls, leave no notes, and be 500 miles away by sunset.

I wasn't the one to get the dogs, I never am. But there is a reason the dogs were adopted.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 2:23 PM
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Nosf's life has been one of horribly douched privilege.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 2:24 PM
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Hmm, Spring Break was about 9 months before my birthday.


Posted by: Mo MacArbie | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 2:25 PM
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I don't know how other people handle it. I accumulate possessions, people, relationships, places, all overflowing with memories and it gets so deepthick like fallin into a well. It becomes solipsism and a new set of clothes and a paint job don't clean off the accretions. Self-abnegation, self-negation becomes necessary.

Just me , the clothes on my back and everything else around me brand-spankin new.

Maybe a week on the beach works for others.

I've had that flashlight over on the divider for ten years. I just hate that flashlight.

The roommate is an impulse shopper. She tries new things, activities, hobbies, but it doesn't work. Changes I make just remind me I'm me.

Checked out the Trappists once.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 2:40 PM
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I went up to the Pacific Northwest on a road trip with some friends one spring break. It gave me a horribly mistaken impression of the weather here because while it was chilly and rainy the whole trip, it was still a lot warmer than it would have been had we gone in early rather than late March.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 2:48 PM
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Oh. With the last six months of rain, the freezes, the 15 !!!!! inches of snow, and finally reaching our normal mid-60s, Dallas is exploding in green now. And outdoor people. Like a desert come to life. It will just take another week to become unbearable.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 2:53 PM
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Apparently next week is spring break, and my regular place to eat lunch on campus will be closed! This is horribly inconvenient, and I think the students here should all have to cancel their plans and have a normal week of classes so that I can continue my lunch routine undisturbed.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 3:43 PM
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The most interesting place I ever went on spring break was New York. Also Boston, for a prospective grad school visit, with an exciting Fung Wah bus trip between the two.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 3:48 PM
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Nope, never. Closest was a group of us renting a small studio apartment in Vt for a week of skiing. Not much on the partying front, just lots of ice, freezing, and exhaustion.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 3:48 PM
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Or actually 26 reminds me of a model UN thingy in NYC. Lots of drinking, barhopping (NYC bars didn't card back then) and general drunken fun.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 3:49 PM
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"Spring Break" also brings up an Arrested Development line. Anyway, my break is already over, and there was no spring in it. It was a good break, though.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 3:52 PM
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My freshman year, 12 of so of us loaded into a school-owned van* and drove from Annapolis to El Paso, at which point we jumped on some interesting trains and made our way to Mazetlan and San Blas. San Blas is (was?) a hippie town at which we liberal artistes were more at home, but Mazetlan was a big SB destination for big state schools out west, like Arizona, and that crowd had a whole proto-GGW thing going on that was pretty jawdropping. (My teenaged "Thing I Did That Was So Fucking Dumb It's a Wonder I'm Alive" was on that trip. Apparently the luck of drunks and children is compounded if one is both drunk and a child.)

*This was never, ever permitted to happen again. Also, the license plate of the van read H APETH.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 3:57 PM
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I don't think I've ever done the super typical Spring Break. Rented a cabin outside of Yosemite with friends, went to Montana to visit a friend, went to Paris to visit a friend, went to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival for a few days (alone). All of these roughly corresponded to what I consider a "spring break" but none took place in high school or undergrad. I think I may have gone camping with my family during Spring Breaks in years past, but it's a misty memory at this point. I've never gone anywhere warm and sunny with a lot of drinking during the spring, at any rate. (Key West even in November revealed to me that I'd pretty much hate any of the "classic" Spring Break locales.)

Lately, I often just make a list of things that I'd like to do that are slightly out of the norm - movies, long hikes, concerted effort at gardening - and make an attempt to do them during my university's spring break while still working.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 4:07 PM
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Oregon Shakespeare Festival for a few days (alone)

I thought that festival was just a summer thing. Is that why you were there alone?


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 4:11 PM
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I go on short trips with my mom every fall and spring break, and have since I was a freshman. We've skipped a few recently due to Hard Times, but we got to see some interesting cities. I guess we drank some during that time. In New Orleans we hung out in jazz clubs late at night. It's Mom, though, so we didn't get fucked up.

I guess the Big Trip with Friends thing seemed like something rich kids did. And yet I know that my own mom did it when she was in college! I hear stories about camping on the beach and people doing drugs. It was probably the craziest thing she's ever done.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 4:11 PM
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32: It runs from February to October. The crowds are non-existent at the early part of the year and if you time it with the gardens blooming, late March and early April is an amazing time to be in Ashland.

I remembered that I went up there during my senior year with a friend and camped during a Spring Break. That was not such a great idea because in early March it was still very cold. I remembered emptying the contents of our bags over us and still shivering at night.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 4:15 PM
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In both high school and college I was more likely to do something big during summer break - drove across the country with friends, for instance. 11,000 miles in three weeks - that's the stuff global warming is made of!


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 4:17 PM
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It was only in my last year of college that I even attempted to plan a spring break trip with friends; the first few years I just visited my parents and met up with a few old high school friends who didn't have more adventurous plans. And once some friends visited me during their spring break and I showed them around Chicago. There was a big snowfall that week, so it was about as un-spring-like as possible.

But the one attempt at planning a trip was sort of a disaster. About ten of us were considering going to Yosemite, at some point, but between giant disparities in what different people considered "affordable" and some godawful complication involving someone's girlfriend who during the planning became an ex-girlfriend and wanted to bring her new boyfriend on the trip, it sort of dissolved into a big puddle of resentment. Three of us went to New York and most of the rest to the Indiana dunes.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 4:18 PM
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When you got to New York, did you scream a lot and flash your tits at people? That could count.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 4:27 PM
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Can something that has been happening more than twice as often as it has been not happening, for decades, really be considered a "festival"?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 4:34 PM
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38: Depends. Is there cotton candy?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 4:44 PM
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So the answer to the OP question is "Yes. But only apostropher and oudemia."


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 4:46 PM
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and text.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 4:57 PM
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The last time I traveled for spring break I got arrested at a protest and spent 18 hours in a one-bunk holding cell with 3-4 other guys. That undercut some of the fun of traveling. And I plead out and thus couldn't really be in on the class-action suit. Nothing like trying to sleep in a fluorescent-lit, 60 degree holding cell, minus your jacket, with your head next to the toilet and your mud-splattered boots as a pillow to make you appreciate a hot shower and a warm, soft bed though, no sirree.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 5:04 PM
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I have no idea what I did with any of my college spring breaks. Due to how dull they were, not how impaired I was.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 5:05 PM
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Just donated to a political prisoner's support fund in memory of that night.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 5:06 PM
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42: Nothing like trying to sleep in a fluorescent-lit, 60 degree holding cell, minus your jacket, with your head next to the toilet and your mud-splattered boots as a pillow to make you appreciate a hot shower and a warm, soft bed though, no sirree.

