If I’m ever a New York Times travel correspondent, I want to be called The Quirky Traveler. I do like to try all sorts of local institutions, including the local fast food. A few weeks ago, my mom and I went to old-timey Becker’s Drive-in. It has a reputation for root beer and onion rings.
To those of us who previous generations have labeled Millenials (ie, anyone who doesn’t remember regularly going to drive-in movies or drive-in fast food joints), a drive-in is a restaurant where you park and order over an intercom. A carhop, in this case a teenaged waiter or waitress, serves the food. You eat in the car. You eat in the car. How quintessentially American.
And how quintessentially American is the food: hot dogs, French fries, onion rings, root beer. Okay, I make a way better hot dog (hello, people, ever heard of grilling?). The root beer doesn’t hold a candle to Point. You can get better fries at McDonald’s and my mom’s thin, crispy, jalapeno-laced onion rings are hard to beat. But it’s all for the experience.
I have never lived in a small town before. I admit, I don’t like it. I enjoy nightlife and stepping out my door and having to decide whether to eat Indian, Iranian, East African or Japanese. I love hearing ten different language as I walk through Target. And have I mentioned public transportation? Give me a bus or a subway and I am a happy girl.
But, I have to look at every place I go with a traveler’s eyes, expecting discovery, revelation, to be totally amazed by mundane things. It doesn’t have to be the shape of a dragonfruit or the number of people on a motorbike. It can just be the fact that people still actually eat at drive in restaurants. There is no place that is not worth going at least once; if I thought otherwise, I’d have to call myself The Boring Traveler.
On a similar note, I really admired this post from Girl Unstoppable, one of my all time favorite travel blogs. Check it out. It’s given me a to-do list for when I finally make it to San Francisco.
Note: All these photographs were taken with an iPhone 4S. Two of them (the menues and the food) were taken by my mom, Sydney.