By Jae-Ha Kim
Tribune Media Services
November 10, 2009
Best known for his comedy series “Mind of Mencia” and roles in films such as “The Heartbreak Kid,” Carlos Mencia works nonstop. Whether he’s writing standup material, new skits or developing film ideas, Mencia says he often is wary of taking a few days off because he doesn’t want to get in the “vacation mode” — unless he’s heading for Maui.
“It is the closest to paradise a living person can hope for,” says the 42-year-old comic.
Mencia, who’s currently shooting “Our Family Wedding” with America Ferrera and Forest Whitaker, talked about relaxing in Maui, revisiting his native Honduras and the lure of Sin City.
Q. What is your favorite vacation destination?
A. My favorite place is Maui. It’s almost perfect there — the people, the weather, just everything. No matter how busy you are, when you get to Maui, you chill and relax. Maui is the only place where I can go and come back home and not want to write jokes about it. When I’m there, I don’t watch the news. I rest and just enjoy myself. I don’t work when I’m there, which is pretty unusual for me. I was born in Honduras and everything there is really chill and people don’t worry about having to get something overnighted by FedEx. Maui has that same sort of vibe, but everyone speaks English. There’s something really cool about being outside and enjoying your surroundings. And to be able to go from a volcano to a beach to a forest is pretty amazing.
Q. Where are your favorite weekend getaways?
A. Las Vegas. The cool thing about going to Vegas is that it’s kind of like visiting a bunch of cities all at one time. All the shows and great restaurants leave you with a lot of options. I don’t have a favorite hotel there. I just think it’s the greatest that you can go from a cheap hotel room for under $50 a night to an extravagant room that is $10,000 per night and everything in between. The best part is that it is only an hour away, but it’s a whole different world. It has everything you are looking for whether you want a family vacation during the day or an adult getaway during the night.
Q. What is your favorite hotel?
A. The Hotel Derek (www.hotelderek.com) in Houston. The decor is amazing. It’s hard to put my finger on what exactly it is, but when I am there I don’t feel like I am staying in a hotel, and that is very rare. There are a lot of really incredible hotels out there but when you are on the road, feeling at home is invaluable.
Q. When you go away, what are some of your must-have items?
A. My iPod!
Q. Where would you like to go that you have never been to before?
A. Australia. I have really been taken by the movies that make Australia look so amazing. I can’t imagine how unbelievable it would be to go to the Great Barrier Reef. I have met so many people from there that tell me how awesome it is. My cousin went and had an amazing reaction to it and knowing he was the only person there that looked like me and he didn’t feel out of place — that is interesting! Not to mention how cool it would be seeing kangaroos running around. I just know I will be frantically screaming, “A dingo took my baby!” the whole time, annoying everyone.
Q. What is your best and/or worst vacation memory?
A. Best and worst would be combined into one trip to my native Honduras. Going to a foreign country to visit relatives and see where you come from and where (your) traditions stem from is amazing. But then you actually watch someone kill another animal live for that tradition. … Not cool! Going to a third-world country like that makes you appreciate that it’s where you come from. It also gives you a newfound appreciation that you now get to live in America. The most striking thing is that you see that people who live so differently are very happy doing so.
Things you should know about Maui:
SIZE: 727 square miles.
FACTOIDS: Hawaii’s six main islands are Oahu, Kauai, the Big Island (Hawaii), Molokai, Lanai and Maui, known as the Valley Island, is the second largest of the major Hawaiian Islands. Pro surfers such as Kelly Slater love to ride Maui’s waves, which are reputed to be among the world’s best. For more information, check out www.gohawaii.com.
© 2009 JAE-HA KIM
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