Stephanie Abrams' Travel Blog
Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams Blog – Nationally Synidcated Radio Show Host
It’s 3:45am. I’m Still Awake Suffering from the Trauma of that UA Passenger Dragged Off of the O’Hare to St. Louis Flight!
April 11th, 2017

Good Grief!

The story about the doctor who was dragged from a United flight from Chicago to St. Louis on Sunday just won’t quit in my mind and now that I”ve seen the videos displaying his bloody face from being dragged from his seat and having his mouth hit the metal armrest and the indignity of being dragged by his arms down the aisle with his bare stomach exposed and his eyeglasses hanging on his face between his nose and upper lip with passengers screaming and hurling instructions to the security people to stop this maltreatment but helpless to do anything to help him lest they risk getting clopped in the chops as well. . . as a person who has invested much of her adult life to the sale and marketing of travel and tourism suppliers and destinations. . . I’m just sick to my stomach!

There are so many layers to this horrendous story but let me see if I can simplify it to try to give some understanding to those of you who never want to fly again for fear that that man’s experience could be your experience.

1. What we saw in that video is not normal! The flight crew could have handled this so much better in so many ways.  There was a time when United was the number one choice by so many US and International passengers and I was among them! Something happened in the culture at that airline many years ago and you could see the drizzling down of what was once a very caring airline proud of its Friendly Skies approach. I can tell you that the people at Continental, who were just an amazing bunch from check-in to lounges to flight crews and who were happy, upbeat, accommodating whether you were on short trips or long-haul flights halfway around the world.  If you had gone New Jersey’s Newark (Liberty) Airport shortly after the merger of United and Continental, you would have met the most demoralized, unhappy, depressed lot of ex-Continental/now-United Airlines employees who felt unimportant, unwanted, unloved and unappreciated.  Morale couldn’t have been lower and I’m not convinced it ever bounced back.  Sad because United was once a prototype of excellence on the ground and in the air.  And somebody’s not paying attention as is evidenced in this article about a United pilot’s meltdown reported on February 12, 2017! Have a look: http://liveandletsfly.boardingarea.com/2017/02/12/united-pilot-removed-odd-onboard-rant/

If that’s not enough for you, how about the fracas reported on February 19, 2013, when a passenger on  United Airlines was removed for taking a picture of his Business First seating area when he was seated in the Business First section of what once was a Continental plane which became part of United’s fleet after that merger:

http://liveandletsfly.boardingarea.com/2013/02/19/thrown-off-a-united-airlines-flight-for-taking-pictures/

What happened to the doctor on Sunday’s United flight was unconscionable but is the result of the shift from many airlines’ flight crews seeing themselves evolve from air hosts projecting the image of the airline’s brand as members of the travel and hospitality sectors of the industry to safety providers there to serve passengers in an emergency who just happen to be stuck with the tasks associated with food and drink service.

The techniques imposed by the airline and the security crew that was summoned, especially after seeing the film, “The Zookeeper’s Wife,” this past weekend, were reminiscent of the tactics used by Nazi forces pre- and during World War II. (That’s a MUST SEE film, people!). Good Lord! They were dealing with a man sitting quality on a plane in a confirmed seat whose sole purpose was to get safely home to St. Louis!  While many people may have had a less compelling reason to get home on Sunday night, this gentleman had patients expecting him to be on call on Monday morning!  Regardless, where in the mission statement of United Airlines is the line devoted to roughing up passengers.

2. The overriding and underlying problem here is that, in actuality, the seats in the airline belong to the airline. Passengers are only renting the seat for a period of time.  Passenger tickets, even confirmed space tickets with seat assignments, have varying degrees of priority status.  A full-fare ticket with confirmed seat is at the highest level. . . but that doesn’t mean you can’t be bumped from the flight. Generally, a person flying on frequent flyer miles will be among the first to go right after any travel industry professionals who are flying on reduced-rate or so-called ‘free’ tickets. While free tickets, free of ticket cost, free of taxes and free of fees, are rare, they do exist. In theory, a positive space “status OK” ticket can still be subject to being denied boarding. This situation was made worse by having boarded the passenger and then removing the passenger by force. Horrifying!

3. The airline could have upped the offer of the amount of the cash payment to get someone to volunteer to get off the plane. At some point within allowable limits, someone would have caved and gotten off to get the jackpot. Done right, you can negotiate with the airline to get the money AND a FIRST CLASS ticket to fly home on the first available flight the next day. Years ago, I got the refrigerator I wanted because my husband volunteered to fly home the next day. He had a first class ticket and my recollection was that they paid double the ticket cost plus another first class ticket to get to JFK from Shreveport, Louisiana! I was thrilled when he called and said he’d be home the next day with a present from Delta because he volunteered to be bumped! And, if you need to overnight because you are getting bumped, be sure you get a voucher for dinner, breakfast.. . if you’re not on a breakfast flight. . . and a hotel overnight at an airport hotel.  But there is no question that this is a teachable moment for United and any other airline that has concerns that that PR nightmare on United’s Chicago flight should not happen anywhere else!

The latest report is that the airline needed to clear 4 seats to replace passengers with flight crew heading for STL airport to work a flight from there.  The passengers were offered a  $1000  for each one who got off the flight. Flight crews are authorized to go up to $1300 per person. If that doctor HAD TO BE on call on Monday, he wouldn’t have taken the money even if it was $1300 as he had to be back for his patients.  But I can tell you for sure that there were others on that flight that would have gotten off for $700 or $1000 or certainly for $1300 as that’s just how it is! And it appears that passengers were only told that $100 compensation was being offered and didn’t mention a hotel to overnight in and dinner and breakfast and maybe even first class seats the next day!  With the airline so in the black. . . and probably never having removed the fuel surcharge from the cost of tickets (I’d check that one out!) that was imposed when fuel was $140 a barrel or something crazy like that and therefore their profits are soaring now that fuel is less than half of that amount, a bit of their profits could have diverted a billion dollars worth of horrid press! Can you only imagine how much the settlement to this doctor is going to be??  So many high up executives and staff down-line can work tirelessly, passionate, and with all their good intentions have one person make the wrong decision at the customer level and they can bring down the whole house in less than 5 minutes.  Some serious training is in order here.  Do you need as many flight attendants if you’re flying close to empty?  One passenger on that flight who has a return ticket on United was on CNN in the wee hours this morning commenting that he’s in the midst of exchanging that ticket for a flight on another airline.  Not good for business at United, people. Crew: Are you listening?

