The call is punctual but surprising - monkeys pounding on the window. Not the traditional wake-up call. That comes later.
So begins my Sri Lankan odyssey. I am surprised that this island country south of India -- slightly larger than West Virginia - is home to eight World Heritage Sites, Buddhist holy sites, safaris, a very unique festival, Ceylon tea and hordes of elephants. Nor am I prepared for the heat, humidity, heart-stopping traffic and the cacophony of
The time is 5 a.m. The city of Marrakech, Morocco is breathlessly quiet. Suddenly, chanting begins to resound from a nearby mosque. Within moments it is followed by a chorus of guttural voices, emanating from over 100 minarets. Asleep on a rooftop terrace I am jarred awake by the thunderous Call to Prayer. This is my Moroccan alarm clock.
My family and I are spending several days exploring the markets of Marrakech. From our rooftop terrace we have a sprawling view of the city. The markets form a web of convoluted streets; alleyways thatched in bamboo and hopelessly tangled. From the central plaza, the streets radiate outward in a labyrinth capable of making anyone feel directionally challenged. In the distance loom the snow-capped Atlas Mountains.
Departing from our rooftop we gravitate towards the plaza. By the time the sun had ascended, monkey-handlers and snake charmers are already welcoming the day. However, the cobras do not appear too charmed, their mouths sewn shut to prevent them from spitting venom. The skirl of shrill pipes is enough to make the most tolerant people insane. I pity the snakes that are subjected to it.
Along Kenya’s Indian Ocean coastline the temperatures are warm and humid, a sharp contrast to the cooler temperatures you’ll find in its bustling capital city of Nairobi. But it’s this coastline that plays host to a number of destinations not often associated with your typical trip to Kenya (if there is such a thing as a typical trip!)
A surprising escape to the island of Lamu will win bragging rights for your clients among their friends who mainly visit Kenya for Safari. Lamu is easily reachable from the country’s main airports of Nairobi, Mombasa and Malindi. All flights land on Manda Island, just across the channel from Lamu.
My appetite for sailing was whetted in the waters off Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, watching occasional four or five-masted schooners sail by, bound from Maine to New York. They looked magical and romantic, with all sails set. Enthusiasm for traveling began on trans-Atlantic voyages aboard the France and the Queen Mary in the 1950s. Though both liners were old then, a five- or six-day transatlantic crossing was never long enough when the moon shimmered on the dark sea at night and the occasional whale was spotted.
It’s not surprising that the Wall Street Journal recently hailed Hong Kong as the world’s top travel destination. Business travelers frequenting this thriving financial hub in close proximity to China, and leisure visitors enjoying the amenities of this cosmopolitan gateway to Asia, have created an enormous influx of international guests. Having just visited this bustling metropolis, it’s not hard to understand Hong Hong’s appeal. A veritable foodie and shopper’s paradise with hopping nightlife, eye popping high rises, great sights and stunning Victoria Harbour where east meets west in the most glamorous ambiance, there’s easily something for everyone.
As this is the March/April issue, I can only hope that by the time this publication reaches your desk, the winter weather has moved out, and that conditions have improved. JAX FAX is located in Connecticut, where many residents are waving white flags of surrender because of all the snow we have received this winter. We have closed our offices twice due to bad road conditions, and several of our clients - even those in the southern states - have done the same. The best interest and safety of employees comes at a price though - with loss of revenue and production, and operating expenses that do not cease due to inclement weather.
As I am sure you have noticed, things have changed here at JAX FAX. The magazine you are reading is the new and improved version, now called Destinations by JAX FAX. With this magazine, you also received our new Getting There by JAX FAX magazine, which is 100% devoted to informing you about opportunities to sell international air and make money doing so. Included in Getting There are articles and interviews with airlines and air consolidators, as well as our patented “listings” of consolidator and charter airfares worldwide. Also included as part of this issue of Getting There is our Annual Guide to Working with Air Consolidators. This guide includes articles educating travel agents about how to work effectively with air consolidators, and also includes profiles of some of the leading consolidators.
Canada has it all -- magnificent craggy mountains, vast plains, stunning seashores and vibrant cities. And it is a lot easier to get to than Europe. For rail fans it offers one more attraction: great train routes that span the continent from Nova Scotia
The VIA Rail system is the perfect way for clients to explore the beauty of our northern neighbor. Most trains operate year-round, offering different experiences in all seasons. Most of the trains include panorama and dome cars for maximum viewing.
Rich in mineral water springs, Poland is a magnificent place for relaxation because of its numerous spa and wellness centers. Many of them are located in very picturesque surroundings, and they all provide high quality service. The treatment on offer is designed to bring relaxation, harmony and inner balance to clients.
There are many underground hot water springs in Poland: they can be found in three-quarters of Poland’s whole area. Poles appreciate the advantages coming from the construction of spa and wellness centers, as many towns are planning to design and build spas around their hot mineral water springs. The first historical mentions of hot water springs name villages in the Karkonosze Mountains, in southwest Poland, called Lower Silesia, such as Cieplice Slaskie (1137) and Ladek Zdrój (1241). In the 17th century, Polish Queen Marysienka, wife of John III Sobieski took baths there, and the radon water baths are said to have brought relief and warmth to the aching bones of the German Emperor, Wilhelm I.
The Black Forest is among Germany’s most iconic regions, and its name alone will conjure up images of cuckoo clocks, quaint villages and the legendary Black Forest cherry cake in your clients’ minds. But there’s a lot more to Baden-Württemberg: urbane and sophisticated Stuttgart with its lavish palaces and magnificent museums, elegant Baden-Baden’s spas, a sports-filled lake district and celebrated wine towns.