Writing Switch: Traveling violation — Vacation reviews from galaxies far, far away | AspenTimes.com

Writing Switch: Traveling violation — Vacation reviews from galaxies far, far away

Benjamin Welch and Sean Beckwith
Writing Switch

Everyone loves screwing over their coworkers and taking a vacation. We live for it, really — laboring five-plus days a week for most of the year just to relish in a little extra time off. The problem is that while everyone loves taking a vacation, we hate reading about the monotony of others’. You went camping and are very adventurous and interesting; we get it. Congratulations on surviving 18 hours off the grid.

Never satisfied in simply loading up the car or moped and driving to Denver, this week we detail our experiences visiting mystical locales you plebs probably haven’t had the opportunity to patronize.


BW: Pack your coconut bras and tinfoil hats! What most people don’t know about Fantasy Island is that you can actually vacation here without having to purchase the full fantasy experience. Just don’t look Mr. Roarke in the eyes! He once outwitted Satan, have some respect. He’s not just some ex-athlete you can heckle in the Annette’s lunch line.

My boyfriend bought me the tourist package for our three-monthiversary. You know I have a boyfriend because I am mentioning him here, and will continue to do so habitually. He is better looking than you, and makes more money. I am very happy, and you are sad and jealous, because I am dating my boyfriend, and you’re going out with some wook.

I’ll call my boyfriend Philbert. That’s not his real name, but I’m afraid you’ll start stalking him, and he smiles very big for my Instagram posts. So do I.

We boarded the floatplane in LAX and I got to meet so many celebrities, oh my gosh. I sat between an eccentric developer that wished to be president and Jeffrey Epstein, who didn’t mention what his fantasy is. Bill Clinton was guffawing in the next aisle, watching “Sanford and Son” on a tablet.

Fantasy Island hosts many Food & Wine Classic-type events throughout the year: Poker tournaments, heavyweight boxing title fights, beauty pageants, cooking contests, game shows and chickenshit bingo — all free to watch with the tourist package. The underdog always wins, much to the amusement of the crowd and the bemusement of the favorites, who never seem to realize they’re competing against nobodies IN A PLACE CALLED FANTASY ISLAND. Or … maybe they’re just an illusion? How fun!

By the time we left, we were smiles, everyone, smiles!

Didn’t like the pina colada, though.

Overall: 2/5 stars.


SB: I arrived in Candy Land after a long flight with a backpack full of insulin and an empty stomach. Not one for hiking, I was goaded into the journey with the promise of a treat-filled trek through the land of sweets.

After starting off slow through gingerbread forest with a ginger snap-garnished Moscow mule, we came upon the Peppermint Forest trail. The leaves on the trees tasted like Listerine Strips and we even got to sample some artisan schnapps from the sap. After that, things sped up as we took the Gumdrop Pass with views from Peanut Acres to Lollipop Woods. We breezed through Licorice Forest like everybody else because the only thing worse than black licorice is black licorice-flavored liquor (*Cough* Jägermeister *cough* Fernet *cough*).

While passing through Peanut Acres, I thought there might be a possibility of maybe some nut butter or smooth peanut butter but alas Grandma Nutt stuck to her legumes. I’m not anti-nut; I just think they shouldn’t be in my dessert. You want to sneak something crunchy into my cookie, try an M&M.

Lollipop Woods was going off, though. The Rainbow Woods was having its annual Pride music festival complete with a Princess Frostline drag competition. However, at one point officials announced that everyone who ate the blue lollipops should report to the medical tent.

We stumbled into the Chocolate Swamp sticky and exhausted. Just wanting the sweet release of Candy Castle, we got delayed on a licorice space and had to spend an extra day in the bog, using cocoa powder as talcum powder to battle the humidity. When we finally got the f— out of fudge, the castle was but a formality. Candy-Coated Road, the Scepter of Skittles, yada, yada, yada, get me out of here and give me something savory.

