Lessons From The Ashes Of Notre Dame


Nothing lasts for ever.  That uncompromising truth was evident as the world witnessed the burning of the famed and renowned Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France on Monday, April 15.  Watching the televised blaze engulf a national landmark, brought anguish, pain and disbelief to mind, feelings eerily familiar and reminiscent of the 911 blaze at the World Trade Center in New York City.  Personally, I have spent time in both places and my reaction to this tragedy is certainly warranted.  Saddened by the destruction, I too respectfully want to offer to the people of France my solidarity in their loss and look forward to the rebuild.

Reminiscing of my visit to the historic tourist attraction many years ago, I hope to share some lessons learned from the ashes of Notre Dame.  I hope they’ll be valuable to all trippers and teach others how to memorialize their adventures too.  However, let me recount my time at the cathedral.  The first encounter was on a group tour back in 1994.  That year we visited attractions in and around Paris which included popular places like the wine valley of Champagne, Palace of Versailles, Eiffel Tower, The Moulin Rouge, Louvre, Arc de Triomphe, and shopping at Les Galleries LaFayette to name just a few.  Back then I was enthralled by the culture, cuisine and haute couture fashions of France.

The Cathedral was magnificent.  Works of art, relics, carvings, and masterpieces helped to make the house of worship a museum in an of itself.  Without and within everything was old, dating back hundreds of years.  Even with the steady flow of tourists, the sanctuary was quiet.  Some were huddled in groups closely listening to their guides giving historical details in tones little above a whisper, while others sat reverently in the pews.  I remember taking a seat for a few minutes too.   As our guide took us on the outside of the cathedral, one of the main requests was to point out the gargoyle that helped to make the cathedral even more famous via the movie, “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.”  Everyone wanted to see the hunchback.

As I look at the devastation left behind by the fire which has consumed brick and mortar, and has ended a part of history, I am reminded to approach future sightseeing adventures with these thoughts:

  1. Strike the iron while it is hot – If traveling to a landmark building/site that is deemed hundreds, maybe thousands of years old, or that has some acclaim to fame, take the time to stop and visit. Seize the opportunity to view, peruse, inspect, handle if possible, and learn all about the attraction.  Sometimes, tourists pass up the chance, or are turned off by the high prices of entrance fees to these attractions, but after traveling great distances my recommendation always is – pay the price.  You will only do it once, and you’ll have a lasting memory.  Look, I can still recall my visit 25 years later (wow, time flies when you’re having fun 😀).
  2. Collect memorabilia – Scrap-booking is a good tool for ardent travelers. Grab a piece of history by taking as many photos as you possibly can.  Daily record every detail in your diary.  Build a memorial of your experience via scrap-booking to tell your story of the trip using: photos, receipts, brochures, maps, postcards, etc.  (I will share some of my photos of the tour in France in a future post).
  3. Old versus new – When old things are lost and replaced albeit by new and improved things, the thing that is lost makes the new experience never the same again. The plan to rebuild reminds me of the Biblical account of the temple of Solomon that was devastated.  The elders and priests who witnessed the rebuilding, and who were familiar with the first temple mourned when they saw the new temple.  The newer temple couldn’t compare to the magnificence of the former temple (read the account in the book of Ezra 3).  The promised five-year building plan already declares that the roof cannot be replicated due to lack of similar material.  Also, time will tell of any further damage to the priceless artifacts that escaped burning.

Surely, with all the monetary pledges for the restoration pouring in, the new and improved Notre Dame will more than likely be a state of the art, updated treasure in five years.  However, only those who have visited in the past and can revisit in the future will be able to tell the difference.  I hope to be one of them, God willing.

Community Peeps share your impressions in my comment box below of your experience at Notre Dame Cathedral.  It would be great to reminisce with you of the iconic, world renowned treasure, as we all go through this difficult time with the people of France.

Readers, as usual, I invite you to click follow to receive timely updates, select like to show your love and support.  Share this post on your social media site.  Write your comments in the box below.  Your interest, time and attention are always appreciated.  Thank you for reading.

