I’ve already said that earlier in the week I got my vacation dates finalised, and that it’s going to be expensive. This morning I was reading a nifty little article about Baku’s development. Apparently, the Azerbaijani capital wants to look more like Dubai. For those of you unfamiliar with what Dubai looks like I recommend watching Star Wars and going to your local strip mall, as it is a combo of those two things. Anyway, inspired by Baku’s, planned, Half-moon hotel, I thought I’d have a look around the web and see what other cool places I will never be able to afford to stay!
Let’s start with Sweden. Well known for it’s easy to assemble (not!) furniture megacorporation Ikea, the Swedes have a long and colourful history as the Nordic scourge who were the Vikings, and regular sparring buddy for Poland, Russia, and anyone else who happened to be hanging around the Baltic at the same time. In the last 100 years or so Sweden has kept a position of neutrality, or semi-neutrality at least. This has caused them to become excessively boring. Sad but true, hence the white washed furniture in all Ikeas. Anyway, as direct reaction to the heart-stoppingly boring lives they now lead, the Swedes have decided to spice things up. By using their foremost natural resource. Ice.
As far as I can tell this is not a survivalist camp, but a high-class, expensive hotel. Where you can freeze your extremities off overnight in exchange for money. Perhaps the cynic in me doesn’t see the point in paying to experience hypothermia, there’s plenty of it lying around there for free, you know!
Let’s move on to somewhere slightly less buckets ‘o stupid, and a little less cold.
India! India is a country which gave the world Buddhism, Yoga, Ghandi, the Kama Sūtra, and most importantly, curry. Clearly a people resolute in the knowledge that inner peace doesn’t necessarily mean that your innards are at peace. The first thing to know about this one is that it is not in the hustle bustle streets of Mumbai or Delhi. It isn’t in the midst of the cacaphonous honking, the dust, the smells and the mopeds of the Indian style metropolii. No, this hotel is in a resort in the heart of Rajasthan on the shores of lake Pichola, set apart from the modern world. The experience can be likened to living like a Raja or Rani (without the constant fighting of British Colonists- unless you are Mel Gibson in any of his movies). The Oberoi Udaivilas in Udaipur is meant to be a respite from all of that.
I mean look at it for Ganesh’s sake!!! It’s beautiful, warm with a gentle breeze, the smell of jasmine flowers and rosemary drifting by on that same breeze, a single lotus flower easily caressed by the warm azure waters. Holy crap, I want to be there. For a mere $5000 a night. HAHAHAHAHA, I will never be able to afford that.
Let’s move from gloriously refined to totally trashy and head for Vegas.
There had to be one on the list. I think it’s pretty much a prerequisite. Whether you are headed there for an ill-advised Bachelorette/Bachelor Party, a 21st Birthday, a soon-to-be short-lived marriage, or any other event, Vegas is probably on the list. I don’t really see the point of Vegas. Then again growing up in countries where gambling is legal I kind of feel that gambling is a tax on the desperate and stupid. That aside, the idea of setting up a city in the middle of the desert where you will employ women who are largely made up of silicon, makes no sense either. Did no one have the forethought to think that plastic melts in desert heat?? Let’s add a little perspective for those still not convinced.
I’ll tell you some things I know about Las Vegas (that I didn’t learn from Elvis). Firstly, it is common practice to remove all timepieces and calendars so that gamblers lose all sense of time.
Secondly, coffee is served to the gamblers, for free, every few hours to ensure they continue playing- we all know how difficult it is to say no to free stuff. What’s worse is that coffee in large quantities has been known to impair judgement, and of course it increases irritability.
Thirdly, whether you believe in good luck, bad luck, or luck at all, the house always wins. Let me tell you why, cards are not based on what you think they are. All card games are based on your ability to read the deck and read the people you play with. In Vegas and Atlantic City and pretty much any gambling institution, reading the deck is illegal! It’s like playing chess but you only have the pawns. You could win, but it’ll be based on other people messing up, not you playing well. Reading people is something few can do well. I know for a fact that I’m horrible at it. I can think of no one I actually know who can do it well.
So, you’re doomed to fail at any game that requires skill because the house doesn’t let you use your skill, you are disoriented by the lack of time, and you are highly stressed out and developing an ulcer due to the large amounts of piss-poor coffee being served to you which adds to your dehydration and all round salty demeanor. Oh and you’re in the m*therf*cking Nevada desert.
Let’s add to that sh*t show by adding this- everything on the strip is a gigantic eyesore, designed by what I can only assume is the kind of guy who finds Snooki attractive.
Okay let’s move on to someplace I’d kinda, maybe, want to go.
FIJI!!! A small island nation in the South Pacific, east of Australia, and North of New Zealand, this place has white fine sandy beaches, crystal blue lagoons, and lush tropical island forests. It’s pretty perfect, if you overlook the fact that in 2006 a military coup took place and the country is now under a military dictatorship. Having said that, as dictatorships go there don’t seem to have been too many adverse effects, the freedom of the press has been restricted, and Fiji has been suspended from the Pacific Islands Forum and the Commonwealth since 2009. Aside from ‘strong condemnation’ from its neighbours, nothing has really changed in Fiji, and it remains a tourism hotspot.
And it has one of the most awesome-est hotels EVER! The Poseidon resort!
A hotel under the sea. I mean, not that I’d be going all Bond-villain or anything, but it might be necessary to borrow a white fluffy cat for a vacation like that. Let’s just look at the pros here, you’ll be under the sea, so you’re pretty much sound insulated from any noises outside, if it rains you really won’t notice, you can wave a big hello to your fishy little neighbours and basically, yeah, it’s like being the little mermaid, so roll up in your blanket and pretend you have flippers instead of legs.
I guess the cons would be, getting the bends when you resurface, the knowledge that if you try and open a window you will kill everyone, and that if a shark decides to stare at you through the window you can only really go and hide in the bar until he leaves.
Again the price tag on this is ridiculously high, they do a package of 7 days, 6 nights, two nights spent in the underwater suite for a mere $15000. So yeah, something to do when I win the lotto, which I don’t play because as I said, it’s a tax on dumbassery.
My last hotel to go to if you happen to be filthy rich with no holiday plan, is the cliché of the bunch. Th Burl Al Arab hotel in Dubai, it has become one of the monoliths of Dubai’s coastline, recognisable and marketable ( check out this video of the tennis court: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cosYBfBczI8, yes that is Agassi and Federer playing a dangerous game of tennis) since it was built it has attracted the richest of the rich.
The latest word in style, taste, and the sort of extravagance we have come to expect of the Arabian peninsulas oil magnates, this really is on the bucket list, but only if someone else can pay the tab.
I guess my only issue again is, why the freaking desert? Also Dubai as it is now, only began being built in the 1970s after the British Protectorate handed the United Arab Emirates back. So that hub of international business, resorts, and prime real estate was desert until the mid 80s, early 90s, which to me is a little creepy. Anyway, I bet you’d get a killer tan on that coast.
I guess I’ll end this post about places I’ll never be able to afford to go with this, a place none of us are likely to go in this lifetime: