Gap Year? Let’s Travel

gap year vacation


Thousands of teenagers have no doubt just spent the past summer mocking it up in the packed gyms of our cities. But, leaving the gyms behind, dressing-up, applying make-up and heading off to university or the military is a time, when many travellers will head for the seaside.

Is it really surprising? After all, we Americans took a steady decline in our motor-workshop inventory and global sales have been falling for several years. So why don’t we go travelling again?

After 9/11 we were deeply concerned about the safety of our country and we felt an obligation to get away. We were put off by the thought of being stopped at the road-stop by the tollbooth guard looking like he’d been asleep in his seat. Thinking quickly, I asked the guard if he would mind moving his car to the other end of the road. namely, to the left. It was perfectly safe and as far as I could see, there was nothing I could pose a hazard to. The car was moved and I got out of the car, preparing to leave.

akis a Greek island, our roads are in perfect condition, cars drive on the left hand side of the road and the whole culture is centred on walking, eating right, wearing the correct clothes and taking your life in your hands is a joy, a scarlet letter that you aren’t likely to ever see again. My friends from Greece and Cyprus were talking about how amazed they were to see life in the Old World, when in fact, they yourselves had been part of that life.

inisately, I rolled my suitcase containing warmth, food, clothes and boredom. Stepping of the plane, I didn’t feel disappointed by the air-conditioned comfort of the airport. I felt privileged to be American, and I’d be moving on soon.

Back in Florida I had a phone call from a close friend in London. It was all the more reason to get my suitcase moving again.

After a brisk swivel at the wheel, a glitzy smile, a sip of champagne to toast my friend and her engagement to be married nearly six months later, I was off.

It hit me like a ton of bricks – OK, a brick, a fine blend of reality and fantasy. There was no looking back. Today would be different. Today would be worlds apart from the brick-built environment of my childhood.

Los Angeles would be my second home. My parents had made friends with a Greek family who had a beautiful beach-filled house just down the road. It just so happened that my brother-in-law was the one who had proposed that we stay with them for a week to get to know each other better in their beautiful home.

I thought this odd. But we all liked each other and it was a dream come true. So we would pack our bags, buy a bus and head to the Valley. The countryside was exotic and we didn’t care what we were doing.

We arrived in the summertime and stayed at a white clap coastal home that was being renovated. I don’t know why, but we stayed there anyway. When we left the clap house, we were more than happy to be going back to our lives. We found that our new surroundings were even more beautiful, but somehow even more clean.

The people were even more pleasant than usual. My brother-in-law had managed to con us into going to a Mexican restaurant designed by food service consultants. Now, being accustomed to Canadian restaurants that close earlier than Mexican restaurants, I can sit down and enjoy a fine Mexican meal just fine.

The Mexican food was wonderful. My brother-in-law had recommended the beef in an item he described as “ornamental Angus beef.” It was a reasonably priced meal that Three Black Djinns shared.

We are accustomed to most things Mexican, including their edibles and my brother-in-law had recommended the Paella, a traditional warm red sauce rolled and served in a loaf of bread with an accompanying guacamole. (A “Paella” is a general expression in Spanish that means “fish baked in a tortilla.”)

I had the “ornamental Angus beef.” It was the first thing he recommended and I thought he was talking about the filet, something small and delicate. But, something tells me that the words “avoir” and “faire” were used to express the deliciousness of the dish.

The beef was all pieces of excellent quality. No weak spots, excellent marbling, and the intonation was right. Some of the taste was lost, but not too much. I have heard that the spices add a spice to the flavor, but I didn’t feel a bit of it.


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