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Information Ready


It is the fourth month of the year and spring-break activities may be on the lips of every student.  One such activity may be a carefully crafted travel plan.  Groups of exuberant, vivacious travelers will engage in fun and frolic in an attempt to forget the stress of academia, to recharge, and to have a great time in a different place.  These young adults eagerly look forward to executing their customized itineraries with great expectations.  It is their sole intention to share with their loved ones lasting memories of an unforgettable trip.  In a week or two they will feel the buildup of excitement.  The anticipation of what is to come will rise to levels that may seem unbearable before setting out on their adventure.  Still, at this initial stage it is crucial to always know where one can go when one needs help in a strange place.

It is imperative to have a ready list of places/businesses/services you can seek out for help if you need it.  Usually, my first stop in any foreign country when I disembark is the information desk.  There, I ask all pertinent questions re local transportation, hotel direction, area, money exchange, restaurants, etc., before leaving the airport.  In my past experiences while on the road, I have found it may not always be wise to approach a total stranger.  They may not want to assist you or may feel wary of your approach.  So, here are some front-line resources you can use for immediate help if you need it.

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Police – In all countries, the police are there to serve and protect people.  Do not hesitate to locate the nearest station or approach an officer for help.  They gladly assist tourist in distress, who are lost, needing directions, or other information.

Consulate/Embassy – This particular recommendation may not be one to easily access without an appointment.  However, a request at the guard station may put you in touch with someone who can aid you.

Travel Agency – They are in the business to know all that pertains to the traveler.  They are a good source to find and locate your travel needs.  Use their services for directions, and advice on attractions, area, transportation, recommended tours, etc.  You will find they have up-to-date information and network connections that will put you in touch with whatever you need.

YMCA/YWCA – Usually this organization has its doors open to assist anyone with a need.  Do not hesitate to go to either establishment irrespective of gender.

Church – Any house of worship is a safe bet to enter and appeal for support also.  If your particular church is not in the neighborhood, usually a catholic church can be located to offer back-up.

Hotel/Hostel – The concierge or front desk receptions of these establishments are always willing to help the traveler who needs support.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions there even if you are not their guest.

i-booth – Last but not least, many i-booths are strategically located in major cities just to assist tourist.  Representatives man these stations and they are usually outfitted with maps, brochures and tour operator paraphernalia for the traveler.

Community Peeps, what other places would you suggest to go to for help?  Write your responses in the comment box below.  I am anxious to know your thoughts on the subject and to add them to my repertoire of recommendations for the future.

Readers, as usual, I invite you to click follow to receive timely updates, select like to show your love and support.  Share this post on your social media site.  Write your comments in the box below.  Your interest, time and attention are always appreciated.  Thank you for reading.

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Uptick in Female Solo Travel


Solo travel among women has risen dramatically according to an article in Forbes.  Is it a cause for concern?  Probably not.  Though the article primarily addresses the top 20 places women are traveling to, one cannot help but ponder the issue of personal safety as women go it alone on their bespoke adventure trails.  To give this issue more depth another recent article reported the kidnapping of an American women while on a safari in Uganda and highlighted the dangers women or solo travelers face.

Traveling alone should be approached with sobriety and thoughtful planning.  Though some dangers are avoidable, there are those that are simply premeditated.  Let me explain.  Every solo journey, I am acutely aware of my surroundings, people and activities.  My behavior adapts to suit the environment I am in.  My guard is heightened, watchful and I approach everything with caution.  For example, while on vacation in Fez, Morocco, as I was walking on the street, my eyes locked with a man on the opposite side of the road.  In my usual manner, I smiled and carried on walking.  He smiled too.  It wasn’t long before I realized he was trying to engage my attention by smiling whenever I looked in his direction.  If I walked faster, he kept pace, and if I slowed, he did the same.  I was concerned but not overly frightened because we were on a busy street.  I decided to go to the recreational plaza near to the riad where I was staying and sure enough, he followed me there.  I sat in the square where mothers with their children and older men gather to socialize.  He lingered too.  I kept a watchful eye on him.  He kept on looking at me.  I sat at an angle where I could see him and waited until he became distracted to make my move.  I ran to the riad as fast as I could to elude him.  I didn’t look back.  Whether he was trying to be friendly, wanted to harm me or some other sinister act, I was not sticking around to find out.   Knowing what to do in suspicious circumstances may help to pre-empt any mishaps or disasters.  However, even with adopting the utmost care in itinerary planning, stuff happens, like the guy following me and the kidnapping case in Uganda (even though the gravity of the latter is much more serious than the former).

