February 21, 2002

Gotta Have It

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In precisely one month from today we will all have the chance to breathe again. It’s pretty easy to tell when a Cornell student is on break; they pick their heads up from the grindstone, do some laundry, call a friend, and some even take time to grab a shower. Others break out their sandals and shorts, clean their Oakleys and head off to the beach to consume refreshing libations (some with little umbrellas) while pretending to be wild and crazy college students. Either way, the universal conversation inquiry, “What are you doing for spring break?” is starting to be heard in the social circles of 14850 and hopefully you’ve booked your flights and made your reservations. However, if you are heading off to exotic locales such as Newark or the Island (think Roosevelt Field, not Tequila Sunrise) it’s not too late to change your pedestrian itinerary.

What Happens in _____ Stays in _____!

Cornell students have a fixation with Mexico as a vacation resort. An unofficial survey at the local bars yielded a result that fully 1/3 of the people queried would be going to Mexico in March. The “Triad” of Mexican island destinations are: Mazatlan, Acalpulco, and Cancun. Gaining in popularity over the last few years has been Puerto Vallarta which offers a more relaxed atmosphere coupled with a wild nightlife. Now which one is for you? It depends really on what you are looking for in Spring Break. My ranking of the island destinations would be from craziest (the kind of vacation where you feel like you need another vacation to recover) to mildest in this order: Cancun, Acalpulco, Puerto Vallarta,, and Mazatlan. This is not to say that any of these cities are dull. Mazatlan is one of the largest coastal cities in Mexico (Acalpulco being the other one) and is also the destination of dozens of Cornellians this March. It claims the Pacific Ocean as its body of water and it’s known as the “Riviera City” of Mexico (which in Spring Break terms means “Class”). There is no question that this island city is more traditional Mexico and less touristy than the other popular island options. Although I personally have never been to Mazatlan, I know many who have gone and have had the greatest time. Acalpulco is a more touristy location with a large and vibrant strip of clubs (the Palladium being one of the most popular). As a vacation destination, Acapulco offers less of a cultural experience since a lot of the Hotels are situated in the same area and you rarely have to travel outside of that area to go “out” in the day or evening. The recommended hotels for this destination would be either the Hyatt, Fiesta Americana, or the Copacabana all of which offer similar accommodations and price.

Puerto Vallarta is the most beautiful of all of these locales with a rich culture and fascinating architecture. There is plenty to do during the day and the nightlife really gets going since its proximity to Texas and California attracts a lot of U.C. students. My recommendation for hotels here would either be the Blue Bay or Fiesta Americana. Neither hotel is close to the bars or clubs, but the buses and cabs are relatively inexpensive and easy to procure.

Cancun, “The Olympus of Spring Break” is just that, wild and crazy, the epitome of Spring Break. You will see everything here, the wet t-shirt contest, the foam parties, Cerveza’s on the beach, huge MTV-like spectacles. Be prepared to fork over a lot of money because Cancun is definitely the most expensive of the bunch with clubs getting minimum $20 cover charges and the alcohol consumed during the day begins to add up as well … especially since most hotels will not allow you to bring alcohol back to the room from local liquor stores.

You are Going to Need Luggage and Clothes

So before you leave, make sure that your duffel isn’t falling apart and sorry, new airport regulations, packing in cardboard boxes, bagging your clothes and taping the bag shut just isn’t going to cut it. Buy new luggage. I have found that getting a colorful web band that wraps around any piece you buy will help you spot your bags quicker off the arrival carousel.

My next stop on the Internet mailorder spree would be to pick up some new clothes for your break. If you are going to the beach, get some new bathing suits. ActiveMailOrder (www.activemailorder.com) is a great place to pick up some new board shorts for the guys, Girlshop.com is a great place to get some retro-bathing suits that are all the rave with this year’s Sports Illustrated swimsuit models (www.girlshop.com). If you are in need of a new carry-on piece or duffel bag make sure to head over to Flight001 (www.flight001.com). They have the best flight accessories out of any store I have seen and they carry really interesting merchandise (see their F1 Dental Kit).

Finally, no one really likes those in-flight movies and most chartered flights (you know the ones where they stick a magnetic sign on a plane like Airo Cornello) rarely have entertainment. Thus, now would be a great time to head over to Best Buy and purchase a new Gameboy Advance ($59.99). The system sports a 32-bit RISC processor which means more power in your hands than most Palm PDAs. The games look just like Super Nintendo games. In fact, most of the games are imports directly from the original system (check out F-Zero — $29.99).

No matter what you do or where you go, have a great time and use the moment to decompress. Come back safe and ready to shine.

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