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According to legend, Ipswich’s “Devil’s Footprint” was formed when Satan leaped off a local church steeple. Photo from Historic Ipswich.

Following up on his Ipswich fried clams post — part I of a two-part series on the historic, scenic, and all-around inviting area of Ipswich and Essex, Massachusetts — contributing writer Bob Waite now asks us to back away from the table long enough to enjoy the other sometimes devilish delights the region has to offer.

By Robert Waite

Ipswich, MA – You can have a devil of a time in Ipswich, Massachusetts. Or at least the residents apparently did back in the 1740’s.

According to local legend, a visit by a famous English fire-and-brimstone preacher, the Rev. George Whitfield, to the town’s First Congregational Church, located atop Town Hill, attracted a crowd of thousands – and a curious Satan.

Whitfield, who had no sympathy for the devil, called Satan… Continue reading

Thien Hau Pagoda Buddhist Temple in Saigon’s Chinatown. Photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews

In Part I of Robert Waite’s two-part series on traveling to Vietnam, Vietnam Visit Stirs Emotions for Boomers, Bob recounted his recent visits to Hanoi and Halong Bay.

In this post, he travels to Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) and the remarkable Cu Chi Tunnel complex dug by the Viet Cong outside the city — but much closer to it than you might imagine.

Saigon itself is a bustling city that evokes stark memories of the Vietnam War, but is also now a prime “foodie” destination and a place to drink at a bar made famous by big-name war correspondents:

By Robert Waite

Part II of a two-part series.

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam – The thing about name changes is that they often don’t stick. Take Mumbai, for example. The Indian national government decided that “Bombay” was… Continue reading

Hanoi’s 1911 Opera House is a prime example of the city’s French colonial architecture. Photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews

In this post and the next, Contributing Writer Robert Waite recounts his recent journey to Vietnam, the country that helped define a generation of baby boomers.

Forty five years after the fall of Saigon, which effectively ended the more-than-a-decade-long Vietnam War, a visit to Hanoi still stirs emotions, whether you were pro- or anti-war in the 1960s and ’70s.

Yet even as long ago as 1997, when I last visited Vietnam, the majority of Vietnamese — born after the war — seemed to hold few if any grudges against Americans.

Our roving correspondent, himself a baby boomer, delves into the war history but also the sights and experiences that make Vietnam one of the most intriguing countries to visit in Southeast Asia today.

First up are the capital, Hanoi, and beautiful Halong… Continue reading

Steep steps lead to the top of temple 216 in Yaxha, but the view from the top is worth it. Photo by Robert Waite.

In the first part of this two-part series, contributing writer Robert Waite described his visit to Tikal, Guatemala, the enormous ruins of one of the world’s great archaeological wonders, which 2,000 years ago was larger than ancient Rome or Beijing.

In Part II of this series, Bob writes about his travels to another stunning Mayan archaeological site nearby — Yaxha — and finds humor and cultural insights amid the ancient pyramids.

By Robert Waite

On the morning we left Tikal we headed for Yaxha, 30 km (19 miles) to the southeast, with our new guide, Cesar Quinones.

Yaxha is Guatemala’s third largest Mayan archaeological site (after Tikal and El Mirador) and boasts 500 structures spread along a hilltop stretching about three km (two miles).

Located… Continue reading

Tikal’s Temple I rises to a height of 154 feet (47 meters). Photo by Robert Waite.

For those planning their post-COVID travels, or who just like a good read, our roving contributing writer Robert Waite sets foot this time in the fabulous Mayan ruins of Tikal and Yaxha, which flourished two millennia ago in the jungles of what is now Guatemala.

It was the New York of its day, a massive complex complete with “skyscraper” temples, plazas, and palaces. When it seems safe to go, you may well want to add it to your future travel plans.

By Robert Waite

Tikal, Guatemala – Anyone who still buys into the myth that the Americas needed to be discovered by Columbus to be “civilized” has not wandered among the pyramids or across the expansive plazas of Tikal.

Beginning around 350 B.C. and stretching into the 5th century A.D., at a time… Continue reading

Skating on the Rideau Canal — one of Ottawa’s most popular winter pastimes. Photo from Canadian National Capital Commission.

