Your Top 10 Travel Questions Answered

horse-1330690_640

“I mean, kinda…”

1. Q: Should I go to Prague?

A: No.

2.Q: Is first class/business class worth it?

A: Only if you use miles.

3. Q: Is Mexico dangerous?

A: Shut up.

4. Q: What do I need to know about crossing Central American land borders in my private vehicle?

A: Wonderful question. The answer is actually sixfold. First, make sure you have the ORIGINAL title stating that you have ownership of the vehicle. You’ll need copies of it, and the amount can vary from border to border, so I recommend carrying five (5) on your person at all times. Also, you might not need the registration, but you also MIGHT need it, so bring that, too. Also, bring the following (again, with copies): your passport and your driver’s license. AND, if, for example, you just left Guatemala on your way to El Salvador, make sure you have the paperwork showing that you left Guatemala, along with even more copies.

Keep in mind: At most borders, the dudes (and dudettes) have no idea what the policies are for the neighboring country.  Sounds insane, right? You’re a Salvadorean customs officer and you have zero idea what the policies are for your neighbors in Guatemala despite working 300 meters from them all your adult life? This is standard, and don’t expect any different. Above all, when crossing Central American land borders in your private vehicle, adopt the following attitude: This is going to be wretched, at some point I’m going to want to cry, at some point I’m going to want to scream at someone, it’s going to take three times as long as I thought it was going to take, and just when I think I’m about to make it I’ll realize I don’t have a critical document and they won’t let me cross.

To make things easier, bring something to keep calm. I brought cigarettes.

5. Q: What’s with all the dialects spoken in Mexico?

A: They’re not “dialects.” If Nahuatl, the language spoken by the Aztecs, is a dialect, then English is a dialect, Japanese is a dialect, Russian is a dialect, and every other full-fledged language is a dialect. Give these languages the respect they deserve. Except for Triqui. Don’t give Triqui any respect.

6. Q:  Is Iceland cool?

A: I mean, kinda.

7. What’s the best thing about Patagonia?

The best thing about Patagonia is not the rugged beauty or wide open landscapes. Well, OK, it’s sort of the wide open landscapes.  The best thing about Patagonia is that, compared to other parts of Latin America, per square mile, there aren’t that many tourists. And, as in most parts of the world, the tourists tend to congregate in a few given spots (i.e. spots that are in Lonely Planet), which means you can throttle your tourist exposure to suit your exact preferences. If you go to Ushuaia, for example (which, despite the tourism, is recommendable), you’ll be inundated with tourists. But go to Tolhuin, for example, the next town over, and there won’t be a tourist in sight (and there’s a wonderful bakery and a room which, if you claim you’re a cyclist, you can sleep in for free and risk asphyxiation)!

So, in short, the vastness, the uncrowdedness, is the best part of Patagonia.

Where’s Wetzler Pro Tip #1: the best town in Patagonia has nothing to do with what you might think of when you think of Patagonia (i.e. “rugged mountains” and “beauty”). The best town in Patagonia is called Perito Moreno.  It’s homey, it’s Argentinian, and it’s completely un-touristy (except for the ones passing through on their way south).  When you go, check out Salon Iturroz for a coffee, camp at the municipal campground, and make a quick trip over to Los Antiguos and Chile Chico, two towns that are actually kind of pretty.

Where’s Wetzler Pro Tip #2: Want something 10 times more beautiful than Patagonia and 100 times closer? It’s right in our backyard, it starts with an “A” and rhymes “Faflaska.”

8. Q: Is the Australian working holiday visa age limit going to increase to 35?

A: Another great question, and I wish I had some solid answers for you. After doing some internet research, here’s what people seem to know: The Australian government did actually raise the limit, it just hasn’t gone in to effect yet. Things like this usually go into effect sometime in July (according to one site I saw), which means that this July (2017) we’ll see if it actually does. I know, I know: I’m yearning to work in the cobalt mines of Western Australia as much as the next guy. Or a cafe in Perth! Or a cafe in Melbourne! Or anywhere that pays crisp, plastic Australian dollar bills.

9. Q: How do I get bumped up to first class?

A: You don’t.

10. Q: Where’s the best street food in Mexico City?

A: OK, I’m only going to put this on the website once. The best street food is on the southeast corner of … Rio Lerma and Rio Nilo, near the Angel de Independencia and the American Embassy. It’s permanently manned by a troupe of señoras serving delicious guisados, only at lunch time.

Get the mole. Get it now.

Thanks for all the wonderful questions. Some have actually been posed to me over the years, and some I sort of posed to myself.

If you have more feel free to reach out (emotionally) to me at the following email address: whereswetzler@gmail.com

 

-Wetzler

My Top 5 Destinations for 2016

5) Iceland

ice in iceland

Photo via Pixabay.

I was going to put Greenland on here because I want to go to Greenland more, but where Iceland is high school Greenland is university, and I should probably graduate from high school first.

I actually did go to Iceland for 24 hours in 2010. I remember: little African immigrand kids on the bus speaking perfect Icelandic, hiking in 200mph winds (or similar), paying 12 dollars for a coke and a shitty slice of pizza, and resenting the kid at the front desk of my hostel for being from Cleveland.

It’s time to go back, and it’s time to stay longer. Seattle has direct (!) flights.

4) Tokyo

japan

Photo via Pixabay.

I’ve seen very little of Asia. It’s time to change this, and Tokyo seems like a good place to start.

What is life like in Tokyo? What do they eat? What do they do at 11pm on a Tuesday? And most importantly, qué pensarán de nosotros en Japón-pon?

3) Puerto Rico

fajardo

Photo via Pixabay.

One of my favorite bands, Calle 13, is from Puerto Rico. Their Spanish sounds awesome, they have good surf, and the biggest draw: they’re sort of part of the US. Now, I know Puerto Rico is technically 100% part of the US. But from everything I’ve heard and seen and listened to (especially with Calle 13), “sort of” seems like a more applicable label, and the most interesting reason to go.

Atrévete-te…

2) China

china

Photo via Pixabay.

Getting lost in Central or Western China or anywhere in China for that matter sounds magical to me. China is vast and varied. What’s Tibet like? What’s the silk road like? How about the border with Mongolia to the north or the tropical island of Hainan to the south? More importantly, what’s the giant swath of land between all these places like?

I intend to find out before it’s too late.

1) Svalbard, Norway

dog-751521_640

Photo via Pixabay.

The only thing you need to know about Svalbard is this: If you want to go for a walk outside Longyearbyen, the main town, you’re literally required by law to take a gun. This is because Svalbard has a lot of polar bears, and polar bears are dangerous. Where do you run when encounter a polar bear in the wild? Do you climb a tree? Do you hide in a snowbank and count to 30?

Also, Svalbard apparently has a lot of Thai people.

There you have them: the top 5 places I want to go in 2016. Honorable mentions include: South Korea, Quebec, Alaska, Vladivostok, the Dominican Republic, and Medford, Oregon.