Saturday, June 9, 2007


Does anyone else have trouble figuring out where to go on vacation?

I used to travel around quite a bit. I've spent a few years abroad, and I think I've been to 30 countries -- some of them nice (Spain, Turkey) and some of them not so much so (El Salvador, Ukraine). At this point, the countries I would like to visit are very far away (travel time to Argentina from Seattle is over 20 hours just one way), and I don't think I've left North America in seven or eight years.

But still, every year I like to try to at least go to some city I've never visited before. (And, to tell you the truth, I even get excited when I think I'm on some street that I've never been on before.) Last year that city was Baltimore.

I wish I'd gotten my digital camera before the trip -- all I had was my cell phone.

Here's the spouse in the staircase at the American Visionary Art Museum, a grand tribute to the lifework of weirdos with OCD (my favorite kind of people).


And his picture of me.


Baltimore was actually just a day trip for us from DC, where we spent most of that week. DC is a great place to go for a cheap vacation because you can spend your days checking out all the free museums. (The opposite is true of New York City, where I feel like I'm a longhair cat shedding money like fur every time I sit down for a moment to catch my breath.)


From the Smithsonian's shabby natural history museum.


After DC, we stayed on vacation and went to Oregon. This fake Stonehenge is actually on the Washington side of the border.


Then we went to The Dalles, a beautifully preserved old town in the Columbia Gorge.


We continued west along the Columbia and stopped at Multnomah Falls (supposedly the second-highest year-round waterfall in the U.S.). This was the first time -- out of many, many visits here -- that I had ever made it all the way to the top.


Our friends Chris and Lonny had just had their offer on this house accepted. I love staying out here.


We got busted for having this tailgate party at a Rose City Rollers bout at Portland's Expo Center. (The problem wasn't the tater tots but the booze, not pictured.) Luckily, by the time the authorities arrived, we were planning to head inside anyway.



And our last night of vacation, it turned out that a band that I had always wanted to see was playing in town. This is a terrible picture of the wonderful Klingon death-metal band Stovokor.


About a month later, we had a little mini-vacation in Sayulita, Mexico. Our friends and their cute baby had rented (or traded, actually, for design work, I think) a beach house in Sayulita, Mexico, and invited us to come hang out for a few days. Nice.


I've stayed in this house a few times before over the years, and I have spent many, many hours in this pool. Every time I go to Sayulita, I think I will never come back, because it's getting more and more developed, but I keep ending up there. Worse things could happen.

So this year I found out that some friends of ours have come back to the continent after a three-year vacation in Thailand. These two both look like they could have been on vacation for the last three years, but I'm talking about the guy on the left (and his wife, who wasn't in town the night this photo was taken).


And now they're living in Toronto. Since I want to visit with both of them, and since we have another couple of friends in Toronto (one of whom is listed in the credits for Snakes on a Plane), and since I've never been to Toronto, we've decided that's where we're going on vacation this summer.

Toronto! Why not?


chuck b. said...

I would like to visit Montreal. Have you been there? And Quebec City.

Zihuataneo is where all my friends go in Mexico. But we haven't been there yet.

Savannah, GA and Charleston, SC are nice places to visit for a few days too.

JvA said...

I love Montreal. We sort of honeymooned there. By "sort of," I mean:

1. We planned a trip to Vermont for our friends' wedding, adding a five-day trip to nearby Montreal just for fun.

2. We decided to get married.

3. I got so irritated by all the questions that people were asking me about our engagement/wedding that we decided to get married really fast, like the first possible date that our immediate families were available to attend (about two months out).

4. The date we ended up with was just two weeks before our planned trip to Vermont, so we decided to think of the Montreal jaunt as our honeymoon.

We bought tons of clothes, had some nice dinners, enjoyed checking out the old part of the city, etc. I'd love to go back sometime.

JvA said...

I also love Zihuatanejo.

Ten years ago, when I was young and very poor and adventurous, I worked two crappy jobs for a couple months and saved up $2,000 for a 6-month trip to Mexico and Central America. I think I went to every state in Mexico except the Baja states and the northern border states.

And out of all those Mexican cities that I visited, Zihuatanejo was my very favorite beach town. That little bay is gorgeous, and the little town is darling. Instead of a regular zocalo, the town center is a basketball court overlooking the water.

The only bad thing about Zihuatanejo is its proximity to Ixtapa, which gets a good amount of cruise ship traffic. So the town is regularly overwhelmed with huge groups of gringos.