The Canadian Writers' Collective

Writing, and writerly tangents

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Back in 5 Minutes

by Steve Gajadhar

For the last long while my wife has been respectfully requesting a vacation. My usual response is to point out that we only just moved to Hawaii and that people spend a lot of money to sit on the beaches we are lucky enough to hit whenever we want. Who needs a vacation? And besides, as expats we’ve each had vacations returning to the motherland.

Well, she’s convinced me because she knows me, and for me it was always about the money. I’m not a cheap guy but I am cheap when it comes to vacations. I always see the other things the money could be used for. What I failed to see is that these other things are important to me, not to her. Vacations are important to her. And she’s important to me.

I can be so selfish sometimes.

Turns out that the far side of the earth is pretty darn cheap when you live in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, which makes sense when you think about it (but not to a Canuck used to Canadian airfare, where distance in no way correlates with price). Now the only problem is where do we go? And that’s where y’all come in. We’ve got it narrowed down to 3 spots, and here they are in no particular order.

Option 1 = Tahiti
Romantic, exotic, and beautiful. My worry is that we wouldn’t see much outside the hotel room. My other worry is that we’d get there and find out it’s only slightly nicer that where we live, which would tick me off (and yes, because of the money).

Option 2 = Australia
This is one we have to hit eventually. I mean, who knows when we’ll be so close again? I can do a 12 hour flight. Any longer and the edges of my sanity might start to fray.

Option 3 = Hong Kong
This is the most expensive option, so naturally I’m a little hesitant. But where else can one see the clash of old and new like this? Insert joke I couldn’t come up with here.

Okay folks. Give me your vote. And if you have the time you can give me some background info. We’re going to go early in the new year, probably February.

It’s sort of funny that I chime in now with a vacation orientated post after my fellow CWCers have already blown their vacation/road-trip wads.


Blogger Andrew Tibbetts said...

I don't vacation. It requires money and organizational skill. I have neither. But I love to give advice about it.

To me Tahiti from Hawaii would be like turning your deck chair 180degrees and calling it a change.

I'd go with Hong Kong. It's going to be the most bracingly different. It'll jog your sense of the world and then you won't feel like you've wasted your money.

Wed Sep 20, 10:01:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger J.A. McDougall said...

I agree with Andrew about Tahiti but I would choose Australia. My practical self would say - as you did - when will I get another chance?

Wed Sep 20, 11:20:00 am GMT-4  
Anonymous redpen said...

I think you should consider how much time you have to spend. You can probably do Hong Kong in a week, but Australia?

Polynesia in general is fab, but you're right to think it's a lot like Hawaii. It's also outrageously expensive.

If I were you, I'd go to Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia, but that's just me.

Or you could ignore the fact that you live in the middle of the Pacific, and come sailing in the BVIs with your buddies.

Wed Sep 20, 11:21:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger Tricia Dower said...

I hated Hong Kong except for the dramatic fly in over the harbour which they don't do anymore, apparently. Whatt I hated was the crassness of its downtown commercial section and the crowds on the street. I would choose Tahiti and I've been to Hawaii several times. Or Australia but redpen is right about its probably being difficult to do in a week.

Wed Sep 20, 12:07:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger tamara said...

Yes, I'd save Tahiti for when you're back living in Canada and need to get away from the winter.

Hong Kong is the biggest 'different' place you've listed, and would be exciting. I wouldn't want to spend more than a week there, though. If I'm travelling, I try to eek as much out of a trip as possible.

But saying 'Australia' is like saying 'North America.' Uh, there's a lot of variation on the continent.

Of course, it all depends on what you want. If it's relaxation (and really, I imagine you get plenty of that in Hawaii), then go to an Australian coastal town but for my money, if I only had a week or two in Australia, I'd fly into Sydney then do the state of Victoria and Tasmania, to get lots of cultural and ecological diversity. Here's a good link that could help you narrow down your Australia search:

Redpen's suggestion to try Cambodia and Vietnam is also an excellent one. It's very cheap and you get all kinds of history and fascinating geography to boot. Here's an awesome link I found when I was contemplating doing a Cambodia/Laos/Thailand/Vietnam trip:

The stuff you say about your wife makes you a sweetheart, btw ;) What does she want out the trip? Relaxation and romance? Or history and geography?

Wed Sep 20, 02:35:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger Steve Gajadhar said...

Thanks all! We were thinking Sydney for Australia, and Hong Kong seems to be getting poo pooed (other than Andrew). A good friend of ours just spent 3 weeks in Vietnam and Cambodia, and we watched a 30 minute slide show he put together. Looks pretty cool, we'd have to watch out for coups though!

And thanks for the excellent advice and links Tamara!

Redpen, well you know, BVI's in a little 40' boat might have us all choking each other...

I'll let you know what we decide.

Thu Sep 21, 02:15:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger MelBell said...

I've heard Vietnam is one of the most wonderful places on earth. I've never been, but I'm dying to go. Tony Bourdain, who's been EVERYWHERE it seems, says it's his favourite place in the world, bar none.

Thu Sep 21, 05:28:00 pm GMT-4  

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