B is for Bangkok, almost on a par with Amsterdam, certainly more exotic, always fun, and very affordable. Also, home to the best medical care in the world. B could also be for Boston, another great city with great sights, tradition, patriotic history, the Red Sox and Fenway, and lobster rolls. Add Berlin, before it became unified, truly an experience crossing through Checkpoint Charlie and the Berlin Wall. And don’t forget the romantic and diabolical Buenos Aires, one of the great cities of the world, classy and fun, energetic and lazy all at once. Bandon Dunes, OR has four of the best golf courses among the top 100 in the world.
C is for Chicago, the second city is the first city in my book, with interesting neighborhoods, Wrigley Field, Garrett’s Popcorn and Rush Street. C could also be Chiang Mai, northern Thailand’s city with a soul, famous night markets, nearby jungle treks, and the slow and easy life along with Ping River. Please don’t forget the nude female sunbathers on the Costa del Sol, my personal vote for best scenery on any beach in the world. Costa Rica is a great place to see nature, to zip line over the rainforest, and to see the most beautiful colors of blue in the entire world.
D is for District of Columbia, home of our nation’s capitol, great restaurants, the Smithsonian Museums, Georgetown, and famous 4th of July concert and fireworks. Death Valley is one of the driest places in the world, and the lowest elevation in the U.S. Dornach has a great golf course in Scotland, on a par with some of the great U.K. courses. Dunedin, on New Zealand’s South Island, has more sheep than people, and some great vineyards producing world class wines.
E is for the Everglades, a most unique and abundant national park in Florida. But it could also be Everest, viewed from a sightseeing plane taking off from the ancient Kathmandu airport. Edinburgh, Scotland is home to the famous Fringe Festival, and a most respected University. Eugene, OR is known as Track City, USA, and home to Nike’s Oregon University.
The last total solar eclipse was on January 15, 2010.
F is for Freeport, Maine, the home of the flagship L.L. Bean store, truly part of Americana. F could also be Fairbanks, Alaska, our fiftieth state, and home to our largest oil supply and reindeer sausage. Frontier Days in Cheyenne, WY is a cowboy celebration bar none. Faro, Portugal, at the southern tip of the Algarve, offers wine, golf, leather goods, and a seaport. Florence, one of the grand old cities of Europe, is also a good name for any female born prior to 1930.
G is for the Great Barrier Reef, truly the world’s largest living organism, visible from space, and a magnificent sight to behold. G is also Granville Island, home to Vancouver’s fresh food and produce, art galleries, bakeries, eclectic shops, and great views of the City and False Creek. All G’s must include the Grand Canyon, in Arizona. Most of you do not know a gauss is a unit of magnetic flux density equal to 1/10000 tesla; Tesla is the name of the new all electric car being made at the old NUMI plant in Fremont.
H is for Hawaii, my home away from home, its great local food and customs, the great golf courses, my wonderful friends, and great natural beauty. The Vietnamese city of Hanoi is as much French colonial as it is SE Asian, with culturally blended food, fashion and architecture. Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon, is a huge metropolis in South Vietnam.
Hollywood, CA is home to many movie studios, recording companies, and many cross dressers who left San Francisco for warmer weather. Hong Kong proved to be a very underrated city, full of shopping, culture, nightlife, snake lunches, and lots of people who dye their hair.
I is for Indianapolis, and its famous Indy 500 Auto Race. Idaho is home to more millionaires than any other state, and the famous floating island green at Couer d’Alene. Ipanema Beach, Brazil, is home to skimpy bikinis, coconut water, street parking attendants, and sand sculptures that belong in museums. Island in the Sky, in Canyonlands National Park, is best viewed from a sightseeing plane, and home to wild horses, as well as Butch Cassidy.
J is for my mother country, Japan, where my grandparents were born, where I finally visited last year, and the famous Tsukiji Fish Market, Harajuku, the Ginza, and the great shabu shabu. J is also for Jackson Hole, WY, home of great skiing, and cowboys who got lost. What about the Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County?
