Vietnamese. To me, no other cuisine can match it freshness and variety of flavors. And I love how the street food culture is so strong that fast food chains have never caught on.
Destination (favorite, least favorite) and why.
My favorite area of the world is probably Southeast Asia, for the food, the beaches, the sites and the friendly people. Even bargaining with vendors is a pleasant experience. Also, I go to Miami every year, because it's such a fun, easy and cheap weekend trip.
I haven't been anywhere that I disliked enough to vow never to return, but my least favorite is Montego Bay, Jamaica. We couldn't walk one block without being harassed by really pushy people trying to sell us beer, weed or trinkets. They wouldn't take no for an answer and if you tried to ignore them, they would get really insulted.
Event you experienced abroad that made you say "wow".
In the Serengeti in Tanzania, coming across lions hunting down and subsequently tearing apart a gazelle. Amazing!
Favorite mode of transportation.
The train, hands down. I've taken all sorts of trains, from the local metros to super high speed trains to rickety overnight sleepers, in Europe, Brazil, Morocco, Thailand, India, Peru, China, Vietnam and Egypt. They have wildly varied in speed, cleanliness and services, and I enjoyed each one. I wish the US was less car centric and had more long distance train routes.
Greatest feeling when traveling.
Knowing that you have x number of days ahead of you to do nothing but explore and see, do and eat something new.
Hottest place you've travelled to.
Jordan in July, hiking through Petra in 100+ degree weather under the noon sun with no shade.
Incredible service you've experience and where:
At the Old Cataract Hotel, a former presidents' palace overlooking the Nile in Luxor, Egypt. I went in for a drink and just to see the grounds, and I must have had five or six people serve me, from the guys opening the door to the guy taking me to my table, to the bartender, the waiter, etc. I actually found it way over the top, and I felt uncomfortable sitting there, drinking a cocktail that cost more than what all my servers made all day.
Journey that took the longest
It took about 40 hours door to door to get from my hotel in Zanzibar back to my apartment in New York. My itinerary involved three different airlines, going from Zanzibar to Nairobi to Paris to New York. I had a 7.5 hour layover in Paris during the day, so I capitalized on it and took the metro to see the Eiffel Tower, walk along the Seine and pick up brunch at a local patisserie before boarding my next flight. When I finally got to JFK, I was pleasantly surprised that my bag, with its handwritten luggage tag (in pencil!) made it through the long journey.
Keepsake from your travels.
Thousands of photos. And a few new friends from around the world.
Let down site and where
Chichen Itza. The pyramid looked bigger and more impressive in the photos. The vendors on the grounds of the ruins yelling out to the tourists to try to sell their junk took away from the "sacredness" of the place. The 4-hour bus ride to get there didn't help, either.
Moment where you fell in love with travel
I remember flipping through National Geographics when I was kid, thinking how lucky those photographers must be to see all those places. I never thought that I would have the opportunity to do so myself.
Nicest hotel you've stayed in.
I've stayed in a few nice hotels (mostly for work), and I've found them to be generic and never worth the money. One of my favorite places that I've ever stayed is the Posada Amazonas Lodge in the Peruvian Amazon. The lodge is literally in the middle of the jungle, with all rooms without walls, completely open to the wilderness. There's no electricity, and there's a beautiful bathroom in each room but no hot water. With no "amenities," there's nothing to do but take guided walks through the jungle, lounge in the hammocks, chat with guides and other travelers and occasionally discover fuzzy, feathery or scaly visitors on the lodge grounds.
Obsession. What are you obsessed with taking pictures of while traveling?
Food, markets and trains.
Passport Stamps. How many and where?
I haven't counted, but enough to get additional passport pages and fill them up.
Quirkiest attraction you've visited and where.
Probably the "World Erotic Art Museum" in South Beach, Miami. It's a whole gallery floor full of naughty images, sculptures, toys, etc. from around the world, all collected by one little old lady.
Recommended site and where.
Anywhere that seems interesting to you, especially if it seems like a "once in a lifetime" trips. I think a lot of people put them off, because they seem to daunting to plan, too far away or too expensive, but a lot of countries are surprisingly accessible.
Splurge. Something you have no problem forking over money for while traveling.
Trying anything new, like hot air balloon rides in Jordan and Egypt, paragliding in Nepal, hanggliding in Hawaii, scuba diving in Mexico. Also, airfare, especially long leg direct direct flights...so worth it.
Touristy thing you've done.
Lots of stuff, maybe the most touristy of which was a luau in Oahu. And a gondola ride in Venice.
Unforgettable travel memory.
Too many to count.
Visa. How many for where.
From memory... Brazil, Cambodia, Kenya, Tanzania, India, Nepal, Jordan, China, Vietnam and Egypt. About $600 total and totally worth it, although I think it's silly that there are any fees at all for <30 day tourist visas.
Wine, best glass while travelling and where.
Best red was in Argentina. It was literally cheaper than water and was usually accompanied by an amazing, medium rare steak. Best white was in Montepulciano in Tuscany.
eXellent view and from where.
Watching the Hana coast from a rented convertible in Maui, the Nile from a felucca in Luxor, Tuscan vineyards from atop an old castle in Poppiano, the peak of Everest from a prop plane, the sun rising over the dunes of the Sahara.
Years spent travelling
I haven't taken off a year to travel (yet).
Zealous sports fan and where.
Not much of a sports fan, but I got to watch a soccer/football game in Argentina. The stories are all true - the security checks, the barbed wire fences between each opposing team's cheering section, the armed police. No riots that night though, luckily.
Thanks Tin. I hope you find time to update your blog so we could follow you on your travels.