Fly the Ocean in A Silver Plane

We’ve just flown about 18,000 miles in 10 days, stayed at one of the finest hotels in Johannesburg (or in Africa), then in an exquisite game lodge in the “bush,” and spent four full days leaving from 6 am to 10 am, and again from 4 pm to 7 pm, in a huge Land Rover Defender, driving across broken trails and no trails to see scores of different species and thousands of animals up close. These are the opportunities this …


Out of Africa

The silence is stunning. We are motoring through the South African Veldt and when the engine is turned off you hear only silence. It is broken by an occasional bird’s trill, the bird itself an iridescent, curved-beak glider looking to get lucky. The air is fresh and clean. Some days there are no clouds at all, half a globe overhead of cerulean that meets the mountains and the plains below. The animals don’t smell. Their dung, which is all around, …




New York, New York

I might have had the most perfectly cooked filet mignon in my life last night at the Hunt and Fish Club, then house seats at Carousel, and going backstage after to meet the Tony-nominated star. In other words, another average evening in The City.


Nevis

There are wild donkeys here. And I don’t mean skinny, weak creatures. They are good-looking, healthy, and highly independent. They are smart enough to walk along the verge and not in the middle of the very narrow roads. We saw one on a patch of grass next to the ocean, and couldn’t figure out how it got there. On the way back I saw it on a path in the underbrush which serves the purpose. The Irish start every sentence …


On the Road Again

I’m hardly an analytic-type person, and my tendency is to deliberately place numbers outside of the boxes. But when I first started traveling in the 1970s I thought it would be cool to keep tabs on my airline miles (before any frequent flyer program existed). I began with a small book and now have it on my computer. Returning from Fiji a couple of days ago, I reached the quite reliable number of 3,780,000 miles. I’ve also kept track of the …


Fiji Time

Fiji is a very calming place. It’s similar to Bali in many ways, though the beaches are nicer and it’s far less crowded—about 800,000 people. As in Bali, and Bora Bora (one of my top spots in the world), people live indoors and outdoors, and the resorts have amenities such as a second shower, outside, huge verandas, and so on. But the really outstanding feature of Fiji is that income is quite low and people are quite happy. I was …


Fiji

We arrived at 7am in Fiji, 11.5 hours out of LAX. Our bags took ten minutes, the driver had us to the Shangri-La in an hour where our beach-front villa was ready for us. At 10 we attended Catholic services about 20 minutes away. (Fiji has about 800,000 people and is overwhelmingly Christian, mostly Methodist. The Catholic population is about 20%. The church was packed, including people sitting on the floor, standing against the walls and sitting outside the building. …


Iceland the Myth

Trigger Warning to those in Ivy League schools: This might mess with your preconceptions of things you’ve never experienced. There are about 330,000 people in Iceland (Rhode Island, by comparison, has a million), and almost three million sheep, about 10 per person, give or take. There is also a plethora of horses. They look really happy, but then I found them on dinner menus. The tourist trade is by far the major industry and the country’s strong economy right now …