Monday, October 15, 2012

Experiantial Traveler

I am not someone who has ever been good at the “relaxing” vacation. Somehow, sitting on a beach, drinking Mai Tais and just letting the world slip away has never appealed to me. Sure, for a day, maybe 2, but a week? No. I need to spend my vacation learning something, experiencing something new,  and growing as a person. If I were to go and stay in one of those fancy resorts in Bora Bora, I’d probably end up spending more time with the people who worked there and making them show me what living in paradise is really like and teaching me about their culture. Therefore, when I travel, while I enjoy relaxing and doing nothing for one day, I need more.

This past weekend, my friend Caitlin and I were supposed to go to Vegas. In Vegas, you may not realize it, but they do have some culturally enlightening things. Last time, we saw the Bodies exhibit at the Luxor, which, while making me reconsider eating anything for the rest of my life, was incredible. I also learned that women do not typically donate their bodies to science, hence the reason all the bodies in the exhibit were men. See? Fun facts!

In the process of preparing for this Vegas trip, life struck and we both found ourselves too broke to go. Between hotel and food and cultural enlightenment and the sociological experiments of typical Vegas traditions (If you don’t know what I mean, you are not old enough to be reading this and should stop now), Caitlin and I both realized it was just not the mature, responsible adult thing to do.

So what do we, as mature, responsible adults do? Why, go to visit her parents of course!

While on this trip, I did a lot of learning and experiencing, more so that I ever thought I would.  Here are som of the interesting things I learned:

Bunko is a game played with dice that is great for groups and is very easy to play and gossip at the same time.

It turns out that once I couldn’t win, I then tried to lose so I can take home the “Most Loses” prize, yet my competitiveness in the moment overshadowed the possibility of a later win, and I lost the losers prize.

I am still somewhat big and scary to children at first, but they warm up to me eventually.

Then promptly forget about me in their sleep and then have to be re-warmed the next morning.

My boots that I have been very comfortable in are not made for wearing for long periods of time that include walking from one end of a mall and back, then standing while wine tasting, totalling 13 hours of wear.

My feet, however, will quickly recover from the pain as long as sneakers are worn the next day.

Wine is delicious. (Ok, that I already knew.)

Red wine is preferable to white. (Ok, again, I already knew that.)

Sangiovese is my new favorite type of wine.

Rosè is wine made from red grapes that have had their skin removed.

My favorite wine of the whole day was a Rosè of Sangiovese.  

Wine tastings are incredibly informative and educational, not all about getting wine-drunk.

You stand a lot at wine tastings. And the ones that let you sit down are not as informative as the ones where you stand up, unless you pull up a chair for yourself after you’ve been at the winery for an hour and half but are still thoroughly enjoying what the winemaker has to say.

Old men tell the best stories, especially if they are old men telling you about wine.

If you are middle-aged and still in a band that sounds like a high school garage band, you will annoy me to the point of possible violence.

I should definitely read the full cocktail description before ordering a drink.

Not all pink drinks are fruity, girly, and low in alcohol content.

Sleeping in a twin bed is not the best idea after said pink drink.

I am allergic to cats and it will cause me to sneeze uncontrollably and have incredibly watery eyes until I escape to the outside, or take an antihistamine.

Manicures can be nice every once in awhile.

Beware of any double-decker buses going through wine country, especially ones with “Red Bull” all over it. A girl will inevitably think it is Vegas or Mardi Gras and lean out of the second story and begin flashing while her other “friend” takes pictures or video tapes it. And you will be in the car behind feeling embarrassed for women everywhere.

I really like chile relleno and, much like spinach, it’s just that I don’t like the way they have been made for me my whole life.

Caitlin’s parents are the best people ever for letting me come and stay. (I already knew they were awesome)

Caitlin and I can have fun anywhere.

Riverside is somewhere that I will never live, no matter how much someone pays me. If someone did offer me a billion dollars to live there, I would promptly use my billion dollars to get the heck out.

Not exercising for 3 days and drinking a lot of wine makes my Monday workout exceptionally difficult.

I am very thankful for the friends I have in my life and for my life in general. (Ok, again, that I already knew, but sometimes it takes a weekend to be reminded.)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

A Little Bit Country

I know I am going to regret putting this out there, but sometimes you need to admit embarrassing things about yourself in order to grow…or at least that’s what the mature people tell me.

I really love line dancing.

There. I said it.

Maybe I should go back a little bit.

One of my oldest friends (as in time we’ve known each other, not age. Although she does enjoy pointing out that she is 2 days older than me) asked me if I’d like to take a Country Line Dancing class at the park and rec center. Normally, I would laugh and make a sarcastic remark, but in the spirit of living, I said ok. Or possibly “Heck Yes!,” just to get in the spirit.

So here we are, 2 weeks in, and I have discovered that I really enjoy it. I’ve always loved to dance, but my appreciation for country music usually ends when the guys singing “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy” starts singing a sad song about how said girl broke his heart. So, when a class is titled “Country Line Dancing,” I’m a bit torn…

However, as it turns out, the “Country Line Dancing” class isn’t all country. The first dance we learned was “Stray Cat Strut,” which, yes, it to the song you think it goes to. Not to say there has been no country music, but the fact that we are doing a mixture of genres keeps me from possibly walking out or going crazy for 2 hours.

I also have to mention that the instructor adds to my enjoyment. He is an older gentleman, with a big beer belly and muttonchops.  He wears jeans and cowboy boots and plaid shirts, but his belt buckle is really what really makes the outfit. Not only is it a big dollar sign, but it’s totally blinged out. I mean, if these were real diamonds, every rapper would be envious. It is a little out of place, but what what would an outfit be without a little bling?

Overall, it may not be so far out of the box, but at least I can feel good about learning a new skill and finding a new hobby. Who knows? One of these days I may even buy a cowboy hat and some boots and head to one of the country bars the instructor suggested and get my groove on. (Turns out, there are some bars in the area I’ve never been to!)