Things I've Learned on my Holiday

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Shrike
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Wed Jan 09, 2013 4:22 am

9/1/2013

So as some people will be aware, I've just come back from a 5 week holiday in Costa Rica. While I was there, I kept a little journal, and while I'm not *ever* going to publish THAT....I will publish this one little bit of it. As stuff happened, I wrote down some things I'd learned. Deep, moving things that made me a better per-....yeah, no, I can't keep a straight face and write that. This is yet another one of my stupid lists, and I'm damned unashamed about the whole thing, although I've edited the list somewhat from the original hand-written version. Everything is true, but didn't necessarily happen to me or a member of my group....with the exception of #5, which I took great care in making sure did NOT happen, thus qualifying it for inclusion given the effort involved. But I've seen/heard everything on this list first hand. If I included the second-hand stuff, I'd have an extra 200 easily.

Enjoy.





101 Things I've learned on my Holiday


1. Wherever you go, there's something that's gonna disturb you. Usually it has something to do with the plumbing.

2. Projectile vomit is surprisingly easy to aim.

3. Mixing up "catholic" and "alcoholic" is a recipe for disaster.

4. Especially if you're a native english speaker and thus have no excuse AT ALL.

5. Likewise "la papa" and "el Papa"

6. Cash passports that work everywhere, don't.

7. Orange flavoured rehydration salts, aren't. (This flows on well from number 2. And yes, I'm allowed to make vomit puns after spending nearly an entire day puking my guts out while on holiday)

8. Only the biology/ecology student is interested in stopping to look at the fascinating variety of bryophytes.

9. Likewise bugs.

10. "Can I touch this?" is just begging to be someones Famous Last Words.

11. You don't get to lecture me about needing 'exposure therapy' to get over my issues with crowded small spaces and noise (IE: "No I will not go out to the pub tonight") if you spend the next half hour screaming and running away from pigeons.

12. There is always more freaking rice and beans. (Censored from original version, you can guess what change I made)

13. Just because the sea turtles you work with can't bite fingers clean off doesn't mean they won't try.

14. They also do a pretty mean bitch-slap.

15. Seven hours on a public bus on very windy roads is exactly as pleasant as you'd imagine.

16. People will always refuse your first-aid if the alternative provider is nowhere to be seen.

17. Small battery-powered alarm clocks are surprisingly resilient to water-immersion.

18. My superpower: I am surprisingly immune to jellyfish stings from a particular species found in a particular area of Costa Rica.

19. Your attachment to the souvenir is directly proportional to the chance that it will break before it leaves the country you bought it in.

20. Never touch ANYTHING while snorkeling. it will be razor-sharp.

21. The "sex" section of my phrasebook is strictly off-limits in future.

22. Rule One of the tropics: Nothing Ever Dries.

23. That camera function you've been trying to find for three weeks will turn out to be a small, unlabelled button, and still not work as it's supposed to once you've worked it out.

24. I'm probably the only person in Costa Rica who drinks diet coke.

25. There's a good reason for that. New Zealand formula is way better.

26. The deadly viper in the middle of the path will never be noticed by anyone who isn't at the back of the group that just walked over it.

27. All guides, where-ever in the world you may be, will know of something unpleasant for tourists to sniff, smell or chew so they can have a laugh. Don't fall for it.

28. In a tropical paradise, I should not be designing thermobaric warheads that can wipe out small towns. That won't stop me though.

29. Likewise giant steel crossbows that can probably nail satellites to the moon.

30. Next time, try to bribe guides not to let the other students sing.

31. Any zip-lock bags you bring from home will be full of tiny (and not so tiny) holes by the time you actually need to keep anything dry in them.

32. 'Waterproof' shoes are designed to keep the water INSIDE the shoe.

33. When my travel companion comes up with a terrible "how to get past the magic guard on a bridge" puzzle thing, my first answer should not be "shoot the guard".