And of course, to make you appreciate the totally awesome person who used all of their skills to get you out as early as possible. Thanks again, awesome person, wherever you are.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 5:08 PM
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60 degree holding cell

Siberia!


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 5:11 PM
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46: Well, it's not like my teeth were chattering, but it was definitely too cold to sleep easily. Plus the whole muddy floor/head next to the toilet thing.

We wound up playing "Battleship" with the adjacent cells using the mud from our shoes and the grid of cinderblocks that made up the wall.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 5:16 PM
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42: MTV never shows that Spring Break.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 5:20 PM
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I wasn't being sarcastic. I realized after I posted that it might sound like it, but mostly I was making fun of me for getting cold so fast.

Also, how is the soil supposed to get above 60 degrees so I can plant my tomatoes if the daytime high is in the low fifties? I ask you.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 5:20 PM
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A guy I knew in college spent a night in jail in Boston after a dopey prank (stealing sod from a park), and kept himself cheerful all night by singing hymns. I figure the other prisoners must have adored him.

(Actually, he was fairly charming in a goofy smalltown Boy Scout kind of way. Possibly no one minded.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 5:21 PM
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I was too bummed out to sing. In the big holding cell -- the one that was designed for maybe 30 people tops and had 120 guys in it -- they sang "99 Bottles of Screws* On The Wall". It was somewhat irritating.

*'Screws' in the sense of gaolers.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 5:25 PM
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49- Geothermal! Just dig some really deep holes.
The closest I've done to any sort of road trip thing is go to an UnfoggeDCon. So the answer is a resounding No.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 5:26 PM
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35: drove across the country with friends, for instance. 11,000 miles in three weeks - that's the stuff global warming is made of!

I know -- isn't that sad? Can't do that kind of thing any more, really. But I and a friend camped/stayed with various friends on a 4-week cross-country (and back) trip during grad school. Fantastic! I'd love to do it again.

Choosing your travel companion(s) carefully is crucial, though. Heh -- I read once that one way to determine whether a relationship/marriage has the requisite staying power is to ask yourself how the two of you would fare on a longish road trip.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 5:48 PM
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I wanted to do a cross-country trip with friends, but one of them wildly underestimated how much driving such a trip would involve and scheduled something that messed up our not really a schedule schedule and we canceled the whole thing.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 5:51 PM
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54: Mine was almost canceled a week before departure (cold feet and irritability on my boyfriend's part), and I confess that I threw a temper tantrum* and we went anyway. I'm really glad I did that.

* Not really. More like a "you cannot be serious, we've been planning this for months, have bought a VW bus for the trip, and it is completely uncool for you to back out now" fit.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 6:05 PM
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I've done a bunch of camping trips and walking trips with friends, which have nearly all been great, but the stereotypical spring break scene always sounded to me like hell on earth. So no.


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 6:11 PM
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and text.

And me, sort of. Spring break of my freshman year, some friends and I blew off the week of classes after break (because one of our contingent was working on his thesis over spring break proper), drove down to SF in a very fast car (120 mph over the Siskiyous), flew to Mazatlan, got a bunch of stuff stolen on the beach and got me drunk for the first time ever. Pretty much the usual, I suppose, as spring breaks go. On the way back, we discovered that we'd parked the very fast car in a short-term space at the SF airport, so we owed a shitload of money, but then we found some pylons in the garage, used them to block off one of the entrance tunnels and drove out that way.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 6:13 PM
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Last summer my band (three dudes and I) were going to go on a camping trip together, but then there was all this hullaballoo about bringing girlfriends (which all of them had), which led to conversations about what each of the other girls needed to be comfortable (electricity, hotels, etc.). That was never going to happen. Could have been fun though.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 6:14 PM
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57 doesn't sound quite like the usual as returning from spring breaks go.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 6:15 PM
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I don't know many people who camp any more. Bummer. It's probably a function just of who I know (or don't know); or is there a general trend away from camping as just too uncomfortable, unknown and difficult? It's possible that there are fewer affordable campgrounds. It had begun to seem that way about 10 years ago, when I still had enough free time to go camping and looked into available places to do it.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 6:28 PM
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Camping is unbelievably popular in Texas. It's common for campgrounds to be completely booked four months in advance, (in good weather.)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 6:33 PM
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My understanding is that camping (and backpacking of the camping type) has undergone a boom since the mid-90s when I stopped doing much outdoors stuff. At least, I've heard that sections of the big "trails" in the west coastal states - maybe just the John Muir and Pacific Crest trails - are much more popular than they once were. On the other hand, back when I did camping, I heard that as Yosemite's popularity increased in the valley, interest in the backcountry (measured by permits) was dropping.

Anyway, even Governor Sanford went out on the Appalachian trail, so that's got to count for something.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 6:39 PM
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Remember that scene at the beginning of Election, when Dave the Skeezy Teacher is getting fired and he looks up and starts crying and says "But we're in love!" That's how I picture Gov. Sanford.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 6:43 PM
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||

No more masturbating to Colbert or John Stewart while watching them on Hulu.

|>


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 6:48 PM
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It's common for campgrounds to be completely booked four months in advance, (in good weather.)

There's presumably a difference between camping in the west and in the east -- all y'all have more space there. But yes, the campgrounds here being booked solid made me wonder whether it was more popular or whether there were just fewer approved places to camp. I'm thinking about state or national parks rather than private campgrounds (ixnay).

We don't necessarily need to get into technicalities, but more and more campsites seem to be not of the so-called "primitive" or, uh, semi-primitive variety. I'm forgetting the terminology: without showers, in any case, a toilet facility and fresh water spigot at best. There seemed to be more emphasis on campsites with electrical hookups for your RV. Back in the day, we could just drive in to a campground and secure a site, as long as it wasn't too far into dusk!


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 6:58 PM
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64!!!! What? Will they still be available on the network site?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 7:28 PM
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My memorable road trips include on with some college friends after our sophomore year, driving out to the Oregon Coast and vaguely wishing we could get drunk or stoned in Portland. Our Mormon university didn't have a spring break, so as to cut down on the fornicating. (Just watch Where the Boys Are, an excellent documentary about this issue.)

Also did a great trip many years later with some fellow delayed-adolescent friends, driving from Albuquerque to Marfa to see the Donald Judds, then up to the Lightning Field, then up to Santa Fe and Taos. That trip did not involved any unrequited yearning to get drunk or stoned.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 7:30 PM
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I've never camped anywhere with spigots or toilets. Wouldn't that make it just like having a long picnic?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 7:32 PM
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In any event, I've been occasioned to think along these lines:

I first went camping with my very first boyfriend, just post high school, and his friends. Those would be his brother and a few stoner/musician/theater friends, maybe six of us. They were astonished that I'd never camped before.

This was not something my parents introduced my brother and me to, at all. My parents had signed me up at various points for swimming, ballet, tap, gymnastics, piano, softball, golf, bowling; and my dad had taught me the rudiments of dribbling a basketball and throwing a football (fingers on the laces).

