Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Turbo planning mode for Japan

Dear family:

It’s too late…you can’t stop me from going to Japan this spring. I’m not waiting until next year because Continental is dropping the KIX airport as a destination on May 1, and I want to gobble up as many miles as I can (and take advantage of my super sweet Silver Elite status). Even the PD travel editor says you shouldn’t let the economy derail your travel plans (love Susan Glaser)!

Plus, the annual Cherry Blossom Festival is April 10. Remember how I used to take weekend trips in college to D.C. in April just to see the trees?

I already have about two dozen travel books and language CDs from the library, so there is no turning back now. Even Phil knows this. (Side note: it is insane that the Rosetta Stone language program is $400!!)

So, here’s the plan. First, visit Kyoto, one of the most exclusive and well-known geisha districts in Japan (my favorite novel is Memoirs of a Geisha). Next, take a train to the Mt. Fugi area to visit the Itchiku Kobota Art Museum (got a taste during my trip to San Diego). And, finish off with a couple days in Tokyo since passing through without a visit to and from Bangkok was torture.

I even found a flight with a one-night stopover in Honolulu. HONOLULU!!! Now I just need the price to come down…

P.S. Thanks to the shout out from Always a Bridesmaid. Check out her blog for hilarious musings on her single-girl status.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A view of Mumbai from the movie screen

Last night I saw Slumdog Millionaire, one of the best movies I've seen (if not the best). It spawned so much reflection on my part -- for me, the true test of a good movie -- but don't worry, I won't spill any themes related to the plot.

Here's a snapshot of the "safe" topics I started noodling over during the drive home:

1) what drives my passion for travel
2) when might I be ready to tackle India (uh, not soon)
3) how lucky I am to choose my adventures and then retreat to a safe, comfortable life

I thrive on traveling throughout the States and abroad because doing so offers awareness of how my slice of life stacks up to my American peers and the rest of the world.

For example, when I went to Bangkok, I loved being able to compare its chaotic traffic to that of NYC and Rome because I had experienced each city personally. And, it was a blessing to appreciate the rarity of finding a megatroplis, jungle and temples thousands of years old within a three-hour drive span of central Bangkok.

Many Americans regard NYC as our champion city, our largest metropolis with a population hovering around 8.3 million (what's not to love?). But, we'd be remiss to acknowledge that its chaos sometimes pales to the rest of the world. For example, Mumbai boasts the largest urban population in the world at 13.7 million. I cannot imagine what it's like to navigate a city with that many people and that frantic of a's completely intimidating.

Plus, the poverty level I've read about is so unsettling -- today, slum dwellers make up 60% of Mumbai's population, which is approximately 7 million people. That's insane to process.

So for now, I'll keep my distance. You, however, need to go see the movie STAT.

Friday, January 2, 2009

A chilled beach in Dubai

A luxe Dubai resort to be completed in 2010 by Versace (yes, that Versace) wants to construct an artificially cooled beach by refrigerating the sand so your feet don't burn when temps rise to above 120 degrees.

Obvi, this place is aimed at the uber-rich, so to visit the chilled beach, you must be worth at least a cool million. I'll continue to admire it from afar (aka the Internet).