34. Even if it's better than the real answer.

35. Fire ants are fun for ALL the family.

36. After a while, you just stop worrying about the extra time each new high-risk souvenir will make you spend in customs on the way home.

37. A little D.E.E.T goes a long way. A lot goes even further.

38. It still won't go far enough though.

39. Also suncream. Do *not* skimp on that stuff.

40. They're "antibiotics", not "Sunburn in a bottle"

41. If it's in the jungle, don't touch it.

42. If the experienced guide starts to run like hell, I'm gonna make damned sure I keep up.

43. Only YOU can prevent accidental topless waterslides.

44. The dry-rice trick actually WORKS on certain wet electronics. Doesn't work on socks though. Bugger.

45. "Is this edible?" is also crying out to be Famous Last Words.

46. Bottled water is only a waste of the planets resources when the tap water isn't poisonous.

47. If you're gonna toss a firecracker into a open-air bar, better plan on running away afterwards.

48. If you leave a space in your room after being told "no spaces", don't cry about it when the last person in your group turns up because they have to sleep somewhere.*
* On a personal and somewhat testy note, no, I do NOT forgive people for doing this, especially for the extremely loud whinging about how they didn't want me there. It was damned rude and made my trip a lot less enjoyable.

49. People trained in writing good tourism itineraries will never be the ones who actually write them.

50. Any place described as "Mystical" is going to be terrible.

51. We never DID work out what exfoliating a mosquito bite does.

52. 'Adventure' Tours are surprisingly lacking in adventure.

53. I'm not allowed to put "Shoot the person who wrote the itinerary document" under "suggestions" on the feedback form.

54. Pointing out that the delightful local musical instrument sounds like a SNES/Genesis isn't tactful.

55. Having a phobia of heights really makes ziplining suck.

56. Tour campanies only give you enough time to really explore a place when there's nothing interesting to explore.

57. People will never truly comprehend the "be quiet so we get to see the wildlife" instructions.

58. It is a sad truth that people the world over have to be told that the boiling volcanic acidic mud is dangerous.

59. Likewise cliffs, cave/mine shafts, boiling lakes, snakes, army ants, fire ants, crocodiles, etc.

60. There's always the chance to fork over more money for something while on a tour.

61. When I come to power, tourists who walk around without pants will be shot repeatedly.

62. 'Secret santa' and other christmas group activities are basically a "Most awkward gift" contest.

63. Fireworks do not make suitable christmas presents.

64. Bags are really easy for peeps to steal.

65. When I set aside some cash at the beginning of the holiday to pay my mandatory departure tax/fee/thing, I should not wait until the end of the holiday to check that I've set aside the right amount.

66. Don't question what the not-real-orange-juice actually contains.

67. "Free day" means "There's sod all to do here, but we booked you guys an extra day anyway."

68. Blaming my beard for the leaking snorkel mask doesn't work when I can see the water coming in above my eye. 'Specially if there's a massive crack in the seal that I can see without my glasses on.

69. TSA locks are pretty damned easy to pick.

70. Failing appropriate picking tools, they're really easy to smash as well.

71. Souvenir shops sell machetes. Good luck trying to get THOSE through customs in Australia.

72. The TSA will assure me the scanners are perfectly safe and there's no reason for concern when I opt-out and get a pat-down instead, completely overlooking the more serious issue of taking unauthorised pictures of my junk. Only I get to take pictures of my junk, and I'll only do that if I really needed some quick petty cash.

73. American airport vending machines may accept $5 notes, but the largest denomination they'll give in change is a quarter-dollar. And they default to dimes and nickels.

74. To become a popular american snack, your product must seem to have no flavour whatsoever.

75. That "Man VS Wild" double-episode where he's in New Zealand? About as fake and counter-productive as MvW gets, and that's saying something.

76. The Boeing 747 is a miracle of engineering. Still gets uncomfortable between the 6 and 12 hour marks on a long-haul (15hr 45m) flight.

