America, Asia, Countries, Europe

Wuhoo Wuhan

It seems like a lifetime ago when we sat down for our annual Wendy Wu Chinese New Year dinner in Dublin.

You can read what you want into this year being the Year of the Rat.

And talked about what then seemed a distant (and Asian) threat… Coronavirus in China.

The city of Wuhan had been put in lockdown and our hosts, of course, were seeing the effects long before the rest of us.

The date, January 23, seemed insignificant other than I was long looking forward to one of my highlights of the year.

When the clock started ticking

And not just because it meant meeting up with old friends and the feast in front of us at Chai Yo Teppanyaki on Baggot Street Lower https://www.chaiyo.ie

But when we chronicle these times that date of January 23, 2020 will mark the day that Wuhan locked down.

And there’s even more…. Chinese New Year

Seventy-six days later, on April 7, the region emerged from lockdown.

And from this website’s perspective Travel began its fightback.

Chinese travel

With The Guardian reporting that China Eastern was operating 30 flights from Wuhan to other cities in China.

Like Shanghai, Shenzhen and Guangzhou, with more than 1,600 trips booked.

Let’s get Shanghaied in Shanghai

More than 55,000 passengers were said to have booked tickets to leave the city, according to the railway operator.

And long-distance buses had also resumed service.

All of which had passed me by somewhat until my daily trawl as to what the rest of the world was doing brought me back to Wuhan.

And talk of further travel from the city on the Yangtze.

I’ve got The Donald’s ear

Because, and taking into account that no country is the same, 73 days takes Britain from March 23 to July 4.

Now the significance of such a date would not be lost on any of us and we all come from a different starting point.

The West is watching

But it would be great if all of us in the Western World can target that date to get going again.

And while it is unlikely that Donald Trump would follow anything that China does, we can but dream.

Palm trees everywhere: Florida

I know I am… I had planned the Florida Keys https://fla-keys.co.uk San Francisco https://www.sftravel.com and Dublin https://dublin.ca.gov in the Tri-Valley outside San Fran. As well as Chicago https://www.choosechicago.com.

Alas the American Travel fair, IPW, bowed to the inevitable when the get-together, which was this year to be held in Las Vegas https://www.lvcva.com, was shelved.

Don’t Cancel Postpone

Those trade partners I visit (yes, and hug) every year are suffering just now.

Honest Abe and Honest Jim: In DC

And I can only reprise on how I found them and their venues, Washington DC, Denver and Anaheim in previous years…

At http://Easy DC, https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/culture/go-west-denver-buffalo-bill/.

And https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/08/29/the-new-pioneers/ and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/03/19/my-weekend-with-marilyn-2/ and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/03/23/stair-wars-4/

And say, once again, as I will. Don’t Cancel Postpone

Adventure, Africa, Countries, Culture, Food, Food & Wine

Los Lounges Story… and other word games

Don’t worry about me, I’m enjoying the Los Lounges life… in my boardies, pulling my surf stunt, with my Beach Boys music on, and a Strawberry Daiquiri waiting for me.

They are memories and pictures that I can pull up to transfer myself to a favourite place.

And just one of the distractions to being holed up indefinitely.

Surf’s up: In Surf City, Huntington Beach http://www.surcityusa.com

Which has at times happened on my travels.

West is best… West Hollywood

Obviously when I’ve been struck down like the time when I got food poisoning on my LA break https://www.discoverlosangeles.com and www.visitcalifornia.com and www.ticketsdirect.com and had to stay in bed for a day.

Peerless: Kimpton La Peer Hotel, West Hollywood

With diversions to the toilet.

Still if you are forced to remain in barracks then I’d recommend the Kimpton La Peer Hotel https://www.lapeerhotel.com/?utm_source=Google%20My%20Business&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=GMB&utm_term=lapeer. In West Hollywood https://www.weho.org.

While, yes. I missed that day’s itinerary which had involved a trip to the Warner Bros Studios and their sets https://www.wbstudiotour.com.

