Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

February 22, 2013

Trips are all in the telling

By Janet Jacobs
Corsicana Daily Sun

— Interviewing the Rascos of Blooming Grove about their cruise aboard the Carnival Triumph reminded me of all the bad trips I’ve taken over the years.

I’ve never been stuck aboard a disabled cruise ship, thank God, but I’ve had some bad vacations. You tell yourself it will be great and smooth, but then things spiral down a rabbit hole and before you know it, up is down and normal is abnormal.

Calvin Rasco said that it was weird coming home to all their usual luxuries, clean water and air conditioning and hot food and comfortable beds. That it made their previous week’s experiences seem like a dream, or nightmare, but definitely unreal.

Yeah, that’s about right.

I remember coming back from Southeast Asia to Dallas and I felt like everything was bizarre. A couple of nights after I got back, I couldn’t sleep and took a car over to the grocery store. It wasn’t one of the biggest groceries in Dallas, just your average Kroger, but I wandered the aisles in amazement at all the choices. Hundreds of different cereals, and chips, and meats and breads, it was kind of mind-boggling.

In China, you could choose from four or five different types of bread unless you went to a bakery. You could choose from three or four types of cereals and maybe a dozen types of potato chips (including shrimp-flavored), but who needed more?

I backpacked a bit in Asia back in the late 1980s, but didn’t get far before something political popped up and I backtracked, giving up the wandering in favor of a goal. But the people I met told me about seeing India on the cheap, and I resolved then never to travel there without money and preferably in a tour bus, sheltered from the real India and the real flies.

I traveled for awhile with two girls from England who lived for travel. They’d work for a couple of years back in London, then hit the road, stretching their savings as far as it would take them before going back home to start again. They had books of photos of them swimming with wild dolphins off the coast of Australia, and hanging out with orangutans in Sumatra, and they bemoaned the fact that none of their friends ever wanted to hear about their trips.

Well, maybe if the dolphins had attacked, or the orangutans bitten them. People dig adventure, and the Rascos certainly got their fill of that.

The Rascos described their meals as canned foods that had been thrown together, English peas mixed with pickles, for example, and I had to laugh.

Everyone wants to hear about trips like that. So, their four days of hell on the half shell might not be in vain. At least it’s a cruise tale that no one else in their acquaintance will have.

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Janet Jacobs is City Editor of the Daily Sun. Her column appears on Saturdays. She may be reached via email at jjacobs@corsicanadailysun.com. Want to “soundoff” to this article? Email: soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com