4. Because of all the rules put into effect after 9/11 that expand the authority of airport and on-board personnel, the last thing you want to do is mouth-off to an airline employee as they will have you arrested and then they’ll get mean!  The doctor on the flight kept his composure but did not comply with the requests and you see how that ended! I had a neighbor who was a teenager in Mussolini’s Italy who said to me every chance she could, “Stephanie, guard your liberties!” We have seen far too many intrusions on our liberties including free speech and if you express unhappiness about your seat or anything else on a plane you may risk the ire of some crew person so be happy, read a magazine, watch a movie and keep your opinions noted somewhere to share with the company after you are safely on the ground.

5. Ther”"e is no question that airlines, like people, have personalities and it all starts at the top.  See the film, “Only You,” with Robert Downey, Jr. and Marissa Tomei. At the start of the film, she is trying to get to Rome with TWA, carrying a huge wedding gown over her arm but the door to the plane is closed and TWA won’t let her board, although she is crying and begging with ticket in hand, and they call security guards to take her away from the gate area.  At the end of the film, again she needs to get on a flight from Rome to Baltimore and the door to the plane is closed and the plane is ready for take-0ff.  This time it’s an Alitalia flight and when the ground crew alerts the pilot that the person Marissa Tomei’s character loves is on the plane and she must board, everyone smiles, the gateway is opened, and she boards the plane while all of the Italians rejoice because who cannot be happy when the story is about ‘Amore!” And if you want to fly with warmhearted people with a sense of humor who go out of their way to keep passengers happy and treat everyone well. . .actually, it’s referred to as, “You’ll be well looked after” . . . fly with Aer Lingus!

6. For many years now, the only domestic airline I fly with is JetBlue. They do an excellent job of customer care and customer service with attention to ease and comfort and all those things you want when you travel served by ground staff and air crew that smile, are friendly and actually seem to care about passengers while enjoying their work! Imagine! And that’s why, the last time I went to Milwaukee for Irish Fest and Midwest Airlines fleet of 2-across planes where every passenger felt like they were in First Class even though the whole plane was coach had been absorbed into another airline that let that concept die, we flew with JetBlue to Chicago, rented a car and drove the 80 miles to Milwaukee because JetBlue didn’t fly to Milwaukee!  I was so happy we didn’t have to drive father but if JetBlue’s closest city was 500 miles away we would have taken the drive to avoid taking another domestic airline! Know why? I like to be treated well when I travel and I can count on them to deliver on that concept! I’ve flown all over the US contiguous states, Hawaii and  Caribbean with JetBlue because I like me and I haven’t done anything I need to punish myself for!

JetBlue has an agreement with Aer Lingus and if you don’t live in one of the very many cities where you can fly to Ireland and beyone with Aer Lingus, you can check your luggage in your local city for your JetBlue flight and you won’t have to worry about picking up your bags until you are on the other side of the Atlantic making a smooth connection from JetBlue to Aer Lingus and flying with Aer Lingus beyond Dublin to many European destinations! What I’m telling you is that you can find sharp fares that won’t break the bank and not give up being treated like a VIP even when you choose to fly in Economy Class!  But if you can afford to fly in Business Class or any upper class of service, treat yourself! It is so worth it!  Although, I must say, I love the premium seating available on Aer Lingus where the seats are a bit wider and the space between rows gives you more legroom and you have priority boarding to get on board and settled in before economy class passengers and the difference in price between these seats and the rest of the plane’s seats is minimal. . .and worth it!

As horrendous as this United story is, I’m so glad it’s not worse because some over-zealous security person might have tasered this man because he didn’t just get up and leave his seat. Worse yet, I’m guessing he has some martial arts skills like karate, or jujitsu or kong fu, and if his marital arts training had automatically kicked in and he gave one of the security guards a karate chop, I’d hate to think of what would have happened next. Clearly, the gentleman, who was quietly sitting in his seat awaiting his flight home was turned into a traumatized individual in need of therapeutic attention for a professional in the mental health industry. The poor man! Who knows what past trauma in his life was brought clearly to the forefront that sent him into the tailspin of traumatized behavior that he exhibited immediately after being dragged through the plane.

Lastly, I can only hope that the CEO of United makes a better effort to apologize for the unforeseen behavior of those in charge on that plane because, while he clearly doesn’t want to validate the passenger’s lack of compliance with requests to vacate his seat, a lack of an apology projects the idea that United isn’t concerned about the experience of that doctor AND the experience of passengers, including children, who were on that flight and who had to be thinking, “There, but for the Grace of God, go I.” If that treatment can be doled out to the fellow across the aisle who is breaking no laws and creating no disturbance, logic would dictate that you or I could be next.

Will this stop me from flying? Not at all.  But I will continue to exercise my sense of brand loyalty by choosing to fly with those airlines that have consistently remembered that without passengers there is no business and to keep customers coming back because of great service, the airline must continue to provide great service.  Changing brands, like changing sox, whether for airlines or hotels,  because of some perceived economic savings which may be minimal and, in actuality, may not be a savings at all given specific services that a “favorite brand” provides and if it did cost a bit more to fly with an airline you have confidence in to do the job well, wouldn’t that just be worth it? Find the brands you love, as I have, and stick with them!

This whole story has worn me out.

I’ll be talking about this story on the air so be sure to check podcasts at travelers411.com and archived audio of shows once they have broadcast coast to coast at sAbrams.com along with show notes and links to the websites of our guests.

Also, be sure to check our Directory features at travelers411.com where every guest we interview on radio is featured . . . well worth a look!

It’s now almost 6amET and I have a busy day and so wound up from this awful story that I’m hoping I can calm down enough to go to sleep to meet a busy day head-on! My big concern is that you focus on voting for companies that you like with your dollars and continue to travel and don’t vote for those you are concerned may not have your best interests to heart.  Know the rules. Follow the rules and live to talk about it! Stephanie Abrams Travel Fairy Godmother has your on her mind always! Do it right and Travel Richly!

