Vacation Style

My family doesn’t go to the beach for vacation. We don’t go camping. We don’t target the vegetative vacation.

This has molded my entire take on how a good vacation should be. When my family went on the cruise this past summer, I found myself pursuing the historical and educational excursions (post here). The earliest vacation I can really remember was when I was 6. On a trip around the U.S. northeast, we made a stop in Boston, where we trailed a tour group (that’s also a tradition of the family; joining tours we’re not a part of) about the American Revolution and Paul Revere’s ride.

This vacation has been more of the same. I’ve come to terms that we are cheap tourists who see the traps, but at least they’re usually the educational ones. After spending a day recovering from jet lag, we subsequently spent almost a week on our feet all day, walking all around Shanghai and local sites.

But it works out. When asked why he was staying home for the break, my former band director once said, “You have a great vacation, but come back even more exhausted than you left.” I can understand that. Fortunately, that doesn’t seem to happen with us.

We come back very tired on many of our vacation days. We also balance it with television.

My family doesn’t watch television. I blame that on a particularly strong lecture from my dad when I was 9, where we were basically banned from watching TV. For about the next five years, I didn’t watch TV. Over those years, that rule was loosened and forgotten, but once I realized I didn’t need it, there wasn’t any point in wasting time on it.

On vacation, however, the TV is always on when we’re in our hotel room, or apartment. On vacation in South Carolina, SPIKE had the “007 Days of Christmas”, so we pretty much spent all day watching James Bond. Here in China, TV is limited, since the number of English channels is limited. A lot of CNN. A lot of CNN. And a little ESPN.

It’s relaxing. I can almost understand how some people spend hours a day watching TV. Thank goodness we finish that during vacation.

Here’s the 3rd part to my detective story. As always, feel free to leave anonymous comments.

One reply on “Vacation Style”

The vacationing style seems to go back at least one generation, because we’re much the same with our family. When Diana and I go on vacation, we typically do the “museum and markets” tour. Actually, when we went to London, we called the tour exactly that, because that’s what we did.

There’s an interesting distinction between between being a tourist and being a traveller. I definitely fall in the latter category. I go to places where not even all of the local people go. I find this is, quite often, because people don’t get out of their neighbourhoods when they live in big cities.

My blog will eventually catch up, but a few weeks ago, I had a free day in Paris, with a colleague. We started at the Bastille Market — it runs on Sunday mornings. We then walked west through the Marais, most prominent of which is the Jewish Quarter. From there, we went to the Pompidou Centre, and were a bit disappointed by the contemporary art.

Going to Paris to see the Jewish Quarter isn’t exactly what most tourists would do. It does seem typical of the type of thing I do when I have a moment, though.

P.S.: Although I go to markets, I don’t buy much. At the Bastille Market, I spent 2 minutes trying to figure out if I should buy some of the grey salt that is a specialty from France. I tasted it … and it didn’t seem to give me much flavour, so I gave it a pass.

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