Excited about Spring Break yet? Just two more weeks and we can take a break from the long hours of drinking and debauchery to enjoy long hours of … drinking and debauchery … against a different backdrop! I know that for many of you the traditional Florida and Caribbean are too far away. But fear not, the West Coast is bursting at the seams with hot spots of its own.
And this is where the dilemma begins. You see, there are two types of Californians: those who spring break at Lake Tahoe and those who spring break in Baja California. You can do both, but you ultimately prefer either one or the other. You’re also restricted to only one of the two each Spring Break, unless you own stock in Google or something.
A wise man named Johnny Tsunami once taught us that you can be just as much at home on your snowboard as on your surfboard, but my thinking is that when it comes to Spring Break, ultimately, one must be better than the other. The time has come to put the two in a good old-fashioned death match. Each will be evaluated on cost, crowds, scenery, quality of driving and the ever-crucial “hookup quotient.” If you still haven’t made up your mind where you’re going, God help you, use this column as your guide.
Let us begin … (cue trumpets) THE BATTLE OF THE BREAKS.
Cost: Most of the people vacationing in Baja do so with travel packages that include getting wasted on the bus ride there, getting wasted at the hotel and bribing the police to ensure you can get wasted without being hassled. This ends up being somewhere between $200 and $400. Not bad, right? On the other hand, the Baja packages don’t factor in the cost of getting treated for Chlamydia. Advantage: Tahoe, by default.
Crowds: This is what sucks about Lake Tahoe – everybody and their cousin from Stanford and Cal goes skiing here. Like Mammoth Lakes to the south, the area is jam-packed with obnoxious tourists this time of year. Baja is also swarming with people, but shit, that’s why you went there, isn’t it? Advantage: Baja.
Scenery: Lake Tahoe is snuggled amidst the northern Sierra Nevada, and boasts some of the clearest lake water on Earth. Baja has some pretty beaches, yes, but you came here for an, ahem, different kind of scenery. Advantage: Tahoe.
Quality of Driving: For those who opt not to take the bus, making your way to Baja isn’t easy. There’s the traffic in Los Angeles, the traffic in Orange County, and – sob! – the traffic in San Diego before even making it to the border. At that point, you make your way down a dusty desert highway where the value of a speeding ticket is determined by the police officer. Although the drive to Tahoe is eight hours, driving through the Sierras sure as hell beats making your way through the Sonoran wasteland. Advantage: Tahoe.
Hookup Quotient: OK, look, people don’t visit San Felipe because they like untreated water and visiting Jesuit missions; they’re there to friggin’ party. And hump things. People like to drink and go nuts at Tahoe, too, but most of the action you’ll get is from that tree you slammed your tackle box against. Advantage: Friggin’ Baja.
The winner? Looks like it’s … Baja!
Wait, what? But didn’t Tahoe win more categories? Yes, it did, but here’s the thing about Lake Tahoe: I know that some of you like spending your Spring Breaks communing with nature and the snow, but you could definitely do better. Once you get past the appeal of the unusually clear water, you realize that, in addition to costing way too much, there are almost as many people as at Big Bear. If a quality outdoors experience is what you’re after, you’re better off at resorts like the little-known June Mountain.
So those of you off to Baja, enjoy your drunken week of sex and sun. I’ll see you in Student Health while you check out that strange burning sensation. You’re right, it’s probably nothing.