Traveling, My Likes and Dislikes



Traveling, My Likes and Dislikes

Dislikes?

What could I possibly dislike about traveling?



Well, I’m giving myself a break and looking at my dislikes objectively first off.  Lots of ‘rookie’ mistakes that I can’t beat myself up about.  Doing something unknown always reveals some errant attempts and mine lies flatly in;  1.) trying to do the things I’ve always done (i.e., driving everywhere I go),  2.) overestimated expectations.  Both which are part of the adventure.

I sit back and say….”I wanna go there!”   Easy enough.  Then I do flight research, accommodations, sight seeing list, foods (overview), and ground transportation.  From there I start putting a plan together and seeing how things mesh together…..many times having to edit and re-edit my first draft plans.

So, a pretty good effort goes in to just sitting here and researching.



Here’s a necessary dislike.  And this comes easier each time and that’s the airport time.  Boarding pass, luggage check-in, immigrations, wifi, waiting, eating and the boarding process.  I don’t like any of this except the eating, but I don’t like the cost.  So pretty much everything at the airport.  But, repeating the check-in and immigration processes and getting the feel of them along with accepting the price of food and beverage is making it easier and smoother.

There’s a learning curve here that I didn’t expect.  You might say, “How much do you have to learn?”  Well, the thing that I’m trying to learn is economizing all aspects of travel.  Not accepting, that regular tourist travel is the way to go, the norm yes but not the way to go for being a traveler.


Traveling, My Likes and Dislikes




You may go on vacation once a year and accept the drudgery of hauling oversized suit cases and lots of unnecessary crap.  I understand that, I was once like that.  But, I’m looking at traveling much more often (so far in the past 7 months 2 airplane trips and several driving trips) and becoming lighter and more mobile.  That’s a challenge.

Being herded onto a plane while not desirable, is part of the traveling landscape.  I just have to accept it.  One annoying thing on the past flight from Puerto Rico was the passenger across the aisle from me.  He decided during a turbulent part of the flight to check something in the overhead……  Seems harmless you may say, but he didn’t retrieve anything, he just stood there digging thru a small bag.  What’s so wrong with that?  There’s other bags up there, it’s turbulent….I mean the plane is rocking sideways.  The other baggage at any moment could just fly out of the compartment and hit someone…..maybe me!!  He’s an inconsiderate Joe!!  And the airline attendants walked past him a number of times without a word said to him.



I just kept an eye out for the baggage.  Ready to leap into action at any moment to be someone’s hero and protect them from harm.  Hey!  We all have to dream!

Getting thru immigrations at various airports is easy.  There’s this long winding walk that leads me to the area and then there’s the lines.  Which the length of is dictated by the number of people on my flight and the number of flights that have just landed.  I have my phone handy to read the news and check my social media so the time passes quicker.


Traveling, My Likes and Dislikes




I’m at my destination!!  Yeah!!!!

My mode of ground transportation will be me driving.  This is where it gets harrowing!

I don’t know my way around……duh!!!!

You’re thinking….’use your GPS’ you idiot’.

I do.

But the GPS is really telling me where I was a second and a half ago.  It really doesn’t work so well on poorly marked roads where they may not (not unusual) have the road number posted.  My favorite was in Costa Rica where you go thru the turnabout and the road has 3 choices, 3 divisions and the GPS doesn’t indicate which is the route and the road choices aren’t distinguished (I guess it’s more with locals driving in mind) and you won’t know which way until you choose a route.  I made the wrong choice…hehehehe.



That’s really what happens.  And many times there are no lines on the the road.  I’m at the mercy of the driving gods and devils.  This is nerve racking!  And look, this isn’t just one instance on one trip.

A laugher this past trip was my drive to the Bacardi Distillery.  From there multi, multi lane interstate I found an alternate exit to the distillery as I had already passed the obvious marked exit.  WELL…….I knew what road/exit number to veer off on….it’s just that the exit signs didn’t give me that information.  To boot, there were 3 signs!!!  Yeah, one right behind the other hiding the information on all the subsequent signs.  Lovely.  Yeah, I took the wrong turn.

