Just about every major city in the world has a Chinatown, every single one just as vibrant and colorful as the others, full of wonders from China and its people. I’ve been to ones in Manila, Philippines; San Francisco; Philadelphia; Chicago; Boston; and Shanghai, China (yes, there is a Chinatown in China, but that story is for another blog). New York City’s Chinatown is no exception. Over Labor Day weekend, my wife, Kelly, my son, Grant, and I took a daytrip to experience a slice of China. As we always do when we head into Manhattan, we drove to the Staten Island Ferry and took the 20-minute ride over. From there, it was a short cab ride to Canal Street, the entry point to Chinatown for most visitors.
Once you step onto Mott Street and walk into the heart of Chinatown, you are truly transported outside of this country. The colorful lanterns, pagodas, prominent awnings and signs draw you in. Street vendors, as well as local storefront businesses, offered all the necessities of life … and then some. One could spend an entire day just window shopping! What’s fascinating is the locals are going about their daily routine as visitors wander around getting in their way. We enjoyed checking out the local souvenir shops, produce stands, fish markets (live fish and other creatures in tanks) and apothecaries loaded with every medicinal item available in Eastern medicine.
Of course, one cannot go to Chinatown without partaking of the local cuisine. Going to Chinatown and not having a meal would be a missed opportunity! Peking duck is a must-have! Get it right off the hanging rack and let them chop it up for you. We decided to do just that and picked a random restaurant that served the specialty. One of my twin son’s girlfriends, Amanda (she lives outside the city), met us for dinner. We went overboard with the duck as well as other savory entrées on the menu. It was too much food for all of us, but it was worth the opportunity to sample.
After dinner, we strolled over to Columbus Park — a huge gathering place for the local men to play cards and checkers. The matches were heated and entertaining. A group of musicians were singing and playing traditional Chinese melodies, which really added to the ambiance of the park. It was the right place and the right time to end our tour. If you closed your eyes for just a moment, listened to the music, heard the chatter of locals and breathed in the smells, you are there … China!
— Bill Lodzinski, director of sales
Southwest Airlines is cutting almost 20 non-stop routes as of January 2020. The airline says the move will allow it to focus its efforts on top destinations. The airline announced the move last month, with flights from Boston (BOS), Dallas Love Field (DAL), Los Angeles (LAX) and Orlando (MCO) seeing the most cuts.
TAP Air Portugal is adding 15 new weekly flights from the United States and Canada by summer 2020, a new record for the carrier of 71 weekly flights between North America and Portugal.
Mandarin Oriental, Geneva now offers its Royal Penthouse suite, one of the largest in the city at nearly 3,500 square feet, with an additional 1,800-square-foot terrace.
For any traveler interested in backcountry camping, wilderness exploration or any other type of outdoor adventure, REI now offers a wilderness safety training course to the general public. The programming is in partnership with the National Outdoor Leadership School, takes place on weekends and is “ideal for all outdoor enthusiasts.”
United Airlines announces a number of new routes.
Ryanair will soon start its first round-trip Georgia flights. The flights, which start this November, will connect the capital Tbilisi (TBS) to Milan Bergamo (BGY) four times weekly and the western city of Kutaisi (KUT) to Bologna (BLQ) and Marseille (MRS), both twice weekly. Then, in April, Ryanair will add twice weekly flights between Tbilisi and Cologne (CGN).
Welcome to Rhodes, a medieval treasure beautifully preserved throughout the centuries. Rhodes is the capital of the Dodecanese, an island ideal not only for those who want to relax, but also for those looking for an action-packed holiday! With its bright green hills, rich green valleys and uninterrupted line of golden beaches, Rhodes is truly a blessed place. “The sun island” has more sunshiny days and milder temperatures throughout the year than any other location in Greece. It is, after all, one of the country’s easternmost places and among the first to welcome summer on its impressive beaches. Add in the excellent facilities for tourism, the island’s special blend of cosmopolitan and traditional, and numerous cultural and archaeological sites, the most important being the Medieval (Old) Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and you’ve got the perfect holiday destination. While on Rhodes, don’t miss a daytrip to nearby Sými. An island of sponge divers and seamen, Sými used to have 30,000 inhabitants before the Second World War and was the richest island in the Dodecanese, despite its small size. Today, Sými attracts many visitors thanks to its beautifully preserved Neo-Classical buildings and the famous Archangel Michael monastery at Panormitis.
Attend one of the most acclaimed fall events, Autumn at the Arboretum, in Dallas. In its 14th year, the annual event is known as one of the best pumpkin festivals in the country, with its creative displays featuring more than 90,000 pumpkins, gourds and squash. The event takes place at Dallas Arboretum, Sept. 21 –Oct. 31. Alongside thousands of pumpkins, guests glimpse 150,000 autumn flowers across the 66-acre space.