Far Horizons

In 2005 I made a vow that in 10 years I would revisit a topic of increasing concern at that time: “Is the US airline industry moving in the direction of becoming a monopoly?”  Forty-seven years ago, in 1968, Simon and Garfunkel lamented to a war-weary American public, in the famous line from the hit song “Mrs. Robinson,” “Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?” Today a reeling American travel public can ask, “Where have you gone, Continental, Northwest, TWA, US Air (now American Airlines) and...


(3rd of 3 parts on Brazil)

It was a flight from Salvador to Brasilia, connecting with a flight northwest to the Amazon and Manaus, that started the final part of my September 2014, partially hosted, small-group journey through Brazil with longtime ITN advertiser ElderTreks. 

Manaus is the capital and largest city (pop., two million) in the state of Amazonas. Founded in 1669 as a fort on the banks of the Rio Negro, 6 kilometers from its convergence with the mighty Amazon,...


(2nd of 3 parts on Brazil)

The inclusion of the amazing Pantanal was one of the primary reasons I chose to travel to Brazil on a 20-day, September 2014 tour operated by the small-group adventure tour operator and longtime ITN advertiser ElderTreks. 

Even before our nighttime arrival at Pousada Aquapé farm, reached by road from the ecological paradise of Bonito, which I reported on in last month’s column, I sensed that our group of 12 was in for a very special...


(2nd of 3 parts on Brazil)

Despite increased access to our ever-shrinking planet, Brazil, the world’s fifth-most-populous country (about 200 million), remains an enigma to even the most seasoned international travelers.

Brazil’s identity is somehow obscured by rampant diversity on fronts ranging from complex ethnicity and a consistently unpredictable, often volatile economy to unparalleled natural world attractions. With a land area comparable to that of the...


(Second of two parts)

The second part of my late-July 2014 journey to Japan’s Kansai region began with a morning stroll around Kinosaki, one of Japan’s famed hot springs resorts, where we had enjoyed the baths the previous night. Our small group of three journalists was on a week-long exploration of Kansai as guests of the Kansai International Tourism Promotion Center.

Izushi soba

Departing Kinosaki, we traveled by minivan through clean, green countryside...


(First of two parts)

In late June of 2014 I, along with two other journalists, participated in a trip through Japan’s Kansai region as a guest of the local tourism board. Our 6-day journey focused on utilizing the very efficient railway system to explore the Kyōto, Kinosaki, Osaka and Nara areas of Kansai. 

Being an aficionado of both Japanese cuisine and many aspects of the culture in general, this adventure was right up my alley.

We were accompanied...


(Part 3 of 3)

The final portion of my June 2014 journey to Central America began with a 6-hour transfer by bus from Copán, Honduras, to Guatemala City, Guatemala, followed by a connecting minibus transfer to the beautiful and highly popular colonial city of Antigua. 

Antigua charms

 Built at 1,500 meters’ elevation in an earthquake-prone zone during the 16th century, Antigua was the seat of the Spanish-colonial government for the Kingdom of Guatemala,...

At the Copán ruins in Honduras, the guide Fidel paused at a well-preserved arena. Photos by Randy Keck

(Part 2 of 3)

El Salvador along with Copán in Honduras are the focus of the second part of my report on a June 2014, 4-country visit to Central America, a journey and itinerary partially hosted for me and operated by longtime ITN advertiser SITA World Tours (Encino, CA; 800/421-5643). 

Upon my morning arrival in San Salvador by air from Managua, Nicaragua, I met my new guide, Suzy, and we immediately began an exploration of the hilly capital city, situated in the Salvador...