My post-high-school friends could not believe that I had absolutely no idea how to pitch a tent, put a fly over it, maybe dig a trench around it depending on weather forecast; much less start a fire and cook over it.

It turned out I totally freaking loved it! My parents didn't do me wrong, nah, but man. They were kind of having a one-track mind, there. I am so incredibly thankful about that first boyfriend and his family and friends, because how would I have known otherwise that early morning camp coffee and toast-on-a-stick is the greatest thing in our god-given (okay, gaia, because I'm a hippie) universe? Bring those down and sit on a boulder next to the river or stream and the world laughs and cries.

You should also, of course, secure your foodstuffs while camping: food garbage up in a tree. Who knew?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 7:35 PM
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Whoops. I should have previewed.

I've never camped anywhere with spigots or toilets.

It's getting pretty hard to find a place to set up camp that's not deprecated or illegal (which, true, that's not necessarily a barrier) without those basic sanitary safeguards. Most official campgrounds want people's basic functions segregated.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 7:40 PM
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Lots of campgrounds have spigots and toilets where I've been in the west. I'm having a hard time thinking of an official campground I've been to that hasn't had some kind of toilet, but I think I've been to places where they warned you to bring your own water. The spigot might be a water pump and the toilet might be an outhouse, but those are usually there. It would be a sanitation mistake, I think, to concentrate people in a place and give them nowhere to put their waste.

Designated campsites along trails away from roads might have special boxes to protect food from animals, but generally no toilets or spigots.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 7:46 PM
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FWIW, 70.1 is really not true of Forest Service campgrounds.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 7:48 PM
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um, 70.2, not 70.1.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 7:48 PM
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Also, out here in the West, you can camp on BLM land, sans amenities like a spigot or a toilet.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 7:50 PM
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Places where you can camp wherever are different from campgrounds, though.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 7:52 PM
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74: and a season pass costs like $75, right? I've met people who do that for an entire winter outside Quartzsite.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 7:53 PM
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True, and most BLM official campgrounds have at least pit toilets if not running water.

A friend convinced me to camp on railroad property - alongside the tracks - up in the Sierras. Go with BLM. Less chance of being yelled at.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 7:54 PM
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I grew up doing a lot of camping in NM, where the National Forest campgrounds typically had one or two spigots and pit toilets. Just about everywhere I've camped since (which is, hang on a sec, something like 9 states and 3 countries) has had whole bathrooms with soap and flush toilets and mirrors and things. I don't know if that's a trend over time or just NM having been both cash- and water-poor, but it definitely brings out the back-in-my-day in me.


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 7:57 PM
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Railroads are about the organization most likely to be watching their property - especially near tracks.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 7:57 PM
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Most of the campground camping I've done was on family trips in the coastal/mountain west, and I remember the level of available facilities varying. Mostly we went to campsites with running (faucet) water, with occasional stays at ones with less than, if that was the best place to get to where we were going. And then there were places that had showers (usually coin-operated or run by attendants). Busy national parks tended to have those. But our trips were always a mixture of motels and campgrounds, so we didn't that much care if a campground had showers.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:05 PM
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but it definitely brings out the back-in-my-day in me

At least I'm not the only one. I'm sure there's nothing particularly wrong with having mirrors, but geez, people, we're camping, are we not? Do we need to check our hair?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:08 PM
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Tying this back to the OP, last time we were out camping, the site next to us was filled to overflowing with a bunch of underage kids with definite Spring Break aspirations. They'd been there maybe 45 minutes when the ranger descended on their site and nailed them for overcrowding the site and underage drinking and pot. Lengthy lecture. As they packed up to leave, they were trying to figure out their fallback plan, and the best they could come up with was camping out in one of their parents' backyards and having said parent buy them pizza. Pretty pale imitation of the original plan.

I wasn't feeling too sympathetic, though: they'd made a parking space for their third vehicle by breaking down a sapling. WTF, kids? Not okay.


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:09 PM
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Railroads are about the organization most likely to be watching their property - especially near tracks.

Yeah, said friend hobo'd for years and was raised a train spotter; he had been camping since he was a little boy with his dad at this particular spot. It was pretty incredible, but not worth getting yelled at (in my incredibly law-abiding opinion).


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:13 PM
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Did he turn the yelling into an opportunity for hobo consulting?


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:15 PM
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I spent most of my childhood camping during the summers for weeks at a time, throughout the west. We were sure to do a mix of somewhat cushy sites with showers and bathrooms (often state parks) with the more rustic accommodations. I think it is easier with kids to be near running water at the least, but I am the sort of person who does crave showers so I am not exactly the hardiest of peoples.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:17 PM
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No traditional spring break (esp not in college; was always working on reactor maintenance. Also, I don't think any of my friends had cars that could be trusted out of town.)

Did drive from Seattle to SF and back in a weekend to hear Crash Worship once.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:18 PM
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Camping in places you're not supposed to is something to be handled with care. The troupe of friends I described in 69 once camped on what turned out to be private property -- a gorgeous cliffside overlooking a small forest valley -- and we were hustled out of there at 1 a.m. by the property owner wielding a shotgun. Oh, wow, yes, we're gone, we're gone gone, yes sir, very sorry sir.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:20 PM
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My partner and I are going to Chicago for a few days Sunday. I only have to attend her conference one day, so I'll have plenty of time to lurk in the Oriental Institute. I'm not sure what else we'll be doing. Is there anything that's a must? I can't guarantee we'll follow through, but I trust the 'tariat.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:20 PM
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83: Aha! Hobo consultants do exist! I feel so vindicated.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:21 PM
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I'm thinking about turning my drive back to California next month into a bit of trip, but since I'll be carrying a car full of stuff, I don't think it'll amount to much. Maybe just a trip over to the island, followed by the peninsula, instead of crossing the border by land.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:21 PM
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Oops. fake accent pwned.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:22 PM
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Thorn, what sort of thing do you enjoy? If you're visiting the OI, you'll be across the street from the Robie House, which is worth a visit.


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:23 PM
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84, 89: I wouldn't really call him a consultant, unless by that you mean someone who can teach you how to become a hobo. (And I don't believe that was the gist of the infamous post.) Railroad operators were so disinclined to take information from him that they had him arrested.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:24 PM
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I really want to organize a canoe trip again. I just need to find someone to lead; I don't have the skills to be in charge of people's safety. Or to accurately read river maps, they confuse me.