Contributing writer Robert Waite,  having led us on an odyssey through his recent (but pre-COVID) travels around the globe — including Laos, Cambodia, Albania, Namibia, and Rwanda — now appropriately turns his attentions to his sheltering home base: Ottawa, Canada.

I have fond memories of my own visits to Ottawa, even attempting to skate a stretch of the iced-over Rideau Canal during the annual Winterlude festival. Demonstrating my nearly non-existent ice-skating skills, I persevered all the way to our destination — which must have been at least 100 yards away (the length of an American football field!). Not bad for 45 minutes, eh?

However, as a confirmed arachnophobe, I may have to pass on the National Gallery of Canada on my next visit. To find out why and much more,… Continue reading

Young Buddhist monks with modern Buddha figure in temple near Bayon Temple. Photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews

Here’s Part II of contributing writer Robert Waite’s recent journey to Siem Reap, Cambodia — home to the vast ruins of temple Angkor Wat, and much more. (If you missed Part I focusing on Angkor Wat, read it here.)

Here, Bob tours another huge temple complex complete with strangler trees, takes in a surprisingly good  local circus, tangles with an oxcart, and takes a boat ride on a lake mostly devoid of water — all recounted with Bob’s deft descriptions and appropriately dry wit.

By Robert Waite

Siem Reap, Cambodia

You come to Siem Reap for Angkor Wat, but you’d be wise to stay on and take in other area attractions. First and foremost there is Angkor Thom, another huge complex, one that served as the last and most enduring capital… Continue reading

Angkor Wat Temple from the west gate. Photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews

Contributing writer Robert Waite, who lately has chronicled his journeys from Albania to Namibia, Rwanda to Laos, didn’t know how well-timed his recent visit to Southeast Asia would prove to be.

Bob says that he and his wife, Karen, had purposely decided to travel to Laos and Cambodia in January of this year — “because January is somewhat cooler and a lot drier than, say, July. As it happened, that was just as COVID-19 was beginning to wend its way out of Wuhan.”

And so, just in time, Bob finally made it to Angkor Wat, one of the top destinations on his life list and the featured topic of Part I of his two-part series about the memorable sights and activities in the area around Siem Reap, Cambodia. Here are Bob’s reflections on visiting one of the… Continue reading

Namibia: Sossusvlei dune with dead tree in Deadvlei salt pan at Namib-Naukluft Park. Photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews

Here’s Part II of Robert Waite’s account of 12 days of traveling through Namibia, a remarkable desert land wedged in a corner of southwest Africa between Angola and South Africa.

(If you missed Part I of Bob’s Namibia narrative, read it here.)

In this piece, Bob encounters towering sand dunes, otherworldly dried lakes, a bay cruise complete with some of the world’s best oysters, a visit to Damaraland, and a top-flight game park where one may encounter lions and herds of elephants and zebras.

By Robert Waite

Walvis Bay, Namibia – If you know Namibia at all, it is likely because of the country’s sand dunes, the largest on earth.

I grew up in Massachusetts, close to Crane Beach in Ipswich. We locals would brag about our “huge” 30-40 foot dunes. It… Continue reading

The Quiver Tree Forest is actually comprised of towering aloe plants. Photo by Karen Shigeishi-Waite.

In this two-part series on Namibia, veteran travel writer Robert Waite continues his series of pieces from outposts around the world, which have taken us from far western Canada to East Africa, Southeast Asia to Eastern Europe, and now to remote southwestern Africa.

I asked Bob what attracts him to places like Namibia, which, while gaining in popularity as a tourist destination, is still off the beaten track.

“I’m drawn to places that might easily be overlooked,” Bob says. “Namibia was a place I initially knew little about, but the more I researched it, the more I became intrigued. I also realized that safaris there were likely to be less crowded than one might find in South Africa or Kenya — which turned out to be the case.”

Here’s Part I of Bob’s piece on… Continue reading

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According to government and private surveys:

  • Leading-edge baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1955) and seniors account for four out of every five dollars spent on luxury travel today.
  • Roughly half the consumer spending money in the U.S.--more than $2 trillion--is in the hands of leading-edge baby boomers and seniors.
  • Baby boomers (born 1946-1964) travel more than any other age group.
  • When asked what they would most like to spend their money on, baby boomers answered “travel” more than any other category, including improving their health or finances.

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