During this holiday season and throughout the New Year, I wish you joy, happiness, and safe travels. It has been my privilege to be your Travelers’ Century Club president 2016- 2017. Our membership continues to grow with the leadership of the Board of Directors and our dedicated Chapter Coordinators. It is exciting to see more chapter coverage in the Centurian, and your response to our photo contest in each edition has given us exceptional insight into your travels and talents!
Our TCC community truly is the gathering place of travelers with information to share travel experiences from the mundane to the frightening extreme.
Reflecting on my travels through the years with family and friends, I appreciate some of my experiences may not be available to travelers in the next few years and maybe even today. Some of these amazing sights are gradually disappearing due to climate change and development. I share with you some of my experiences that represent a place in time in my travels.
Traveling in Antarctica on a Russian icebreaker I witnessed the crashing sound of massive icebergs breaking away from the ice shelf from glaciers. Scientific studies estimate Antarctica is losing 160 billion tons of ice annually. When we were there, our Russian icebreaker was a lonely ship in the region that now has increasing numbers of cruise ships. In respect to the penguin inhabitants waddling up and down the ice, we stepped aside the path for them to pass as they gathered rocks to build their nests. Rocks?? Yes, what else in that environment? Unfortunately several species of penguin are dwindling.
In February 2017, Argyle Airport opened in St. Vincent and the Grenadines opening the floodgates for direct flights by major airlines from around the world. My visit was in the time of limited access. After finding a fisherman who had a boat, we hired him to be our guide as we cruised around the islands from early morning to late afternoon touring from Mustique to Palm Island enjoying fishing and swimming on isolated beaches. His wife joined us and always furnished delicious traditional Caribbean cuisine complete with her special rum punch jug. Many changes now, I am sure with Argyle Airport.
Anticipate changes in Nicaragua with the Nicaragua Canal linking the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. A Hong Kong consortium is planning to build a $50 billion, 172.7-mile canal across Nicaragua—almost four times longer than Panama’s. The passage is intended to compete for inter-ocean traffic by servicing ships too big to pass through even Panama’s expanded canal, and would be one of the largest infrastructure projects in human history. An ambitious timeline of completion in five years from 2017 is projected. This project could affect the Nicaragua I visited and enjoyed of tropical jungles and waterfalls, deserted beaches offering snorkeling in pristine waters filled with beautiful marine life, and, of course, the ever present howler monkeys. Anticipate news and opposition as this project moves forward.
My memories of Machu Picchu include taking the evening train, arriving into Aguas Calientes, staying in a small bread and breakfast and catching the first bus with only ten travelers up to the ruins to observe sunrise over Machu Picchu. With a guide, my daughter and I toured the ruins rarely seeing another person and hiked one of the trails before the tour buses arrived with the crowds. It was a magical time regardless of the spitting llama. But we were warned! There will be changes in this region as a three-mile cable car is being constructed to carry 400 people an hour to the ruins of nearby Choquequirao Archeological Park, sister city to Machu Picchu.
Visiting the Taj Mahal 25 years ago and recently in 2016 were two different experiences. There was minimum security 25 years ago and to my dismay, tourist and locals were prying semi-precious stones embossed in the carvings on white marble and slipping them into their pockets. How could something so beautiful be so abused? However, the tourist and locals were sparse and we were free to enjoy at leisure. In 2016 the queue was about half a mile long waiting to go through security. We were herded through areas of the Taj Mahal in throngs of people being constantly guarded at every step. I noticed no stones being pried out of this magnificent structure.
We will continue to seek (and count, admit it) new countries and new experiences, and sometimes even revisit…that is the calling within us as TCC members.
“The world is big, and I want to have a good look at it before it gets dark.”