NEW YORK (Jan. 30) – I knew I would be doing a lot of traveling during the holidays to connect with friends and loved ones across the globe, but it was only toward the end of trip that I realized I would circle the entire planet.
The journey started off in New York City to Washington, D.C., before I boarded Emirates on a flight to Dubai. After a few days in the popular Middle Eastern hub, which handles millions of international passengers each month, I was off to neighboring Abu Dhabi, an hour away by bus, to board another Emirati airline, Etihad Airways, to Saigon, Vietnam, now called Ho Chi Minh City.
Visiting Vietnam was an impressive experience—the cleanliness of the towns, the hospitality of the people and the convenience of the cabs, which could be found at a moment’s notice to get you around the city quickly and affordably.
While not all Vietnamese food agreed with my palate, the lion’s share did, especially when interspersed with varieties of Japanese and Indian-Pakistani offerings. Unfortunately, heavy helpings did not contribute to my “get fine” program; It’s almost February and I am paying the paunchy price for over-indulging on Asian fare.
A visit to the resort town of Mui Ne on the South China Sea, with its breezy shores and powerful surf, reminded me of the beautiful but often wild east coast of Barbados. It was there that I met Steve Raymond, the hospitable general manager of the Pandanus Resort, who made my family feel warm and relaxed.
As I monitored the news of snow blanketing America’s Northeast, resulting in airline cancellations, I realized it would be in my best interest to return via the warmer western areas of the American mainland by flying in an easterly direction from Asia.
So after the four-hour train ride back to Saigon, it was time for a 90-minute massage—which set me back a whopping $15—before heading back to the U.S. northeast via Tokyo.
Thanks to airport showers at the Narita and Dallas/Fort Worth international airports, I was fully refreshed upn arrival, and it was back to business as I left the airport for an hour-long meeting.
From the South China Sea to the Caribbean Sea. You may be wondering why the Caribbean? Well, that’s because your trusted traveler was off to Jamaica for the Caribbean Travel Marketplace the next morning.
Yes, around the world in about three weeks.
Anyway, I’ve got to run—literally—because it’s time to work on the paunch!