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Which trip was best?

Ann Swanson View From Hickory Heights

People often ask, “What was your favorite trip.?” It is difficult to pick just one. There are parts of many of them I would classify as favorites.

When I travel with people, they always want to know if I am going to write about the trip. My answer is always the same. It depends what I see and what happens on the trip.

The first trip that I took on my own stands out in many ways. It was the year after 9/11. Security was tight. We were checked at every point of entry. It was not until I got onboard ship that I opened the back pocket of my carry-on. I had my birth certificate with me since I did not have a passport at the time. I wanted to put that in a safe place.

When I reached into the pocket, I felt something. It turned out to be a big jackknife that my husband carried. I remembered him putting it into my bag one time when he was admitted to the hospital. I should not have had that, in fact, it was illegal to carry on. I was thankful that it had not been found because it would have been confiscated. My children would have wanted that as a remembrance of their father.

On that same trip I also had an old suitcase that belonged to my mother. After traveling with it I made up my mind to get a new one. It was one of those with the small wheels on the bottom that you pulled along with a kind of belt. As I walked it kept flopping over. I felt like I was walking a dog that just wanted to lay down.

My next trip was to Mexico and New Orleans. On that trip we got really silly as we walked along by the shops. Store owners were out to lure us in. One guy said, “Like K-Mart – air conditioned.” We did not bite as we were sure there was nothing we wanted in that store.

While traveling in Mexico they warned us to only purchase drinks that came in cans and to be sure we opened them. They also told us not to use any ice.

I tasted my first gulf lobster on that trip. While it was tasty, it was not as good as the lobster we had in New England.

Although I was not crazy about New Orleans, there were things that I liked. I am so glad I got to Preservation Hall to hear the jazz musicians. It was a tiny place – that was why we had to wait in line so long. We visited with others standing in line so the time passed quickly.

When we went to read in bed, we found out that the lamps had no bulbs in them. We had to use the overhead light to be able to see.

Going to Hawaii was one of my dream trips. My husband and I were going to go for our twenty-fifth anniversary, but with the children off to college it was not to be.

The flora and fauna of Hawaii is so different from around here. Although I did not recognize many of the birds, they were beautiful. The philodendron leaves were huge. They were so big that I did not recognize them.

The excursion that I really liked in Hawaii was called the “Road to Hana”. Hana is quite an ordinary place, but the road to get there was full of bends and turns. The road was narrow – so narrow our bus driver had to toot his horn to be sure nothing was coming. Our driver called himself “Merle the Pearl”. He was truly a gem. He made that trip fun. The burgers we had in town were great too.

What I also liked about Hawaii was the coffee. Kona coffee is very good. We went to a plantation to see how coffee grew. We also visited a plant where the beans were dried. I purchased some coffee beans that were chocolate-covered and they were very good.

At another spot I purchased pineapple to bring home. We had been to a pineapple plantation, but I did not buy it there. The fresh pineapples were so good. They were sweeter that what we get and juicier too. I also had my first taste of raw sugar. That you can get around here. I like it on my oatmeal with some milk.

Another great trip was the train trip across Canada. We did not book a room, they just made up our beds every night from the seats. People teased us saying, “Oh, those are the ladies who sleep in the hall!”

That was my first experience being in the Rocky Mountains. They are truly majestic. I was in awe when I first encountered them. I had flown over them, but never been in them. I took a lot of pictures.

At night that train really rocked. Since I was sleeping in the top bunk I rocked too.

On that trip we experienced glaciers. We actually walked on a glacier. The water near them was an aqua color. We went to the resort at Lake Louise to walk around. It was beautiful.

It was on that trip that we nearly did not have our luggage. Our trip organizer spotted suitcases left outside of doors when we went to breakfast. When we returned, they were still there. When she inquired, they told her they had not collected them. You better believe they heard about that. The suitcases were collected and put on the train.

Being in Victoria was a highlight of the trip. We had a couple days to wander around and we got to see Bouchart Gardens.

To be continued…

Ann Swanson writes from her home in Russell, PA. Contact at hickoryheights1@verizon.net.

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