Solo travel has been my modus operandi for many years.  I love the freedom it gives me, and I have good and bad memories of such times at home and abroad.  It is imperative that one pay close attention to all that is going on and not become too immersed in the events or happenings around them.  Keeping your wits about you is paramount to being safe.   So, what can women do to safeguard themselves in questionable or dangerous places?  Try these simple tips when you vacation alone:

  1. Do not take any questionable risks. Read travel advisories before you embark on your trip.
  2. Always leave a daily plan with your close friends and family.
  3. Use social media to keep everyone in the loop on your whereabouts. Take lots of photos and post daily commentaries of your activities to your chat sites, forums or media page.
  4. Do not deviate from your planned daily itinerary. If for some reason a change must be made, alert others of the change immediately.
  5. Do not attract attention to yourself by being obnoxious, rude, or flashy.
  6. Wear loose fitting clothing that does not hug the body or draw attention to your curves. While this may not be a reason to precipitate an attack, it is a sensible approach to eliminate any unbalanced desires to do so.
  7. Stay close to your guide, large groups or within crowded areas.
  8. Complete your sightseeing activities within time frames that have the most pedestrian traffic.
  9. Avoid walking or traveling lonesome roads. Stay in well lit areas if out at night.
  10. Know where you are going and what to expect when you get there. Be vigilant and observant of your surroundings at all times.

Community Peeps, especially my female counterparts, enough cannot be said about adopting safe travel practices whilst on vacation.  Have you or any of your loved ones encountered a situation that was a cause for concern, or because of the safety measures you used you were able to avoid a danger?  Share about the encounter in the comment box provided below.  Equally, your thoughts or tips would be appreciated too.

Readers, as usual, I invite you to click follow to receive timely updates, select like to show your love and support.  Share this post on your social media site.  Write your comments in the box below.  Your interest, time and attention are always appreciated.  Thank you for reading.

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Stress Free Entry Tips


Vacations are meant to be enjoyable, relaxing retreats from the normal, everyday way of life.  Every traveler anticipates having a wonderful time away from home, exploring new places, eating exotic foods, viewing new and interesting places and things.  All these and more help to make up the most memorable time spent on holiday.  However, there are instances when because of poor planning and lack of foresight, your expectations for a fabulous trip can become unhinged.  It is therefore imperative that with careful itinerary planning you cross all the T’s and dot all the I’s especially when you want to attend a specific attraction.

There is no frustration like turning up to an attraction or event only to find tickets have been sold out minutes before you arrived, or the attendance quota for the day’s activity have been met.  What is a traveler to do to avoid such disappointments?  Well, here are a few simple tips you can implement into your travel plan before reaching your destination.

Internet Research – This part of the planning is key to making an informed choice of where and when to attend a particular activity.  In the research look for the best days and times to attend your activity.  Knowing the peak times will help you to decide how far in advance you will need to purchase tickets and arrive ahead of the crowd.   If free days are offered, quota amounts may be enforced and should be considered.  Therefore, I strongly recommend that you note the following:  opening and closing times, days of operations, free days, if any, entrance fees and discounts for seniors, children, veterans, and differently-abled.

Online Purchase – Almost every sightseeing activity will have a ticket booth on location.  However, where crowds are usually the norm, it is only wise to pre-book and pre-purchase your ticket before the event.  Many official tourist sites offer online services to select time and date of event ticket.  Confirmation numbers are provided to claim tickets at location, if a print option is not given.   Another possibility to secure tickets would be to ask your hotel concierge to reserve the booking and pay for the event via your hotel.  Again, communicating your event needs with the hotel management would help to offset any frustrations and stress in attaining your bookings, seat or entrance.

