2008-06-05 / Sam Bari

Let's do something different this year

You can't beat a system you can't understand
By Sam Bari By Sam Bari

Summer vacation is often a dilemma for many families. The "Where should we go?" question always ends up in a big fracas.

Mom wants to go to a place that isn't going to turn her into a slave with fewer conveniences than she has at home. After all, she is entitled to a little time off just like everyone else.

Dad is easy to please. He just doesn't want to be bankrupt at the end of the ordeal.

Little kids want a beach, a pail and a shovel. Hose 'em down at the end of the day, give 'em a hot dog and they're set.

Teenagers . . . they can be difficult. They want a social life. The girls want a summer romance, and the boys want to hang out with the guys and do guy things. This often involves death-defying feats on boy toys invented to test the cardiovascular system of most sane parents.

Things like riding up the sides of mountains on ATVs, racing dirt bikes, jet skis, and flying skate boards down the sides of mountains at speeds just short of breaking the sound barrier are among the most desired activities.

These indulgences always take place in areas where hospitals are few, communication is iffy, and transportation is less than dependable. You know the places - cell phones don't work there. Enough said.

Yes, finding a vacation destination that will please the entire family can be problematic.

This year, as a service to our loyal and adventurous readers, we have asked our crack research team, the Googlamaniacs, to take nanoseconds out of their busy day to find interesting places to go that will please the entire family.

Mind you, some are a bit unusual, designed to expand the horizons of even the most broadminded. If nothing else, they will give the entire clan a greater appreciation for what they have left behind at the old homestead.

The first place on the list has an interesting concept. Take the family on a tree house vacation at a place called Wild Canopy Reserve at Masinagudi, Karnataka. It is situated at an altitude of 950 meters (as I understand it, that is really high) in a natural scrub forest somewhere in India.

Here, socially and ecologicallyconscious practices are followed. This private wildlife reserve is an excellent place for breeding wild animals in their natural habitat. The Malabar squirrel, Sambar deer, wild dog (Dhole), Gaur (Bison), elephant, leopard, tiger and porcupine can be found here.

They forgot to mention that it is also a favored vacation destination for the world-renowned king cobra and other exotic critters that will kill you. Also, I do not believe tree houses offer a great deal of space, indoor plumbing or air conditioning. Let's try another one.

How about staying on a working farm in Pennsylvania Dutch Country? For families looking to do something different with their children this summer, consider a stay at one of the many working farms in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Guests can participate in everything from feeding the farm animals to collecting eggs and growing crops in the fields. And you'll enjoy the big farmhouse breakfasts.

The people who own these places are Amish. They are strong, healthy, and work very hard on their farms. They will expect you to do the same. If you go there, do not pass up breakfast. You will need the energy. Hmmm . . . looks like free labor to me.

Here's one that could prove useful in these uncertain times. Randall's Adventure and Training (RAT). Apparently, this organization is the recognized leader in Latin American jungle and survival training. As a professional survival training team, RAT understands the unique needs of personnel operating in jungle environments. If you and your family or group are interested in learning how to survive under adverse conditions, then Randall's Adventure & Training is your answer to a unique vacation.

RAT has led numerous expeditions and jungle survival training classes in the Amazon jungles of Peru. Their clientele has ranged from military and law enforcement teams, to professional adventurers.

Somehow, this one does not seem ideally suited for anyone looking to develop social skills. However, mom will not be a kitchen slave. I do not believe a kitchen is offered as one of the options. Nor do I believe that reservations in a restaurant of any kind are necessary or available. Although dad might like this one because there is nowhere to spend actual cash, the chances of being eaten, poisoned, or dying from unknown diseases are probably good. I rate any organization that uses "RAT" for its acronym as highly suspect.

Offer a few of these ideas to your family and I assure you, staying at home will look more than attractive. Spend the summer with friends. Sleep in your own bed. Take a bike ride or walk to the beach. Summertime in Jamestown leaves little to be desired. Going to some unknown destination to spend a hard-earned vacation among strangers is part of that system I can't even begin to understand.

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