This has been a year peppered with travel opportunities for me. I immersed myself in the splendor of attractive destinations abroad, then basked in the glory of the equally mesmerizing attractions we have in our own country.
As a dyed-in-the-wool practitioner in our Tourism Industry, I am making this year-ender column a tribute to the alluring international destinations that have made my world more beautiful this year.
I was happy to have discovered that quaint little community of Port Perry, in Scugog, Ontario. It reminded me so much of those sleepy towns in the US countryside that I see in movies, where the downtown area is just one street and everybody knows everybody. In Port Perry, the picturesque, Victorian-era buildings along the downtown area’s main street gave character to the place; and the beautifully designed gazebo right in the center of the lakeside Palmer Park completed the postcard-pretty picture.
Many miles southwest of the town is Toronto where the imposing 554-meter high CN Tower in the center of downtown is the most sought-after photographic subject of every tourist visiting Canada. The tower used to be the tallest free-standing structure in the world, when completed in 1976. Unfortunately, it now pales in comparison to the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. Nevertheless, the CN Tower continues to attract an average of 2 million visitors a year, more than one-third of the total number of tourists our entire country receives in a year.
The grandeur of Niagara Falls, straddling the international border of the province of Ontario, Canada and the state of New York, USA, puts every visitor transfixed by the beauty of it all. It could be the sound of millions of tons of water crashing down the Niagara River, or the perpetual rainbow at the riverbank, I found myself gaping in awe over such wonder of God’s creation. I’ve been to Niagara Falls many times but, each time, I still find myself under its spell.
New York City will always be a part of my travel itinerary in North America. Not only am I lured by its iconic tourist attractions, there are always many interesting city events to watch or be part of. Although most tourists name the statue of Liberty Enlightening the World (that’s its official name, by the way) as the city’s symbol, to me, the Neo-Gothic St. Patrick’s Cathedral is what comes to mind when I think of the New York. It could be because that’s where I always start my citywide gallivanting or maybe because I know that’s where I draw energy from for my city tour.
The playground of the rich and famous is how I see Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, and that’s because the hotels, restaurants and bars along the beachfront are all in the de luxe category. I spent a week in that gem-of-a-place and stayed at the Villa del Arco Beach Resort and Spa, right on El Medrano Beach, with a soothing view of the vast Pacific Ocean. Each room is a spacious suite with a kitchen, and my stay was most enjoyable, not only because of my luxurious accommodations and the resort’s 3-level spa, which I frequented, but also because I got to practice my Spanish.
The last time I spoke Spanish every day was many decades ago when, still with the airline, I was assigned to handle a month-long project in Madrid. Por lo tanto, mi viaje a Cabo San Lucas sirvio como un curso de actualizacion en Espanol muy necesario (Therefore, my trip to Cabo San Lucas served as a much needed refresher course in Spanish).
My visit to the beautiful island of Guam, Where America’s Day Begins, was most special. I had the rare privilege of speaking to about 500 Tourism luminaries from around the globe, and was the special guest of Mario Hardy, chief executive officer of the Pacific Asia Travel Association, the biggest travel organization in the world. The visit also evoked a lot of beautiful memories, having lived on the island for almost a year, many decades ago, as part of an airline team expanding regional operations.
I count myself blessed for being a member of the Tourism Industry, enjoying every minute of being a “citizen of the world.” I know there are many more foreign destinations to enjoy…and I haven’t even talked about our own domestic attractions, which will have to be for another column.
Meantime, on this eve of a brand new year, I wish everyone A PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR and more international trips in the coming days. So, as my Chamorro friends from Guam would say…Hafa Adai (pronounced, half-a-day).
For feedback, I’m at [email protected]
YOUR SATURDAY CHUCKLE
Pfizer Corp. announced that Viagra will soon be available in liquid form, and will be marketed by Pepsi Cola as a power beverage suitable for use as a mixer. It will now be possible for a man to literally pour himself a stiff one. Obviously we can no longer call this a soft drink, and it gives new meaning to “cocktails,” “highballs” and just a good old-fashioned “stiff drink.” Pepsi will market the new concoction as MOUNT & DO.