It occurs to me that I have been incredibly lucky to have the travel adventures that I have had, even if they haven't included things like trekking around SE Asia.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:26 PM
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93: Look, the guy consulted, and he was a hobo. Boom: hobo consultant. That's all that matters here.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:26 PM
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92 - I am a giant nerd. I like anything that involves not having to interact with people but looking at or thinking about interesting things. My partner likes watching college basketball and eating meat. She'll probably be doing that when she's not at her conference or promising me that she'll behave and not be goofy if we go to Boys Town like she wants to. I just haven't done any prep for this trip and while I've been to Chicago many times I figured I should ask if others have recommendations. We're staying in the Magnificent Mile, so it should be relatively easy for me to get around.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:27 PM
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how to pitch a tent, put a fly over it, maybe dig a trench around it depending on weather forecast

What's the trench for? In case it rains? I'd never heard this one, but I've also been camping only a few times.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:28 PM
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90: The PNWers in our midst know more, but if you haven't done this yet, you absolutely should. Ferries! Yay!


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:29 PM
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Clap if you believe in ferries!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:32 PM
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rather than private campgrounds (ixnay)

There are some really great private campgrounds in the world! Don't rule them out by this basis alone. (And ok, stay away from KOA unless incredibly desperate.)


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:33 PM
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For Chicago,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbide_&_Carbon_Building
The Michigan avenue bridge has a lower-level ped walkway. Standing on the crack and watching the river go by underneath is really soothing. Food at Vermillion is really good.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:33 PM
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I agree with 100.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:34 PM
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102: Geez, heebie, you can call Kobe! by name. Numberist.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:35 PM
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94: On the Russian River, canoe trip leads you. At least, I don't remember much in the way of skills being required for that. Except an ability to swim. I don't remember maps either; we were going down the river, after all.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:38 PM
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What's the trench for? In case it rains?

Right. It only applies if you're expecting rain. If you're camping for more than a couple of days and are really setting up camp for a little while, you'd want to consider whether a rain storm would result in some kind of mud/flooding situation swamping the floor of your tent. Oh, you can/should put down a tarp underneath the floor of the tent proper. Tuck the edges of this underneath the tent's edges (so the tarp doesn't serve as a water scoop channeling the rain under the tent). If significant rainfall is expected, dig shallow trenches around the perimeter of the tent. Possibly you've pitched the tent at a slight incline; dig the trenches in order to direct the rain around the tent and down the incline. That's the basic idea.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:40 PM
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105: Makes sense, and I had encountered the tarp thing. Thanks.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:45 PM
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Oh, you can/should put down a tarp underneath the floor of the tent proper.

I've heard people disparage this. But possibly not with this

Tuck the edges of this underneath the tent's edges

addendum. The logic went that dew collects on the tarp and soaks up through your tent.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:45 PM
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I remember pretty much always putting a tarp under the tent.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:47 PM
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I am a giant nerd. I like anything that involves not having to interact with people but looking at or thinking about interesting things.

Since you've been there many times, this might be obvious, but:

If you haven't been to the Art Institute of Chicago Museum, and you like art museums, you should go there.

The Shedd Aquarium is a nice place with fantastic views of the city.

Walking along the lakefront is also nice. I can pretty much wander around Chicago indefinitely. Start at Grant Park, walk up to Old Town.

Eat at Red Rooster?

Oh oh oh! The Violet Hour!


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:48 PM
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My understanding is that camping (and backpacking of the camping type) has undergone a boom since the mid-90s when I stopped doing much outdoors stuff.

Ugh. Stay off my fucking trails, America!


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:48 PM
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Crash Worship. My friends were very into them (and I think one a sometimes member), but I never went.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:48 PM
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I also don't think I ever dug a trench for rain, though I've seen it recommended. I guess that's one of the advantages of camping outside of the rainy seasons/regions.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:49 PM
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I read once that one way to determine whether a relationship/marriage has the requisite staying power is to ask yourself how the two of you would fare on a longish road trip.

Never found this, I always got along well with girlfriends on long trips (well, one exception...unfortunate breakup in the middle of nowhere resulted). The problem comes with how you handle the daily grind of ordinary, non-vacation life. Vacations make people happy, and being happy makes it easier to get along.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:51 PM
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96: I've spent a wonderful afternoon at the Museum of Contemporary Art, which is close to the Loop. Art Institute, of course. The Chicago Cultural Center on Washington is in a great building and I've seen some unexpected and wonderful small exhibits there. Theater? If you're interested I can get recommendations for what's on now, or else check the Reader for listings. Comfort food at the Duke of Perth is very good if the weather's bad.


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:52 PM
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My recommendations may be outdated. La Fonda?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:52 PM
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Wonderful things will never cease, apparently.


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:52 PM
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Sweets & Savories?

And if you don't know The Seminary Co-op Bookstore, you should make its acquaintance.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:55 PM
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Dammit, Thorn, you get me thinking about Chicago and now I'm going to be paralyzed by nostalgia for a while.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:57 PM
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The Violet Hour is great.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:01 PM
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113: Vacations make people happy

Not if you're arguing over whether you should camp tonight or stay in a motel, and then you have the same argument again the next night. That's the kind of dispute I had in mind. Then I guess there's the "shall we take the major highway or take the back roads?" dispute.

These are different approaches to what makes a vacation a good one.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:03 PM
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Further to 113, I always got along great with my ex on long road trips, as far as I recall. Camping, though, is a whole different story. I actually haven't camped in almost ten years because we had such a miserable experience camping together early on in our relationship.


Posted by: briefly visible | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:05 PM
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Sorry, essear! Maybe my copious and heartfelt thanks can make up for it a bit. I hadn't been aware of all the lovely options you and GB have recommended and they all sound fantastic. We seem to get up there a few times a year, so I'll have lots of chances to try our your recommendations.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:09 PM
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No, no, you put the tarp ON TOP OF the tent floor. If the floor is permeable, that keeps the tarp from just collecting water and letting it soak through. If the floor is impermeable, you're still more likely to get significant water infiltration/build up from rain coming through the seams and running onto the floor, unless you put the tarp on top. The main caveat is that you can't have a tarp that's significantly larger than (or not tucked under itself to fit exactly over) the tent floor, because pressure on the tent walls is usually enough to defeat the minimal waterproofing.

Trenches are severely deprecated, especially in the real back-country.

Almost all of my camping experience has been either in MN state parks (fairly swanky, often with movies on the weekends), and the BWCAW, which is about at basic as it gets -- a picnic table, metal fire pit and a lidless plastic pit toilet. Plus a slippery spot on the rocks where you pull in to ensure that you fall into the lake fully clothed at least once per trip.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:14 PM
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I have definitely done far more camping without facilities than with (multiple trips to the Boundary Waters, also Jasper National Park and Isle Royale, though the last may have had pit toilets), and to me that's what makes it feel like camping.

For a long time, I was a proponent of the idea that a long trip early in a relationship revealed something important about staying power, but recent events have disabused me somewhat of this idea.

And in Chicago, go to Avec.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:20 PM
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123.1 makes me feel like my tent's footprint is doing it wrong.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:23 PM
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a picnic table, metal fire pit and a lidless plastic pit toilet

A table and a toilet? Luxury!