Always walk with a print copy of your confirmation, or, take a photo of the confirmation/ticket and keep in your smart phone.  Keep a copy of your online dialogue if you used a third party to make reservations.  Having your credit card with you is another way to verify bookings.

Crowd Avoidance – This may be impossible at times.  Sometimes as the crowd builds before doors open, you may find multiple lines, some pushing and shoving if people are not respectful.  If you have the time to spear, become familiar with the location a day or two ahead of your event.  First you want to know how to get to the destination without delay.  Then you want to see what the entrance activity is like, smooth transition or a bustle, is there one or multiple entrances.

Check Ticket Information – Whether tickets are purchased online or via a third party, it is very important to go over the details carefully.  A common mistake people make usually occur around the month and day selection.  Confirm receipt and validate if necessary.  If tickets are purchased months in advance, maintain a line of communication with management in the event of a cancellation, unexpected delay or postponement.

If you take these simple measures to gain entrance to an activity or event, then you will be sure to alleviate some of the needless stress that many encounter on vacation.  At the entrance sight you will be able to present your ticket.  Remember to always keep your confirmation number or credit card receipt handy if asked for further proof of purchase.  Doing all these things will help to ensure your memories are happy ones without a hint of misfortune or disappointment.

Community Peeps, have you been turned away from an activity/event/location just because you did not pre-purchase your ticket or were stuck in a crowded line?  If you have visited places like Machu Picchu, Sagrada Familia, Parc Guell, Galapagos, and other popular destinations then you will concur that it is best to have your ticket in hand, ready for easy entrance.  Also, these easy steps may be applied when traveling on long-distant buses, ferries, and attending entertainment parks.  Share in the comment box below your experience securing entrance to a must-see event or activity.

Readers, as usual, I invite you to click follow to receive timely updates, select like to show your love and support.  Share this post on your social media site.  Write your comments in the box below.  Your interest, time and attention are always appreciated.  Thank you for reading.

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Accommodation Types


These days there is no shortage of options when one considers where they will lodge during their holiday.  Once upon a time, the main housing choice were hotels, but not anymore.  Hotels had three main categories: budget, deluxe and luxury.  Well, times have changed, and the options have become more prolific.  Hotels still serve up the majority of rooms to the public, but based on the purview of the millennial traveler, other entities have become more interesting, affordable and readily available.

Hotel types range from capsule to boutique, from motel to bed and breakfast, from resorts to luxury estates.   Each offer varying nuances that may appeal to the occupant’s taste, desires and needs.  It is interesting to note that within the last 20 or more years the rise of room availability includes, but are not limited to entities such as:  AirBnB’s, Couch-surfing, House-sitting, and Glamping just to name a few.  For the adventurous traveler, these accommodation types are worth exploring.

My travels have taken me far and wide and even though my friends tell me when it comes to sleeping that I can sleep on a rock, I can still remember experiences where the  accommodations were unique.  I recall staying and enjoying the amenities of a traditional riad in the old city of Fez, Morocco.  Entering the riad through the heavy doors from the street, I was surprised to find intricate artistry, delicate stonework, carpentry, and arboretum that could keep one intrigued for the length of their stay.  The layout included an interior oasis of greenery, sculptures, and fountain.  Artifacts, whether old or new lined the perimeter.  The posh riad had two upper levels and my room was on the very top.  Even from that height, looking down below, the beauty of the residence was not lost, especially as the evening light cast soft shadows across the floor, in subduing and romantic hues.