K is for Kathmandu, one of the poorest but most interesting cities in all of SE Asia or the world. The multi ethnic city of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia is home to the Petronas Twin Towers, and our dear friend, Angela. K is also for the Kentucky Derby, in Louisville, KY, home to the most exciting two minutes in sports. Kohler, WI is home to Whistling Straits, where the recent PGA golf tournament was stolen from Dustin Johnson. Kennebunkport, ME is a cute little New England town, home to Bush 41’s summer home.
L is for Laos, one of the most under visited and under rated countries in the world, with great food, friendly people, rich culture, and interesting customs. Along with under rated, the city of London, remains a secret despite being a jumping off point for the rest of European travel. Home to Wimbledon, Harrod’s, Hyde Park, Royal Albert Hall, London offers something for everyone. The island of Langkawi, off of northern Malaysia, is home to five star resorts like the fabulous Datai. Las Vegas will always be a favorite place for my Mom, and most of my relatives. I like it for the shopping, food, and dear friends, Ken and Debbie.
M is for Mendoza, Argentina, home to great food and many wineries, wide open spaces, crazy middle of the night phone calls, and aggressive women. But, do not forget Machu Picchu, the Inca city high in the Andes, still an architectural marvel after all these years. Another of my favorite places is Munich, Germany, home to the Oktoberfest, and the craziest beer guzzling people I have ever known. And the beautiful arches and canyons near Moab are unmatched anywhere in the world. Milford Sound should be one of the world’s great natural wonders. I love Montreal for its great food, delicious bakeries, fireworks competition, and the French feel without the French attitude.
N is for Nagoya, Japan, the hometown of my grandfather’s family, as well as Noritake and Toyota. The Newseum is Washington, DC’s newest museum, with artifacts from the most newsworthy events. Nawlins, LA is a great place for gumbo, po’ boys, bananas Foster, beignets, and the Viuex Carre’. What about NUDE sun bathing on Black’s Beach in San Diego or the Costa del Sol in Spain?
O is for Lake Okanagan, in British Columbia, home to a great wine region, superb ice cream, and the annual Penticton Elvis festival. I hate to admit that I have been to Oklahoma City once upon a time. But Orlando is home to Epcot and Disney World, as well as numerous fine golf courses. Osaka, Japan is known at Japan’s second city, a foodie capital, and an industrial giant of a city.
P is for the island of Penang, off of Malaysia, the undisputed foodie capitol of SE Asia. Home of some of the great yachts and luxury boats of the world, Puerto Banus, Spain, close to some of the great golf courses of Spain, and the fabulous topless optional beaches. Pucon, Chile is a small town that looks a little Bavarian, a little Chilean, with lots of stray dogs. Pebble Beach, CA is heaven on earth, at least for us golfers.
Q is for Queenstown, New Zealand, home to the original bungee jump, breath taking jet boating, and the friendliest people on earth. Queens, New York is home to the U. S. Open Tennis Championships. Queensland, Australia, the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, had some of the best sushi, kangaroo, and emu I have ever eaten. The province of Quebec has often threatened to secede from Canada, now that would be comical! I got to play a quena, a vertical bamboo flute from the Andes in Chile.
R is for fabulous, romantic, and titillating Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, home to the samba, the famous churascarias, the eclectic Hippie Faire, and the Girl from Ipanema. Red Rocks Amphitheater, just outside of Denver, is home to some of the best summer music in the country. Redding, CA is home to the famous Sundial Bridge, designed by Spanish architect, Santiago Calatrava. Rome captures your heart and your imagination, in ways that you never realize. And the Sistine Chapel is a religious experience. Ronda, Spain is known as a white town, high above the Costa del Sol, known for its famous black hoofed jamon and the oldest bull fighting ring in Spain.
