Monday, June 3, 2013

Local flavour

I remember writing a fluff piece, when I still wrote fluff pieces around 2011, about staycations. The economic downturn was still hitting the Americans hard, though I believe Malaysia was less affected, if at all. 

In fact, people are still talking about staycations. Whether you're cash-strapped or platinum-carded, the idea is appealing: take your vacation days but don't leave town. Hit your own town like a tourist. Pessimistically, that could mean "spend 3 to 4 times what you usually would for lunch/pay exorbitant prices for souvenirs (... what?)/get food poisoning or sunburn or both/squabble in the car or get carsick or both".

Furthermore, no hotel staff will make your bed, leave mints on your pillows, and there will be no cheerful "Good morning!" at the breakfast table because it's your own breakfast table and no one else in the family is on staycation. And you'll still have to do your own laundry.

via West Cobb Magazine

That sounds quite sad and I believe that is why we didn't hear so much about it in this region. Actually, that's not true. I think it's simply because retailers saw virtually nothing in it. I mean, who's going to have a "2 for 1 dinner for locals!" promotion in the mall capital of Malaysia, where the places are overrun by ready-to-shop out-of-state visitors on any given weekend?

Plus, I heard that ship cruises are pretty cheap if you can look past the risk of food poisoning, or, worst case scenario, running aground just outside town.

Personally, I can do the "not leave town" bit, but I need to be away from my own house for it to feel like an actual holiday. Enter the vacation apartment. It permits physical separation from home, and therefore work even though you can and will take your laptop with you (I did)

Why an apartment? There's a kitchen in which you can whip up all the nice things you've read about but never had the time to attempt. Also, the mall is within walking distance if that experiment fails. There's a pool, of course. Add a balcony from which you can view the Twin Towers twinkling at night and you're all set to relax. Under such circumstances, a relaxing beverage would be superfluous. Who cares about making the bed anyway?

PS. If leaving town is important to achieve that holiday view, consider home swapping. I'm probably a dilettante for saying this, but surely everyone knows someone who has a house they don't live in?

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