Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Lack of Personal Space and Our Vacation to Hershey

I could have titled this post "My Daughter's First Trip To Hershey's Chocolate World" and only given you a review of our great vacation. Or I could have titled it "Get Off Of My Rear End" while only describing the most disturbing part of this entire experience.  However, I have promised you the good, the bad and the hilarious.  So here it is.

We booked our hotel on Priceline, and scored a deal at the Ramada north of Harrisburg, PA for just $55 per night on a holiday weekend (and that included a pool and breakfast!). The drive to Hershey, PA is only 20 minutes from the hotel.  This was not a four star hotel, but was a great value at $55 a night.

On Monday, we got up early and headed out to Hershey Gardens. This place is great!  They have a children's garden with some great features that little kids (and big kids) can enjoy.  My personal favorite was the stomping music pad, but I think my daughter liked the Hershey kiss volcanoes that shot out whistling mist.  My wife enjoyed the butterfly house a little too much, and she even got yelled at for trying to touch a butterfly.  Who's the toddler, anyway?  We were able to cover most of the garden in an hour and a half.  You could spend more time there if you wanted to, but with a little one in tow, it's kind of tough to keep them interested.

Next, we traveled across the street to the main Hershey building where we took our daughter on her first tour of Chocolate World.  This ride is FREE, and it takes you through the process of making chocolate, from harvesting cocoa beans to the final product conveniently available for sale at the end of the ride.  It is at this attraction that I am given an unexpected lesson about the lack of concern for personal space in Indian culture.

As my family proceeds to the line for the ride, my wife and I are standing side by side, and she is holding our daughter in her arms as to avoid trampling.  There is a middle-aged Indian couple walking behind us.  As the line comes to a halt, the woman runs into my wife quite forcefully, and I get "the look" which I will interpret for you as "WTF? Did she just do that?"  My wife's natural reaction is to inch forward, and so does the woman behind her, making sure that there is no space between them.

Finally, the line moves a few paces forward.  This time, it's the man behind me that doesn't stop until what I will assume is his fanny pack, since he was not that tall, is firmly pressed against my rear end.  I give my wife my own version of "the look" that says, "Are you freakin' serious?!"  We move again, and at this point the line splits into several narrow lanes. We try to ditch them, but no, they seem to be following us because the big white guy (me) must know the quickest way to the chocolate!

We are now single file, and I have manned up to shield my wife from the onslaught of the hard-charging Indian woman.  To my surprise, the Indian man has decided to lead his wife into chocolate fantasy world, and has firmly planted his fanny pack on my rear end.  The butt-bumping continues for what seems like an eternity, every step an uncomfortable sensation to my backside, until we finally reach the stairs that are way too steep for him to follow me so closely.  I consider myself a pretty knowledgeable person.  I was even one of the few people who watched Outsourced on NBC.  Nothing that I have ever heard, seen or read could have prepared me for the blatant disregard for personal space that I experienced in line for this ride.  I don't care if you are from the second most populous country in the world and it's normal for you... you cannot shove your junk in my trunk!

After getting violated at Chocolate World, we retreated to our hotel for nap time.  When we awoke, it was time for dinner at Chocolate Avenue Grill.  The place has a great atmosphere, and we took advantage of the nice weather by sitting outside on their patio.  The service was great, and the food was amazing!  My wife was tempted by "Jess's Favorite Salad in the Whole World," a mixed greens salad tossed with toasted almonds, fresh strawberries, coconut breaded chicken and served with their famous poppy-seed dressing ($10.50).  I opted for the "Fish & Chips" which included two large portions of Corona-battered fish with a generous helping of fries ($11).  One of the reasons I ordered this dish is that the fries were seasoned with a heavy dose of Old Bay, my favorite seasoning.  Great food at a great price - highly recommended!

For our evening activity, we chose to visit Zoo America North American Wildlife Park.  This is a great little zoo full of North American animals that you can see in just an hour of time, and it is free with your admission into Hershey Park.  If you are not visiting the theme park, the zoo is just $10 for adults and kids under two are FREE.

Finally, on our way back to the hotel, we stopped at the Hershey Outlets.  Even though they were closed for the holiday, they had a small outdoor playground, so we let our daughter stretch her legs for a bit.  She was in her own little Hershey Park, and it was also completely FREE!  She'll never know the difference.


  1. My God! You might have the most adorable kiddo ever! (next to mine of course haha). I remember our family vacation to Hershey when I was younger. Luckily I wasn't violated. Hope you are recovering nicely.

  2. No nightmares thus far. And yes, I think my kid is pretty awesome. (I'm sure yours is too!)

  3. I LOLed at least 3 times during this post! Mainly because I could totally picture your wife giving you "the look"! Thanks for the chuckles and my you have a violation free evening.



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