S is for Seattle, my favorite place for dining, shopping and visiting friends. The great Seattle Public Library, the Uwajimaya Super Store, the Experience Music Project, and Pike Market are just some of the attractions. No list is complete without a mention of the world’s favorite city, Sydney, home of the iconic Sydney Opera House, huge Chinatown, magnificent architecture, and former Olympics venue. Sedona, AZ is a place where vortexes and cosmic energy seem to converge in the beautiful red rocks of the region.
T is for one of the most exciting and expensive cities in the world, Tokyo, where the food is fantastic, the fish plentiful, the fashion flawless, and the Shinkansen (bullet train) superbly fast and efficient. Our nearby Lake Tahoe, is both a winter and summer wonderland, with boating, skiing, cycling, hiking, and golf. Tangiers, Morocco is an out of this world experience, with Berbers trying to sell things you do not need, and snake charmers on every corner. Tony’s Fashion House, our tailor in Bangkok, made our wonderful outfits for dear Ingrid’s wedding.
U is for Ushuaia, Argentina, the southernmost city in the world, located on the island if Tierra del Fuego. It is surprisingly stylish, home to wealthy Argentinean skiers, and all you can eat lamb and beef joints. The famous Union Oyster House, in Boston, America’s oldest restaurant and favorite of John F. Kennedy. Many of our great Universities in this country are worth a visit, like Harvard and MIT. Up and coming U Street in Washington, DC is home to one of President Obama’s favorite eateries, Ben’s Chili Bowl.
V is for Vina del Mar and Valapraiso, on the central Chilean coast. It is the place where Santiago natives go to beat the summer heat, eat fresh seafood, and stroll along the beach. Vancouver is home to the best Chinese food in the world, lots of great seafood, Stanley Park, and the most recent Winter Olympics. I spent many a day and night in Vail, CO skiing and conducting continuing education classes, sometimes in a conference room, sometimes in the hot tub. The famous Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam is one of my favorite art museums in the entire world, sans ear lobe of course.
W is for Wimbledon, England, aka the All England Lawn Tennis Club, home of the greatest tennis championship, and a truly wonderful fan experience. Standing in line, talking to strangers from all over the world, for 3 hours for a grounds pass is as much fun as the tennis itself. Washington, DC has so much to offer the tourist, young and old, walking or riding, with great food, including my personal favorite for fish, Ten Penh. Winters in the Rockies and Sierras produced many great ski trips, and a few winning ski races.
X is for Xieng Kouang, Laos, home to the Plain of Jars, in the middle of thousands of bomb craters our CIA left there during the Vietnam War. (You thought I would come up empty, didn’t you?) The Mystery Spot in Santa Cruz is marked with an “X”, perhaps due to its dielectric biocosmic radiation, whatever that is. I have been accused of having xenodocheionology , which is a love of hotels. I have eaten xylan, the gelatinous compound found in wood, when I was in the Amazon.
Y is for Yosemite National Park, the dream of John Muir, and the place where I bought my lifetime pass to the National Park System. And of course, nearby Yountville, CA is home to many great restaurants, including the 3 star French Laundry of Thomas Keller. Yoni is symbol of what I observed in Spain, female genitalia. And I plan to go to Yellowstone National Park later this year or next. London’s Scotland Yard is their version of the CIA, Interpol, and the KGB, nonetheless an impressive edifice.
Z is for Zion National Park, just outside of St. George, Utah, and truly one of the most unique of our national parks. Zurich, Switzerland is home to the best Grand Marnier soufflé I have ever had. And where else but on St. Louis’ famous Italian neighborhood, “The Hill”, can you find the best zabaglione, a frothy custard dessert. And I love the Zanella slacks available at Nordstrom stores in Seattle and Las Vegas. The world famous San Diego Zoo houses many unique and interesting animals, including the Pandas from Asia. Every time is use a pair of Japanese zoris, I think of the great trip to Japan and thank my ancestors for starting a new life here.
I have been fortunate to travel to each of the places in “ABC’s of Travel”.