Wonderful Cathy of Traveling with Sweeney nominated me for “My Travel ABCs” series. I had lots of fun doing my travel ABCs. Take a look and let me know what you think.
Age you went on your first international trip: 20. I took a cruise departing from San Juan and visiting St. Thomas and St. Martin with my best friend’s family. So technically, I visited France and the Netherlands on my first international trip. The interesting thing is that we got into the ship without adult supervision (because we were under 21 and my friend’s grandma arrived later) and without a passport. This shows how lax were the rules pre 9/11.
Best foreign beer you have had and where: I don’t drink beer so I can’t answer this one.
Cuisine (favorite): Ahhh, eating is one of the things I enjoy most. I love to try new dishes. If I really have to pick favorites, I would say Puerto Rican, Italian (even though my husband hates it), and anything Asian (ok, almost anything).
Destinations – favorite, least favorite, and why: This is impossible to answer. Every place I have visited holds a special place in my heart. Well, let me say Thailand and Spain are beyond cool. And I have to say Canada exceeded my expectations and I believe is an underrated country.
In terms of least favorite, I have to say Belize. I have never been so scared in another country. A total stranger grabbed my bags as soon as I entered a bus station and I had to endure 3 hours bus ride with people high on something. Plus, it is very difficult to move between points and I was not so happy to find out the Army was escorting us to Caracol. I would visit again, though.
Event you experienced abroad that made you say wow: Trying to take the subway during rush hour in Shanghai, China. I have never seen so many people in my life. Chinese from other parts of the country were taking photos and videos of the event. So, I wasn’t the only one in shock.
Favorite mode of transportation: Elephant or camel!!! I have ridden them in Thailand and Egypt, respectively. Nothing beats the excitement of riding these huge but cute animals. By the way, the camel I rode was called Michael Jackson.
Greatest feeling while traveling: Knowing I will see a famous landmark for the first time, walking the same path historical characters walked once, trying new flavors, and meeting awesome people.
Hottest place you have traveled to: I think it is a tie between Aswan, Egypt, and the Hoover Dam in August. Both times I experienced temperatures of more than 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Those occasions reminded me of when you stick your face on an oven to check a cake.
Incredible service you have experienced and where: Montevideo, Uruguay. After having lunch at my hotel’s restaurant, I offered a tip to the waiter who served me. He rejected the tip while pronouncing the words “Serving you was my pleasure”. His response surprised me since it was obvious that he meant what he said. I think I haven’t experienced better service anywhere.
Journey that took the longest: Going back to Puerto Rico after a trip to Europe and Egypt. We took an overnight train from Aswan to Cairo. Then planes from Cairo to Paris, Paris to Madrid, Madrid to Santo Domingo, and Santo Domingo to San Juan. That took like 36 hours. I was in a zombie-like state when my dad picked me up at the airport.
Keepsake from your travels: I only buy things unique to destinations or things I can give a specific use. I usually buy jewelry. I like to collect postcards and magnets from the places I visit.
Let-down site – why and where: Milan, I was expecting more of the fashion capital of the world. Cape Sounion in Greece, a guide told us it had an Acropolis in a better state than the one in Athens, of course, it was a lie. Statue of Liberty, doesn’t know why is so famous.
Moment when you fell in love with travel: I like to think this happened during my first trip to Europe. Conversely, looking at old school projects I have discovered that I was in love with travel even before I started to travel.
Nicest hotel you’ve stayed in: I want to cry just remembering my time at a hotel I stayed while visiting Shanghai (can’t find its name). The room was so big, the food yummy, the views great, and the service top-notch. I had to slap myself when coming back to reality.
Obsession – what are you obsessed with taking pictures of while traveling: I enjoy taking pictures of a lot of things – food, views, buildings, animals, landmarks. I just want to practice in order to sharpen my skills.
Passport stamps, how many and from where: El Salvador (5), Guatemala (3), Belize (2), Costa Rica (1), Panama (2), Canada (1), Argentina (2), Uruguay (2), Brazil (1), Egypt (2), China (2), Thailand (2), United Kingdom (1), Greece (2, Patmos and Port of Piraeus), Lichtenstein (1), Madrid (1), Mexico (1) and two admittance to the United States stamps.
Quirkiest attraction you have visited and where: I have stopped to take my picture with the world’s largest thermometer in
Barstow Baker, CA (correction: I made a mistake when pointing out Barstow as the location of the world’s largest thermometer). This is sad, I know.
Recommended site, event, or experience: I recommend an eco-tour around the Panama Canal. This is a day trip where you can see the big ships transiting thru the canal, tons of wildlife, a waterfall, and much more. Everybody should do something like this. Simply amazing!
Splurge, something you have no problem forking over money for while traveling: I don’t mind splurging on
food. I prefer to go cheap on other areas and spend all the savings eating something delicious.
Touristy thing you have done: Too many. I don’t really mind. Some include walking around the Fishermen’s Wharf in San Francisco, going to the top of the Eiffel Tower, soaking in the hot springs in Costa Rica, and visiting the tomb of Eva Peron in Argentina.
Unforgettable travel memory: Probably, getting engaged in an airport.
Visas, how many, and from where: Eight, 5 for El Salvador (tourist card), one for Brazil, one for China, and one for Egypt.
Wine, best glass while traveling, and where: Don’t drink wine either.
eXcellent view and from where: I love to see the places I visit from the top. Recently, I have seen amazing views of Rio de Janeiro from Corcovado and Mexico City from the top of the Torre Latinoamericana.
Years spent traveling: Half my life, about 15 years.
Zealous sports fans and where: I am not a sports lover but have witnessed how soccer gets people wild in some
countries. I was once with a group of friends in a small town in El Salvador when the guys decided to challenge a group of strangers that were hanging around the main plaza. One of my friends lost a shoe and another ended under a bench (he couldn’t get out). Things get out of control sometimes.
Did you like my Travel ABCs? Let me know in the comments section below.