In the last couple weeks, I’ve seen a handful of news stories about incidents that illustrate why travelers should know more about their destinations than what beach to visit. One is the recent international attention to the local government in Maldives—an island chain known for its ultra-luxe resorts—for its treatment of sexual assault victims among its own people. In this case, a 15-year-old victim of sexual assault was publicly beaten for the crime of pre-marital sex. Is it acceptable for wealthy travelers to visit a place like this, to lounge on perfect private beaches while the people carrying their bags and serving their drinks are beaten and even killed by their own government?
Unpleasant realities abound in many otherwise exotic, exciting destinations. I’ve personally spent a lot of time in Papua New Guinea, where I became infatuated by the wild landscapes and “primitive” cultures, but there’s an undercurrent of violence that doesn’t gel with the “happy native” stereotypes that are on display to the majority of travelers here. Recent reports from the country detail a growing proclivity towards witch burnings, usually...Read More
Dramatic views are a constant companion on St. Kitts. The rainforest-clad peaks rise like spires from the mottled-blue Caribbean sea. The island is perhaps best known for it’s cruise ship port, but this emerald gem has so much more to offer beyond the requisite dockside shopping malls. Eco-adventures abound from the vibrant reefs to the lush rainforests. The capital Basseterre beats with the rhythms of steel drums. And countless white-sand beaches offer idyllic escapes.
St. Kitts was the first British colony in the Caribbean, and the redcoats’ towering fort was once known as the “Gibraltar of the West”—it’s volcanic vantage point offering lines of sight to nearby Nevis, St. Eustatius, and Saba. Today the Brimstone Hill Fortress is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the best preserved colonial forts in the New World.
No visit to the Caribbean during the winter h...Read More
There’s one thing everyone wants to do in Nashville, and there’s never a cover charge on famed Broadway—aka Honky Tonk Row—where legendary dive bars like Tootsie’s and Robert’s Western World host live music seven days a week. These tourist-thronged stages are the proving grounds for many musical hopefuls, though big names occasionally stop in to play a set. Visit Music City is a good source of information on live music in Nashville.
Of all the honky tonks on Broadway, Tootsies Orchid Lounge is the most famous. It was a favorite between-sets haunt of Grand Ole Opry guests when the renowned radio show played at the nearby Ryman Auditorium. Today the Opry has moved to a larger venue, but Tootsie’s still draws major crowds to its pair of stages.
Long heralded at the “Athens of the South,” Nashville decided to take the characterization and run with it by building a full-size replica of the The Parthenon, complete with a towering statue of Athena at its core that was sculpted by famed Nashville artist Alan LeQu...Read More
Here we are, two years since the TSA’s body scanners have been introduced at airports across the country—those ones that depict you as a faceless naked blob—and people are still blabbing on about them as some vast conspiracy against personal privacy. There’s even plans afoot for an “opt-out” movement to coincide with the Thanksgiving travel rush as a form of protest by causing inconvenience to millions of travelers. For all you planning to give the rest of us more headaches at this exhausting travel time, let me just say, please put your energies elsewhere.
I hear your arguments that the machines are ineffective against terrorists, cost a lot of money—yada, yada—but the same could be said for pretty much everything the TSA does. Want to see kick-ass airport security in action? Go to Israel where the most secure airports in the world use highly trained human agents to spot suspicious activity rather than broadly implemented scanner tech. But that’s a systemic issue. Bottom line, yeah TSA can be inept, but so are your toothless attempts to jam everybody else up on a nightmare travel day. It’s akin to Tea Party crackpots petitioning to sec...Read More
I’m gearing up to hit the Caribbean in a few days on a whirlwind trip to the Spice Island of Grenada. Trouble is, I’m having a hard time deciding what island adventure I’m most excited about. With only four days to spend on this lush Eastern Caribbean isle, my schedule is packed to maximize the adventure. I’ve got plans to scuba dive on sunken shipwrecks, float an inner tube down a jungle river and hike into rainforest waterfalls, and I fully expect my adrenaline to stay spiked from the start of each morning until I sip that first nutmeg-spiked sundowner cocktail at the end of each day. To prime the pump here’s a little photo slideshow preview of what’s in store.
Now stay tuned, more photos an on-assignment blog posts are coming up in just a few days!...Read More