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:29 PM
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115, 117, 124 all get it wrong. Thorn should clearly go to Alinea.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:32 PM
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No way. Thorn should go to Harold's Chicken Shack.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:33 PM
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123: Natilo. I've taken that approach, it's true, especially when I've been using a tent with bad seams. Sometimes even with a pretty good tent, because I really hate trying to sleep in the damp, much less in a puddle.

Any tarp on the inside floor of a tent shouldn't touch the walls because -- well, nothing should be touching the tent walls, ideally, if there's rain. That's why you want to have a proper fly over the tent, which fly should not be touching the tent. Walls.

As for the trenches, you refill them before you leave! They're not very deep.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:38 PM
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90 Types of Bitches, 3rd Grade Edition.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:39 PM
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128: You may be joking, but that's actually not a bad idea. We should probably seek out some black-owned businesses there. When I'm visiting a place, I don't generally think about that. We chose not to stop for one after leaving a black gay pride celebration over the summer (just a bunch of teens in the park; apparently when the two black gay prides split the adults all went to the more northern one) but it's popular for a reason.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:45 PM
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130:
I was really hoping that 90 would be "bitches not included in this list" or at least "bitches that resemble a fly when seen from a distance"

Obviously, it's funny and horrible at the same time, and I hope the author, who is clearly observant and concerned, gets better politics at some point.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:48 PM
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Only half. I've gone each time I've returned to Chicago.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:50 PM
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91. PhD-havin' bitches.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:55 PM
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Bitch just broke the water pitcher!


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 10:09 PM
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Four friends and I went camping in the mountains of Death Valley spring break when we were high school seniors. I've undoubtedly mentioned it before. Got lost in the desert.

Parse, have you camped at Assateague?

We'll probably camp quite a bit this summer. Try not to bother Mr. G.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 10:12 PM
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4. Fishy bitches.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 10:13 PM
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136.2: I have. My original photo and thumbnail on my flickr account is of me at Assateague. I should head over there again. I do like woods and streams camping the best, however, so I tend to head inland (in this area of the midatlantic) if I really want to lose myself. Still, good reminder. I could do that over a long weekend. I think Assateague, and Chincoteague, if they're even open for camping, are pretty booked up.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 10:24 PM
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I learned all my camping skills through canoe trips at summer camp, so the idea of going to a campsite and staying for more than one night seems very strange. (When it was necessary on a canoe trip we called it a flog day.) Longest trip I ever did was 12 days / 236 km.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 10:33 PM
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The only canoe trip I ever went on was on the Kankakee River. It was so dry we had to pick the boat up so often, that's all I remember.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 11:18 PM
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Spring Break? That was when you were supposed to work on all the big projects due the following Monday, right? That's my recollection of college.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 11:46 PM
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No real spring break tradition in the UK. We don't have the weather for the spring bit or the roads for road trips. I suppose the closest thing to it is the big music festivals in the summer, which I definitely did (and still do). Supposedly there's a pseudo-spring break thing that posh school kids (especially surfer types) do somewhere in Cornwall, but despite having gone to a posh school myself, nobody I knew ever did that. I think it's a 2000s thing, if not a media fabrication.



Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 03-11-10 2:56 AM
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re: 142

Yeah, I've never really heard of a similar tradition in the UK except the posh kids in Cornwall. I've been away with mates -- Amsterdam when I was about 18, Prague about 8 years ago, various weekend camping things -- but not in the 'spring break' sense.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-11-10 4:10 AM
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Likewise. It was just a holiday with my mates, or visiting friends who were working abroad.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 03-11-10 4:42 AM
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I suppose the closest thing to it is the big music festivals in the summer, which I definitely did (and still do).

I don't think this is equivalent - I get the impression the rebellious colonials have something called Burning Man which is the equivalent of Glastonbury. Spring break is, I believe, a hangover (in both senses) from the 1950s goldfish swallowing culture.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 03-11-10 4:47 AM
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I had a friend in HS, an exchange student from Scotland who embraced all cheesy American things. She tried her best to import US "spring break" mentality to her Scottish university, so they'd go to Majorca on holiday and she'd run around yelling "Spring break woohoo!!" It was especially funny because when she was here, she hung out with us loser theater kids who had no money and didn't party or leave town.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-11-10 4:52 AM
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146. Bless!


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 03-11-10 4:54 AM
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The idea of someone trying to import US style shiny-hedonism to the Scots is very amusing.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-11-10 5:07 AM
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96: Stained glass museum at Navy Pier. Free, and most people don't know about it, but very awesome.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 03-11-10 5:07 AM
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Yeah, she was a lot more "American" than we were, in a lot of ways. We were mostly social misfits who resented American-style consumerist happiness, and she adored it. I think what she got from us was a lifelong love of Space Ghost.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-11-10 5:12 AM
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re: 150

I like to imagine there were exchange students going the other way. Americans bringing back head-butting, and haggis with curry sauce.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-11-10 5:21 AM
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Spring break is, I believe, a hangover (in both senses) from the 1950s goldfish swallowing culture.

Not entirely sure what that sentence means. As to the earlier point, I wasn't claiming they were exactly equivalent, just that it's the closest we have - hedonistic young people gathering en masse somewhere (usually) sunny and engaging in debauched behaviour. Thinking again, though, I suppose Ibiza might be a better comparison.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 03-11-10 5:28 AM
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The real answer to all this tarp and trench nonsense is that you shouldn't camp in the rain, because it's miserable. Pack up and go eat popcorn in front of the TV.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-11-10 7:40 AM
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145: Burning Man isn't really very much like Glastonbury, by all accounts. Neither is Coachella, but that might be closer.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-11-10 7:44 AM
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But yeah, wouldn't y'all go to Ibiza or Greece or the southern Spanish coast for that sort of thing?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-11-10 7:45 AM
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The real answer to all this tarp and trench nonsense is that you shouldn't camp in the rain, because it's miserable. Pack up and go eat popcorn in front of the TV.

And miss Floyd at midnight with full light show, for a little bit of rain? No thanks.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 03-11-10 7:53 AM
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There's something of a class distinction here which may not exist in the US. Ibiza (as a spring break type phenomenon) is predominantly, though not exclusively, a lower class thing. Whereas Glastonbury in particular (and to a lesser extent music festivals in general) are becoming very middle class - Glasto tickets cost £150 these days and the food/drink stalls include a champagne bar, along with the Workers' Beer Tent.

Of course, there's also simply a music taste difference as well. Glasto has a very white, dad rock kind of reputation up (though in reality there is a huge variety of music, just not on the main two stages), whereas people who are into dance music are going to go to Ibiza or, say, Glade.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 03-11-10 8:05 AM
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Ibiza (as a spring break type phenomenon) is predominantly, though not exclusively, a lower class thing.

Wouldn't have guessed this. Isn't it quite expensive?

Glasto has a very white, dad rock kind of reputation up (though in reality there is a huge variety of music, just not on the main two stages), whereas people who are into dance music are going to go to Ibiza or, say, Glade.

Also wouldn't have guessed this. Hasn't there been a ton of dance music at Glastonbury over the years?