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Another interesting sleep-away was in the Merzouga dessert.   After riding on the desert limousine (camel) for about an hour, we arrived at a U-shaped group of Berber tents, covered in what looked like blankets.  It was to be my sleeping quarters for the night and even though I was skeptical that I wouldn’t sleep a wink, I fell asleep in no time at all.  The blankets were the warmest everrrrr, and I didn’t want to move from under them in the morning.  The accommodation was basic.  Shoes had to be taken off at the tent doors to avoid trekking sand onto the rug covered floor.   Bundles of mats, blankets and pillows were heaped to one side of the tent. Candles were the only light in the pitch darkness, but it was cozy.  After eating a sumptuous tagine meal, I asked to use the bathroom thinking their must be one in one of the other tents, the guide pointed out to the sandy landscape and told me to pick any spot.  Their one caveat for the group requesting bathroom privileges, was to walk a distance away from the tents to do their business.  Well, one thing I learned is, when you are all in it together, you either overcome the shyness, or you quickly forget your bathroom longings until better facilities are available.  After a night of peaceful serenity,  at the crack of dawn we headed back to civilization.  One of the first request on everybody’s list was a bathroom break.  Albeit the inconveniences of the accommodation, it was one of the sweetest sleeps I had while on vacation.

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Goreme, Cappadocia – Hotel in Turkey – Traveltineraries

One other type of odd accommodation that I experienced was in Goreme, Cappadocia, Turkey.  The hotel was a cave.  The walls of the room were the natural rock, as were many of the houses in the area.   The room was cool and comfortable.  Not very large but the bed was comfy.  Stories on the dangers of inhaling the microscopic dust that falls from the rock was not a deterrent for my stay which was not very long.  Besides, this form of housing is still used by the local residents today.   It was a unique experience sleeping at the cave hotel.

Besides hotels and hostels, there are AirBnb residences.  They give that home away from home feeling.  The guest is not limited to just one room.  The amenities are broader and there is freer access to coming and going without interference.  Couch-surfing is another option one may consider, especially the overnighter or cash-strapped traveler.  It’s level of uncertainty and possibly inconvenience can be a put-off for the tripper who wants to explore and may find their only accommodation far from the action they intended to experience.  Glamping on the other hand is a glorified or luxury form of camping.  These different types of lodgings are by and large stimulating and intriguing to the explorer traveler.

Other respites I’ve enjoyed include a penthouse in Caracas, Venezuela, luxury hotel rooms in Delhi, Agra and Jaipur, India, more recently a luxury suite in Denpasar, Bali, and in other places where the US dollar is worth its weight in gold.  Choosing where to rest one’s weary head may be first driven by cost, preference or package.  Whatever the choice, the options are always increasing, and the hospitality industry planners are always working to accommodate their guests.

Community Peeps, please share with me some of the interesting accommodations you’ve had and what made them special to you.  As an itinerary planner, I am always searching for unique, interesting and affordable places to stay and to recommend.  You may write your experience (recent or eons ago) in the comment box below.

Readers, as usual, I invite you to click follow to receive timely updates, select like to show your love and support.  Share this post on your social media site.  Write your comments in the box below.  Your interest, time and attention are always appreciated.  Thank you for reading.

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Benign Surveillances


Whenever I travel, one of my favorite pastimes is to people watch and I’m sure it is safe to say it is the same for you too.  Touring and sightseeing popular places give me the ability to do just that.  Unnoticed by others, I would observe their antics, behaviors and mannerisms while I rest.  Some of the best places I have done this include, but are not limited to are the Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain in Rome, Rialto Bridge and St. Mark’s Square in Venice, Las Ramblas, Sagrada Familia and Parc Guell in Barcelona to name a few popular venues where there is heavy foot traffic.

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As I study tourists whom I meet, I have found they are inquisitive by nature, and want to know all about me.  What makes me tick?  Who am I?  Where do I come from?  What makes me special?  These and many more questions may be on the minds of those you meet as you travel also.  Whether I travel with strangers in a group or meet locals for the very first time solo, we want to exchange information about each other.  We want to get to know who the other is.  From the moment residents lay eyes on you, they too can tell that you don’t belong, you’re a foreigner and that you do not fit into their regular mold.  What brings them to these conclusions?  Mostly the way you dress, your accent or language is a big give-away, and certainly your wide-eyed stares and interest in unfamiliar things and surroundings. Whatever the identifiers, you can tell from the quizzical looks, smirks, finger points, or other gestures, that they have burning questions on their minds about you.  Some may even muster enough courage to ask you questions outright.

