Don’t believe us? Well, follow me!
Image Courtesy Zürich Tourism
A funny thing happened on the way to researching my latest story for The Points Guy, about the ins and outs of traveling on two or more passports.
The mechanics of being bi-national are pretty basic. But at least when having that second passport is not something granted by dint of birth but rather sought after and somehow attained, it raises other issues. Isn’t it so darn Yankee-y to focus on what to show where and to whom? Of course, that’s important: you wanna move across borders you gotta follow some rules.
But then there is the psychological aspect of official duality or plurality, and the emotional. When I hold the passport of That Other Nationality in hand, or show it to a customs officer smiling or sullen, am I saying goodbye to one person and becoming another? And which one do I want to be? Which would you choose if you had to, and if you knew that there was no going back? Etc.
Photo Courtesy Sony Pictures Classics.
In the summer of 1987 I spent a number of weeks at an artist’s stone-walled villa on the shore of Lago di Bracciano, a volcanic lake outside Rome.
You must understand that that world no longer exists. Except for maybe in video.
To be continued
In travel, sometimes it’s the most irritating experiences that turn out to be the most inspiring. Over about a 12-month stretch I found myself aboard more Norwegian Air Shuttle flights than I had planned on; but the routing and timing and reasonable fares added up to lots of Norwegian air time. I remember boarding one of the airline’s spanking new 787 Dreamliners at JFK. Okay I should specify JFK Terminal 1, which is perhaps the worst terminal at JFK, principally because it isn’t Terminal 5 but I digress. The issue was that the terminal was crowded, wait times to check in were long, waiting at TSA was long, then the wait beyond security was long, and I felt like maybe this entire dehumanizing experience wasn’t really worth it. Did I mention the loud family from Australia with the loud Dad wearing a Hooters T-shirt, and his two teenage sons wearing Hooters T-shirts too, right behind me in the long check-in line, one of them spilling his Red Bull energy drink on my Mandarina Duck suitcase and oh, laughing about it while I thought well, thank God, at least they’re flying back to Australia, or someplace that wasn’t where I was going, and someplace with a (God love ’em!) Hooters.
Anyway. I primed my ears for onboard succor in the form of music, thinking maybe I could at least hear something humanizing, if not actually see or feel or smell it, on the way to my seat but no, nothing but canned music. The same canned music I had heard boarding in Barcelona. And in Copenhagen. And back at JFK. And that’s why when I heard that even some folks at Norwegian had had enough of melodies basic on their otherwise gleaming planes, I thought you know, this is something I can get behind. And the world should know more about these trailblazing efforts. So there you have it: overdue cool boarding music, be heard!
But travel isn’t always pretty.
In the travel and hospitality industries there are certain observations that are chiefly expressed over drinks among colleagues or in other closed quarters: things like “the French are lousy tippers,” “Israelis are pushy” or “Americans are loud.” And while such findings may contain some elements of truth, does it mean brand-appropriate reaction to them can veer into actual discrimination?
I recall vividly the first time I saw Casablanca (no, not that Casablanca, the real Casablanca) because it was from the deck of a ship and all I could see was the tall minaret of the Hassan II Mosque rising like a silent falcon above the choppy Atlantic, ribbon of green tile at the top.
A beacon of promise and an invitation to the unknown.
Now, more is known. Look.