Hugs,

Your Personal Travel Guru,

Stephanie Abrams


Northern Ireland Reliable Sources Credit Radio Show Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams with Significant Growth of Visitors on Antrim’s North Coast
April 11th, 2017

Giant’s Causeway, Antrim Coastline, County Antrim, Northern Ireland, a National Trust Northern Ireland/North Coast Site

April 9, 2017

BOSTON, April 09, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — National Trust Northern Ireland/North Coast (NTNI/NC), the agency responsible for safety, conservation and marketing for that region, last week implemented one-hour visitation time limits at Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge, the sixty-six foot long, eighteen inch wide attraction in County Antrim. This new policy, implemented on April 7th, reports the Belfast Telegraph, is deemed necessary due to “significant growth in visitor numbers” to the attraction.  Those words caught the attention of travel expert and nationally syndicated radio travel talk show host Stephanie Abrams, whose radio shows and award-winning websites have been featuring NTNI/NC tourism venues, including Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge, on her two three-hour weekend travel radio shows, Travelers411 and Travel WITH Stephanie Abrams and her associated family of award-winning websites, sAbrams.com and travelers411.com. Features include interviews, photos, podcasts, archived audio, show notes, features, banner ads and online Directory postings that create a compendium of information about the destination.  “When I read, ‘significant growth in visitor numbers,’” Abrams rejoices, “I knew we hit the  BINGO moment. We rejoice in our contribution to the North Coast’s significant growth!” Abrams states.

Abrams radio and online features bring laser-focused awareness to destinations and hospitality venues that fit her mission to connect travelers with places she believes they will return from “enriched, enhanced, inspired and uplifted.  “Our exposure results is increased tourism to places I love,“ Abrams notes.  “I’ve been recognized by destinations that described our efforts as ‘significantly contributing to the growth and development of travel and tourism,’ including: The 2010 Goddess Artemis Award from Greek National Tourism Organization and Mayors of Athens and Mykonos; named, in 2006, Ambassador to North America for Saxony Germany Tourism; named 2007 Honorary Friend of Saint Patrick by the Saint Patrick Centre in County Down, NI; recognized 2015 by NTNI/NC with a necklace commissioned to represent Giant’s Causeway, the only UNESCO Heritage Site in Northern Ireland.”

Abrams telephoned authorities in Northern Ireland for credible information on the new procedures for visiting Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge which she will be sharing with her coast-to-coast audience on radio and those in over forty countries who listen to podcasts and archived audio of shows online at www.travelers411.com and www.sAbrams.com.  Reliable sources confirmed that Abrams’ radio shows and websites are being credited with playing a significant role in the increase of visitors to the whole Antrim coastal route region that is being experienced including Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge, Giant’s Causeway, the quaint village of Cushendun, and Portstewart Beach where Harry’s Shack provides, “a fabulous panoramic view of the beach and a great place for a delicious meal. Try the mussels!” Abrams adds. “We’re happy to ‘take the rap’ for creating the crowds that need management at Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge! We rock like the rocks at Giant’s Causeway!” Abrams beams.


Emer Coridan, GM of Cahernane House in Killarney, Has Painting of Mr. Herbert, Esquire who looks like David Butler of Carrageen Castle!
April 8th, 2017

This is the painting of Mr. Herbert, Esquire, I found at Cahernane House in Killarney, Co. Kerry, Ireland and it looks like David Butler whom I met at Sammy Leslie’s 40th birthday party at Castle Leslie in County Monaghan a bunch of years ago.  Look at these photos! You can’t miss the resemblance.
This composite photo shows me with David Butler at Sammy’s party on the grounds of Castle Leslie next to the photo above. Uncanny!
Note that this was the first White Tie gala I had ever gone to. So elegant! Ladies needed to wear tiaras. While Sammy Leslie’s tiara was a family heirloom given by King George IV to his “secret” wife, Mrs. Fitzherbert. I’ll tell that story another day!
My tiara was bought in target, a Disney product I paid $9.99 for and included earrings that I didn’t use!
BTW: I got MASSIVE compliments on my tiara! I didn’t tell anyone that day that it was plastic!
This is Sammy Leslie in Mrs. Fitzherbert’s tiara and I”m standing with her in the reception area of the Castle Leslie in County Monaghan. An ancestor of the Leslies, Lady Jane Leslie was “Lady in Waiting” to Mrs. Fitzherbert and, after her death and the tiara passing a couple of generations along to Mrs. Fitzherbert’s first adopted daughter and then granddaughter, the tiara came back to Castle Leslie and stayed in a curio cabinet for the longest time but was passed along not that long ago to a relative who chose to sell it! What a shame for the family to lose that special treasure! So there is Samantha Leslie in her ancestral tiara adorned with diamonds and pearls and me in my Disney plastic tiara! Hot stuff!

Sounds Like the Cow Jumped Over the Moon and Brad Pitt in Newry, Northern Ireland!
April 8th, 2017

More and more films are made at destinations that I love! You know that the first year of “Game of Thrones” was filmed on location in Malta and has been filmed in Northern Ireland for the most part, for the last several seasons but I”m told by the folks who live on the Dingle Peninsula in County Kerry, in the Republic of Ireland that some of Game of Thrones was also filmed there. And Star Wars 2015 and 2016 and already filmed parts of Star Wars 2017 were filmed in the Malin Head, on the Inishowen peninsula of Ireland’s County Donegal, while other parts were, Mizen Head in County Cork, and on Skellig Michael, one of the Skellig Islands which can be visited or seen by boat off the shoreline of the towns along Ireland’s southern coastline and easily reached for the town of Portmagee where you’ll find The Moorings Inn & Restaurant and Bridge Bar right on the waterfront. That’s where some of the crew and cast members of the Star Wars 2015 film stayed during the film shoot on Skellig Michael.  (Food is terrific and the pub bar is adorable. . . and they know how to pour a proper Guinness, unlike most US pubs and restaurants who don’t have a clue as to how to pout Guinness on tap!  In recent days, HBO has been airing “By the Sea,” the Angelina Jolie film with Brad Pitt shot on Malta’s island of Gozo and today, the Belfast Telegraph is reporting that Brad Pitt’s newest film, “Lost City of Z,” caused quite a stir among local farmers and their livestock when that film was in production in Newry, Northern Ireland, which is about 90 minutes drive, more or less, from Dublin. . . more if you stop to sightsee along the route!

Have a look at today’s news article in the Belfast Telegraph about the ruckus the filming of ‘Lost City of Z” caused among the locals and livestock. It sounds like “Hey diddle diddle. .  . the cow jumped over the moon!”

Locals cried fowl over Brad Pitt shoot, but film may have

put east Antrim on movie map

By Victoria Leonard

April 8 2017

A Co Antrim film location where animals were left “terrified” after a series of staged explosions and gunfire has been transformed into a battlefield of the Somme in a newly released Hollywood movie.

The Lost City Of Z, which stars Charlie Hunnam, Robert Pattinson and Sienna Miller, was shot near Ballygally by Brad Pitt’s production company Plan B.

