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Classmate notes on travel
Here are some communications from classmates about their travel experiences. Feel free to submit your own...
From Paul Tuhus:
It’s been a few years since my last tour assignments in Asia, but here are a few thoughts.
Although China is fascinating in its own way, if you’ve never been to Asia before it won’t likely match your mental image of the region.
Much better is going to Vietnam and/or Cambodia. The former is fast evolving, but is much more evocative than China, the people are wonderful, food is great, accommodations very comfortable, and it’s a beautiful country. Cambodia lags behind Vietnam, but offers the spectacular Angkor Wat temple complex. Food and lodging are also fine. A good way to do both is to do some touring in Vietnam and then take a cruise up the Mekong from the south of the country upriver to Cambodia.
Some people have reservations about going to Burma (Myanmar) for political reasons, but is also a great place to visit with a fascinating history. Accommodations are not as luxurious as the above countries, but perfectly acceptable.
As a tour manager people would frequently ask me for my favorite destination. I’ve always this a hard question to answer because a) the world has a huge number of fascinating places to visit, and 2) people travel to various destinations for different reasons. (e.g., France and Italy for museums and food, Switzerland and Norway for scenery, New Zealand for the friendliest English-speaking people on the planet and ease of travel, Africa for the wildlife, England for history, etc., etc.)
I’ve had the very good fortune to make it to over 100 countries, and always end up answering India. If you want a truly life changing experience, it is the place to go. The experience impacts you in so many ways and truly assaults your senses. Every time I start thinking and talking about my travels there my skin starts to tingle. Forget about any possible (and likely) preconceptions, and surrender yourself to its charms and spectacle. Also, the hotels are some of the finest in the world.
If you would like more comment about the above, it’s probably best done over the phone or face-to-face at Homecoming. Anyway, the above is my quick advise.
From Ted Adams:
There is plenty of Asia that I have not seen but here are my reactions to what I have seen:
China: Guess what - they have a lot of people. Any tourist destination is going to have Disneyland size crowds. The Chinese are merchants from top of their heads to the tips of their toes. That whole thing with Mao and Communism was a dream. Americans for the most part understand the merchant culture though the Chinese are a lot more devoted to it than we are. It is a little like Las Vegas - the premise is How do we separate the tourists from their money? The problem with bartering is you never know if you got a good deal. We went to Shanghai and the Yellow Mountains. Both are worth taking in. Travel in China is pretty easy with high speed rail.
India: Most foreign place I have ever been. There is a lot going on that I just did not understand. The proof of this is to pick up an Indian English language paper. In every 30 to 50 words was a word that exists only in Indian English. I think there are something like 18 official languages and 20 or so major religions. Taj Mahal is worth seeing. I found travel in India exhausting in that everything is so different. I would not put India at the top of my list of places to go because it is so challenging.
Both China and India are large, diverse countries. If you go to either one, don't go anywhere else and don't try to cover the entire country.
I've also been to Bali and Singapore. Bali is lovely. Lots of interesting fruit that I had never seen before. Cheap massages. Singapore is an interesting modern city. Lot of air conditioning (they need it!) Certainly not everybody's cup of tea. For some reason it reminded me of Zurich (though in Zurich it is vastly easier to spend crazy amounts of money on the simplest of things). I think they are similar in that both cities are financial hubs with a lot going on that has nothing to do with tourism.
From Norman Jacobs:
My wife and I went on a tour of Vietnam and Cambodia a couple years ago. One of the best trips we have ever taken. The tour operator was Ama Waterways. We tagged on all of the pre & post cruise options that were available, plus a couple extra days in Hanoi at the beginning.
We just planned a trip to Singapore and Thailand for this coming December/January. That trip is through Abercrombie & Kent. We have friend who have taken this trip and highly recommend it.