Wednesday, October 31, 2012

My never-ending bucketlist for amazing travel


Today I just realized that although I'm on a never-ending TRAVELIFE, my bucket list for travel experiences is neither static nor shrinking. So I keep ticking things off my bucket list, but my list keeps growing longer anyway.

2 DOWN, 200 MORE TO GO

Just last month I got two things off: finally visiting the majestic ruins of Petra in Jordan, and experiencing dinner in pitch darkness in Tel Aviv.

I'd been wanting to try this dine-in-the-dark experience for some time now as they have it in certain cities around the world; but Tel Aviv is by far the most authentic one because the waiters are all actually legally blind.

Read more about the wonderful and edgy attractions of Tel Aviv in the current October-November 2013 issue of Travelife Magazine. On sale everywhere now.



In other cities like Paris and New York, where they have this dine-in-the-dark experience, it's more a trendy or fashionable experience rather than an authentic way to share an experience and provide real livelihood for people who would otherwise not find it very easy to get a regular job.

A DARK AND HEARTWARMING EXPERIENCE

But in Tel Aviv, the combination of this dinner in the dark served by blind waiters with a show performed by the deaf and blind afterwards will give you an inkling of the hardships that the physically challenged face; and realizing this will make you want to cry.

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OFF ON HOLIDAY TO SOUTH AFRICA

Then, next weekend, I'm off to South Africa for two weeks; and I get to strike at least two things off my travel bucket list again: a safari to see the Big Five at Kruger National Park, and sunset from the top of Table Mountain in Cape Town.



It's funny how I thought that a trip to South Africa for two weeks would finally fill my curiosity for this part of the world -- an area, by the way, I'd always passed up for one reason or another.

I'd long been wanting to go, but, most of the time, it just seemed so far to travel all that way. At least until I recently and finally looked at airline timetables and did the maths.


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WATCH OUT FOR TRAVELIFE'S PICKS
FOR THE BEST OF SOUTH AFRICA

From the December 2012 - January 2013 issue onwards
and online via the Travelife Blog 

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DOING THE DISTANCES



I always thought South Africa was far, in the same way that I find New York too far from Manila or Hong Kong (which would be the usual jump-off point for a direct flight). This is why I've been so reluctant to go in the last few years; even if I happily fly off to Europe when I can find the time and a good excuse, and that's at least a 12 hour plane ride or more.

So what a shock it was to realize that South Africa is way nearer than Europe in terms of distance. Had I bothered to do the maths before, I would have set foot in this country earlier.

TWO WEEKS AND NO TIME


Interestingly, we have two whole weeks to do as we please in South Africa; and although we decided the destinations to visit in South Africa together in a very roundabout way, the Boss left it to me to basically decide where to stay and how many days we would be in each place, while he took care of the restaurants and the sightseeing. And stuff I'm not too interested in like charter flights, airport transfers and rental cars.

So I made the basic route and chose all the hotels I've always wanted to stay in. Or, at least, I chose many of them. We don't have enough time to stay everywhere I want so I've had to leave out a lot of places for another time.

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And except for one dinner with some industry contacts, we'd already said no to every invitation or suggestion of meeting up because there didn't seem to be any time to do so.

And, now, looking at the itinerary we've finalized, I'm left wondering where all the time went because I can't seem to even find two hours in somewhere for a massage. Or two hours for us to meet up with someone for a drink in Franschoek.

As for getting two things off my bucket list with this South Africa trip, well, having access to all this information about Africa in general has just resulted in about two dozen more things for my bucket list.



AMAZING AFRICA

Africa as a continent looks absolutely amazing, and I now want to do two dozen things I'd never even considered doing before.



Here are some of them, for Africa and the Middle East in general:

1) Stay in the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania
2) Do the Orient-Express safari in Botswana
3) Visit all the major attractions in Namibia

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A NEVER-ENDING TRAVELIFE


4) Do the Karen Blixen route and another period safari in Kenya
5) Go around Lebanon
6) Explore Mozambique
7) Have a proper beach holiday in the Seychelles
8) Take the Blue Train from Johannesburg to Cape Town, and then take the Garden Route back

And so on. The list is truly endless in our never-ending, and never-endingly eventful Travelife.

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