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

America, Countries, Culture, Europe

My Sporting Weekend – Virtual Van Dijk

It’s a reality check… and the big sports shutdown means that, without Virgil Van Dijk and Liverpool to watch, we’ll have to go to sports games for our fix.

Now video games have come a long way since we were using solid bars to knock square balls over solid line nets… we called it tennis.

And it was a Christmas present I’d pestered my parents for for weeks only to lose interest in it before the new year.

So where does this bring us as far as our travels… well, it’s to flag up games which we can play online.

And practise our chess skills, card-playing and scrabble craft for when we can get back on the road playing away.

Chess: And it’s those stone tables we see in parks.

And when we went to New York on a family holiday on the Halloween before Barack Obama’s election…

We ended up playing chess in McArthur Park with a dude who claimed to have been Bobby Fisher’s regular opponent back in the day.

When you’re in New York’s parks do me a favour and look for Alexander Hamilton… see www.nycvb.com.

Now keeping to the subject matter of games you can play by yourself (now keep it clean).

Play your cards right

Cards: After all, the plan is to get out to Las Vegas again this year for the American Travel fair.

And meet up again with the guys and gals on The Strip Strip… the light fantastic and www.lvcva.com.

And some real sports

Now there are any number of real sports you can play.

And as it goes I’m far better on screen than in real life. So here goes…

Swinging time

Golf: I’ve tried my hand at the Old Course in Cannes when I was chastised for not shouting ‘quatre’…. The Boat D’Azur and www.france.fr.

And also shot the neon lights out on a driving range in Vegas.

While I’d perfected my swing by the time I’d got to Paul McGinley’s Golf Academy in Quinta do Lago… Secret Portugal and www.visitportugal.com.

While on the court

Tennis: And it was on that trip to the state-of-the-art complex The Campus that I was put through my paces by Judy Murray.

Yes, tennis, but obviously dancing too. See www.quintadolago.com.

It was obviously the command of the angles I’d learned at that old video game.

Home run

Baseball: The 40-minute daily DART train journey from Greystones, Co. Wicklow to Dublin would drag.

And even allowing for the beautiful seaside vistas I would find myself perfecting my home runs.

So that the guys at the Washington Nationals didn’t have to tell me how to grip it and rip it when I got in the batting cage… www:washington.org. And Easy DC.

Our countries have become more assimilated culturally.

But back in the early Eighties I was baffled by the hand-held computer game my New York cousin Eddie was playing.

Touchdown

American Football: Where they only kick the ball to start and restart and to convert.

And where success is measured in territory gained, like warfare, which their players are togged up for.

My old friends at Aer Lingus www.aerlingus.com have been sponsoring a biannual American College Football game at the Aviva Stadium.

Which we (me, the Scary One and Daddy’s Little Girl) attended although I’m not sure it held the wife’s attention as deep into the third quarter she asked..,

‘Are you allowed to throw the ball forward?’

Me? The best bit about American Football is the cheerleaders, and I have my own Bandanettes. See Go West and www.denver.org.

Slam dunk

Basketball: Breaking into the sports desk in my first job in Reading in the south of England I covered what were seen as minority sports.

I didn’t get myself to an NBA game on my travels to the US but picked up the talk from the TV on early-morning chat shows and pub talk.

In Memhis who boast the Grizzlies, on my American Trilogy… https://www.deep-south-usa.com and The Promised Land, The Story of the Blues and https://www.deep-south-usa.com.

The puck stops here

Ice Hockey: Early in my sports-writing career I would draw my inspiration from the great writers (and them me).

The doyen of American Sports AJ Liebling opined: ‘I went to a fight and an ice hockey game broke out.’

And so, yes, I flicked the puck on the floor (it was out if season so not iced up) at the Anaheim Ducks https://visitanaheim.org and www.visitcalifornia.com.

But I also charged into a wall, although I didn’t take anyone with me.

MEET YOU ONLINE

Adventure, Africa, America, Countries, Europe

My Sporting Weekend – Records

Talk Sport Radio has been a Godsend these past few months.

And my ears pricked up that little bit more with the latest cricket Test match.

Between England and South Africa coming from my old stomping ground of Port Elizabeth.

And they love their rugby in SA too

Now I’m not putting myself on the same level as Shoaib Akhtar or Brett Lee.

The pace aces bowled over 100mph there in the World Cup.

It’s just that the less-vaunted PE in South Africa is a city I fell in love with last year… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/homemyoffice/whats-new-pussycat/.

It got me thinking too about other destinations that have become tied in with world records.

You want a 401… call on Murty

Brian Lara, 400 not out, St John’s, Caribbean, 2004:

Any excuse to showcase the Caribbean I hear you say but there is a tale here about Lara and me.

My old university pal Jevan had taken me to Foreday Morning on my first visit to Barbados.

And introduced me to his old Trinidadian pal Brian.

I’m a Bajan: I don’t give a damn

He told me he was over for the cricket and I naively asked if he played.

I didn’t expect the greatest modern-day batsman would ever wear anything other than cricket whites or one-day burgundy!

Olympic champions

Stefan Kraft, Vikerssundbakken, Norway:

Now there are some sports we all do and those that are just death wishes.

Where’s the peloton?

Me, the Tour de France, 2019: Yes, here I am atop the 6,939ft Col du Tourmalet, the Tour de France’s most used climb.

And I’m not even out of breath. No wonder I needed some magic muscle-soothing water.

Climbing mountains is in the genes for Scots… I give you King of the Mountains Robert Millar.

Where’s the next record?

Me, white water rafting, Colorado:

The record for staying in the water tub long enough on the Poudre River… https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=1Q7Z0dkvzUc&feature=youtu.be.

