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Travel Channel: Where are you going today?

Robert Taylor – February 25, 2008 03:02PM Reply Quote
Thread for discussing travel...

Robert Taylor – February 25, 2008 03:18PM Reply Quote
So, some comments:

Madaracs said this in another thread...

Rick Steves books are a CULT. Stay away. IMO, Rick Steves books (if they are to be read at all) should be read before the trip. People carry them with them like Bibles. In Italy, one of out traveling companions actually walked and read her RS book wherever we went. She drove the "vacation" at an alarmingly fast pace--as well she could. She didn't need to mingle, ask people questions, enjoy or immerse herself in the culture... Rick Steves had done it for her. He told her where to go, how to go, when to go and I wanted to do nothing but tell her and Rick where to go. She actually took us to a restaurant (one of the few times I didn't cross her on a decision for dinner) which was alright... but in walks another dude and she points to the member of her cult as he waltzed in... with Rick Steves Italy in hand. My philosophy on travel? Read before you go. Bring maps. Ask the locals where they would eat... not where the American tourist has been directed to eat... and now, due to my experience... never ever give Rick Steves a dime. Don't act like an entitled American in foreign countries. You are their guest... be appreciative. These are the philosophies I have when I'm out of country--business or otherwise.

The funny part? His books are all about "don't act like an entitled American" and "try and immerse yourself in the culture". Really. She missed the point.

So yeah, I bought his books... but I was more interested in experiencing Germany than reading a guidebook, so I brought it, but played by ear a lot. (For instance, he recommends staying out of Frankfurt as a place to stay... but at the time I went, a lot of the places he recommends are just plain closed because February is not tourist season for places like the Rhine, plus I found a well-regarded hotel for 55 euros a night via TripAdvisor that was NOT mentioned in his book, right next to the Hauptbahnhof.

Then there's the other point- if too many people find a "back door", it's a tourist trap, not a back door. It's OK to go off the beaten path mentioned in a guide book. Really, it is.

Anyhow, Frankfurt's museums are good, and I liked Rothenburg even if it was a bit kitschy. Autobahns rule- I think a lot of Seattle drivers need to be fired and replaced with Germans. The weather was around 10 C most of the time, with spots of rain and sun- just like home.

tliet – February 25, 2008 04:51PM Reply Quote
Cool thread, just noticed it. So your trip was ok Robert? Too bad we couldn't meet up, but I'm also kind of stuck in India where I would have left last Friday were it not for some unforseen circumstances. But, with the temperatures only reaching 28 C (it's the end of winter here) it's actually quite comfortable.

There's taxi/truck drivers strike going on here as the state of Karnataka has decreed that all trucks should have a 60 Km/hr speed limiter installed. So, we couldn't actually do or see a lot in the area and went to see the largest Catholic church in India, which is in Mysore and within auto riskshaw/walking distance.

The south of India is very conservative and that makes for some interesting conversations here. Especially about relationships. Arranged marriage is mandatory, they can't grasp the concept of meeting someone and turn that into an intimate relationship.

El Jeffe – February 25, 2008 06:10PM Reply Quote
What a journey.
Arranged marriages would eliminate a lot of consternation and stress, though. Especially fat chicks' stress. :) (I know, I'm crude and cruel)

Not like there ARE too many fat Indians, in reality.

Isn't travel kinda like porn? You can look but not touch? I think I'd prefer to move around and work in each place for a while, get used to the 'real' life not rush it by in a week or two. Plus, I'd have to work. Heck I can't afford the drive I took last year to the beach, let alone jet a family of five somewhere and eat every meal out. I am bound and determined to figure out where all my money is going. It might take me all year, though. I just checked housing prices in Jersey (not NEW jersey), UK. There are a couple of jobs opened. But TWO bedroom houses are like $600,000 US!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Uh, who can afford to live there? (sorry, getting off track)

What a journey.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/25/2008 06:12PM by El Jeffe.

tliet – February 26, 2008 12:42AM Reply Quote
>But TWO bedroom houses are like $600,000 US!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Uh, who can afford to live there?

It's not that house prices have gone through the roof there (although they might have gone up quite a bit), it's just that the dollar has been sinking to the bottom.

I'm still working in India, although I'm very much aware that it's totally different from a normal person here. For one, I work like 10 hours instead of the 12 or 14 hours they're used to. My commute goes in a Toyota minivan (with AC) from and to the 5 star hotel that I'm staying in instead of the motorcycle (or Suzuki Alto if you're truly paid well). And so on...

A colleague from the UK (who's born in India and lived in Africa for the first 20 years of his live) had calculated that one could live in India for 150 Pound Sterling a month. Or really go overboard for 200 quid a month.

For a new house, large yard around it, cost of food, employees to do all the work for you.

Dave Loudin – February 26, 2008 02:42AM Reply Quote
You mention of the drivers strike, tliet, triggered a memory of travel in Sri Lanka and Thailand: the stunning range of vehicles on even the best roads. In Sri Lanka, the far right side of the road is the only safe place to be, as you can easily happen upon a big truck passing a bus passing a medium truck passing a smaller truck passing a sedan passing a scooter passing a yak-pulled cart. Passing tuk-tuks on the open road in Thailand resembles a video game - the drivers show no reaction to whatever is passing them.