In September 2015 locals told of their shock after explosions, gunfire and billowing smoke from fires caused chickens to flee their coops and cows to jump hedges.

At the time local man Jason McKillion told how his poultry and pet dog “went daft” and his neighbour was almost trampled by a herd of stampeding cattle amid the chaos.

The Lost City Of Z is based on the story of British explorer Percy Fawcett, who journeyed into the Amazon three times in search of a lost civilisation, which he named Z.

The footage shot outside Larne is the most dramatic of the movie, showing Fawcett fighting at the Somme during the First World War.

In the film the rolling hills around Sallagh Brae, which also feature in Game Of Thrones, have been transformed into a maze of trenches and bunkers as Fawcett and his men prepare to go over the top into No Man’s Land.

As the soldiers charge the screen is filled with deafening explosions and German machine gun fire as the Allies seek to dodge barbed wire.

Fawcett is overcome by chlorine gas, but eventually recovers enough to make his third and final trip to the Amazon.

On that occasion, he and his team vanished without trace and numerous rescue attempts failed to locate the explorers.

Ballygally businessman Grahame Todd, who served many members of the film crew at his Spar shop, said that the east Antrim area was fast becoming a popular location for the filming of movies.

“People around here certainly won’t forget the filming of The Lost City Of Z in a hurry,” he said.

“But in the end it was worth the hassle. It’s great for the area.”

Belfast Telegraph


Be careful who you ask for travel advice, or, There are doctors and DOCTORS, and travel experts and TRAVEL EXPERTS.
February 15th, 2017

Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams with Tor Hagen, CEO and founder of Viking River ,on the Inaugural Cruise of Viking River Cruise’s Three River Gorge Cruise in China

I’m listening to a travel agent of many years answering travel questions on WAMC 90.3/New England Public Radio. I’m not entirely in sync with the answers to questions she’s being asked by callers and the more I listened the more frustrated I was that I couldn’t interject my voice into the conversation. I jotted down several of the caller’s questions and her answers and released my frustration by providing deeper insights below. I hope that some of the people who called that station in search of expert travel advice get to read the info herein!
Q1) The caller wanted advice on river cruising. He’d never been on a river cruise and wondered what the “travel expert” thought he should do.
Her answer:
A1) Go river cruising in Cambodia!
My answer: if you’ve never taken a river cruise, if you’ve never been to Asia, if you haven’t been outside of the US on long distance hauls, you probably don’t want to start with Cambodia! If you are dealing with a restricted budget, the airfare to Cambodia will break the bank and not leave much left for everything else you need to purchase related to this trip. This person .asking the question has never been on a river cruise, and while Cambodia may have some fabulous places to visit, if this is your FIRST river cruise, as this caller indicated, that’s not the place to start! If you’re on a European river cruise and you decide that river cruising is not for you, you could get off in the next port, step off the ship and be standing in the middle of a town or city with hotels, car rental places, public transportation to other cities and you wouldn’t be stranded in Cambodia! It would have been a good idea to find out how many countries and what countries outside of the US this caller had been too before recommending Cambodia as his first adventure. Knowing his budget would have been worth determining as well as the cost of airfare can be prohibitive especially because he was coming from the region around Albany, NY on the east coast!
Q2) Next week is Presidents Week? Any last minute deals?
A2) It’s too late for any deals!
My answer: Check out LastMinute.com or a really good travel agent. Resorts send agents deals directly and don’t advertise them as they don/’t want to mess up their marketing plan by advertising they have rooms left they’d give away cheaply. Also,l this is low-season Europe and there are great airfares that are the same or less than flying to an America’s warm weather destinations.
i) It is perpetual springtime in Madeira, flowers blooming year round and lovely weather to hang out by the pool or take a short boat trip or even shorter flight (25 minutes) to Porto Santo where the white sandy beaches will steal your heart!Madeira is a subtropical island and If you’re interested in culture and history, Madeira bubbles over with both. It was the wine from Madeira that was used by US founding fathers to toast the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the people of Madeira have a strong bond with the US for that reason. There are ancient sites to visit and fun traditions you can participate in like being pushed down from the top of the mountainous area where the cathedral is in handmade wicker baskets by men in costumes of the period when that was a popular sport. Being the chicken that I am, I preferred to watch!There are food-inclusive and all-inclusive hotels (check out Pestano Hotels and Resorts in Madeira and Porto Santo) and there are casinos on in prime locations. If you want a bit of stuffy elegance, stay at Reid’s Palace which has a special history of its own and is perched on a bluff overlooking the sea. One of the Pestano Casino Hotels is also right on the waterfront. They have a gorgeous pool and rooms on one side of the hotel face the sea but they consider the rooms on the other side that face the mountain as better views because at night you can’t see the sea but the mountainside is lit up with the lights of homes and hotels. I opted for the sea view and they thought we were crazy! Madeira is owned by Portugal but is closer to Morocco than Europe strategically placed in the ocean. If you’re a foodie, the town of Funchal, where all the action is, has a Restaurant Row with every, that’s EVERY ethnic food you could possibly crave and the ‘row’ must be close to a mile long. . . you just keep walking between rows of restaurants forever! I loved this place!!
You might also want to consider Gran Tenerife or Gran Canaria islands in the Canary Islands, owned by Spain. At this time of year, going there is a steal and you’ll have beaches and hotels and great food, all at a bargain! If you’re a group or family craving space, there are homes for rent in the Canary Island for as little as $16 a night! Check them out carefully to be sure you’re not a million miles away from the beach or staying in a dive but there are all-inclusive air/land packages and you’ll have a seriously enjoyable trip to a place steeped in culture in a beach destination.
(Note: If you only like white sandy beaches, check where you are going before you book! Some places have black beaches that are the results of disintegrated lava. if that turns you off look for a white sandy place. . .Santo Porto fits that category but the Canary Islands and some parts of the Balearic islands (also owned by Spain) have black sand beaches while Lanzerote in the Balearic Islands has both black and white beaches!
Q3) Hotel on the beach on Miami Beach in March”
A3) You need to go all the way uptown on Collins Avenue to be on the beach.
My Answer: NO, you can stay at one of the boutique hotels on Ocean Drive. If your room faces the ocean you are staring at the beach and the sad is across a little 2 lane road (Ocean Drive) if you want sand and ocean if you don’t want to hang out at the pool. HOWEVER, there is the Loews South Beach Resort and Spa which .is located where South Beach ends and just before Lincoln Road crosses Collins Avenue. They are in South Beach and they are RIGHT ON THE BEACH!
Q. 4) I want to go to the Amalfi Coast.
A. 4) You must go to Pompeii on your way. Drive your car to the top of Vesuvius. Then drive to Sorrento and drive along the Amalfi coast.
My Answer: Firstly, you can’t drive to the top of Vesuvius. You can drive part of the way up and park your car there. When you look up, the walking trail to get to the top of the volcano doesn’t look like much of a walk and not much of a challenge. Someone at the parking area will off you a walking stick which you will need so you don’t slide around on the gravelly path. Once you start walking you’re going to find that paths you could see from the parking area are the tip of an iceberg (or volcano) as it’s a LONG straight uphill and somewhat challenging walk. You’ll see octogenarian Europeans trotting by and passing most Americans no matter how fit they are. I walked to the top, because you CAN’T drive to the top or we would have done that, and I’d never do it again! Tell someone you don’t like to walk to the top. . . and tell them to go on the tour of the salt mine in Hallein, Austria. That’s a good way to get even with people you’d like to slap!
If you are going to drive along the Amalfi coast, the best way to do that is to drive from Pompeii, not to Sorrento but, to Salerno which is at the other end of the Amalfi Coast Road. If you drive from Salerno, you’ll be on the side of the road that hugs the mountain, not the cliff side. If you drive from Sorrento to Amalfi and in the direction of Sorrento, if you companion or you are driving, you won’t be able to take your eyes off the road! If you want to see people driving in the “wrong” direction, from Sorrento to Salerno, see the film, “Only You,” with Marissa Tomei and Robert Downey, Jr. The production company/director had them drive from Sorrento to Positano, about halfway between Sorrento and Amalfi or Salerno, because they could get clear shots of them from a helicopter to as they hugged the outside wall along the cliff. Watch that and it will convince you not to take the advice of the “travel expert” and her sage advice on WMCA’s show!
Q5) I want to go to Scotland to go hiking and we’re interested in Scotch.
A5) Oh, Scotch is everywhere.
My Answer: There is a area in the eastern region of Scotland not far from St. Andrews called the Single Malt Whiskey Trail. You can stop at any number of distilleries for their tour. Be sure to visit The Aberlour Distillery, terrific tour and then drive down the road to the The Highlander Inn, Craigellachie, Speyside, Banffshire, where you’ll find just about every brand of Scotch Whisky (note the spelling as compared to “Irish Whiskey”). When I was there, they has a bottle of 1964 Bowmore Scotch at their bar. When we visited the Highlander Inn, one shot of Bowmore Black was $590.Imagine this:
You buy some business associates or friends a round of drinks. One of your associates say, “The next round’s on me!” So you order Bowmore Black. . . a double . . .valued at $1180! Can you imagine the look on the face of the guy picking up that tab!
Yes you can get Scotch anywhere in Scotland but you can get Scotch anywhere in NYC, too. If you want to go someplace with amazing history and quaint Scottish charm, head for the Highlander Inn!
Q6) Caribbean in March for beach and culture?
A6) Curacao, Aruba. . . .
My Answer: Why does this woman choose the farthest away places? Aruba was a desert island . . . and a deserted island. There was nothing there. And then a big US oil company, Standard Oil of NJ, started producing crude oil off the coast of Aruba so now there was a big company there. When business associates, friends and family of those living on this desert island wanted to come and visit for business and family reasons, it was clear that the island needed a hotel to accommodate them and that was the beginning of the tourism industry in Aruba,which, like Curacao, sits just minutes off the coast of South America. It’s a long flight even from NYC and longer from other parts of the US as travelers often have to make connections and, from some parts of the US, it will take 2 days of travel with an overnight break somewhere like Houston, to get to Aruba and/or Curacao. Aruba is owned by Holland so it’s the (friendly) Dutch influence you’ll interface with. It’s a great island for beaches and casinos and that’s why people go to Aruba. Read the info at this site about the “culture” of Aruba and you’ll find it’s not at the same level as places I’ve indicated below (http://www.aruba.com/the-island/culture).
Now if you’re looking for an island with a rich cultural history, try Jamaica, Barbados, Sint Maarten (Dutch) and the other side of the island, St. Martin (French), or try St. Lucia and better still, Martinique and make sure you take a tour or rent a car and travel independently and visit Martinique’s Volcano Museum. You will receive an object lesson on why it pays to get drunk!