Anyhow, there are certainly class things going on in the US, whether you're talking about Spring Break in Daytona vs. Spring Break in (say) Puerto Rico vs. Spring Break in (say) Paris. There are also class things among the big festival-y party scenes, i.e. when you're talking about Burning Man (which is really very much it's own thing, I should reiterate) or Coachella or Winter Music Conference or one of those big rock festivals (Bonnaroo?) I know jack shit about and find kind of upsetting on principle. Although this is somewhat mitigated by the fact that they're all fucking expensive. Of course, nothing's as tacky (reputedly) as Gathering of the Juggalos.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-11-10 8:32 AM
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re: 158

Not really that expensive. Package holiday deals within the EU can be very cheap. Plus, working class people don't necessarily have no money.

re: Glastonbury: yes, there's been a lot of dance music, but its hippy origins means that it does have a dad-rock reputation.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-11-10 8:36 AM
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Plus, working class people don't necessarily have no money.

Well, sure, but Ibiza in the US has kind of an "exclusive island full of superclubs and beautiful people" reputation that, now that I think about it, is probably less-than-deserved.

I suppose the fancy version would be to hit the full moon party on Koh Phangan.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-11-10 8:38 AM
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Gathering of the Juggalos

Do we need to know what this is?

GY said Glastonbury had a reputation as white and middle class; the reality isn't so much. But the fact is that ticket prices keep half the population away to start with - the guy who runs it is extremely rich. And the people who can afford it have the tastes of people who can afford to pay $250 to stand in a field.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 03-11-10 8:42 AM
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Well, sure, but Ibiza in the US has kind of an "exclusive island full of superclubs and beautiful people" reputation that, now that I think about it, is probably less-than-deserved.

Yeah, that's probably undeserved. I gather from friends who go, they rent a cheap self-catering apartment for 5 or 6, take cheap charter flights out, and keep their money for club tickets and 'consumables'.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-11-10 8:43 AM
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Do we need to know what this is?

I'm not sure you want to know.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-11-10 8:44 AM
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We went to a festival held in the grounds of Blenheim Palace last year; almost entirely attended by Oxfordshire 'rahs'. I don't think I've seen more heart-stoppingly beautiful looking people in one place, ever.*

* beautiful, yet incredibly annoying.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-11-10 8:45 AM
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Do we need to know what this is?

Music festival headlined by the Insane Clown Posse. Everything you need to know will probably be contained in a Google Image search.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-11-10 8:47 AM
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Wait, what's upsetting on principle about Bonnaroo?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 03-11-10 8:52 AM
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ICP fans frighten me.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 03-11-10 8:54 AM
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Brock is allergic to Faygo.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-11-10 8:58 AM
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"Well, sure, but Ibiza in the US has kind of an "exclusive island full of superclubs and beautiful people" reputation that, now that I think about it, is probably less-than-deserved"

Its reputation in the UK (and Spain) is pissed up Brits vomiting in the streets. As mentioned above, there are tons of cheap package holidays available. There have been a couple of documentary series in the UK following holiday reps around. There are apparently nice bits of the Balearics that posh people go to, but they're very different to San Antonio.


GY said Glastonbury had a reputation as white and middle class; the reality isn't so much. But the fact is that ticket prices keep half the population away to start with - the guy who runs it is extremely rich. And the people who can afford it have the tastes of people who can afford to pay $250 to stand in a field.

Yeah, this. It certainly wasn't always this way. It started off very much as a crusty/hippy thing, but over the last decade in particular the rapidly increasing cost and the ever more elaborate security measures have markedly changed the crowd. It's pretty noticeable when you compare it to more, well, scallie-friendly festivals like Leeds. But on the other hand it's a lot less middle class than some of the in-town festivals like Lovebox, and there's a much wider variety of music than any other festival.

Hasn't there been a ton of dance music at Glastonbury over the years?

Definitely. There's a Dance Village with, I think, three stages, the Glade, and assorted other stages which feature dance acts as well. But the main stages tend to be pretty conservative musically and especially with the headliners. There was a ridiculous controversy the other year when Jay-Z headlined the main stage - some idiots treated it as an affront that one of the most popular artists in the world was performing on the main stage. This year it's U2 - last year we had Springsteen and Neil Young.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 03-11-10 8:59 AM
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166: not just Bonnaroo. That, All Tomorrow's Parties, the new Lollapalooza's: I fear what I am unfamiliar with. But Bonnaroo seems particularly jam-bandy and goofball, hence terrifying.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-11-10 9:00 AM
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And you've moved right into Juggalo land, we expect a report from the this year's gathering. (I assume it will be right down the river at Cave Rock, Ill again.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-11-10 9:03 AM
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As mentioned above, there are tons of cheap package holidays available. There have been a couple of documentary series in the UK following holiday reps around.

UK holiday packages are weird. I had a friend who was "house DJ" on a package tour of eastern europe, where they basically all (DJs, crowd and all) took a charter flight to some not-very-hip eastern european city, took over a club for a night, then moved on the next day. I didn't exactly see the point. (Neither did my friend, I don't think, except that he was paid to go to Europe to DJ, so okay.)


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-11-10 9:03 AM
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171 to Brock.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-11-10 9:04 AM
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Sifu, as far as I can tell, the point of package holidays is to take advantage of a) sunshine, and/or b) cheap booze, neither of which are readily available in the UK. They seem to have very little to do with the destination, per se. Indeed, many sell themselves on you never having to interact with the locals at all.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 03-11-10 9:08 AM
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They have those here, kind of, but they tend to revolve around a single all-inclusive resort, often fairly far from any local-involving civilization. It's the actual "tour" aspect that confuses me: go to six different countries and totally fail to experience them, all in one week!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-11-10 9:12 AM
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re: 174

Or they sell themselves on the fact that the only locals you interact with are going to be semi- or fully-naked.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-11-10 9:12 AM
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The best thing about package holidays is that they are often cheaper than the air fares on their own (!) It's therefore quite usual, if you want a proper holiday somewhere a hundred miles from a package resort, to book the package holiday and then walk away from it at the airport and catch a bus to your real destination, returning in time to get the flight home. Crazy, but that's capitalism, as they say.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 03-11-10 9:15 AM
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177: Gambling junkets to Las Vegas/Caribbean used to have this feature (you usually had to bet/lose some minimum number of chips). Not sure if they still exist.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-11-10 9:19 AM
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I recently went to one of these all-inclusive resort deals (somebody else paid; sun seemed like enough of a draw). The resort was part of this whole complex of resorts that had been dropped, seemingly from space, on a once-unspoiled stretch of tropical beach. The food was horrendous, the drinks were, in fact, free, and in general the whole place was eerily cut off from its surroundings -- even the associated stretch of beach was tiny and crowded, and the swimming area was roped off about 15 feet from shore. I wouldn't have even known how to leave. A very strange and not particularly fulfilling experience. Definitely sunny, though.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-11-10 9:40 AM
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Swim under the ropes and walk back up on shore outside the complex?