El Jeffe – February 26, 2008 02:52AM Reply Quote
What a journey.
No. It has nothing to do with the dollar. Even half that for a 2 bedroom house is outrageous. Again, our housing prices have maintained new house construction available from about $90,000 since I've lived here, for about 15 years. So, 46,000 pounds and you can build your own new at least three bedroom house. Want a big(ger) one? Double that price if you like. Now, 45,000 pounds to 300,000 pounds cannot entirely be accounted for because of any swings in conversion rates by any stretch of the imagination. I'm sure it's mostly due to limited supply. Interestingly, they mention that FIRST TIME buyers and/or builders in Jersey seem to have an advantage over existing/speculating buyers.

Anyway, $90,000 is for new. Should you want used/preowned/whatever, you can find houses for half that if you want to do it on the cheap. So, is there anywhere in Europe that you can buy a house (stand-alone, NOT an apartment or other attached-dwelling) for 30,000 pounds?

http://www.cpmorgan.com/City.aspx?CityID=1 click on shelbyville (close to me) and you see that their prices are advertised as starting in the 80s or around 40,000 pounds.




What a journey.

tliet – February 26, 2008 03:23AM Reply Quote
Dave; yup. Same goes for India. Upcoming traffic on your lane on the highway. The only way you see it coming is because the eyes of the animals pulling the cart light up in your headlights...

Bill, availability of land is a problem, that and the sheer numbers of people that are living in western Europe. It's basically NYC/SanFran all over the place here. But 5 years ago, your dollars bought a lot more Euros than they do now.

Madaracs – February 26, 2008 07:07AM Reply Quote
Ooh! Scary! Scary! Don't we look mean? You can't see me! But I can see you!
Quote
Robert Taylor
So, some comments:

The funny part? His books are all about "don't act like an entitled American" and "try and immerse yourself in the culture". Really. She missed the point.

So yeah, I bought his books... but I was more interested in experiencing Germany than reading a guidebook, so I brought it, but played by ear a lot.

Then there's the other point- if too many people find a "back door", it's a tourist trap, not a back door. It's OK to go off the beaten path mentioned in a guide book. Really, it is.

Yeah, I was venting. I might have considered buying one of his books before my "experience". Part of me is also jealous of the man's job. I mean, really. I travel for a living. Shoulda coulda woulda.

El Jeffe – February 26, 2008 08:15AM Reply Quote
What a journey.
yeah, my wife has always said that he has the best job in the world. But, the more I listen to his radio show (podcast), the more I realize it's a LOT OF WORK. And his guides age and become out of date the moment they hit the shelves.

Plus, you're dealing with the frickin' FOREIGNERS all day long!!! :)

What a journey.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/26/2008 08:16AM by El Jeffe.

Madaracs – February 26, 2008 09:16AM Reply Quote
Ooh! Scary! Scary! Don't we look mean? You can't see me! But I can see you!
Hehehe. ;-)

Robert Taylor – February 26, 2008 11:05AM Reply Quote
My aunt and uncle taught Rick Steves' kids- they work in the Edmonds school district, where he lives (and his business is based).

stan adams – February 26, 2008 11:31AM Reply Quote
That must be rough -- it is not bad enough that dad is always off to some far flung place, but he is a stoner -- "Dude can your dad score me some weed in Holland?" Why not just get the kids a tutor, that way they can at least travel together. Somehow I doubt that they really need to be in a public school. Hardly seems likely that the kids will take some regular job like managing a Jiffy Lube...

El Jeffe – February 26, 2008 11:36AM Reply Quote
What a journey.
I'm not sure if I can accurately assess the direction of that insult. ;)

What a journey.

stan adams – February 26, 2008 12:59PM Reply Quote
Not an insult -- more of a "why would somebody with a pretty unique life not havew their kids with 'em"

I love Jiffy Lube!

Dr Phred (Moderator) – February 26, 2008 04:00PM Reply Quote
-Swine Flu free since...cough, cough...
The travel guy I enjoy is Anthony Bourdain. He seems to have the ultimate job. He travels around the world, drinks, eats, smokes and makes snarky comments.

El Jeffe – February 26, 2008 04:30PM Reply Quote
What a journey.
I love Bourdain, but he seems to do it just because someone is footing the bill. He'd be the perfect drunk beach bum.

But again, I have all his shows and love them. (SQUEAZLE!)

What a journey.

Robert Taylor – February 27, 2008 11:39AM Reply Quote
Quote
That must be rough -- it is not bad enough that dad is always off to some far flung place, but he is a stoner

Uh, why is occasional recreational use of pot worse than occasional recreational use of alcohol?

Quote

Not an insult -- more of a "why would somebody with a pretty unique life not have their kids with 'em"

http://www.ricksteves.com/plan/tips/preteens.htm
http://www.ricksteves.com/plan/destinations/europe/aablog.htm
http://www.ricksteves.com/plan/destinations/beyond/jackie_journal.htm

Boy, looks like they really hate their dad's career choice. ;)

stan adams – February 27, 2008 12:45PM Reply Quote
I'm more than a little jealous -- I sit here in my cube with months worth of TPS reports backed up and wish that I could do something that had a helluva lot more inherent fun.

rino – February 27, 2008 02:17PM Reply Quote
In America, the only respectable form of socialism is socialism for the rich.
> Uh, why is occasional recreational use of pot worse than occasional recreational use of alcohol?

Because of the devil?

---

Going here http://www.maho.org/ April vacation week.
It'll be our fourth or fifth trip in a row to this place... it doesn't suck.

---

Just got back from Dallas visiting my family for the Feb. vacation.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/27/2008 02:18PM by rino.

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