“A United Kingdom,” Now in US Theaters, is a MUST SEE!
February 10th, 2017

TRAVEL EXPERT STEPHANIE ABRAMS (right), NYTIMES TRAVEL SHOW SPONSOR, INTERVIEWS

LESLIE HALL, US REPRESENTATIVE FOR BOTSWANA AT THE JACOB JAVITS CENTER IN NYC

I just found out that the film, “A United Kingdom,” is opening in cinemas in the US this weekend. We’re snowed in or I’d go see it again. Maybe I’ll see it once the town’s plow can get through to us and plow us out! But in the meantime, if you can get to a movie theater where “A United Kingdom” is being shown, run, don’t walk, to see it! The story is compelling and, given the discrimination, prejudice and bigotry that we continue to see today, the film has an overriding and important message related to tolerance and brotherhood.  The acting is superb and the scenes in London and in Africa will give you an armchair tour that may inspire your future travels. The story is set in the 1950’s and brings you into the early ’60s so the vintage clothing and cars of the period add to the sense of time and place. The story, the historic period it presents, the insights into how governments act in their own self-interests in harsh and cruel ways while doing their best to maintain an air of normalcy  . . .something I call the “stopping for tea syndrome:. . . and the acting make this a film you cannot miss.
The film is based on the true story of a tribal-chief-in-waiting in Botswana, Africa who ultimately becomes the first President of Botswana after every possible obstacle is lodged in his way by the British who occupy and run the country for their own advantage and to the great disadvantage of the countries native residents. David Oyelowo gives a stellar performance as Seretse Khama portraying his early years in London as a student who is preparing to lead his tribe upon his return to Botswana. Seretse meets Ruth Williams, portrayed by the marvelous Rosemund Pike, an Englishwoman, and they fall in love and marry, creating a kerfuffle in Africa among Seretse’s tribesmen, among the Brits in Botswana, and among Ruth’s friends and family. The world is not on the side of this unique and binding love affair as the story explores the challenges that love can survive when faced with British governmental obstacles to their union and locals in Botswana challenging her right to be queen of their tribe.  The story is a monument to overcoming challenges.
“A United Kingdom” was released in December in the UK and Ireland and we saw the film on Christmas Eve, 2016, just six weeks ago.  Oddly enough, we saw the film in Derry-Londonderry, Northern Ireland in my favorite cinema there which is attached to a marvelous arcade and bowling alley complete with a couple of dining choices including one that is for adults only so you can escape the hordes of children who are having such a good time but are so noisey(!). Northern Ireland is part of the UK and it seemed to me that a shiver ran through the theater as British history in Botswana, a pattern similar to that of the Brits in South Africa, Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, India and Pakistan, the Middle East. . . name the destination including Northern Ireland. . . where they have a history dividing and conquering the locals, imposing hardships that are harsh and often cruel and setting the locals against one another as a ruling tactic.
Because I enjoy seeing a film in the country in which the film is set or produced, I made a point of seeing, “Made in Dagenham,” when we were in London when the film had just come out. Like ‘A United Kingdom,’ it took several weeks before that film hit US cinemas.  ‘Made in Dagenham,’ also featuring Rosamund Pike, is based on the true story of the women who worked in the Ford Motor Company manufacturing plant in Dagenham, England and whose salaries for equal work was about 30% less the men. One woman’s perseverance and energy propelled a group of women to see parity of pay and this merry little band is that reason that the auto industry globally today has brought pay for women into parity with men who are doing similar jobs. once again, seeing the film in England provided unique insights from the reaction of the Londoners who were in the movie theater watching with me.