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-11-10 9:41 AM
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Unless the rope delineated an electric field. With sharks outside.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-11-10 9:42 AM
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You would risk beheading by one of the rental speedboats whipping by. But yes, I was engaging in hyperbole, and in fact we did stroll along the beach until the sameness of it all got boring. The issue was more that there was nothing around for miles but more all-inclusive mega-resorts, but the architectural inward-looking-ness of the resort was still striking.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-11-10 9:44 AM
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I would have believed you if you had confirmed sharks patrolling the ropes.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-11-10 9:45 AM
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This happened to some friends of mine who went on holiday to Mauritius. After a couple of days in the hotel (which was nice and had good, if not Mauritian, food), they got bored and walked to the nearest village where they caught a bus to town and looked around.

When they got back the holiday courier practically shouted at them for having the temerity to leave the premises. All a bit spooky, really.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 03-11-10 9:46 AM
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When they got back the holiday courier practically shouted at them for having the temerity to leave the premises. All a bit spooky, really.

Yeah, I think walking out the front gate would have induced some minor apoplexy on the part of the staff and/or hired guards. You were also implicitly encouraged to leave your wallet in the hotel safe at all times.

Another off-topic but odd feature, one that I think is common on cruise ships: there were 10 or so "restaurants", all with different vaguely-ethnic themes, but I realized fairly quickly that they shared a common central kitchen, and in fact leftovers from one or the other would show up in the large, central buffet the next day. The primary differences seemed to be 1. the nature of the wait staff's ridiculous costumes, and 2. the presence of absence of a dress code (!).


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-11-10 9:50 AM
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We went to Turkey last summer, and while we stayed in a B & B, right in the centre of the village/town there seemed to several of those remote resorts out on the long spit of land between a river and the sea that led away from the town.

We took a boat trip one day and passed them, and they looked really cut off. I presume they weren't [there's a little road runs along the back of them, I think, and you could have walked along the beach for a few miles], but I'd doubt the people staying there had much opportunity to leave.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-11-10 9:50 AM
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"presence or absence"


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-11-10 9:51 AM
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I realized fairly quickly that they shared a common central kitchen, and in fact leftovers from one or the other would show up in the large, central buffet the next day.

Like my undergrad dining hall! Superannuated fruit salad turned up in breakfast muffins (whole green grapes baked into muffins with bits of tinned pear, YUM).


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-11-10 9:55 AM
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We take a long weekend south of Cancun towards the end of winter-- there are indeed miles or resorts that look to be moored cruise ships for all practical purposes. There's a lovely town a few miles farther south, where we stay, and smaller places and miles of unspoiled beach to the south.

Tastes differ, I can see the appeal if you're anxious or unable to plan a vacation.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 03-11-10 9:59 AM
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We had a lot of vacations like that when I was a kid (for some reason, flight attendants had access to cheap deals at a lot of these sorts of places, so we did a number of mega-resort vacations at places that we wouldn't have been able to afford otherwise.) And yeah, I always found the difficulty of leaving very weird -- we'd usually get out of the resort some, but it'd be an effort.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-11-10 10:01 AM
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I can see the appeal if you're anxious or unable to plan a vacation.

We haven't done that sort of thing much, but I can really see it for families with kids in the sort of 8-14 range. A sealed box with enough inside it that the kids can amuse themselves without requiring supervision has an appeal, if you're looking for a restful rather than an adventurous vacation.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-11-10 10:03 AM
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The only package holidays I've been on are summer camps and ski area club meds. The latter manage the trick of being incredibly insular with constantly being out and about. You socialize exclusively at the resort, you ski all over the place and very often eat lunch out, but always with the little group you placed yourself in according to skill level and those people tend to be the ones you hang out with most at the bar at night.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03-11-10 10:13 AM
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It looks very bad indeed if a guest at your resort leaves and gets murdered, mugged, or kidnapped. Since these places tend to cater to the naive ugly American crowd, exactly the sort who would arrogantly wander into a third world town and piss somebody off enough to get some street justice, or put themselves in a situation where local thugs find them easy targets, I completely understand. Only one murder or savage beating is enough to sink the entire resort. Missing or murdered Real American(tm) could potentially be a lead story on CNN for several days.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 03-11-10 10:18 AM
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no need for hypotheticals about that, Togolosh.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-11-10 10:28 AM
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It was fascinating to watch the daily cruise ship dump in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. I was very much a tourist, of course, but after a day or so you more or less settle into the rhythm of a given street or what have you.

The 2pm parade of cruise ship passengers was such an oddly jarring interruption. And then everyone disappears by like 6pm after hitting a few jewelry or clothing stores and maybe eating at a (literally) Mexican food place or something.

I feel like a total snob saying it, but I'll never understand the appeal of vacationing that way. Might as well save the airfare and cruise cost, and go to the local shopping mall.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03-11-10 11:21 AM
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I have to say, I've been tempted (in a very hypothetical way) by poker cruises. But at least they're up front about it. The cruise is just a way to add a bit of variety to the meat of the holiday, which is playing poker for hours on end, day after day.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 03-11-10 11:28 AM
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From my brief sojourn in Scotland, I sort of thought Reading Week was an analog to Spring Break. At least, it seemed to me that many people went on a short vacation during the time, taking advantage of low low airfare to go to Amsterdam or Tenerife or what have you. I felt like I was nearly the only one who actually used it to study...


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-11-10 11:48 AM
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I once went to Roatan for two weeks -- a teeny island off the coast of Honduras. Its main tourist draw is basically that its reef is fairly unspoiled and getting certified to dive there is super cheap. But somewhere along the way someone got it into their head that cruise ships should dock there. There's . . . nothing there! Its beaches aren't fake-sand pretty and there is no town really, except a kind of row of hippie dive shops and some restaurants. I wonder if they just shipped them all straight to the one "fancy" resort (which made a fake-sand beach for itself and kind of fucked the reef a bit).


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-11-10 11:49 AM
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136: Assateague?

The day after senior prom, a bunch of us drove down from PA and set up tents on the beach. In the morning my girlfriend and I woke to hear my friend Dave affecting a French accent to yell "Go away wild ponies! Go away and stay away!" When we peeked out of the tent we saw him swatting a pony with an empty Jiffy Pop container.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 03-11-10 12:33 PM
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199: Don't mess with the ponies, man.

Wild pony to Dave: I swat you with empty Jiffy Pop container!! Get off my lawn!


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-11-10 12:54 PM
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Surprisingly, this news does not seem to be the result of drunken British tourists.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-11-10 2:44 PM
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I'm going to DC this weekend. Is it spring yet?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03-11-10 5:18 PM
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The cherry blossoms say "not yet", but the forecast of near-continual rain says 'maybe".


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-11-10 5:22 PM
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Ibiza in the US has kind of an "exclusive island full of superclubs and beautiful people" reputation that, now that I think about it, is probably less-than-deserved.