Of course British Columbian Hazel Amos puts me to shame as the oldest rafter in the world at 96.

And yes, it’s another from the Wild West, but hey, I was born to be a cowboy.

Waltzing to the next title

Samuel Groth, world’s fastest serve, Busan Open, 163.7mph:

No, nor me, but this is it… https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=uKeL-W7xft0.

Of course my on serve after being coached by Judy Murray at The Campus, Quinto da Lago wasn’t chronicled.

That’ll be then.

Michael Austin, world’s longest drive: At 515 yards that’s some power.

Mike gripped it and ripped it at the Winterwood Golf Course in Las Vegas in 1974.

Blasting it 65 yards past the flag on the par-four 5th hole.

Vegas, baby: And Murty hits it into the next state

Me, I drunk it and sunk it… that’s my pitcher of beer at Topgolf in Las Vegas https://topgolf.com/us/las-vegas/.

On my Vegas trip a couple of years ago… Strip… the light fantastic.

While I also showed them how to do it in Quinto…

And hopefully I’ll be back to break my own record at the American Travel Fair www.ipw.com.

MEET YOU ON THE PODIUM

Adventure, Countries, Culture

This Sporting Weekend – Touchdown Vegas

Celtic relocate to Dublin, Liverpool to London… what madness?

But not in the Oo Es of Eh http://www.visitusa.ie where sports franchises up and move across the continent at the drop of a helmet.

The Brooklyn Dodgers’ flit from New York http://www.nycvb.com and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/08/21/old-new-york-hamilton/ to LA in the Fifties will always remain the most controversial.

But who can blame them? Not me when I visited. http://www.visitcalifornia.com and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/06/22/my-weekend-with-marilyn/.

But sports teams have been relocating since as far back as 1902 when the Milwaukee Brewers moved to St Louis.

To become the St Lous Browns.

While American Sports’ most famous team, the New York Yankees, started life as the Baltimore Orioles, the original iteration in 1903.

High-rollers have been coming and going out of Washington DC much like politicians. https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/obama-washington-dc/

Before the Nationals took on Montreal Expos’ place in 2005… and went on last year to win the World Series.

Visit http://www.washington.org.

Although the fans didn’t feel in the mood to hail the chief Donald Trump, preferring to give him a slow handclap.

The Redskins aren’t figuring at the business end of the NFL season with the play-off games coming up.

Of course Tom Brady and the New England Patriots will win the whole thing again this year.

But next year?

There is much excitement about Vegas getting football for next season.

Because they hit the ground, or ice, running.

The puck stops here

When the Las Vegas Golden Knights reached the Stanley Cup final in their inaugural season.https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/vegas-strip-the-light-fantastic/

Visit http://www.lvcva.com

Only to lose to the Washington Capitals.

And because you know that when I travel I go to where the locals play and pray then I’ve treated you to a few pics of me…

At Anaheim Angels’ ground where they like to get their Mickey out.Visit http://www.nhl.com.

With Elvis in Vegas,

Some thoroughbreds at Denver Broncos’s ground… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/go-west-denver-buffalo-bill/ and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/08/29/the-new-pioneers/

And http://www.denver.org.

Hitting it out of the park at the Washington Nationals’ stadium.

Icing with Wild Wing at the Anaheim Ducks’ Honda Arena,https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/07/03/stair-wars-3/

Visit http://www.visitanaheim.org

And getting ready to dunk it with the Memphis Grizzlies… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/the-promised-land-martin-luther-king/, https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/the-story-of-the-blues/ and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/elvispresley-the-king-of-kings/

Visit http://www.memphistravel.com.

MEET YOU AT THE GROUND

 

Uncategorized

The debate – is it right to play with guns?

It’s always a hard watch on television – another gun spree in the USA.

And the grim stats in the aftermath of the shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio are chilling.

There are more gun massacres in the USA this year than there have been days of the year.

And so it is only right that I should reflect on this picture of me letting off rounds in Machine Gun Vegas a couple of years ago.

Is it right then to play with guns?

In a less questioning age, when I was a child in the Seventies, I played Cowboys and Indians, and had toy guns in my holster.

Like any kid back then.

I’ve taken a different view as I grow up and become a father.

Before it was pointed out to me that I am happy to watch Tarantino movies.

Machine Gun Vegas is like a golf driving range for gun enthusiasts, men and women, young to old.

The security and training before you pick up any gun is thorough, as you would expect, and it is made perfectly clear that these are no toys.

America’s gun culture is, of course, foreign to those of us who don’t live there.

And Nevada’s gun laws were heavily criticised following the atrocity there.

Of course, it does seem strange to our minds to imagine what the combination of losing your shirt at the tables, drink and access to guns can bring about.

Listen and learn

I make a general rule of asking, and not pontificating, when abroad. And particularly about politics.

And where I can, and it is safe to, I search out those who will give me the answers.

Deadly. Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

We should never be without an opinion.

And it is right that we have been vocal about the Civil Rights Movement in America, Apartheid in South Africa and much else around the world.

It is America, though, which is best placed to find its own answers on how best to address gun massacres in their country,

For now though in the toxic atmosphere that is prevailing, the battle lines of public opinion are drawn.

And it needs a peacemaker to help to try to defuse that.

It’s Vegas, baby

The atrocity in Vegas so soon after I had gone chilled me to the bone.

I would say that I found Vegas, safe, clean and friendly and would advise that you should go…. you’ll love it.

Visit www.lvca.com. And www.machinegunvegas.com, And while they say what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas I share my review with you… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/vegas-strip-the-light-fantastic/

And tell me what you think?