When my wife, Jennifer, announced her brother Scooter was getting married and we were all invited to the wedding, the thought of a spending a few days in Manhattan didnÛªt fill me with anxiety as it had in the past. Our children, Hannah and Liam, had already taken a few bites out of The Big Apple on previous trips, so I even toyed with the idea we might even have fun this time.
ÛÏOh the wedding is not in New York,Û she informed me. ÛÏItÛªs at someplace called The Good View Resort.Û
Good View? DidnÛªt exactly conjure up the most inspiring of locations. Why not Great View?
ÛÏWhereÛªs that, upstate New York?Û My fleeting expectation of a fun week in Manhattan was quickly fading. ÛÏNo. China.Û
China? No just packing the Honda Element for this trip. ÛÏCome on kids, letÛªs go get our Yellow Fever inoculation. WeÛªre going to China!Û And we have yet to go to Disneyland.
The whole goal of this trans-world jaunt was to not only attend the wedding, but to also meet KeiÛªs family. A daunting proposal made easier with those three magic words: all expenses paid.
Jennifer and I had some international travel experience, but never with kids in tow. And to their credit, they were fully committed to becoming seasoned travelers. Who knew that seasoning was five-spice powder?
Hitting the Great Wall of Eating
There are two primary categories of children when it comes to vacation diningÛ_
1. The Adventurous Gourmands (A young Andrew Zimmern in the making) ÛÏMom, can I have another helping of fugu?Û
2. The Blander the Better ÛÏWhere are my chicken nuggets and goldfish? I need them now!!Û
I know these types as adults, who travel to China for business, and pack a suitcase of power bars. Of course, their main rationale is not to get sick, except of power bars.
Adventurous gourmands will delight your hosts, but donÛªt get too smug about that. Beware. Nearly everyone hits the wall– ÛÏthe great wallÛ within five to seven days of unfamiliar foods. So thereÛªs no shame in packing rations of familiar foods. So throw a few bags of goldfish in the suitcase.
Or better yet, go to McDonald’s!
The ÛÏgolden archesÛ are international, so go do lunch!
ItÛªs enlightening to see that American fast food is NOT American in other countries, and adapts to the local palate. And you may have to prepare the children so they are not frightened when they walk into a familiar place only to be greeted by an unfamiliar menu, make it a ÛÏteachable moment.Û
They may even like rice patty burgers with a green pea pie. You can convince them that ÛÓÛÏI can eat itÛÓyes I canÛÛÓand it comes with a happy meal toy!!
CanÛªt have too many of those.