I'm lucky enough to be able to travel fairly frequently. The club where I play tennis has a yearly tennis trip, and in the past we've gone exclusively to Mexico. This year, however, Jamaica was chosen. We need to go to a resort that has enough tennis courts to accommodate our group, though I suspect the troubles in Mexico might have influenced this year's destination. I wonder, however, if those who decide where we go need to do more research. People, the main bar ran out of Campari! This is a rather telling fact, but don't jump to conclusions--the one lone bottle they had wasn't full to begin with, and it's quite possible there was another guest at the resort as hip as I am. There's nothing sexier than sipping a Campari and soda--it makes you look very sophisticated. Don't believe me? Click on my Campari linky, you'll see Jessica Alba. I rest my case.
I don't know where our tennis trip will be next year. Joe, in his blog, asked for vacation destination suggestions and said the only place he wouldn't consider was the Caymans. Seems they turned away a gay cruise, and he decided not to ever go there. I can understand that. It would creepy to go to a place with that kind of judgmental thinking, but guess what? I WILL be going there, and on a cruise no less. Weeks ago, the DH booked a spring break cruise, and it's too late to change it. Several people have commented on Joe's post that they believe the tourist homophobia no longer exists there and I hope that's true, but I wish I had known about it before we booked. I would have investigated further. We might have chosen a different cruise--if the Caymans doesn't want gay people, they might not want out-of-shape, go-to-bed-early, parents of a teenager either. Our demographic doesn't do a lot of off-shore banking or heavy partying.
I don't think it's enough just to be concerned about the safety of a destination or the dollar exchange rate or the weather, when you're deciding where to go on vacation. What and who do we support with the money we spend there? What kind of impact do we have on the ecology? Some of us in my tennis group visited Dunn's River Falls, near Ocho Rios (online stock photo):
I was expecting a hike along side the river and maybe a dip in one of the pools under the falls. What we got instead was more like a Disneyland ride from hell. We climbed straight up the falls, in the water, clinging to the rocks and each other. There were hundreds and hundreds of people, all trying to get to the top without falling and knocking down everybody below us. And I couldn't help but wonder what kind of damage we were doing to this beautiful place. I also wondered how many people took the guides' advice and went to the bathroom BEFORE getting into the water. Seriously. We passed several restrooms, and I didn't see too many people making a pit stop before starting the climb.
Of course, no Disneyland Ride From Hell is complete without the souvenir DVD they try to sell you at the end, but I turned it down. I have a policy of not bringing home photographic evidence of the stupid things I do while on vacation. You'll just have to use your imagination.