The Seven Deadly Sins of Travel
May 05, 2005 03:11PM
By Don Kindred
By Maggie Ziebak
It’s just plain sad when hotel checkout time becomes a reality. The idyllic vacation bubble is about to burst the instant you surrender your room key. Gone are the hours of self-indulgence, wispy drapes, tranquility beds and spa soaks. Warm waters and huge nubby towels become a distant memory, as does the icy cold champagne that sent fizzy bubbles up your nose. You have only the final chapters of a gripping novel to finish and then it is time to go back home and face the same old routine.
But wait, aren’t you going to feel any remorse? Don’t you feel a teensy bit sinful after enjoying such a wonderful time away from it all? No? In that case consider these destinations for your next foray into the vacation world of seven deadly sins – you won’t be able to resist temptation.
It always starts off with ENVY. You see the neighbors sporting a tan that didn’t come in a spray and you couldn’t miss the ostentatious display of suitcases “airing” by their front door. Family members have been bragging about their upcoming trips in nauseating detail until you’re ready to chop their passports into little chips and feed them to the fishes. Uncurl your tight lips and book an all-inclusive vacation at Barcelo’s Playa Montelimar resort in Nicaragua. Now that’ll raise an eyebrow or two.
Just twelve sweaty degrees north of the equator in Central America is a country we tend to think of in terms of warlike Contras and Sandanistas. Not any more. Although a poor nation, it’s now peaceful and the budding tourist business is offering unspoiled (read; Pacific surfing and Caribbean scuba diving) beaches that stretch for miles upon pristine miles.
Large balconies overlook the pool area where a constant stream of vacationers, armed with rum-slathered concoctions, wine or beer, soak up the sun until it is time to munch their way through the beachside buffet. No extra charges – it’s all paid for in advance. Check www.barcelo.com or www.taratours.com to whet your appetite and tame the raging jealousy burning within you.
GREED. Let’s face it; we each have a natural desire for material wealth and an opportunity to flaunt it. We want more, more, more. What better way to inspect prime real estate than cruising up a river in Portugal? Visiting the elegant wine lodges stacked high on granite hillsides or descending into musty cellars dwarfed by large barrels of aging port can create illusions of grandeur. Tasting new wines of the region and reminiscing over distinctive green bottles of Mateus makes the dream almost become a reality. Journey into yesterday and watch the grapes being harvested directly from the vineyards then count your pennies to see if you can really afford that 18th-century manor house. Find out more from www.uniworld.com about their tours-included cruises.
Oh dear, then there is LUST. Shall we dance lightly around this inordinate craving for indulgence and pleasure? Desiring a fun-filled getaway in October of each year, Key West in the Florida Keys hosts their Fantasy Fest in answer to New Orleans’ Mardi Gras. A block over from Hemingway’s house, Duval Street becomes pedestrian-only to support the canvas booths laden with exotic goods for sale. Revelers look down from noisy bars to spot the best body art in the throng (or should that be thong?) below. Wandering around are patrons of artists who have created works of art by spray-painting minimally clad customers who are more than willing to display their purchase. Go to www.fantasyfest.net for photos of the evening parade.
Where shall we encounter PRIDE? In a country such as equator-straddling Ecuador, who can begrudge them their self-love of such architectural treasures in their capital Quito and the natural wonders of the Galapagos Islands? Strolling through the riotous colors of open-air Indian markets, the wall hangings, hand woven cloth and baskets present an exciting culture. Not given to harassing potential customers, sellers offer welcoming smiles while the imploring eyes of the children usually elicit a sale. Rarely given enough credit, Ecuador ships us beautiful roses and makes the authentic Panama hat. More information at www.ecuador.com.
Impressive stomachs rolling their way to the ice cream bar lead us to the wonderful world of GLUTTONY on board a cruise ship. Perhaps for a mere seven days one can sate overwhelming desires to consume more than one requires. Voracious eating and drinking seems to be the norm in this environment, from the breakfast buffet to the Gala Dinners, followed by delectable desserts. Battling guilt-ridden choices between sinful, slutty chocolate creations and crunchy pecan pie the decision-making guru fails again…and both are ordered. Lots of options at www.cruise.com or call your travel agent.
Slowly making our way to SLOTH (no, not the 3-toed kind) we ask if Tahiti can fulfill our dreams of a vacation doing absolutely nothing. Taking a leisurely catamaran over to the island of Moorea, the sun, the breeze and staring at the sea can start the eyelids drooping without effort. Sluggishness of the mind takes over as a permanent state and the mere suggestion of an activity such as walking on the beach becomes a distant thought. Perhaps a stroll around the lush gardens to admire the exotic multi-colored crotons and the pink, breeze-ruffled hibiscus might be the order of the day. Playing vacant mind games on the deck of your thatched bungalow waiting for the sun to sink below the horizon seems to be the highlight of this vacation. Bye-bye-sun. www.mooreaisland.com.
Some bright pundit said that if you must choose between two evils, pick the one you’ve never tried before. Revealing itself like a starlet’s dress, Las Vegas can mesmerize you into risky behavior. Before you know it you’ve forgotten the rules of engagement and bet a bundle on the roulette wheel. Bad move; house wins. Growls of rage surge inside you, leaving you in an advanced state of being ticked off. Angry to be precise. Yes, ANGER is one of the seven deadly sins and we can only hope that each of us learns to curb it. Certainly there is no better place than Las Vegas when luck is against us as there are numerous free activities to entertain us that don’t involve gambling.
Peck out www.lasvegas.com and let the Internet guide you.
Guilty pleasures are there for the taking in the world of travel. Sampling some of the most exotic destinations leaves you with a renewed appreciation of where and how we live. Before you set out on your next vacation of vices, order a T-shirt depicting your sin of choice from www.deadlysins.com. Flaunting those at home can be a great source for a chuckle but not so much overseas. b