Spending to save

Achebeyo and I love to travel, when she isn’t looking to grind me up into a fine paste for something stupid I’ve done.  We’ve developed a system where we make at least two trips per year to someplace interesting enough to write about later…even if I don’t take the time to write. Typically, we’ll also try to toss in a short trip to someplace familiar and close, but still far enough away from here that we can forget the wage-slave lives we normally live. St. Thomas is a great 3-4 day weekend trip, and now it looks like Costa Rica will be added to that list. Sometimes, however, we plan to stay more locally just to build up “points” for other trips.

Eventually, there will be an entry on our trip to Thailand, complete with silly/beautiful photos of most of the places we visited while there. No, really. I’m working on a plan to start thinking about sitting down to start procrastinating on that project. For realsies. Until then, imagine that the trip we took was entertaining and wonderful enough to warrant the rare return trip. Since we always prefer to seek out new adventures in new locations, we rarely return to distant shores unless there are incentives. Enter the concept of “points”.

It’s rare that I buy into any of the corporate bull dirt aimed at getting people to spend, spend and spend some more. I’d rather save my money for when I need it most: the most recent part x of a video game franchise I’m mildly attuned to, and blu-ray movies I’ll wish later I’d passed out at the store and forgotten to buy. However, this concept that you can spend money now and get free stuff later does kind of resonate with me. Like any pseudo-savvy spender, I gravitate to vague promises of swag and future rewards like a raccoon to your tossed chicken bones. Our first trip to Thailand was subsidized by this concept, and has provided the impetus for our return: stay free in paradise by paying to stay a few dozen times in anti-paradise.

Even in the best of times for me, I’m not a fan of most tourist spawning grounds. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I’d go to most theme parks every single day if you paid me to (except for aquariums now, after watching The Cove and seeing the atrocities detailed therein). But locations where the main focus is eating and shopping? Just kill me now and save the taxpayers money later. The more people we cram into this planet, the more loud-mouthed jackasses like me we produce. Few places are more indicative of this than Myrtle Beach, South Carolina….typically.

Once upon a time, you couldn’t take me within a 45-minute radius of that place without hearing me whine for hours about wanting to hang out at Broadway at the Beach. These days, it’s only fun when people who haven’t braved the wilds of southern novelty malls are visiting and we give them their first glimpses into entertainment options in this region. This time, however, we were on a mission to finish gathering points. My arguments were moot by default.

Not long after arriving and getting settled into our hotel room, it became apparent that some inverse social factor was at work, because the place was nearly deserted. I expected to be larynx-deep in sweaty shoppers bashing each other obliviously with bags of crap they don’t need but feel they must buy to show how much they love and are loved by others. Not the case. Heck, there weren’t even enough people to keep most of the novelty attractions open. Oh sure, the ever-present carp were eager to battle it out with the seagulls over cat food pellets, and the now humorous (to us)”zip-line” was open if not in use. But the general sense of get-the-eff-outta-my-way wasn’t prevalent as in previous visits. Apparently people have better things to do than cram their cram-holes with over-priced food, and empty their bank accounts over mostly useless carp (not the fish). I say mostly useless because there were a few spots of note.

Hot sauce. Two words that when joined in the temple of the mouth can mean anything from drenching scalp sweats to please-kill-me-now lava-mouth (and bowels). This place had the full range of products. After trying a few samples and making my choice, I made a last-minute decision to try something from the you’ll wish you hadn’t category of sauces called “Scorpion Stinger”…I think. It’s all a little fuzzy now. Suffice it to say that if the bird and carp fouled water of the bay wasn’t 20 feet below the rail, I would have risked stomach parasites to stop the pain. The shop next to that one really needs to be a mouth-transplant facility.

In between episodes of me saying or doing something to incite the ire of Achebeyo, we had a nice dinner at what I assume is a chain restaurant. It was hard to tell, because their menu was intriguing and the staff didn’t appear to have been cobbled together from the masses of disaffected youth roaming the commercial centers of the world, and people who tried to retire at least once. While the place wasn’t busy, by any stretch of even my vivid imagination, our waitress didn’t feel the need to visit us every third sentence in our conversation. I can’t stress enough how important that is to me, especially in this age where people seem eager to step on your face to get their words out over yours. Dinner was marked a success.

There may have been some miscellaneous shopping at other locations in the area, but I think I’ve blocked the perceived horror of those events with a few naps. Regardless, we now have enough points to re-visit one of the most peaceful, gorgeous places we’ve ever traveled to. Hopefully after I’ve written about the last visit.

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2 Comments on “Spending to save”

  1. Mr Pig Says:

    Quite the word smith there, my friend. I would argue that MB has nothing NOTHING on PCB, the real Redneck Riviera, but it IS a whole other vibe. Glad you survived, nonetheless, although some of your troubles may have been psychosomatic! 😉

  2. Narf Says:

    i like your attitude 🙂 Why go some place if you arent really going to see the PLACE?!?!? 🙂

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