No-go list keeps on growing

The world is a big place and travel broadens the mind.

The world is a big place and travel broadens the mind.

However, I keep adding to my growing lists of places that I have no plans to visit – or, for good reasons, the things I never want to do, like bungee jumping, cave-diving, snow-boarding or climbing in the Himalayas.

I’m not talking about obviously unwelcome destinations like Iran, Syria or Afghanistan. There are lots of other no-go places for me where random touring is likely not a good idea.

Even though I’ve been there, non-resort Mexico in recent years has been high on both my lists. I admit I did enjoy some parts of my last visit to Mexico City in the late 1960s. Yes, I know that was a long time ago and, of course, much has changed.

Then, Mexico City seemed to be a lot safer place – unless you were driving a car. I wasn’t – and it’s 50 times worse now!

Let me tell you, getting into a sawdust ring with even a baby bull, in a Mexican restaurant after a few beers, quickly loses its adventure appeal when you try it!

Even a baby bull, with stubby little horns outweighs you two-to-one! Just ask the girl from Calgary who was with us and went head-to-head with it, so to speak.

That was not as long ago as my only trip to Paris, France, in 1960  where again I enjoyed a lot of what we were doing.

We went in mid-summer, just two young single guys on motorbikes. Driving or even strolling and enjoying the sights was fun. We basked in the sun, even swam in the Seine, and lounged on the banks drinking coffee, eating bread and cheese and sampling some of the vast range of inexpensive domestic wines.

I didn’t know if Paris was really expensive, even then. Youth hostels were fine. Dumb, eh?

But not dumb enough to miss the famed Folies Bergere – not in front seats, but it was an eye opener for us all the same. Now you can see more on TV almost any time.

The Louvre was duller, but we went there and to a couple of other galleries out of a sense of duty – and the  fear that we’d be asked when we got home how we had enjoyed contemporary French art.

Now of course, years later, all I can say is I’ve been there, done that. But Paris is still on my list.

In the same category, I’ve added downtown San Francisco, the grubbiest, trashiest downtown I’ve ever been in. As well as experiencing the smallest “luxury” hotel room I’ve seen.

It was clean, but, as well as being tiny, was located over the street. We moved to the back of the hotel into a larger room after one night of sirens, screaming and  even gunshots. Yonge Street times 10.

And traffic! … although nothing is all bad and a thrilling drive over the Golden Gate Bridge followed by winery hopping in the Napa Valley at Hallowe’en was a splendid experience – and it’s still on my list for a repeat.

I’ve just added Mediterranean Sea cruises to my list, especially along the Italian coastline.

But I had winter cruising fairly close to the top anyway, what with the frequency of Legionnaire’s disease, SARS and other infectious unpleasantness, coupled with even the idea of wearing a tuxedo for dinner.

I’d not chance catching a tsunami in Thailand either. I know people love it, but it’s just not for me.

I used to have a bit of a hankering to see the Gulf Coast of the United States: I’d wanted to drive from the southern Texas coast to Florida .

At least that was one of my “bucket list” entries before the BP oil disaster. I’ve crossed it off now – as I guess have a lot of people – because I’ve seen a lot of BP-funded “we’re back” tourism ads for the Gulf Coast.

These suggest to me that quite the opposite is true, so the Gulf is off my list.

cont’d from page 4

More than 2,000 beaches in Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida were closed or affected by the spill and a lot of fishing is still restricted in stretches of the Gulf of Mexico, environmentalists say.

Places where shark attacks seem to be regular occurrences, like sandy swimming and snorkeling lagoons in places like Hawaii, South Africa and Australia, I’m afraid are also on my list, as well as those tropical “paradises” frequented by killer jelly-fish (thanks Oasis HD.)

Box jellyfish is so packed with venom you can die within two minutes of even a brief encounter with one. The bad news is that box jellyfish and another equally poisonous species, the tiny but deadly irukandji, are on the move and scientists warn populations are exploding.

I often think of a local buddy who told me he had been around the world and is planning now to go somewhere else!

ahewitson@telus.net

 

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