Budge up Sheldon

And the chance to sit in Sheldon’s spot but I did get to do just that when Hollywood My Weekend With Marilyn came to Anaheim for the American Travel Fair, IPW.

And to check out Disneyland’s https://disneyland.disney.go.com/destinations/disney-california-adventure/hollywood-land/ newest residents Stair Wars.

Formidable Four: With Mark, Issy ad Rachel in South Africa http://www.southafrica.net

It won’t surprise you that today’s conversation has gone off on a tangent… a bit like Alan, one of our coach drivers snd guides in the Eastern Cape in South Africa… http://mobi.alantours.co.za.

Alan’s magical mystery tour

Of course with five wordsmiths in the coach we were never short of a word game or two to while away the time we spent lost in the South African national park…

And enjoyed the delights of South Africa What’s new pussycat?. And Day in the life of a township

Those arrows should point upwards: In Tenerife https://www.visitingtenerife.com

While in Tenerife A walk through the ages… Tenerife we ratcheted it up after stumbling upon a Franco-themed pub in Afur.

Franco and the dictator grocery game

At the end of a particularly challenging climb on our CanariaWays.com trip…. www.CanariaWays.com.

And started a game of ‘supermarket dictator’ after I’d suggested somebody ask the owner of the Franco pun is he had any Tito crisps.

By hook or by crook: In Tenerife

The best of our offerings came from our friend and host Maria with… Lennoncello.

So let me know your suggestions for our parlour game of destinations around the house.

My Finnish pal Paula from our trip to Orlando Why I love The Donald and https://www.disneyworld.co.uk got us going on this one… with Los Lounges.

I weighed in with Ayia Crapper..

Now it’s over to you. Tell me your favourites.

America, Countries, Culture, Europe

Life’s a drag… queen

There’s no photographic evidence that it ever happened and I don’t know what it says about the ‘nurse’ who agreed to date the drag queen me.

Nursie clearly had second thoughts the following day and didn’t turn up at the bar.

Although my much-storied Australian flatmates had great fun in telling me every five minutes that I’d missed her.

All of which diva prancing around (the occasion was a student ‘Tarts and Tramps’ party.

Oh Nicki, you’re so fine: Ms Minaj

Where the guys dressed as women and the women as hobos) brings me to RuPaul’s new season of Drag Race which also showcases Nicki Minaj and Michelle Visage.

Which is, thanks to Daddy’s Little Girl, a big fave in our house.

I particularly love RuPaul and the beautifully pink Trini, that’s Trinidadian and Tobagonian to you and me Nicki Minaj.

And as you know I love a bit of colour and make-up and slapped it on in Tobago in December.

While Nicki also likes to tear it up at Tobago carnival… www.tobago.gov.tt and Ready, steady GOAT… racing in Tobago. And https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=lt9dXQ-YmZ8.

All of which stuff and nonsense allows me to talk about the divine divas I’ve sashayed with on my travels.

Sugsr bum-bum: The Drag Race girls

Vegas baby

Cami, Las Vegas: What happens in Harrah’s in Vegas stays in Harrah’s in Vegas.

Dance the night away

And when that mad. glad joint off the Strip kicks into life again then myself, my travel companions and Cami who comes down from Utah will be there.

Now who wants a shot… and a drink too?

Visit www.lvcva.com and Strip… the light fantastic

Pride of Barcelona

Pride, Barcelona: Barca. the football team may be the pride of the Catalonians.

And Lionel Messi… but how about Lionel Missy?

I’ve been watching too much Drag Race… my favourite is Heidi N Closet from Missouri.

While my Drag Name is Shirley Brassy.

But sun on your back, on the streets of Barcelona with a Sangria Familia is where to spend Pride.

And it’s the perfect place to kick off your cruise when we get back on the water.

Visit https://www.barcelonaturisme.com/wv3/en/, and www.msc.com.

Dee-Dee and Me-Me

Purple reigns in Barbados

Dee-Dee, Barbados: Don’t smudge my make-up, mon.’