A Little Fact Check: US Has High-Speed Trains: Amtrak’s Acela Express
February 9th, 2017

POTUS, minutes ago at a meeting of airline CEOs, stated that other countries have high-speed trains but the US doesn’t even have one. I have understood that the 2 Amtrak Acela Express Train Routes are characterized in the high-speed train category. These trains run between Boston and NYC and between NYC and Washington, DC. Just to be sure that I was correct, nothing like fact checking(!), I called Bill Hollister, a longtime Amtrak executive and my go-to-man for corporate and government-related info about Amtrak, confirmed that, indeed, Amtrak’s Acela trains are classified as high speed trains. Note that European and Asian trains’ speed are noted in kilometers per hour so at a quick glance their trains look like they go a lot faster than ours since there are more kilometers per mile than when the number is quoted in miles (150mph=241.4kph). Bill also noted that Amtrak carries more passengers daily between NYC and DC than all of the airlines combined and more passengers daily between NYC and Boston than 6 major airlines combined. There’s nothing quite as luxurious as being in the observation car on an Amtrak train. Shown here are photos taken on Antrak’s Auto Train, a very civilized way to cut out 800 miles of driving between Lorton, VA and Sanford, Florida! The competent Amtrak crew put your car on the train in an enclosed train car and you get on the train and overnight. It’s a romantic adventure and when you arrive, all of your gear is packed in your car and you don’t need to rent a car! It;s also such fun! I’ve done 5 roundtrips on Amtrak’s Auto-Train and just writing about it makes me want to go again! Actually, I want to do a cross-country trip from Chicago to Salt Lake City or Seattle or San Francisco Bay area. . . or all of the above!!

Bill Hollister tells me that testing is in progress to increase the 150mph speed of Acela which is wonderful as well. Hopefully, Congress will support all of Amtrak’s budget needs to keep our Amtrak service great! It’s great not to have to go to the outskirts of a city to go to an airport when you can go from downtown Boston to downtown NYC to the heart of DC. And if you’re not on an Acela Express train, it’s great to use Amtrak from NYC to Philadelphia. It’s even more pleasant that taking that drive! It makes the trip so much more efficient and with early airport check-ins plus the flight times you can often arrive in your downtown destination in less time than the flying process! Plus you can walk around the train, stop in the snack car, or on longer hauls into the dining car, have a seat as roomy with leg room as big as a first class airline seat, and work at your seat with electric outlets available on most trains to charge your electronic equipment! And the snack car has tables like in a diner so it’s a great place, if you are traveling with friends or business colleagues, to prep for the meeting you’re going to or have burger and fries or a snack or go alone to catch up on work too! If you’re in NYC, hop an Amtrak train thru the Hudson Valley up to Albany or onward to Montreal! Remember to bring your passport if you’re going into Canada!! Train travel is a unique experience and makes every trip even more memorable! Go make tracks!


A Personal Look into the Bravery of One Mexican Army Officer Who was Ready to Protect Me
February 2nd, 2017