Have no fear, I have GPS.  The good thing here with the GPS is that I’ve the location of the distillery and the road is near and I’m able to wander my way there.

San Juan is a bitch to drive!

No small task.


Traveling, My Likes and Dislikes




So, this is the ground transportation side that I dislike.  And here’s another part.  Most, I’d say 85% of my traveling has been through mountains.  Well, because the roads are a bit smaller and subpar to the quality experienced in the U.S. I’m unable to enjoy the views!! Yeah, I’ve cheated a couple times and have lived to tell you…..but even that view was so quick it challenges my memory.  There’s not many view points to stop off and enjoy either.  Some are in the most awkward places that unless you knew they were coming up on the road, there’s no way to take advantage of them.

It’s like driving a rollercoaster!!  The hairpin turns, the ups and downs……sometimes the road isn’t visible due to the sharp turn or down from the peak and then combine those two!!!!  YIKES!  Really YIKES!!

I don’t like rollercoasters……

This is part of the adventure.  I’ve learned to embrace and accept. But, it doesn’t make it any easier.

I’m a flat land and beach sort of guy……I didn’t anticipate so many mountains where I’ve gone.  I’m delaying Machu Picchu.  That’s high!  But I am going.



The mountainous areas of Puerto Rico were easier for me after my Costa Rica experience and yet……it would take a bit more traveling in this manner to become accustomed.  Even driving to the Riviera Maya from Texas had it’s mountains to cross.  Really, they are beautiful!!!  But, I like flat land!

What was really magnificent in Puerto Rico was driving the cliffs overlooking the Caribbean!  Coming thru a small portion of the rainforest into a curve and boom!!!  There’s the Caribbean and in the distance the cliffs of Puerto Rico perched over the steep shoreline.

Yeah, that’s pretty awesome.  BUT…..no photos.  I couldn’t just stop!!!  I’ve a caravan of cars pissed at me already!


Food Can Be A Challenge too




So far Mexico, Costa Rica, and Puerto Rico are flooded with American fast food.  This makes dining a little easier except if you’re like me and want to experience the local cuisine.

Costa Rica was easy and enjoyable.

However, Puerto Rico was a food disaster.  Being a U.S. territory every fast food joint from the states is dominately positioned.  Name it, it’s there.  And it’s obviously available!  Can’t miss any of them.

I spent 8 unsuccessful mornings trying to find a Puerto Rican breakfast.  If they exist, they are a rarity and nearing extinction.  I ate at Denny’s.  Denny’s!  Let me say that the coffee was extraordinary, the food was fantastic and the service was just the BEST!!!

But I wanted Puerto Rican food.  I couldn’t find any!  The closest I came was in a little bar at Seven Seas Beach and along with Medalla Light beer (it only comes in Light) enjoyed an empanada.  The other opportunities, well if they were, were not obvious.



Fast forward to the 2nd to last day in Puerto Rico.  ALL the ladies at the Bacardi Distillery cautioned me to get something to eat.  It seems my consumption of straight rum was a bit on the brave side.  One local lass directed us to a local restaurant that specialized in Puerto Rican cuisine.  That’s what she said.

It was a short and easy drive from the distillery.  First order was a beer while we perused the menu.  It was in Spanish with no English in sight.  The waitress was just a waitress, not very good at explaining the dishes.  So, I said…..get this now as I’m pointing at the menu…..I said, “I’ll take that one.”

That was the best I could do!

Cutting to the chase…..it had stomach wall and kidney parts in it (large obvious blood vessels).  I was hungry, so yes I ate it.  It wasn’t very flavorful.  Nothing distinguished it as a good meal.  But I’d finally eaten some Puerto Rican cuisine.


Traveling, My Likes and Dislikes




The challenges of the dislikes are part of the adventure.  Some is acceptable, like the food.  Other stuff is in need of refining and maybe reconsidering.

I’m already doing my preliminary planning for a trip to Europe that starts in Italy.  And I’m studying the dynamics of getting around without renting an automobile.  This saves me on money and hopefully I want be missing any sights.

It’s all a work in progress……working on tuning my dislikes into likes.

Peace, love, and beaches,

John




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