IBJNews

TRAVEL: For best experience, go with no reservations

Frank Basile
December 29, 2012
Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share
Frank Basile

A trip to Corsica? Sure, that sounds fun.

But for Katrina and me, that trip unexpectedly turned out to be one of our most dangerous.

We rented a car after arriving by air and were driving to our hotel in Ajaccio when, at the major intersection in town, a wild commotion suddenly surrounded us. People were running past, some pounding and kicking our car, trying to get away.

Then, about 20 feet from us, a dozen or so officers, guns firing, rushed out of a police SWAT team van.

Katrina, who was driving, yelled contradictory instructions to me: Duck … and get the camera.

On inquiring at the Napoleon Hotel, we learned that these were French police fighting French separatist terrorists. The hotel clerk insisted it was safe, saying it happens all the time. We were told not to worry.

We later learned they were shooting rubber bullets. But comfort goes only so far in hindsight.

Sometimes, in our travels, we are the safety concern.

Before GPS, we were passing through Genoa en route to Portofino and pulled off the highway to look at a map. The parking lot seemed safe, but within a minute, a concerned man with a wide grin stopped and offered to help. We got our bearings and pulled out of the lot and suddenly four lanes of traffic started moving forward.

Turns out we were not in a parking lot at all, but on a busy thoroughfare. Drivers were apparently so stunned that somebody would stop on a street with multiple lanes that no one even honked or yelled. Anything they had heard about blonde American women was confirmed at that point.

As we approached Portofino, we were stopped by police and told to pull into a line of cars and wait until we were instructed that we could drive the remaining two miles into town when it again opened.

Huh?

Seems we had to wait for enough cars to leave the town so we could enter. Because Portofino has one of the highest ratios of visitors to residents in the world—second to Las Vegas but with fewer parking spaces—it controls the number of cars entering the town.

Perhaps the most important trip for me was when I took Katrina on a nostalgic journey through areas that were meaningful to me while growing up in Louisiana.

We started out in my hometown of New Orleans, where we spent a couple of days eating gumbo, red beans and rice, po’ boys and beignets, and drinking café au lait at Café du Monde, getting our fill of jazz clubs at night.

We drove through the southern part of the state along old U.S. 90 instead of Interstate 10, passing through Cajun country, including bayous and swamps with alligators and pirogues, and through such towns as Basile (really), Avery Island (where Tabasco is made) and New Iberia, where I introduced her to crawfish pie.

Like most of our trips—including one we took that included Venice, Vienna and Budapest—the only reservations we made were the flights. In between, we stayed in hotels we found on the spot, generally located in the heart of each city.

In Kiev, on yet another trek, we were having dinner at a restaurant when a gentleman came up to our table for no apparent reason and asked if we were Americans and if we were there on vacation or business.

After responding, we asked him the same questions. He said he was from Salt Lake City and pointed toward a woman sitting alone on the other side of the restaurant. He said he had come to Kiev to meet her, explaining that they had met online and were about to talk in person for the first time.

We were aware that there was a big business in adoption there. In fact, a niece and nephew traveled to Kiev a year before to claim their child. But we did not know about the brides.

Here’s hoping that he found a partner who, like Katrina, puts up with him even after police actions or highway near-misses—someone who has no reservations about not having reservations.•

__________

Basile is an author, professional speaker, philanthropist, community volunteer and retired executive of the Gene B. Glick Co. His column appears whenever there’s a fifth Monday in the month. Basile can be reached at Frank_Basile@sbcglobal.net.

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. In reality, Lilly is maintaining profit by cutting costs such as Indiana/US citizen IT workers by a significant amount with their Tata Indian consulting connection, increasing Indian H1B's at Lillys Indiana locations significantly and offshoring to India high paying Indiana jobs to cut costs and increase profit at the expense of U.S. workers.

  2. I think perhaps there is legal precedence here in that the laws were intended for family farms, not pig processing plants on a huge scale. There has to be a way to squash this judges judgment and overrule her dumb judgement. Perhaps she should be required to live in one of those neighbors houses for a month next to the farm to see how she likes it. She is there to protect the people, not the corporations.

  3. http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/engineer/facts/03-111.htm Corporate farms are not farms, they are indeed factories on a huge scale. The amount of waste and unhealthy smells are environmentally unsafe. If they want to do this, they should be forced to buy a boundary around their farm at a premium price to the homeowners and landowners that have to eat, sleep, and live in a cesspool of pig smells. Imagine living in a house that smells like a restroom all the time. Does the state really believe they should take the side of these corporate farms and not protect Indiana citizens. Perhaps justifiable they should force all the management of the farms to live on the farm itself and not live probably far away from there. Would be interesting to investigate the housing locations of those working at and managing the corporate farms.

  4. downtown in the same area as O'malia's. 350 E New York. Not sure that another one could survive. I agree a Target is needed d'town. Downtown Philly even had a 3 story Kmart for its downtown residents.

  5. Indy-area residents... most of you have no idea how AMAZING Aurelio's is. South of Chicago was a cool pizza place... but it pales in comparison to the heavenly thin crust Aurelio's pizza. Their deep dish is pretty good too. My waistline is expanding just thinking about this!

ADVERTISEMENT