You know I have been blessed with a world of unbelievable and unusual experiences, many resulting from my travels.  It’s now 2:26am ET and I thought I was going to go to bed now but I have the TV on and just learned that our new POTUS has indicated to the President of Mexico, if the report I have heard on TV is correct, that Mexican soldiers are cowards and the US could send in our troops.  Could that be true?? If you haven’t seen the Peter Sellers film, “The Mouse that Roared,” do your best to get your hands on it as, if that scenario was put into action, it might be the best thing that ever happened to Mexico in the style of Peter Sellers! But  I actually know, like a brother, a fellow whose family has been Mexican for centuries and whose last name is French from the days when the French occupied Mexico.  I’ll call him Juan to protect his real identity.
Juan’s family owns a chain of hotels, restaurants and so many other businesses in Mexico. His house, in a residential area of Mexico City, is extraordinary and I’ve had the privilege of being invited to his house twice. His elegantly finished basement has a huge room, complete with mannequins that sport his traditional folkloric clothing that is worn for ceremonial occasions and is reminiscent of the outfits mariachi players wear.  That room is like a salon in a museum with at least 100 different outfits complete with vests, trousers, sombrero’s, and matching boots humidity-controlled closets!
Juan went to military school and military university and when he graduated, he went into the Mexican Army as an officer. He was in the army about 15 years when he decided to retire at the age of 35 from the Mexican Army and resume life as a private citizen. He married, had a son, built a gorgeous house for his family and I met him when part of my job included spearheading the international development of the travel company that I worked for as Executive Vice President of a $1.5billion travel company and Mexico was one of 21 countries I brought into our international network.
Juan is a sharp-shooter and a very brave man and if he is an example of the average soldier or officer in the Mexican Army, I wouldn’t be in a hurry to throw the word “cowardly” in their faces as I believe that, like our own soldiers, they are lovely people but don’t threaten them with a weapon unless you’re ready for a battle! And why under Heaven would be want to threaten Mexico with invasion, occupation, or warfare???
I was traveling from Mexico City to Cuernavaca, an historic and wonderful place to visit a little more than an hour’s drive from D.F., the Federal District of Mexico, which is the way that Mexico City is referred to.  Juan picked me and my company’s CEO up at the airport and we were whisked off to Cuernavaca, the place that the heir to the Woolworth forturne, Barbara Hutton, built a hacienda which became the Camino Real Hotel after her death.  We were on our way to a meeting of our Mexican regional heads who represented our presence all over Mexico. I was in the front seat and my colleague was in the back as we drove on a marvelous highway to Cuernavaca when Juan announced that he needed to stop at the next travel plaza to fill up his Range Rover. Juan commented, “It’s not a good idea to stop for gas or anything else en route because of banditos but don’t worry, I have my gun and I know how to use it!”
Sitting between me and Juan on the consul was a triangular leather case. When Juan got out of the vehicle to deal with the gasoline purchase, I turned to my colleague and asked, “Do you think there’s a gun in there?” Pragmatically, he replied, “Have a look!” I unsnapped the flap on the triangular case and, lo and behold, in this beautiful hand-tooled leather case  was a serious revolver.  Having the gun within inches of my elbow did not make me feel better.
The trip was altogether wonderful! Cuernavaca was wonderful! The over-500-year-old museum built by the Spanish was wonderful. The hotel we stayed at, Casa Tomayo, an AMAZING place that I’ll tell you more about another day, was wonderful  and everything went perfectly including having dinner at Barbara Hutton’s house! But an overriding memory was the Juan-and-the-gun episode even though I never saw it leave its case.
About a year later,on a Sunday morning, Juan was sitting at his kitchen dining table with his back to the interior of his house. His wife and nine year-old son sat across from him with their backs to the large sliding glass doors about 30 feet behind them.  As Juan looked up from his morning newspaper, he saw three men dressed in black with black ski masks hiding their faces climb over the huge garden wall that fenced out the world from his property. Juan’s mind and body went into Mexican Army Officer mode. He said nothing to his family as there was no time to have them move. As he stood, he pivoted, turned to the interior of the house, went to his bedroom and came back with that same gun that sat between us on the drive to Cuernavaca.  In seconds he was back in his kitchen’s dining area but the three men were in the house.  One held his wife by her hair and had his gun pointed at her head. Another had his son by the neck with a gun pointed at his head. The third was looking about the area assessing what they came to steal.
When Juan told me this story, he said he was on auto-pilot! There was no conscious thought. He was in soldier-mode and poised for action. He did what he was trained to do in military high school, military college and in the Mexican Army.  In seconds, Juan had shot the man holding his wife in the knee and then, a nano-second later, he shot the man holding his son in the forehead.  The latter was instantly dead and the other was in great pain and unable to walk. So, at this point, there were two shot men on the floor. When the third bandito saw his two compatriots in trouble, he tried to help the one with the injured knee out of the house but gave up and ran off before he was shot too.
Juan had to face many hearings to prove that he was defending his family in order to avoid being accused, himself,  of wrong-doing which, since the invaders were still in his house when the police arrived, he was ultimately able to prove  but the whole series of incidents that occurred that day took its emotional  toll on him, his wife and son.
But I can tell you one thing for certain that I learned from the trip to Cuernavaca and the incident that took place in Juan’s house: Juan was correct. He had a gun and he wasn’t afraid to use it. Not only was there no fear, there was an abundance of skill, training, focus and bravery and nothing was going to stand in the way of him exercising the skills he was trained to perform in the Mexican military.
So my bit of advice: Before the  warmth and hospitality and friendliness of Mexican people gets interpreted as weakness, cowardice, or anything else illogical, know that Mexicans are people with millennia of history, centuries of traditions, fierce pride in their culture, imbued with legends of the bravery of their ancestors, and in many ways remind me of the Scottish who don’t need to be smacked twice to dig their heels in and respond with double force. Cowardice is a ridiculous insult to throw at the people of Mexico.
On a whole other level, the thought of threatening Mexicans with a US invasion is the stuff that fiction is made of! But, you may recall that President Reagan ordered the US Marines to invade the tiny Caribbean island of Granada so maybe there’s a sense of emulating another POTUS.
It might be a good idea if bedtime reading of Dale Carnegie’s book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People” were prescribed or maybe audited classes at a Finishing School for all members of government who are in political positions whose words carry heavy meaning could be a good thing to bring a level of grace and charm, diplomacy and statesmanship to all government proceedings.  Taking a less from the Brits who have cultivated an image of educated, well bred, and stopping everything every day for a spot of tea at 4pm while their historic means of dealing with destinations was to take them over, divide the locals into two teams and set them off to hate and kill one another  while they stepped aside so as not to get killed and removed the valuable assets from that destination, an M.O. that was implemented in India, Africa, the Middle East, and Ireland.  But their image is one of very proper etiquette and well-chosen words.  Approaching the international community and residents in the US with boxing gloves on is not the best approach.
And thinking about Scotsmen brings to mind the Scottish prayer that I’ve updated to be relevant in the 21st century: “From ghosties and ghoulies and long-leggedy beasties,  things that go bump in the night and beasties who punch allies in the face, Good Lord deliver us!”


Traveling While Texting Can Trip-Up Your Trip. . . and Turn Off Your Samsung Galaxy Note7!
October 11th, 2016

T

Radio Show Travel Expert and Top Travel Media Broadcaster Stephanie Abrams, with her husband, Mark Abrams at Bradley International Airport, Hartford, Connecticut

I saw the most ridiculous example of Traveling While Texting when I was at Bradley International Airport in Hartford, Connecticut, BDL, on Sunday which, by the way, is a lovely, user-friendly airport and now another place where you can fly non-stop to Dublin with Aer Lingus.  I’m generally disgusted by people who are pulling a roll-a-board carry-on while walking through crowded halls in airports who are paying no attention to where they are walking because they are texting or reading their messages on their mobile phones.  I can’t tell you how many times people have walking in front of me and, with the combination thhat I need to their bodies and the additional 4 foot obstacle they drag behind them, become an instant barrier to my progress and a barrier that I have bumped into or (almost) tripped over.  But Sunday was a kind of poet justice when I observed a moment of the ridiculous.

So here’s the scene: I stepped onto one of  the convery belts at BDL that speeds your progress toward the gate areas and there, about 15 feet in front of me, was a fellow who should have known better, a guy about 55 years old, reading messages and texting on his cell phone.  Firstly, he was standing, with his dufflebag carry-on piece placed in front of him at his feet, on the right side of the convery belt.  Regrettably, far too many US airports don’t have reminder signs for uninitiated or infrequent travelers that, if you’re going to stand on the converyer belt and allow it to move you along without your own participation in forward movement, then you need to STAND LEFT so you leave the space for people who want to make double-movement forward while walking on the conveyer belt while it moves them along, completing the request for airport travelers to STAND LEFT-WALK RIGHT so those who want to make time in the airport have a clear right lane on the coveyer belt to get by.

