Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Discovering a New Tourist Destination

Among people who love to travel, there's that competitive pleasure of actually discovering a new -- really new -- place to visit.  Now, I'm not talking about Henry Stanley trooping into Darkest Africa to find Dr, Livingston or Sir Francis Drake circumnavigating the world, but siply finding a known community that no one else that you know has gone.

At one time, that was easy.  You could claim to have been to Portland, find it to be satisfying weird, and be the envy of all for having discovered it.  Indeed, at one time Santa Fé was off the tourism map; before being discovered by the Beautiful People.  There was a time in which no one had ben to Flin Flon, Manitoba; and going there was an accomplishment.  But what can one do to be ahead of the curve, travel-wise?  In other words, how to play tourist oneupmanship?

The task is made more difficult by the fact that many cities have their tourism division, not impeded by the fact they they have nothing particularly interesting.  After all, Meridian, Mississippi has one, I think.  And Shreveport, Louisiana definitely does!  Well, I guess I made my point.

So how do you become a successful turista?  Just follow a few simple rules.

1.  Select a place that no one else is likely to have visited or even passed through.  Something off the interstates. 

2.  Avoid places with contrived tourist settings, like Helen, Georgia; but choose instead communities that are at least pre-Civil War, if not older.

3.  When you go there, check into your lodging, having determined its proximity to watering holes and local cuisine.

4.  While doing on-line searches, try to find places with eccentric festivals, like the Yambilee in Opelousas, Louisiana; or having a less common ethnic background , like Solvang, California [Hmmm . . .  .Danish!]

5.  If there a little risquéness, all the better.  There's a French town that has a Sacred Navel Festival!  Be the first one in your set to have gone there, and flaunted your inner or outie!  Of, if you're cheeky enough, you may go to Laguna Niguel, California to moon Amtrak!  The official date for this gala occasion is July 14, 2012 all day.

Mooning Amtrak

6.  On the other hand, you can deliberately go to dangerous places.  There's numerous lists of those, but here are a few I remember:  Detroit, Mogandishu, Baghdad, Checnya, Capetown, Rio, Tajikistan.  However, no fair if you go there, and stay in the local equivanent to a Courtyard.  I think that people who go to dangerous places are crazy!

7.  Go to some place that is utterly boring, like Oakland.  Or maybe it's not so much; but the contrast with nearby San Francisco makes it seem that way.

8.  Exaggerate!



Grand Crapaud said...

It must be an amazing site from the passenger seats on Amtrak that day!

Elvis Wearing a Bra on His Head said...

I like weird places, but I found Portland, Maine to be disappointly boring and predictable.

The weirdest place I've been was Bemidji, MN. They have a statue of a blue ox there.

Duckbutt said...

9. Make sure that the place you're visiting is not in a dry county.

Bilbo said...

For as long as I can remember, I'd wanted to visit Amarillo, Texas. I'd always been fascinated by the name "Amarillo" and the Terry Stafford song "Amarillo By Morning," and was ready to be enchanted. I drove through Amarillo for the first time in 1975, on my way from Shreveport (Louisiana) to Denver. We drove through the middle of Amarillo in a blinding sandstorm, following an empty 55-gallon drum that was blowing down the middle of the street. After the sandstorm died down and we found our hotel, I found that Amarillo had ... well ... nothing to offer ... which was a real bummer, considering it had been one of my must-visit locations. Very sad and very disappointing.

Duckbutt said...

I've been to Amarillo. It's memorable for the Cadillac Ranch and a steakhouse that serves 72 ounce steaks.

Bilbo said...

Duck, you forgot to mention that the 72 ounce steak dinner is free if the whole thing is eaten in an hour. I remember seeing the billboards for it, and it was featured in a show on the Food Network a while back. As for me, I can't even imagine eating a steak that large ... and I love steak.