If I had my way, I’d give this book to all my “wandering” friends this Christmas. But for now, the honor goes to my editor Art, a real kewl guy who is one of the easiest persons to deal with on the planet. What better gift to give to someone who hauled me off to Japan and who hauls himself to HK/other countries every so often that you’d think these were provinces of the Philippines?
At the risk of salivating, I only browsed through several pages in the book – mainly to see if some of the places I’ve been to made it and what places in the Philippines were included in the list. Of the latter, the author Patricia Schultz recommended only three: Banaue Rice Terraces, Taal Volcano and Amanpulo. Which is quite a shame since Thailand and even Vietnam had quite a dozen or so to their name. And who, but the creme de la creme, goes to Amanpulo anyway? Ordinary mortals like you and me die without setting foot on any of those super-exclusive, pricey Aman resorts which are liberally mentioned in the book. And of course, I was aghast to find that I’ve only been to 15 o so places out of the 1000 mentioned which means…I need to expand my horizons and travel more, hehe. Geez, I haven’t even been to Banaue Rice Terraces though I’ve been fortunate enough to go to some of the must-see’s in the book such as Delft, “the 17th century Dutch town;” the York Minster, “largest medieval cathedral in Great Britain,” Amsterdam’s red light district (the one with scantily-clad women by the windows, the window closes when a customer comes in); Bruges, Belgium ( site of the Church of our Lady which houses Michelangelo’s Madonna and Child); London; New York; Philly and its food; Ayutthaya and Chatuchak Weekend Market in Thailand, among a few others.
Issa did rave about Saint-Petersburg and Anna Lyn’s Norway has several entries devoted to it such as the Northern Lights, Viking Ship Museum, the North Pole, and the breathtaking fjords. Hmmm, despite reading about Timbuktu, Sweden’s Ice Hotel and Count Dracula’s Castle in Transylvania, Romania, I am still in an “Asia mode.” Visiting Singapore, Vietnam, Penang and Laos seems more realistic now with these budget airlines around.
Overall, the book is well-researched and eye-opening lesson in world geography. It should be consulted by every avid traveller before embarking on that all-important journey. However, it would be foolish to go “by the book” because as I’ve found out from gallivanting all these years, what’s more important are the friends you meet/friends you are reunited with and the personal discoveries you make along the way.