“Never play cards with a man named Doc. Never eat at a place called Mom’s. Never sleep with a woman whose troubles are worse than your own.”

Famous advice from US novelist Nelson Algren – advice we chose to ignore, eating in a “place called Mom’s” on a freezing January day in Salinas, a cow town in the back blocks of Utah in the western United States.

It was bitterly cold, the temperature minus 12 degrees Celsius. But the waitress at Mom’s – who had clearly seen plenty of winters – wasn’t impressed. “Oh, we’ve had colder Januarys,” she said.

Her uniform included bobby socks and she served up a variety of mostly fried food, some of which was actually OK. Whatever, it was the experience that mattered, and we got that in spades.

So while Nelson Algren was probably right, there are exceptions to every rule. That said, I’m not about to test him on the cards or the sex.

Martin Kelly, Editor, Travel Trends – February 19, 2008

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