Throughout my international travels though, there is one question that I have been asked repeatedly – Where are you from?  Sometimes I hesitate to give an answer based on who is asking or the context from which it is asked.  Other times, I readily respond either giving a long or short answer.  Besides nationality, there are other burning questions like:  Are you traveling alone? Where do you live? Can I touch your hair?  Case in point, I recall traveling on a long distant bus from Vietnam to Cambodia and on that trip, I endured finger pointing, stares, some ‘who-are-you’ smiles and even one passenger as she was going down the aisle dared to touch my hair.  It was long ride and I was the only black person on the bus, so I stood out like a sore thumb.  I wasn’t afraid but I felt as though I was a novelty (or maybe a celebrity 🤣) to my fellow passengers, and they had never seen a real life black person up close.

I get it, they want to know more about me, and judging from my differences, they can’t tell whether I come from a particular country of Africa, Jamaica or Wakanda😂.  If I say I live in the USA, my non-American accent begs additional questions, so I give more explanations.  Many times, when I call my island home by name, they don’t know where in the world it is.  However, if I mention Rihanna a knowing smile takes place.

Community Peeps, people watching is a relaxing, non-intrusive activity that one can engage in to past the time on their journey.  Is it an activity you like to participate in?  What are your thoughts about these benign surveillances?  You may have more questions than answers, but always remember while you are watching someone, another, somewhere maybe watching you.

Readers, as usual, I invite you to click follow to receive timely updates, select like to show your love and support.  Share this post on your social media site.  Write your comments in the box below.  Your interest, time and attention are always appreciated.  Thank you for reading.

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Airport Tchotchkes


Airports are amazing places to enter.  It is as if you step into a little city bustling with people scurrying in every direction or just leisurely strolling from store to store. A diversified selection of store types line the halls from end to end, intermittently punctuated by seating areas and departure gates. Browsing the shops is an activity for people engage in to pass the time during unexpected delays, and for those who either arrive with ample time to spare before departure, in between flights, or on long layovers.  Passengers are seen browsing brand-named stores, souvenir shops, gift shops, magazine/book stores and, if so inclined, may even receive services like shoe-shines, massages, spa treatments, etc.  It is also the place where diners may enjoy cuisines of their choice at the many restaurants and familiar fast-food eateries nearby.

I love to wander in and out the stores too, admiring the goods, but with no real intention to purchase anything.  Hardly would my travel budget allow for the extravagance of airport spending.  Some stores carry high-end products with a price tag the cost of a round-trip ticket to a different destination 😀.  Seriously, the costs of the items even with the duty-free conditions still can be outrageously pricey, and then there’s the tchotchkes.

The displays are succinctly arranged to catch the eye of the late shopper, and travelers who wander up and down the hallways.  The offerings at the wide range of stores appeal to shoppers for various reasons. Some may be last-minute decisions, or the “I had no time to shop” reason.  So then, whom do you think would be more likely to shop at the airport? I pose the well-to-do, the business traveler, or the wanna-be big spender who buys irrespective of price tag.

Honestly, I don’t think the majority of those who make purchases at the airport go there with the intention to do so.  Granted, duty free discounts on items may sweeten the deal, which the retailer hopes will help to draw prospective consumers in.  The price markup of most goods is usually two to three times higher than those in regular stores.  The reasons for the high prices may be debatable, but one can only guess a factor may be because of the prime real estate.  Whatever the reasons, I am often amazed at the offerings, and the brisk sales that occur in the stores.

Though I am not a big spender, don’t have deep pockets, or a last minute shopper, (I purchase my souvenirs/gifts before coming to the airport) I do confess to airport spending a few times.  Not because I saw an irresistible item and couldn’t live without it, but mostly to get rid of spare change, especially if most of the leftover currency is coin and maybe a few bills.  The balance of cash usually affords nothing more than a few ‘sweet’ treats from the confectioner’s aisles.

Community Peeps, are you an impulsive airport shopper? Is purchasing airport tchotchkes before boarding your flight a favorite pastime?  Share your experiences on airport shopping in the comment box below. If you’ve bought something on vacation you simply could not resist, but which you regret now, talk of it too in the comment section.

