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Friday, May 19, 2006

TRIP PLANS

MAY 19/06

This has been a week of making trip plans. On Tuesday I received my e-ticket confirmations for both Chile and NYC (going to NYC on Sept 5 - 9) and also received a package of City Tour tickets (media) for all the important sites around NYC. (We'll never have time to see them all!)

In addition to these exciting adventures, there will be a few local trips this summer, starting the first weekend of June when my writer's group goes on our writer's retreat weekend to Mayne Island. That will be particularly special as it's my birthday weekend so it will be a Gemini celebration. On the 10th, my friend and travel buddy Patrick arrives from Germany. We are planning a trip over to Vancouver Island and also a few days in the Interior, then he's heading up to Banff to see the Rockies. The rest of the summer will be spent in town here, hopefully enjoying sunshine and beach time and getting a bit of work so I can pay for the big trips in the Fall.

I'll start doing some research about Chile soon, because as travel journalist I can approach the Chilean tourism about hosting tours and possibly accomodations. I know I want to see Pablo Neruda's house and also visit Valparaiso. But what else is there to see? I know C. will take us to all the places familiar to A. and that will be the highlight of the journey.

So...the summertime will be full of dreams of adventures and making more trip plans.
Something to really look forward to!

***there had been some talk of me going to the Havana Jazz Festival with my Havana Buddy but the dates conflict with Chile. However he asked if I'd be interested in going another time and certainly, I would! I love Cuba -- cha-cha-cha!

Monday, May 15, 2006

THE TRAVEL GODS HAVE SMILED ON ME!

"There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune..."
William Shakespeare, 1654=1616 "Julius Caesar" IV iii, 217

Last week was one of those weeks that started out with frustrations (mainly computer gliches) and ended up to be a most incredible Mother's Day weekend. Last Thursday I booked my flight to Chile, leaving November 18 via Toronto where I'll meet up with my travel pal, Patrick. We're planning to stay two weeks and will visit Santiago mostly, but I want to make it more than a sentimental journey and do some travel writing assignments as well. For one thing, I really want to visit the home(s) of the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda and the city of Valparaiso which was one of my friend A's favorite places. (I hear there is a lovely beach area near there.)

On Saturday it was the annual B.C. Assoc. of Travel Writer's gala and seminar (the one where I had the good fortune of winning the trip to Malaysia last year). I went along with a friend who has just started travel writing. This is an excellent group of people, dynamic and fun. There were several people there who have taken my travel writing courses so it was a nice reunion too.

The seminars are always informative and interesting and of course there is time for schmoozing, visiting and eating good food. Following the gala was the monthly "Beers with Peers" which is also a lot of fun.

During the course of the afternoon various prizes were drawn for members and non-members. My friend and I agreed that if one of us won the spa or mountain retreat weekend, we'd take the other along. We didn't win one of those, but I won a flash thingy for my computer which, co-incidentally happened to be a gift from Malaysian Tourism. Well, the day was drawing to it's close and suddenly there was one last draw - the big one -- the door prize, for members only.
And guess who won the tickets for two to New York City! (plus city tours). I could hardly believe it! Such a surprise. Certainly the gods of good fortune are smiling on me these days!

It's been years since I was in NYC and the idea of going back there is so exciting. I look forward to spending a few days there, probably in the Fall, to take in some shows and look around the old haunts where I had visited so long ago.

So for the next months this travel blog will contain pre-trip research and of course, the interesting little local trips I'll be making throughout the summer. It seems this is to be the Year of Travel. I'm sure looking forward to it! (I'm going out now to buy a lottery ticket!)

"When Fortune is on our side, popular favor bears her company."
Publilius Syrus First Century B.C. "Maxim 275"

Monday, May 08, 2006

PLANNING THE SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY

"Gonna take a sentimental journey..."

As the song goes...I'm going to take a sentimental journey to Chile this November. Plans are taking shape, and I'm about to book my flight. My good friend Patrick from Germany will accompany me and we plan to meet up in Toronto for the long flight down.

This journey is an invitation...a 'gift' from the ex-wife of my dear friend A. who died last Fall.
When she was here during A's stay in Palliative and for several weeks after his death, C. and I and her children became friends, and she invited Patrick and I to visit her in Santiago. So now we are making plans and hope to go there for about two weeks.

All during my friendship with A. he talked incessantly about his country, which he longed to return to. He was living in exile here, after escaping Pinochet's junta and then the junta in Argentina where he'd fled with his wife and children. He and his wife were active in the revolutionary movement and worked and lived in the shanty towns. He was a great suporter of Salvatore Allende and had turned down an opportunity to be part of his government. A. 'educated' me about Chile and what had happened there. So this invitation means a lot to me. It's going to be a real 'sentimental journey' to the land that A. loved so much and the places where he and C. spent time and were actively involved in that part of Chile's history. I hope too that I can visit some of Pablo Neruda's places as A. was the one who introduced me to the poet.

It's really exciting to have a new destination in mind and within the week have that ticket booked and paid for making the 'dream' a reality.

So watch this space for more news as the plans take shape.