But the husky-voiced Dee-Dee broke out a smile that was as warm as the Barbados night on Crop Over at Barbados Carnival.

I was in for a dime in for a Bajan dollar with my purple painted beard.

Visit https://www.visitbarbados.org and My kiss with Rihanna.

LA is my laddie

LA -La

LA ladies, Anaheim: ‘At last my man has come along’… she could have been singing to me at Platinum Triangle in Anaheim on Pride night.

We stole a moment later and a pic for my scrapbook.

But what kind of gentleman am I… I forgot her name and didn’t call.

Visit https://visitanaheim.org www.visitcalifornia.com and My Weekend With Marilyn.

America, Countries, Culture, Europe, Pilgrimage

Give us this Day – Sing a song of prayer to the Lord

I’m sitting out my Sunday service today but I will sing a song of prayer to the Lord.

The advice on attending your place of worship has swung back and forth like yon botafumeiro incense holder that almost took me out in Santiago.

With the Diocese of Rome, whose boss, the Pope the ma. I defer to, ordering the closing of churches and then their reopening.

While mosques, synagogues and temples are also reacting coronavirus by closing their doors to protect their flock.

Best consult your place of worship for latest advice.

Of course there has always been an exemption from Sunday worship in my church for those who are old or infirm, if you’re sick, or at risk.

While there is no compulsion on Protestants to attend church with the emphasis very much on an individual’s personal relationship with God.

Through the Good Book and prayer.

And much like Methodists, Baptists and Gospel choirs the best way to pray is to sing.

And to Our Lady

So here are a few songs from my travels to get you going:

Ave Maria (https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=XpYGgtrMTYs): Well they are Marian sites…

Lourdes https://www.lourdes-infotourisme.com and The Lourdes prayer, Fatima in Portugal Centro www.visitportugal.com.

And Secret Portugal Medjugorje What’s the story, Medjugorje? Wouldn’t you like to know. And Marian Pilgrimages www.marian.ie.

Spiritual

Which is where the greats from Motown from Aretha to Whitney started out and how cruise ships https://www.celebritycruises.co.uk put on entertainment.

I’d missed the old gospel choir in Memphis after I had to get the early-morning connection back to Europe.

But we were greeted to Christmas songs in an antebellum house turned B&B (and Deep South B&Bs are actually country houses). Visit https://www.deep-south-usa.com.

I did manage to get my fix though in Anaheim. See https://visitanaheim.org and www.visitcalifornia.com

And breaking news…

Word reaches us from Siena, Italy, where the locals have been singing to each other for moral support.

Down an empty street https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=hDu_kLJ-5Mk.

The song: E mentre Siena Dorme, or While Siena Sleeps.

Italians have never been silenced and never will… http://www.italia.it/en/home.html and Small roads lead to Rome.

And remember everybody has a place in God’s choir.

America, Countries, Europe, Ireland, UK

Bring us your tempest-tost to America

Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,I lift my lamp beside the golden door

Emma Lazarus, The New Colossus, 1883

And earlier in the poem dedicated for the new Statue of Liberty which would sit on the Hudson Bay, a gift from America’s old allies France…

‘Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand. Glows worldwide welcome.’

Today those same French must wait at least 30 days along with the rest of the European Union, or those in the Shengen free-travel zone.

Before they can re-enter America.

The UK, now out of the European Union, is exempt.

While Ireland is a special case.

Which will allow me (for now) to visit the Florida Keys in a week and a half… https://fla-keys.com.

But what will be when the American Travel fair, IPW, throws open its doors in Las Vegas I’ll just have to wait and see.

And hope that my friends who I meet up with every year in an American city will be there.

Swede Agnetha, who I first met in the Czech Republic www.visitczechrepublic.com and was the first journalist I met in Washington Easy DC and have seen every year since.

There was the coachload in Colorado The New Frontiersmen and https://www.colorado.com.

