1,281: MAPPING MY TRAVELS (AND WHY I HATE PARIS)
As a lark, I mapped out my travels with a few tools over at My World66.
First up, Canada. Apart from the great Route 66/Trans-Canada roadtrip of 2003, this map should only show Ontario and Quebec. I often ponder a trip down east, but have yet to take the plunge.
Here's the USA. The Route 66 roadtrip rule applies for anywhere west of Lansing, Michigan. Note the that sections of the lower 48 I haven't been through (with the exception of Rhode Island) are neatly divided into three chunks: the upper midwest, the south and the Pacific coast. I'm planning on remedying at least one of these segements in '08. As for states most visited, Michigan wins hands down. I suspect Ohio is still in second place, based on childhood vacations and annual runs to the Libbey glass outlet, but New York must be coming close.
Finally, the only other continent I've ever been to, Europe. That white speck in the middle is Luxembourg.
Outside of the UK, I've only been to the Old World once, on a two-week tour in high school, back in '92. The trip consisted of several schools from Essex County and was a mixed experience. The other guys who went from my high school drove me bonkers and I ended up with solo accomodations for the second half of the trip. The breaking point came in Paris, when they decided to make up for their disappointment in the older women on display in the Pigalle by boozily jumping up and down on their beds all night, accidentally landing on me a few times.
Later in the trip, they asked why I hated them.
Paris was an all-around dreary experience, not just because of the weather. The highlight was seeing a middle-aged man get whacked in the head with a 2x4 while entering the Metro (our guide told us to move right along). We only had an hour in the Louvre, which meant everyone rushed to the Mona Lisa at the expense of everything else. The high school that shared our building back home had as many parents along on the trip as students, who proved to be a difficult lot, especially during one meal at a steakhouse. Despite their kids' best efforts to explain the menu, the parents drove the waiters up the wall with expectations that the food and presentation would be exactly the same as they were in North America. Throughout the trip, they displayed classic "ugly American" behaviour in regards to appreciating their surroundings. I wasn't the only one who noticed - Dad told me that the teacher who went from their school was equally charmed by the bunch. I felt sorry for their kids and vowed never to impose myself on any journeys taken by future offspring.
Mind you, I would have made an exception for my parents. Dad and I probably would have split off and found a tasty dive. Mom would have been fine as long as the food tasted good or gone and found something else, since our tolerance for fools is equally low.
The trip improved once we reached the south of France...but that's a story for another day. - JB