But, no, this passenger was firmly entrenched on the right side of the converyer belt and engrossed in his texting and message reading.  And then it happened!  The spot upon which he was standing on the conveyer’s  rubberized  arrived at the end-point.  An alert passenger would have had his luggage in hand and ready to safely step off and continue walking forward to the next awaiting conveyer belt to continue onward to his gate. But not so for Bonzo.  This clown had his total attention focused on his phone and as the conveyer came to its end point, his duffle bag slid onto the terrazzo floor and, with nothing beneath it to move it forward, the duffle bag stopped in place.  This fellow, a body in motion, continued to stay in motion and, as his feet were propelled under the duffle bag, he tripped over it and flew, like a carp jumping from a lake, over the top of the bag.  Happily, he was able to recover his balance quickly and, without falling, cleared and reclaimed the bag from the floor.  Even better was that i was the next person behind him and, because I was “STANDING LEFT,” was in no danger of being the next in a pile-up behind him.  He was, indeed, lucky, that he didn’t have his trip derailed by an injury at that point and there was no pile up of those behind him caught in his own trap.

People worry about what can happen in an airport or on an airplane that might have negative impact on the travel plans and safety.  If you’re looking to avoid serious injury while traveling, be on the lookout for people with cell phones! And, on that subject, if you’ve got a Samsung Galaxy Note7 mobile phone, turn the blasted thing off and don’t pack it in your checked luggage as that is yet again another clear and present danger according to reports and to the announcements being made by airlines!

Travel safely. . . travel richly!


Ironic Smithsonian African American Museum Opening at time of Victims of Police Brute Force & Political Stereotyping of Who African-Americans Are
September 24th, 2016

The irony is not lost on me when I am presented on three sides with the most positive and wonderful information on the grand opening, today, of the Smithsonian’s National African American History Museum in Washington, DC, a celebration of the contribution of great men and women of African descent who persevered during inhumane times, bad times, and times where the circumstances brought out the best in people rising above the most difficult challenges, seeing this through a kaleidoscope  captured inside a triangle of media whose other two sides focus on what can only be described as ‘police overkill,’ while the third side of the triangle spews political rhetoric that stereotypes the African-American as poorly educated and living in squalor.  Perhaps a trip to Washington, DC with a visit to the National African American History Museum could be a good start for those who are not acquainted with the contributions of the past and the present being made by African Americans.

If you’re going to take that trip, you might also want to stop in Pennsylvania at the Pennsylvania Railroad Museum where you’ll learn, among other things, about the significant contribution of African Americans to the growth and development of US railroading.  The study of the US rail systems is, at the same time, a testament to the contribution of the African American.

You can listen to the archived interview with Jeff Bleimeister, the museum’s head, in HOUR 2 of Travel WITH Stephanie Abrams which broadcast on February 28, 2016, if you click here and then click on HOUR 2.  Do you know the expression, “The real McCoy?” That comes from the invention of a better train breaking product that was invented by a railway employee named McCoy.  Others tried to copy his idea, design and patent but railroaders found that the best product was the ‘Real McCoy.’ Elijah McCoy was that inventor and he was the child of American slaves who fled to Canada to escape the injustices and oppression of the US. They went to Canada where Elijah was born in Ontario in 1844 and died in 1929. During his lifetime, he invented and held patents for 57 products, most of which related to lubrication of engines.  We could count him as an Afro-American, and not an Afro-Canadian, were it not for the oppression of slavery driving his parents to find a safe haven. Had his parents stayed in the US, Elijah would have been born into a time of slavery and lived through, had he been lucky enough to survive, the Civil War.  Fascinatingly, the British Empire ended slavery in all of its territories in 1841.  That included all of the islands of the Caribbean and elsewhere in the world where the Brits embraced slavery as an economic advantage to growth in the Empire.  Irish scholars find no coincidence that the Great Famine, better described as the Great Starvation since there was food that just wasn’t being shared, in Ireland was taking place at the time when the Brits were freeing slaves around the globe.  They point out that slaves were no longer needed because, as Irish history scholar Derek Warfield notes, “The Brits didn’t need slaves anymore because they had the Irish.” It’s this synergy between the experience of the Irish under the harsh British rule of over 800 years, that created the bond between Daniel O’Connell, the George Washington of  Ireland and Frederick Douglass, the abolitionist who was doing for African-Americans and slaves what  Daniel O’Connell was doing for the Irish.

I often think that people who have never experienced more than a temper tantrum for not getting what they want the moment they want it are generally the ones who have no empathy for others.  The least sensitive people tend to be those who have never had a moment of true suffering in their lives.  Maybe it’s the history of the colonists and pioneers crossing America who needed to circle the wagons to keep out anyone not in their group that is at the route of the underlying exclusionary attitudes of so many featured in news broadcasts.  I travel so much and see so many differences in cultures globally where I see so many people who are just naturally welcoming, warm, hospitable and bubbling over with friendliness only to come home to find that people can’t return a smile, don’t want to look one another in the eye and continue the practice of circling the wagons when there are newcomers in their community to keep them as outsiders, often for generations and generations.

This particular time, this unique moment, in the history of the US, with rhetoric presented on mass media giving scandalizing generalized descriptions of the lives of African Americans that sound like this is a class of people who are living in squalor and ignorance coupled with the indelible actions we learn about far too frequently of close encounters of Afro-Americans with police department personnel around the nation that end in the deaths of those detained in short order, it is truly ironic and a welcomed breath of fresh air to be celebrating the contribution in every field of endeavor by African-Americans who have made a significant contribution to the quality of life of Americans and others around the world.  A visit to this newest attraction in Washington, DC should be part of every traveler’s plans.  Note that admission is FREE but one must have a ticket to enter.  Tickets are produced with a designated time for entry on them so it’s important that those lucky enough to get tickets are on time to arrive to enter the museum.  At this point, tickets are scarce into November so keep that in mind when considering your travel plans. For complete information on obtaining tickets online to the National African American History Museum, click on this link to the official site for ticket acquisition. Be sure to read the part about companies and groups that may be creating counterfeit tickets that won’t be honored at this museum! Be sure to purchase your tickets from the museum itself to be assured your ticket will be honored.


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