LXXXVIII – Where Are We Going?

When I see people I know sharing pictures of their various travels and vacations, I won’t lie: I get kinda jealous. I wish I had money enough to be able to go to some different locations. Unfortunately, from extreme southwest Utah, where I live, it’s two hours to Las Vegas, 4-5 hours to Salt Lake City (mostly Mormon history there), 7-8 hours to LA, and a full day’s drive to get to Denver. Everyplace interesting is a long drive, or an expensive flight😔.

Regardless, there are still some places I would love to visit, and others that I’d rather avoid. To start with, I’d love to go east to the historical areas of the United States. Places like Washington DC, Virginia, Philadelphia—places where there are historical sites or maybe even Civil War battlefields. History can be a fascinating subject. My 15-year-old son is a nerd for history. I’d love to be able to take him to some of the ancient Roman or Greek sites, and see all those historic structures. Too bad it’s thousands of dollars to make a trip like that.

Other than for that, there’s not much in Europe that interests me. London might be interesting. France really doesn’t appeal to me. I don’t see the big deal of going to Paris to see the Eiffel Tower. I hear it’s a really dirty city, so I’ll pass. Besides, the thought of escargot grosses me out. Fine, I’ll eat a croissant or a baguette, but France really doesn’t do anything for me.

I’ve been to Brazil on a few occasions. It’s a nice place to visit, albeit extremely dangerous for us gringos most of the time. Sure, I could easily communicate with anyone, since I’m fluent in Portuguese, but places like Rio de Janeiro don’t fascinate me. The only interesting thing in Rio is the Christ Redeemer statue and Sugar Loaf, but they’re more of a tourist trap than anything else. Unfortunately, Rio de Janeiro has an area that is a huge slum on a hill, called Favela da Rocinha. It’s literally a gang-controlled area that I compare to a roach motel: you check in but you don’t check out. Not even the cops go in there, it’s that dangerous to outsiders😱. Contrary to what many people think, there’s way more to Brazil than Rio and the Amazon. It’s a huge country, nearly the same size as the US, but with about one-third less people. It’s definitely a poorer country, but the cost of living is also substantially less. Getting sick there doesn’t require a second mortgage or bankruptcy, even though many hospitals down there suck. The good ones, clearly, will cost more—you get what you pay for.

What about here in America? If I could move anywhere else, I’m not sure where I’d go. In my native southern California, visiting is okay, but it’s WAY to fucking expensive to live there. Not only that, but the lawmakers in California are way too goddamned liberal for my liking (I’m not a far-right kinda guy, but I do lean to the right in some aspects of my politics). Everything is expensive there: food, gas, rent, healthcare, and taxes up the ass. To afford the average rent, you have to be making over $100000 per year, or nearly $50/hour. Sorry, too rich for my blood. Let’s not even talk about the earthquakes. I experienced my fair share in the 70s and 80s, and I really don’t care to go through another.

The deep South and most of the East is too humid for my liking, where in the summer, you’ll have 95° with 90% humidity. You’re dripping with sweat from just walking outside for a moment. When there’s not that, there are tornadoes to deal with, and the occasional hurricane. That’s a big nope.

Everything east of the Rocky Mountains, especially more northern latitudes gets way too much snow that sticks and/or icy roads. I’ve seen videos of pileups caused by icy roads, and people can’t stop for anything, so their cars just slam full-speed into another. Yikes.

Washington state might not be too bad. I can deal with having rain most of the time. Absolutely not Idaho, Montana or Wyoming. Those places have absolutely nothing interesting. Wyoming simply has nothing, period. Idaho is also one of the nine states that completely outlaws marijuana in way, shape or form. Even conservative, Republican, Mormon Utah has approved medical marijuana, and stronger beer without going to the monopolistic state-run liquor store (Minnesota is the last state outlawing over 3.2% near-beer).

If I were a weed-head user of marijuana, I would consider Canada. Cheap prescription drugs and legalized marijuana everywhere. They have socialized healthcare, so that’s one drawback (well, that and it’s very freaking cold in the winter🥶).

Perhaps it’s my comfort zone that makes me stay where I’ve been for nearly 30 years. Granted, where I live has relatively low crime. Not only that, but it’s hard to take my family and go somewhere else, when there’s no real job prospect, nor place to live, etc.  There is one thing you can imagine about Utah in general: there is a kind of turf war that exists here. The difference being the “Crips and Bloods” of Utah are Maverik gas stations and Mormon meetinghouses. If you pull those two things up on a map in Utah, you will see that they tend to dominate the landscape. Every city in Utah, it seems, has one or the other.

You know what’s something that kinda scares me about many larger cities? Crime and gangs. As a Caucasian, I would be leery of being on the street in Compton or Watts, in LA. Hell, gangs in general and drive-by shootings scare the shit outta me. One of my high school classmates had the tragedy of her 21-year-old son get caught in the line of fire of a drive-by in (I believe) January. He was just riding a bike, from what I’ve read, and got hit by a bullet, which lodged into his spine and paralyzed him. My deepest sympathies have gone out to this unfortunate family in their difficult time😞😭.

What about you? What is someplace you’d like to visit, that you haven’t already seen? What’s someplace you’d rather avoid? Comment here or on social media (Facebook and Instagram, “@raysrantsoftheweek” on both). I’d be interested to read more about your travel desires.

Until one day when I am able to actually go take a trip somewhere, I’m here trudging along, taking one day at a time. I’m surviving one day to the next, watching my kids grow and myself becoming older every day. After all, I’m roughly 2½ years away from that dreaded 50👴 (funny how I kinda resemble this old man emoji😂). Have a pleasant week, and I look forward to your visit, reading my thoughts and feelings. Until next Sunday, please be safe and be well.

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