Overall: 4/5 stars


BW: During a night of smoking petrified leftover granules of “Hold Me Closer Tiny Ganja” gathered from my boyfriend’s copy of NCAA Football ’14 and listening to “Enter Sandman,” I became inspired to purchase tickets to the playground of Michael Jackson and pay tribute to the king. We’re off to Never Never Land! I was especially looking forward to meeting Bubbles and Tito.

I’ve ran into friends and other recognizable people at the Aspen airport before, usually while holding my belt in one hand and shoes in the other. But when I got on the same flight as Jeffrey Epstein, Bill Clinton and Donald Trump, I was like oh shit, I walked into the wrong airplane that was randomly sitting on the tarmac.

During the flight they offered me a drink called The Cosby Sweater, which I accepted. The seatbelt sign turned off.

As we approached the runway sometime later I was awakened by a crick in my neck, trying to remember the strange dreams: the little boy dressed as a flying Robin Hood. The pirates all wearing ironic Where’s Waldo outfits. The crocodile that swallowed an egg timer.

“Codename Twinkerbell has landed,” an agent muttered into his Apple Watch. “Summon the Lost Boys.”

Outside the window, leprechauns danced and elephants rode ferris wheels. We arrived safe in Neverland. We were all going to be OK.

Overall: 3/5 stars.


SB: I usually avoid everything New Jersey-based, but Gotham’s history — and price point — appealed to me and my wallet moreso than Metropolis. The city, literally separated into neighborhoods named after and occupied by villains, really needed some community outreach. Dilapidated housing structures and rotting, abandoned buildings gave the area an “Escape from New York” vibe.

Penguin’s fashion and diamond districts were rife with the smell of old krill and, while I don’t often encourage gentrification, really could use an injection of whatever is the opposite aesthetic of Tim Burton. Dying to get away from the stench of old seafood, we thought a stroll through the reservoir would be nice. Another mistake. The water looked like toxic sludge and Killer Kroc kept hassling us to sign his petition to ban alligator-skin clothing and accessories. A similar happening was going on near City Hall, where Two-Face and his lackeys were holding an Occupy Wayne Tower protest, so we avoided that as well.

We eventually made it to the Upper West Side and ate at a farm-to-table restaurant only to realize we were in Poison Ivy’s neighborhood. This is when things got weird. Feeling ill from bad mustard greens, we were looking for some sort of stomach remedy and bought an elixir in a nearby neighborhood. It didn’t cure us but instead sent us down a rabbit hole of our deepest fears. So, suffice to say, spending the night in the ER reliving our tour of Gotham over and over was enough to make us take our next vacation to Metropolis.

Overall: 5/5 stars


BW: By the great horned spoon! Mine boyfriend and I were visiting mine uncle for his eleventy-first birthday but preferred to lodge elsewhere as our attempts at procreation were vigorous, frequent and unyielding.

Forsooth, thine Airbnb listing noted this hovel was acclimated for a “cozy couple” in downtown Hobbiton, but how was one to know that meant my precious would have to witness me expulsing my bowels after a couple pints of mead and some moldy lembas bread after a night at The Prancing Pony? By the eye of Sauron, the low flows from the Anduin River outside made performing my necessity an incriminating triple-flusher.

Zounds! The villagers are a short and childish lot. Mine boyfriend and I were ye sole denizens of normal stature minus Jeffrey Epstein, Bill Clinton and Donald Trump.

Egads! In our haste to depart the Shire and return to Normal Earth, mine boyfriend and I — still wearing our Aspen lanyards — deigned it appropriate to circumnavigate airport security. “You shall not pass!” screamed the grizzled TSA agent, yet we pushed him aside and bolted toward our vessel.

“Fly, you fools,” he gasped into his radio upon collapsing. We looked on with despair as our transport ascended into the heavens. Mine boyfriend turned to me and, quoting Lord Boromir from a fable of olde, whispered with a tremble, “We should never have come here.”

Overall: 1/5 stars.

@seanbeckwith @bwelch1990