Editor’s Note: This is the first in a periodic series on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on tourism providers across the globe.
Back in the late 1960s, when I was still mostly fantasizing about globetrotting, I picked up a paperback book called Bargain Paradises of the World.
Although all the pictures were in black and white and the information inside was perhaps overly colorful, it was the kind of book that got my travel juices flowing.
One particular “paradise” that caught my eye was Ceylon, the tear-drop-shaped Indian Ocean island nation that has been known as Sri Lanka since 1972.
My fantasy Ceylon — which had been colonized by Britain until 1948 and was known in the West mostly for its tea exports — was pictured by Bargain Paradises as an idyllic place where… Continue reading
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
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
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
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
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
In the second part of a two-part series, contributing writer Robert Waite finally gets to turn his Albanian travel dream into reality. Among other things, he finds a wealth of bizarre historical remnants — including former dictator’s Enver Hoxha’s vast nuclear bunker — which have now become tourist attractions.
Here’s Part I of the series, By Travel Obsessed: Albanian Edition, in case you missed it.
By Robert Waite
Tirana, Albania – After narrowly escaping having our car impounded and my decades-long dream of visiting Albania dashed, we were finally on our way.
Barred from driving ourselves, we engaged Roberto, a Dubrovnik-based guide, to take us to Kotor in Montenegro.
Along the way, he proved quite gregarious, providing colorful commentary on the traits we should expect to observe upon meeting the locals in Kotor. It… Continue reading
Hope everyone had a happy Fourth!
Here are the answers to the July 4th Independence Day Travel Quiz from my previous post. (If you haven’t taken the quiz yet and want to, I’d suggest returning there first.) Some of these questions were tricky, others merely difficult, and a few were relatively easy, especially with True or False questions offering just two choices. The multiple choice questions seemed to give people the most trouble, based on feedback I received. Thanks for joining in, whether Baby Boomers or younger!
1. True or false: As one of the 13 original colonies, Vermont was the only one that refused to ratify the Declaration of Independence.
Answer: False. Vermont was not one of the original 13 colonies.
2. Which U.S. president was born on… Continue reading
Some terrific destinations just seem to fall through the cracks and when you finally visit, you wonder where they’ve been all your life.
My latest revelation is Gloucester, Massachusetts, a city of 30,000 about 30 miles northeast of Boston on the Atlantic Ocean.
It shares scenic Cape Ann with four other communities: Rockport, Essex, Ipswich, and Manchester-by-the-Sea, and if you like water views, boating, seafood, history, and art, you’re bound to love Gloucester and surroundings.
My wife, Catharine, and I spent a recent weekend there with old friends who live in a former sea captain’s house overlooking Gloucester harbor, where we dined on lobster as ocean breezes tempered the summer air and we watched a pink twilight settle on a parade of vessels — water shuttles, yachts, cruise ships, schooners, tour boats, party boats — passing by.
You can go whale-watching in… Continue reading
Eighth in a Series
Just an hour by train from Kyoto, Nara is a sometimes-overlooked jewel of a city that has played a key role in the historical and cultural life of Japan.
Often visited on day trips from Kyoto — certainly possible if you get an early start — Nara is well worth an overnight stay to keep from being too rushed. We stayed two nights and didn’t regret it, even though we had to change hotels after one night due to a booking error.
If you have more time, Nara is also a convenient base for exploring the surrounding countryside and villages filled with history, hot springs, and, in season, cherry blossoms.
Nara Park and World Heritage Sites
Japan’s first permanent capital during the 8th century AD before the imperial base was moved to Kyoto,… Continue reading