Travel writers are liars. They get their cut, not for honesty, but for irresistibility and between the airbrushed photos and sickly sweet prose, a decent travel writer will have us salivating over Bayonne, New Jersey by the end of the opening paragraph. But there is a darker side of traveling of which we are inevitibly reminded when at long last we embark on that much-anticipated and well-earned vacation. Whether it's the ubiquitous hotel room that smells like urine or the stark realization that you can't actually stand to be around your loved ones, traveling can be tricky business.
Today we tackle the ever-present descriptive euphemism. This is the trick of the trade that allows us to take the most abhorrent quality of a particular locale and describe it in such a way as to make it quaint or intriguing. A city that is lively, frenetic or exciting, for example, is crowded and dangerous but offers cheap drinks whereas if we call a place "dynamic" it's because we couldn't think of anything else to say.
So next time you flip through a resort brochure, peruse a vacation magazine or study a travel guide, keep these handy definitions in mind. Spartan- A term descriptive of any facility that is so utterly ill-equipped that it lacks the very basic necessities required to fulfill it's intended purpose. Exotic- Characterized by unbearably hot, pestilent, mosquito-ridden climate and the inevitability of stomach illness.
If you are planning on visiting any location described as exotic be sure to bring DEET by the gallon and refrain from drinking the water or eating the food for the duration of your stay. Idyllic- Requisite adjective for describing all areas containing a waterfall and/or hot spring. Publishers meet the defiance of this unwritten code with swift and vicious retribution whereby the writer is forceably detained and subjected to Danielle Steele's entire body of work on audio tape.
Atmospheric- A descriptive term used for inexpensive accomodation usually meaning "old" and "made of wood". Bohemian- A delightful term designed to make a destination sound artistic and pleasantly unconventional which in actuality denotes simply that it's a good spot to score some weed. Cultural, Historic- Of and/or pertaining to boring museums, monuments and places of worship.