Saturday, August 18, 2007

My Vacation Diary

Once in a while I take my friends' advice and go away.

So this week I'm a travel writer. Travel writers gush over exotic places using the words “nestled,” “offers,” and “delight” over and over again.

As in, “Nestled in the southeastern corner of Penobscot County, Bangor is a lost tourist's delight, offering plenty of seedy gambling and second-rate lodging.”

Except travel writers are never that honest. As I present my vacation diary from last week, I'll do the best I can to describe my vacation last week without lying too much.

Day 1. If it were up to me, packing would be easy. Certain members of my marriage, however, find it necessary to plan for every conceivable circumstance, including the spontaneous random urge to make banana cream pie.

The Conventional Wisdom is, “Better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it, even if you can't operate the manual stick shift because it's blocked by your spare mixing bowl.”

Day 2. We're here. Hampton Beach, New Hampshire, nestled between bland Portsmouth and surprisingly hip Exeter, has much to offer the discriminating traveler, such as armies of senior citizens who delight in turning themselves the color of beef jerky, and various pregnant women smoking and cursing at random men.

But wholesome families like us can still enjoy the acres and acres of soft sand, the warm surf, the gentle ocean breeze, and the carnival atmosphere.

Though there are a thousand people on the beach at any given moment, it's easy to delight in my own personal experience, be it riding the powerful waves at high tide or dozing off to the sounds of happy children and squawking gulls, only to awake and find that my family has covered my with a seven-foot tall mound of sand, probably in revenge for me packing the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in the cooler, where they soaked up all the melting ice.

Our campsite is lovely, as well, although we are definitely “roughing it.” Public restrooms are a full twenty yards away, and we have to march all the way around to the other side of the camper to get to a fresh water spigot.

Day 3. Today we couldn't really get going, probably because our two-year-old got up in the middle of the night in order to announce, 34 times at the top of her lungs, that we need to be QUIET because people around us are trying to SLEEP.

So we spent most of the day poking around the campground. We notice that most of the sites are occupied by permanent residences, RV campers nestled between trees and surrounded with screen porches, landscaping, and satellite dishes.

Why pay a bunch of money to spend the summer in what is essentially a trailer park when you could have just stayed home and had basically the same lifestyle?

Day 4. We're back at the beach, enjoying the weekly free concert and mammoth fireworks display, along with overpriced calzones that I managed to get covered with sand. The next time I delight in offering to handle the food responsibilities, my wife is going to in nestle her fist into my teeth.

Day 5. You always hear that it's a bad idea to come back into Maine on a Friday afternoon, but the traffic was not all that thick, except around Kittery, Kennebunk, Portland, Freeport, Topsham, and Augusta. Also, some place called “The Yorks.”

Anyway, we made it home, just in time to nestle into bed and delightfully miss the deadline for this column. It was all worth it.

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