Dearth Valley

If less is more, what is NOTHING?

Every place I revisit these days — as little as a year later — has changed to become almost unrecognizable. Every little buttcrack town has heard the sucking sound of globalization with a premium outlet mall, a Starbucks and a KFC/Taco Bell combo store.

Almost.

I had not been to Death Valley since 1970. Except for a couple of luxury hotels, a motel that in any place with trees would be named “The Shady Rest,” lots of huge crows and a passel of coyotes, it could be Mars.

Nothing has changed.

But, in this age where less is more, nothing can be truly something.

AUDIO: DEARTH VALLEY

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Tub Med Not: A Mediterranean Cruise on the Seabourn Spirit


Santorini, Greece © Russell Johnson

Where are the surly waiters? Where are the soggy pommes frites? Where is the water blasting out of the shower head like an Arctic squall? Where are all of those travel horror stories that you laugh about later?

Some people I know think travel means travail, that Christ-like suffering is honorable and that cruising is nothing more than high calorie sensory euthanasia. I suggest that they “get a life” (albeit an expensive one) and try, just once, one of the luxury cruise ships. It may be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but I would trade half a dozen mediocre experiences on a behemoth party ship for one on a smaller luxury vessel.

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