Readers, as usual, I invite you to click follow to receive timely updates, select like to show your love and support.  Share this post on your social media site.  Write your comments in the box below.  Your interest, time and attention are always appreciated.  Thank you for reading.

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Crossed Lakes, Rivers and Seas


The main attraction on a customized itinerary is the sightseeing.  Getting to the place of interest and adventure may mean using different paths other than driving the open road or flying the clear blue skies.   Cruising along waterways is an option that holds lots of fascination and wonder for the traveler.

Recently I was watching a movie and recognized a place, landmark buildings and a hive of boating activity, that instantly made me recall my experiences there.  Some things trigger memories, good or bad.  Thankfully, it was a good memory, and hence it provided the inspiration for this post.  A scene in the movie was along the waterfront of the Bosporus Strait in Istanbul, Turkey.  I can still remember the strong smells emitting from the Spice market nearby as I walked in wide-eyed amazement at the range of spices displayed in the vendor stalls.  Also, walking the underground tunnel to take a boat ride on the Bosporus and watching the ships sailing up and down the channel.

Reminiscent of the many places I’ve visited, I realize I’ve crossed lakes, rivers, seas, some well-known and others not so famous. Each holding their own fascination and unique appeal. Whether the bodies of water are man-made or a God-given part of nature, tourists are often drawn to enjoy the benefits. Some may gather on the banks to worship, to swim, to enjoy the ebb and flow of the rippling waves, the peaceful serenity, or just to witness the awesomeness and power of these natural wonders.

Famous and unique waters I have cruised on, swam in, twinkled my toes in as I walked along the banks, spent refreshing moments near, or just simply admired includes:  the Dead Sea in Israel, Ganges river in India, Tonle Sap lake in Cambodia, Lake Mead in Arizona, Sea of Galilee in Israel, Kowloon Bay in Hong Kong, Mekong Delta in Vietnam, Thames River, London and the Rhine in Germany just to name a few.  Here are some photos (credits within photo edit) of these places.

Community Peeps, the adage holds true – “all rivers run to the sea,” but time and space would not permit me to mention or showcase everyplace I have visited.   Maybe you can comment on your experience at one of these locations or mention one that is not here.  I would like to know of new and interesting places so please feel free to talk of your favorite water-hole in the comment box below.

Readers, as usual, I invite you to click follow to receive timely updates, select like to show your love and support.  Share this post on your social media site.  Write your comments in the box below.  Your interest, time and attention are always appreciated.  Thank you for reading.

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Safety A Priority


Have you ever heard this saying, “The more things change the more they stay the same?” It is certainly true of the safety information process when we fly.  From the time you enter the airport to the time you board the aircraft; many savvy changes have been adopted to replace the ones we used many years ago.

We have seen upgrades to first and business class and even to coach.  Some for the better.  Others?  Well…  You might probably be sprinting ahead thinking of all the changes that have occurred.  I suggest these: seating, baggage, boarding, TSA processing, etc. just to name a few.

One protocol that remains no matter how quickly the TSA lines are navigated, what boarding letter (A – E) assigned, what seat assignment given, or how well the two allowed pieces of luggage are stowed away, is the practice of –  the safety demonstration.  It must be done just before take-off.

Believe it or not, flying is not my favorite form of travel.  Unlike driving my car, I am acutely aware that once I leave the ground I am no longer in charge.  Therefore, attention to details and any safety instructions given becomes paramount for me.  In the air, I trust that God will take me to my destination safely, but I pay strict attention to the Captain, Co-pilot and stewardesses whenever announcements are given while taxiing.  However, to my dismay, many times I witness others preoccupied with all the on-board attractions/distractions.  Hardly are the safety-cards in the seat pockets reviewed (this observation is not a blanket statement) as the cabin crew go over the safety regulations, but many are busy making themselves comfortable, chatting, eating, etc.

Even though most airline carriers are hi-tech and use the immediate seat-back screens to get their safety messages across, a stewardess must still stand in the aisle to demonstrate the process.  From my observations, it seems what’s more important is flipping through the in-flight menu/catalog, looking out the window and generally not paying attention to the safety spiel.