Of Chinese, German, Jordanian and a very annoying Australian Alpha Male although in the spirit of the New Colossus I’d let him back in

While I always look forward to seeing Dutch Martin, my Blues-loving pal from our Deep South odyssey… The Promised Land, The story of the Blues, The King of Kings.

Who I met in Los Angeles https://www.discoverlosangeles.com and www.visitcalifornia.com last year.

I know Lady Liberty has her arms outstretched for us all and let’s hope the 30-day suspension achieves its aim.

And that this tempest-tost traveller, and those like me, will all be toasting our favourite country with our favourite people…

In Vegas https://www.lvcva.com and Strip… the light fantastic, in June.

Africa, America, Countries, Culture, Europe

My blooming Valentine – the pick of the bunch

Say it with flowers. Happy Valentine’s Day.

And here is the pick of the bunch of my flowers from around the world.

Of course my fave is right here at home.

California blooming

Purple reigns: In Beverly Hills

Jacaranda, Southern California:?No, not the name of a Hollywood actress but these vibrant purple blooms in West Hollywood and Beverly Hills.

The best time to see them is in June when the jacaranda showers its blooms on passers-by which was me.

See www.visitcalifornia.com and https://www.weho.org.

Edelweiss in Austria

Austria’s flower

Edelweiss, Austria, Switzerland: They should write a song about this

We know it from The Sound of

Music and as the national flower

of Austria Soll Mates but you can

also find it all around Switzerland

Swhisskey on the rock

Visit https://www.austria.info/en and https://www.myswitzerland.com/en-gb/. And get out that old soundtrack.

This flower lasts for ever

Something for everyone

Sempre viva, Kythera, Greece: Yes, I love yellow but there are other golden flowers other than daffodils.

Take the sempreviva flower from the Attica island, off Athens, which is so called because of its hardiness.

A bit like the old men and women of the island…. https://visitkythera.com. And My Greek odyssey.

The miracle flower

Pride of South Africa

The spekboom, South Africa: The good people at Raggy Charters https://www.raggycharters.co.za would take us out on Algoe Bay in the Eastern Cape in South Africa…

To spot bottlenose dolphins and penguins.

But they would always plant a spekboom to counter the fuel consumption from the boat.

Read about this magic plant in This plant can save the world and What’s new pussycat?. And visit https://www.southafrica.net/uk/en/.

A Mimosa for me

Model flower

Mimosas, Cannes, France: Drink it in… they’re flowers and cocktails!

And Mandelieu-La-Napoule, near Cannes is awash with them during the week-long Mimosa Festival https://www.mandelieu.com/evenements/mimosa-festival-4 which takes place from February 19.

And of course I got in the spirit of things too… The Boat D’Azur.

The flower of peace

Where once was mud

The poppy, Flanders, Belgium: It was the only flower that could grow in the mud of No-Man’s-Land in Flanders.

During the carnage of the First World War.

Lest we forget it is a beautiful flower and symbol all year around and the Fallen should be remembered all year round.

See In Flanders fields and www.visitflanders.com.

And always…

My wee flower

Tulips from Amsterdam: They are the flower that were the gift among royal courts.

The must-have status symbol of the 17th Century in the Netherlands.

And the flower that fed the starving Dutch in the last winter of the Second World War.

Read more about them in Pictures of Amsterdam and What’s new pussycat?.

Visit www.iamsterdam.com and also take in the Tulip Museum https://amsterdamtulipmuseum.com.

While the Netherlands’ other great flower, the crocus, is just as regal… Crocus gold… Valentine’s in Amsterdam and Ireland.

Happy Valentine’s everyone and tell us your favourite flower and destination.

Adventure, Asia, Countries, Culture, Deals, Food, Food & Wine

Oscar bravo to Korea

It’s the pinnacle of your Korea as an actor. OK that’s enough puns (he lied).

South Korea is on everyone’s lips after Parasite’s sensational Oscar triumph yesterday in Hollywood.

And it gave me a little thrill to see Hollywood in all its glamour after visiting last year… https://www.discoverlosangeles.com/things-to-do/the-beginners-guide-to-hollywood and www.visitcalifornia.com.