77. I'm totally allowed to max out the Solitaire scoreboard for the entire aircraft and put my name as 'Batman'. Because I'm Batman.

78. It's considered normal to have four "Starbuck" outlets in a single airport terminal in the States.

79. Gotta give them credit though, they've got really nice free wireless in DFW.

80. I am totes allowed to spend half an hour on the inter-terminal monorail staring at the nighttime view.

81. Not allowed to say that it's a considerable improvement on the daytime view because by GOD is that place fugly.

82. On second thoughts, carrying a notebook full of spacecraft and weapon designs -including the "kill the president with a rocket propelled shark fired from a hidden base under the town of Gore, Southland" one- through the TSA checkpoint could have gone really, really badly.

83. Not allowed to sing the "baaaaaaa, ba-ba-baaaah" theme from "The Starfighters" during the flight.

84. The "MENSA Quiz" thing in the American Airlines magazine is really easy.

85. Although given the cabin staff couldn't even handle the freaking breakfast service, thank god we didn't need to test their smarts in an emergency.

86. Hell is not a small bus full of Beiber-maniacs.

87. Hell is not the Auckland International Airport Domestic Departure Lounge.

88. When the semi-experienced kayaker and the very experienced guide are yelling at you to lean over so the kayak doesn't flip, don't sit there looking like a stunned fish.

89. Sea lice are bastards.

90. There's a limit to how much guaro the body can take. This is considerably higher than the amount the body should take.

91. If you try climbing into my bed while drunk, I'm kicking you out.

92. Note to tourism operators: 24 hour emergency numbers only make sense if your clients also get 24 hour access to phones.

93. I really need to stop taking awesome photographs in JPG mode and then looking at them over and over until the compression-loss makes them crap even before they're on my computer.

94. Having a world-wide-compatible plug is a great thing. Having a single-country compatible plug that doesn't fall out of the socket under its own weight is even better.

95. Any claim of "natural flavour" or "goodness" on pineapple is a freaking lie. Dear LORD those fields are toxic.

96. No I will not convert to Buddhism, even if you say please.

97. My priorities when arriving home should be "See family for first time in a month", THEN "Play Left 4 Dead 2"

98. Little old ladies get full "take both armrests on the chairs" privileges on airliners.

99. Dunedin (Semi)International Airport has the BEST welcome-to-this-place-spend-money sign for domestic passengers in the whole freaking world.

100. Taking those damned antimalarial pills for 4 weeks after getting home is going to be the hardest thing to remember in my LIFE.

101. Finally.....looking back on my trip, there is one thing I'm most pleased about. The fact I didn't have to use the aptly named "diarrhea flow chart" ONCE.


(Note: I'll answer questions about *some* but not *all* of these. You've got to have some Noodle Incidents, after all)
Your friendly local genderqueer weapons designer & forum moderator. My pronoun is "They".

TVR
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Thu Jan 10, 2013 6:17 pm

Seems like you had quite the adventure, something to experience again in the future?

Welcome back, Shrike, still interested in the Succession Mod?
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Shrike
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Sun Jan 13, 2013 4:00 am

TVR wrote:Seems like you had quite the adventure, something to experience again in the future?

Welcome back, Shrike, still interested in the Succession Mod?

Yeah, but since hardly anyone else was, it's probably not gonna happen.
Your friendly local genderqueer weapons designer & forum moderator. My pronoun is "They".

FourFire
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Sun Jan 13, 2013 10:35 am

Shrike wrote:
TVR wrote:Seems like you had quite the adventure, something to experience again in the future?

Welcome back, Shrike, still interested in the Succession Mod?

Yeah, but since hardly anyone else was, it's probably not gonna happen.
Ah don't say that, I was just thinking last night... how about I try to make a testing scenario for testing mods, I'll need a system with one of every station, a few of every asteroid, and a number of enemy ships all separated from each-other (can you make a system which is more than a binary star? A trinary system??) but then I realized that I hardly know where to start
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