Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Commentary: Travel Like You Don't Live There

In November I was in plenty of planes, and there is limited reading material.  Of course, the ubiquitous Sky Mall was readily available.  I even practiced reading in Spanish using the American Airlines Nexos magazine.  And then I had to peruse American Way from cover to cover.   An article that I really liked was called "Travel Like You Don't Live There" by Jim Shahin.   When I travel there are things that I like to do like a local: visiting local neighborhoods with friends and restaurants off the tourist track.  The best way I've found to do this is on volunteer vacations.   When you are the only 'farang' in a Thai pre-school, you're having a real world experience that most tourists will never have.  And then there are things that are the crux of vacation and being a tourist, like sleeping in and umbrella drinks and climbing the Turm at the Cologne Cathedral. 

So for someone coming to Denver who wanted the real "live here" experience, I would suggest the following....

-- Rush hour traffic.   I-225 is my personal favorite.
--I-70 west on a Saturday morning during ski season.   Leave home about 6:30-7 so you have the complete experience of sipping your Starbucks in traffic moving 8 miles an hour.
--Packing yourself onto the light rail going to a Rockies or Broncos game.
--Waiting for a table at Snooze on a weekend morning.   I drove by today on my way to work and there were plenty of open tables.  The breakfast is worth it, but time yourself accordingly. 
--Being ill-prepared for snow.  It was 40 degrees and sunny when you set out in the morning, and by afternoon you've got 4 inches of snow.  Every time it snows people act like they've never seen it before. 

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