March 9, 2009

Spring Break Options for the Daring

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With spring break less than a week away, the most overheard phrase on campus is no longer “That’s what she said” but “Where are you going?” Most have had their plans booked for weeks, if not months, but there still remain stragglers uncertain of where they will be. To those few I say, “Dare to be different.”
The majority of spring breakers intend to travel somewhere that is the complete opposite of Ithaca: warm, sunny, not suicide-inducing and stress-free. For those of you who would prefer to do something a little less cliché, and with fewer meaty, drunk, American fratboys, I offer you the following, more unusual options:
1. Go to Iceland — with their current economic meltdown, you will most likely be the richest person in the country (that is, behind Björk). You might also have the opportunity to meet the star; she can often be found arranging oranges in circles and throwing nickels into ovens.
2. For the gamblers among you — forget Vegas. Organize your own real-life Survivor in Bogota, Colombia. Gather four of your closest friends, each deposit an agreed-upon amount of cash into a joint account and get ready for the ultimate game of cat-and-mouse. You must do only touristy things while trying not to get mugged, raped or killed. Whoever is alive by the end of the trip wins the account’s money! On second thought, maybe you shouldn’t bring your closest friends …
3. Cruises can be so boring and emasculating — “Princess Cruise Line,” anyone? — so why not go sailing off the cost of Somalia on a merchant vessel like a real man? For those of you who cannot get enough of the Pirates of the Caribbean and want your own, modern-day Jack Sparrow adventure with ruthless pirates, this trip is a must for you. Eyeliner optional.
4. Japan, as we know it, has gotten weirder and weirder since we bombed the shit out of it — which is why it makes for an exciting place to have a scavenger hunt vacation. You can alter the objectives to best suit your group, but some suggestions are: a) Buying underwear worn by a thirteen-year-old girl out of a vending machine; b) Taking a picture of yourself dressed in babydoll gothic harajuku clothing with like-attired Japanese and c) Competing in a game show which requires you to do something as bizarre as slip-and-sliding for distance over twenty bikini-clad and generously lubed young women lying shoulder to shoulder (it’s on YouTube).
5. If you insist on going somewhere warm, then Afghanistan might be the place for you. The mandatory layover in India might be a bore, but the rest of your trip is sure to be action packed! Bring the sunblock.
By taking one of my suggested vacations, it is guaranteed that you will not only enjoy yourself, but also have a unique experience that makes you super cool and then envy of your friends. Trust me, no one wants to hear about another generic Cancun vacation after 18 of his or her friends have already shared the exact story.
That being said, though: the U.S. Department of State did just issue a travel alert for Mexico, so maybe things are a little more caliente this year as “violence in the country has increased recently.” The alert states, “Common-sense precautions, such as visiting only legitimate business and tourist areas during daylight hours, and avoiding areas where prostitution and drug dealing might occur, can help ensure that travel to Mexico is safe and enjoyable.” Not frequenting prostitutes and not doing drugs might ensure that you have a safer trip, but it will certainly not make it more enjoyable. In order to correct the State Department’s goof, I offer a sixth option:
6. For an interesting twist on the gold standard of spring breaks, go to Mexico with the printed full text of the State Department’s Mexico alert — but formatted as a checklist. Compete with your friends to see who can disobey all of the suggested safely precautions within the shortest amount of time. Whoever does so, and lives to tell about it, wins bragging rights. For added fun, enroll a native to aid in your debauchery — preferably one with whom you cannot properly communicate (basic gesticulations only), possibly giving you an advantage against the competition. Remember, they are called “Mexicans” not “Mexican’ts” for a reason.
Enjoy your vacations, and if you do take one of my suggested trips, please don’t die. If sued, I will not be able to afford a lawyer after funding my own extraordinary spring break adventure. I will be mining blood diamonds in the Congo; I want to see what all of the hubbub is about.