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Getting Older Has Some Benefits Other Than Denny’s Senior Meals

I won’t even go into the downside of aging. I’m pretty sure you can think of a few appropriate to your own age.

On the other hand, there are some benefits to getting older, including getting wiser. Well, some people get wiser.1

In Brazil, when we went to Carnaval in Salvador, Bahia,2 we purchased entrance to a “block” and a “camarote”. A “block” is a big rope at the back of the music truck where the paying people can dance. (Outside that rope, it’s shoulder to shoulder and packed really tight with people, some of whom are pickpockets.) A “camarote” is a bandstand on the side where you can safely watch the music trucks and dancing people pass by in the street. The entrance ticket is not a piece of paper, but rather a specific T-shirt that you wear for admittance.

If you don't have a special t-shirt, you dance in a street this crowded.
If you don’t have a special t-shirt, you dance in a street this crowded.

When we arrived in Salvador and went to get our entrance t-shirts, we had to wait in a huge line for more than an hour. Frustratingly, all our admittance shirts weren’t even ready for us. We had to return two days later and the line was even longer!

I tried, in my broken Portuguese, to explain that we’d already waited in line the day before. That attendant referred me to another fellow who spoke English. He was a nice young man who took me aside where no one who could speak English was listening. “In Brazil,” he said, “there’s a law that if you are 65, you don’t have to wait in line. How old are you?” I said, “Um, yeah, that’s it, I’m 65.” Deena and I were escorted up front with him explaining “Ele tem sessenta e cinqo.”

In the United States, after paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes, I’ve finally reached the age where I can purchase a Senior National Park Pass. For an additional $10 in cash, that is.

Seriously, it’s a really good deal. The Senior National Park Pass, which is a lifetime pass for only $10, gets me and whoever’s with me into any National Park in the country for free. If Deena and I are camping, we receive a 50% discount on our campsite. In fact, that bargain is probably the only reason that we’ll keep the old van and see more of the U.S.A.


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