This is the funniest thing I have read all week.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03-12-10 3:14 AM
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204: That really is the image in the US. Was it true at some point (the 60s, say)?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 03-12-10 8:15 AM
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Not to me -- I've always pictured Ibiza as Cancun. Obnoxious drunk vacationers there for the beach and each other rather than for anything special about the location.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-12-10 8:20 AM
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I have no idea. I don't think so: my impression is that Majorca was the big package-tour destination in the Balearics in the 1970s and 1980s, and Ibiza took off in the mid-90s for the younger crowd. I don't think it had much of a tourist trade in the 60s at all.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03-12-10 8:23 AM
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205. In the 60s Ibiza was a haven for Spanish hippies and the tourists had never heard of the place. Probably perfectly pleasant if your goal is to smoke a lot of weed and have sex with Spanish people.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 03-12-10 8:29 AM
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if your goal is to smoke a lot of weed and have sex with Spanish people.

My God, what sort of unnatural monster are you?


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 03-12-10 8:36 AM
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That's an excellent goal, but I can't afford to travel to Europe. Would Mexicans make a suitable replacement? They're a lot easier to find around here.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-12-10 8:36 AM
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204: at least tell me there was a shining window in the late 80s where it was still pure, man.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-12-10 8:37 AM
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210: if you'd like to smoke a ton of weed and have sex with Mexican people Baja's a pretty good option.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-12-10 8:38 AM
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Or LA in a pinch.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-12-10 8:39 AM
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211. I believe the late Noel Redding had a place there in the 80s, if it's any help.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 03-12-10 8:40 AM
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If I want to smoke a ton of weed and have sex with Mexican people, I don't have to leave Durham.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-12-10 8:43 AM
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Typical depiction of Ibiza in US media


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-12-10 8:48 AM
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As said before, it had a hippy/old-school bohemian reputation in the 60s and 70s, and the dance music thing began in the mid-80s, boomed in the 90s, and blew out in a pool of lost credibility and vomit from about the mid-90s. Not that the rave era wasn't driven by working-class hedonism, but there's always such a thing as too much of a good thing.

("Basically, the Bass diffusion model explains everything - WE'VE GOT TO GET OUT BEFORE THE FIRST 34% BLOCK HITS...")


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 03-12-10 8:49 AM
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217.last: yeah, that's about what I figured. The early rave scene was pretty special most places, although that might have had the best weather.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-12-10 8:54 AM
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216 - The documentary evidence suggests that the ratio of women to men in Ibiza is about 5:1. Those women are all lovely, wear small clothing and dance around. So Ibiza isn't exactly like everywhere else.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-12-10 8:59 AM
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Never done the Spring Break thing. I did something like it with some college friends, but it was so scaled down it probably doesn't count. It was only a few days (less than four, maybe even only two nights and one day) rather than a week, and we were in a hotel room rather than a whole condo, and Toronto rather than anywhere sunny and nice, and we were probably drinking the usual amount or even less rather than more. A trip to a college journalism conference was more like Spring Break than that.

It's actually a bit disappointing that I didn't do the Spring Break thing, because I have the perfect place for it. My grandmother's house is 200-300 yards from the beach in South Carolina. She died in 1999 so my mother and uncle now co-own the house, and they've maintained it just enough to keep it in shape. I even spent a summer living there myself once. It was divided into two apartments years before my grandmother died, and we've never rented out more than one at a time. It would be a perfect place for a week in the spring or summer. I genuinely can't think of why I never took some college friends there.

But, hmmm, you know, it's never too late. My roommates might like it...


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 03-12-10 9:11 AM
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So Ibiza isn't exactly like everywhere else basically UnfoggeDCon with a Castilian accent.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-12-10 9:12 AM
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219
216 - The documentary evidence suggests that the ratio of women to men in Ibiza is about 5:1. Those women are all lovely, wear small clothing and dance around. So Ibiza isn't exactly like everywhere else.

Since when does the Girls Gone Wild series count as a documentary?


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 03-12-10 9:14 AM
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222: The Girls Gone Wild series suggests that those things are true about Bloomington, Indiana and Fresno, California as well. The Wild On series is more dedicated to the truth.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-12-10 9:18 AM
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So Ibiza isn't exactly like everywhere else basically UnfoggeDCon with a CastilianCatalan accent.

/pedantry


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 03-12-10 12:18 PM
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223: I saw a large GGW-branded motorhome parked behind a deeply, deeply tragic-looking bar in Parma Heights, OH. They have literally run out of places to go.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-12-10 12:23 PM
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224: Thanks, OFE. We do have standards to maintain here.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-12-10 1:36 PM
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Regarding the earlier Juggalo discussion, Martin Bashir's interview of Violent J and Shaggy2Dope for Nightline contains a high level of unintentional hilarity.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-12-10 1:50 PM
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Typical depiction of Ibiza in US media

Not a great link for people based outside the US.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 03-12-10 2:39 PM
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My parents went to Ibiza in the late eighties (I think, def'n one of the Spanish resorty places) in the off-season, and it was pretty young & let's get fucked back then as well, I think.

Mum and Dad were a bit annoyed actually, 'cause they'd gone to Spain to go to Spain not pissed-Britain-on-the-Med.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 03-12-10 2:40 PM
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I apologize if it's bad form for me to comment here, but we did indeed enjoy The Velvet Hour last night. I think we'll go back tomorrow after dinner at Cafe Absinthe (and sorry for lack of accents, but I'm on my partner's fucking Dell) and then today was all about wandering before her presentation. I tried to figure out how to get under the Michigan Ave bridge and while others managed, I did not.

Tomorrow, I'll see online friends and go to the Oriental Institute. We've eaten lovely but not amazing food so far, but we're so happy and I'm incredibly grateful for the advice here, even the parts I haven't been able to take yet.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 7:58 PM
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228: Why not?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 8:08 PM
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230: If you need to bring any presents home for anyone, the Suq in the OI has cute OI-ish, but Chicagoish only insofar as they are OIish, things.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 8:08 PM
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232: I am planning to buy for me and only me there, but that's because I'm hateful as far as other people are concerned.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 8:23 PM
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I apologize if it's bad form for me to comment here, but we did indeed enjoy The Velvet Hour last night.

Glad to hear it!


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 8:32 PM
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As for depictions of Ibiza in US media, let's not forget that Amelia DeLongpre partied there after receiving the settlement money from Kane Software.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 8:34 PM
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235: Heh. Essear, I think you should get this on a tshirt.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 8:39 PM
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228: Why not?

Hulu's region-blocked outside the US, I think.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 8:47 PM
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I knew I should have linked to Youtube instead of some other site I'd never visited before.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 8:50 PM
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You'd never been to Hulu before that? Goodness, ned, you could be wasting gobs more time online.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 8:53 PM
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I can't watch long videos online. Or read articles. Or write anything longer than a blog comment. The computer is for multitasking.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 9:14 PM
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