Soon I’ll be at the international terminal in Dallas, waiting for a plane to take me across the Atlantic to meet up with one of my friends as we set out across Spain. Then, I’ll be on my own for ten to fifteen days in Beijing, China before permanently relocating to to the great city of New York where I’ll be forced to network my way into a new job.
It’s going to be a great couple months.
I haven’t been abroad since I was a little kid, and I’ve only traveled without my parents a couple times so this is something new and awesome. Also, instead of planning for this trip in depth, I just created a set of mini bucket lists.
While some of these may seem strange to you, that’s part of going on a foreign vacation. When abroad, you need to A) do what the locals do and B) do as many (not super illegal) things that aren’t available in America as you can. Mostly I’m referring to food, like eating endangered animals, but these lists have other unavailable and story worthy things on them as well. So here, for your enjoyment are my travel plans:
For Spain I want to:
- Have a conversation with a local in Spanish.
I posted that challenge a little while ago about wanting to read a book in Spanish and write a report, and I’m making awesome progress, but it’s all been building to this. Me, a kid who studied spanish for less than two months before leaving, in Spain speaking to somebody who’s been using the language their entire life, and having us understand each other. This will be the biggest win of the vacation and also, hopefully, the easiest thanks to Memrise.
- Eat that giant fish thing.
A few years ago I was watching the Thanksgiving episode of Malcolm in the Middle and saw Reese cooking up this absurdly huge fish. Well, it turns out that’s an actual dish they serve in Spain, and now I want one.
- Go to Amsterdam.
I’m not really a drug doer, but this is the go-to spot for any new graduate in Europe. It’s all parties and forbidden stuff. Very cool.
- Visit El Prado and the Picasso Museum.
I have a thing for seeing art that I grew up with in books and these museums have a lot of it. From Picasso to Dali, these buildings will be fun and enlightening to visit.
And now for the crazier part of the trip, Beijing China.
In Beijing I want to:
- Eat Dog.
Come on! It’s China, one of the only countries in the world where it’s legal to eat an animal most of us have as pets and you don’t want to try it? How cool would it be to have that in your flavor repertoire? To be in a restaurant fifteen years from now, get presented a plate of food and say “hey, that tastes a lot like dog meat?” That sounds insanely cool to me.
- Eat Shark Fin Soup.
On a similar note, I should tell you something about me that may or may not be true: if you tell me not to do something, I’ll probably want it more.
That’s why when I was in Biology class a couple years ago and the teacher was going ham talking about how dangerous and illegal it is for Chinese merchants to sell shark fin soup, all I could think was how delicious it must be to make chefs want to break the law to serve it.
And now the final food challenge:
- Eat a Monkey Brain.
If they serve this in China, I want to try it just because it would be cool to eat brain. Though I think this is more of an Indian delicacy so it might have to wait for a future vacation.
- See the Great Wall.
Who doesn’t want to see it and come on, in China you have to do some touristy stuff.
- See Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden Palace
They’re right next to each other and in the heart of Beijing. It would be harder not to see these so they might as well be on the list. Plus, how often do you get to walk inside the courtyard of a palace that’s been locked down for the last few hundred years?
That’s the whole itinerary. The trip will kind of be a giant experiment to see if it’s possible to travel for a month with just bullet points and not go broke or die along the way. I’ll keep you posted on the progress.
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