Yes, it may be rote for the frequent flyer, but one that they certainly cannot afford to ignore, no matter how often they fly the open skies, and one that the infrequent flyer can’t dismiss.  I cannot tell whether the technology is a more effective way to grab the attention of the traveler, but what I can tell you is I hardly ever see the safety cards in the seat pockets removed and reviewed by fellow passengers.

How seriously do you follow the instructions?  Do you look around for the exit doors when pointed out?  Do you check under the seats to see if the life-vest is there?  Granted, the seating process becomes a bit harried at the end to prepare for the take-off.  It is not the opportune time to poke around or pull the seat up to find the life-jacket, thereby delaying other passengers from sitting.  However, you might find paying close attention may make the world of difference in an emergency.

Community Peeps, do you pay attention to the stewardesses’ safety methods?  Do you prefer the directives given via in-flight entertainment screen or by person?  Please share your thoughts in the comment box below.  In closing, I think it is still a good idea to pay attention to the safety guidelines and demonstration, and be able to identify where the exit doors are if necessary.  What are your observations?

Readers, as usual, I invite you to click follow to receive timely updates, select like to show your love and support.  Share this post on your social media site.  Write your comments in the box below.  Your interest, time and attention are always appreciated.  Thank you for reading.

More times,

Itinerary Planner

 

 

Affordable Love


With Valentine’s day looming, thoughts of romance and candlelight dinners for two are all that may be on the mind of the person who is on a tight budget and can barely afford to spring for dinner, but who wants to carefully plan a surprise for their sweetheart.  The task of making the day special isn’t made any easier by retailers for those couples who wish to express their loving sentiments to each other.  Red and white theme displays, gifts of chocolate, long-stemmed roses, cards, jewelry and other memorabilia strategically placed throughout stores, I’m convinced, are there to capitalize on the emotion – love.

Some couples may have more financial latitude than others.  They may go to greater lengths or adopt signature ways to impress their sweethearts and celebrate their love.  One such way would be to fly away to a destination of their choosing, particularly, a remote island.  Jetting off to an island on any given day is wonderful, add in romance and it is a match made in heaven.  A weekend of bliss, fun and frolic would be a priceless treat of devoted attention for the surprised partner.  Cupid’s arrow strikes again.

Therefore, it is necessary to recommend pointers to help the cash-strapped or deep-pocket traveler on how to cover all their bases before they leave.  After all, who knows, either type of traveler may suffer from the same effects of cupid’s arrow (love has a way of doing that) and may forget pertinent to-dos for the trip.  While it may not be the intention of the partner who is doing the surprising to overlook specific niceties, they may find themselves ‘surprised’ and in a predicament if they fail to plan.  For sure, Murphy will be the uninvited guess who says, “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.”

So as not to obfuscate the details of the trip and to get started, you should follow these basic tips for your day or weekend de amor.

Write down everything, including thoughts that pertain to making the day special and memorable.  Make a checklist which will help to keep you on track.  Tick items off once completed.  Keep a list of contacts and share the itinerary with a family member or a close friend.

Days ahead of the adventure, secure passports in carry-on bags, double-check that tickets, car service and other arrangements are confirmed.

Pack an overnight case or weekend bags.  Keep them out of sight.

Day of departure to airport, pick up partner.  Blindfold (optional).  Brief on a ‘need to know’ basis.  Just before pulling up to the airport entrance, go over the immediate details of the trip.  Board flight with a mindset that you will enjoy every minute (attitude is everything) of the surprise get-away.

Community Peeps, have any of you been surprised on Valentine’s day with a trip by your loved one?  What was it like?  Please share the surprise experience in the box below.  We would love to go down memory lane with you.  Keep the intimate details to yourselves 😍.

Readers, as usual, I invite you to click follow to receive timely updates, select like to show your love and support.  Share this post on your social media site.  Write your comments in the box below.  Your interest, time and attention are always appreciated.  Thank you for reading.

More times,

Itinerary Planner

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