From our travels in 81 countries and all seven continents, there are a number of indelible images I have retained in the camera of my mind. We stopped taking pictures years ago because they kept piling up on my desk with only one real look after we first came home.
So, before my memory disintegrates any further, let me recount some of the outstanding images I’ve retained.
They have all been impactful in their own way, and they are in no particular order of importance or value.
- The migration of thousands of animals in Tanzania. Sitting on an expanded Jeep-like vehicle, we had to stop for at least 45 minutes to watch this incredible movement of animals headed to Kenya for the summer. They’ll be back in the fall. Some 1.5 million wildebeests, 300,000 Zebra and antelopes gather up their young to make the 1,800 mile trek to search for food and water. Many thousands are lost to lions, crocodiles and other predators along the way.
- Kenya – the two-room tent in the Masai Mara fully equipped for our stay; bedroom, bathroom with shower and a guard outside with a gun to make sure no stray animals wandered our way…and there were animals a plenty.
- Tree Tops (in Kenya) built up on high stilts overlooking a salt lick where the animals came at night to savor the delicacy. A buzzer alerted us to the entrance of the more exotic animals.
Each and all the safaris are different and amazing!
- Anartica – Our trip to the White Continent was filled with spectacular sights. Disembarking the ship after we reached the mainland of the continent we waded through a little water and then through hundreds of penguins. We took amazing tours by Zodiak through gardens of ice sculptures which had calved off the glaciers. Without the wind, it was kind of sunny and almost warm.
- Las Vegas – My reaction on my first trip (about 1953) was that, with all the lights and clatter and crowds, it was a Hollywood designed movie set to the extreme. It was awesome and I still feel the same each time I go back. I’ve been back almost 15 times, mostly for business.
- New Zealand has many photo memories, starting with the plane landing in Auckland. Most landings around the world take you over old industrial areas or watery swamps. In Auckland, we landed over a maze of lush greenery. Then there were the trees and parks of Christchurch and the snowy mountains around Queensland. Great people – great country – great sights to see.
- The Amazon (part one) – The lower part outside of Manaus, Brazil, where two rivers—black and brown—merge and you clearly see the difference. It’s the Amazon and the Rio Negro River’s dense jungles and the people (Ribenos) still living on the rivers as they have for hundreds of years. Visiting one of the small villages warped in time was a real highlight.
- The Amazon (part two) – Then on a second trip to the upper Amazon with National Geographic was outstanding. Great accommodations on an enlarged houseboat and delicious food, colorfully prepared with a variety of tastes. We were entertained by pink dolphins and the greatest array of colorful birds you could ever imagine. Terrific guides, great hikes and villages not quite as primitive as the lower.
- Hiking in the Red Rocks of Sedona and Snow Canyon (St. George, Utah) – Incredible beauty and energizing spirit. Although not red, Zion was also a treat of green grandeur.
- Bryce Canyon – The startling and very different raw beauty of a special place. Lots of orange and yellow jagged rock sculptures and a harrowing horse ride to the bottom.
- Lyon, France – With almost 2,500 restaurants, Lyon is known (I didn’t) as the gastronomic capital of France. I stayed there first about 25 years ago. We were in a small, really small hotel and asked for a nice place for a dinner. The hotel recommended the restaurant next door. Can’t remember the name but it was amazing—never had anything like it. Went back again 10 years ago. Fancier, more pricey but just as great.
- Bike Trips in Vermont, the Loire Valley and the San Juan Islands – Each had special moments. The leaves changing in Vermont; conquering the big hill in the Loire Valley—our first bike trip along with the wonderful manor houses and superb food; and the San Juans, a sleeper trove of islands and communities from a simpler bygone era outside of Washington State.
- Inle Lake in Burma – Watching the men paddle their canoe-type boats with one foot and the communities of people living on manmade islands and hydroponic tomato farms. All made real with a great guide, WaWa.
- Luang Probang in Laos – A UNESCO World Heritage Town, a neat, orderly French-designed community on the Mekong River, amidst the usual haphazard unevenness of Southeast Asia villages.
- Peru – Machu Picchu was amazing, as expected. Who built it? For what purpose? How has it survived? So we still wait for answers. Cusco and the Sacred Valley were great too. The real hidden gem and surprise was Lake Titicaca, a huge lake with communities living on reed-made islands was fascinating.
- London with all its wonderful museums, gardens, parks and theaters offered some outstanding treats; the Duke of Wellington home at Hyde Park and the Wallace Collection in Manchester Square, very, very special. Perhaps the most telling memory of all was a performance by the combined Corps of British Guard units playing and re-enacting the 1812 overture in the Royal Albert Hall. Wow!
- Vancouver – We first met Vancouver in 2000. Flew in on a helicopter from Victoria. It was a glorious flight in over the gulf islands. As we approached Vancouver, the pilot turned north, flying up the Strait of Georgia about five miles or so and then a nifty turn around to the south. What an incredible sight. Lovely city, good restaurants and some interesting museums. Many interesting areas, including Stanley Park, the Gaslight District, Chinatown and Granville Island.
- Capetown – Perhaps the most beautiful city in the world. It is certainly on my list. Framed by Table Mountain as a backdrop to this sprawling metropolis, it’s a great eye pleaser. We stayed at the Cape Grace Hotel, one of the best anywhere. I asked where I could buy shaving cream. They delivered two canisters—no charge. It was adjacent to the waterfront area of trendy shops and the fabulous Bahia Seafood Restaurant. It’d love to go back.
Next month we’ll visit Part II of The Photographs In My Mind.