Friday, December 14, 2018

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The key to having a meaningful visit to the camel market at Imbaba is to get there early, before the “tourists” arrive. We woke up at 6:00 am and by 6:30 am we were standing in Tahrir Square in downtown Cairo, trying to hail a taxi. At the best of times, Tahrir (literally, Liberation) is a noisy melange of car and bus horns, people yelling, vendors hawking their wares, pollution and confusion, all contrasted by the propinquity (and historicity) of the Egyptian Museum, with its treasures of civilizations past. We had already spent several days in the City of 1000 Minarets, and it seemed as... Read More

I was intrigued to receive an email recently where, under the signature, there was a presumably rhetorical question: “Are you a tourist or a traveller?” It is an interesting question but perhaps not as rhetorical, as it is misguided or on the wrong track.

Tourists were in steerageMind you, I used that tourist vs. traveller reasoning quite a lot when I started travelling the globe in the 1970’s. I felt that I had ‘graduated’ from experiencing package coach tours, to joining adventure travel groups, and then moving on to make my own plans to explore South East Asia. I had... Read More

Boo! I have to admit that the advent of Halloween and the 24-hour Fear Fests on TV have got me thinking about why people watch this stuff --what is the great attraction--and how does this transfer over to the world of travel. I will admit that I can’t handle movies such as Halloween or Friday the 13th, and really, the scariest DVD in my collection is Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein.

But when we were kids in the 1960’s, it was a real treat when our Mom took us to Buffalo, New York for the annual shopping spree and then we would return across the border to spend some time in Niagara... Read More

The estimated crowd of 5000 world travellers sat with cameras ready and everything from hope to hoax written on their faces. They sat on the grass or stood in groups as they waited. The time was ticking toward the 4:00 pm ‘beginning’. With the clouds hiding the sun, some of the people started to wander to explore the Jaguar Temple and ball court, but kept peeking behind the corners of the Mayan architecture to check on the status of El Castillo, the Castle, also known as the Temple of Kukulkan. For today it is September 21st, the autumnal equinox, when the lengths of daylight and night time... Read More

As a keynote speaker I travel many miles and that means I spend a good deal of time in taxi cabs where you can always engage in light conversation with the cab driver. This as you know, happens in every city in every country, even if you don't speak the native tongue you can have a good ole chat by nodding, waving hands, pointing and laughing. Memories of me in the back of a cab in Cairo and the answer to every question I asked was... you got it, "Yes." The taxi ride I always remember is this one when the taxi driver asked me about God.

Enroute to Toronto airport the cab driver... Read More

The expression “fair weather friends” refers to those of your acquaintances who are there for you as long as everything is going well (i.e. the weather if fair). But as soon as you start having problems and wish to discuss them with your friends (i.e. stormy conditions are on the horizon), then these people are nowhere to be seen.Hmmm… sounds familiar from a travel point of view.There are a lot of travellers who are convinced that a sun-shiny warm vacation is expected all the time and anything that deviates from this is, you guessed it, the fault of their travel agent. But we know that old expression:... Read More

Some of you may have seen the reality TV series. “Ice Road Truckers, Deadliest Roads”. The program was filmed in India where three truckers, transplanted from the ice highways of Alaska, were challenged by the notorious road conditions that included narrow mountain passes, irate drivers forced to follow behind a truck carrying tons of material, trucks passing trucks on disintegrating waterlogged roads, or roads under direct assault from rockslides, waterfalls and wandering cattle. You name it, the IRT drivers faced these obstacles over and over (and over) again every week.How real is real?... Read More

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