All the colours of Seoul

So Chughahabrida to Korea and it. may again hold the world’s attention…

If they are successful in their joint-bid with the North to hold the 2032 Olympic Games.

Seoul hosted a memorable 1988 Olympic Games which was attended by all after the boycotts of Moscow 1980 and LA 1984.

The South Koreans came a-visiting just last month at the Holiday World Show in Dublin.

And wowed us with their pitch.

You won’t need second helpings

For a country that boasts old Buddhist temples, hilly countryside, coastal fishing villages.

Traditional food (look out for the bibimbap with its distinctive raw egg and sliced beef on top).

Sub-tropical islands, the volcanic Jeju island, and high-tech cities such as Seoul, the world’s third largest island, of course.

While Busan City is the country’s second largest, with mountains, water, a super cool bridge, and the world-famous Jagalchi Fish market.

Neon glitz in Seoul

I’m reminded here of my two brushes, indirectly, with the two Koreas.

My old Northern Irish flatmate who taught English as a foreign language to the public back in the Eighties.

I fear the poor souls will be going around saying ‘howabite ye?’ ‘yer man’ and a ‘wee fry.’

While my Orlando www.visitorlando.com and Why I love The Donald host Cory relayed us with tales from her year there where she was warmly welcomed.

By a nation where more than 90% of the population is indigenous.

Blooming marvellous

The South Koreans http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/index.kto want us to come to learn more about their culture and we theirs.

G Adventures www.gadventures.com has eight days ‘the Best of South Korea’ from €1399, down from €1749.

This trip embraces, rather than skirts, Korea’s troubled history with an excursion to the Demilitaised Zone separating the two Koreas.

Temple culture

You’ll visit spectacular Seoul, folk villages, temples and the bustling markets of Busan.

G Adventures can help point you in the direction of flights…

This offer is for departure date on March 13, and also March 20.

While there are 15% reductions for April 17 and March 30-June 7.

I can recommend first hand how interactive and how immersed in the local culture G Holidays are.

Shopping heaven: Traditional markets

With the best hosts… take a bow Zuhair.

From my visit to Jordan… The water of life, Petra, and the sands of time and www.visitjordan.com.

So maybe this year your G Adventures trip will be to Korea… better start practising your Gangnam Style.

Uncategorized

Moanday Morning – Carousels

And the seasons

They go round and round

And the painted ponies go up and down

We’re captive on a carousel of time

We can’t go on, we can only look behind

From where we came from

And go round and round and round

On the carousel of time.

The Circle Game – Joni Mitchell

No, not that carousel, but the ones at the airport.

I got in late earlier this month to Dublin Airport from Munich.

And spent a good half an hour watching the painted suitcases go round and round.

Mine’s unhelpfully is charcoal grey.

Now for whatever reason mine always comes out last.

Which means that if I’m on an organised trip I might hold my party up as happened in Los Angeles. https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/06/22/my-weekend-with-marilyn/ And http://www.visitcalifornia.com.

Or have to get a taxi and join up with them later which very neatly happened.

This time on the way back from Munich my luggage didn’t arrive at all. Hungry and Thursday: The Munich Beerfest. Visit https://www.muenchen.de/int/en/tourism.html

And I got the call over the Tannoy to report to the desk.

Where I was told that my luggage had been held back.

Either because they had to look through it or that there wasn’t space on the plane.

Extra baggage

Now, I don’t have a problem with them scanning my clothes and possessions.

But why can they not guarantee that the luggage which you have given them gets on the plane?

The charming young man at Dublin Airport was patience personified though.

As he assured me that I just needed to fill out my form and that it would be delivered to my house the next day.

And that if I needed to buy emergency clothes I could apply for compensation.

I can’t complain about this process but I would again suggest that every piece of luggage should arrive at its destination.

As for the carousel, can they not just line up the luggage in a row inside the airport?

That would be easier.

Usual consultancy fee.