I used to spend most of my time on holiday pretending I was working, and working pretending I was on holiday, which has been a very fortunate way to discover the world.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Baseball, as an Object of Tourism.

Baseball, one of America’s favorite past-times. No longer do fans have to be content to watch this pleasant sport in their own backyard, for in today’s world, baseball tourism is becoming a major trend in travel. Visiting the many fine baseball stadiums around the United States is a wonderful way to structure a trip, whether by plane, train, or getting behind the wheel for road trip. Or, while you’re in a city for business or leisure, check out what games might be happening in town during your stay. With baseball-themed travel, you may just end up at a historic game.

On the photo, I appear with Juan Marichal (born October 20, 1937 in Laguna Verde, Dominican Republic) who is a former right-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball. Playing for the San Francisco Giants most of his career, also played for the Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers for the final two seasons of his career. Marichal was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1983.

Colombian Coffee? Yes Please!

Why is Juan Valdez (photo/center) so known? Show up anywhere with him and the majority of the people are bound to point, yell out a greeting or come up and ask for his autograph (including me of course). Maybe it's due to the fact that Juan's likeness has been an integral part of the National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia's and truly represents the values and dedication of Colombia's coffee growers. Juan's amicable figure trassends because many people identify themselves with the endurance, honesty, authenticity and perseverence of this character.  Juan's just a multitalented, omnipresent kind of cafetero. No matter what he's engaged in, he never stops being Juan: the pleasant and affable spokesperson, who lets the coffee speak for itself.

Sevilla, Spain.


La Alhambra (Granada, Spain)

Madrid, Spain.

An Orchid Oasis n Homestead, Florida.

RF Orchids in Homestead, FL.
The East Everglades Orchid Society held their annual show 
 in R,F Orchids gardens last month (October) during a fall sale. 
There were live entertainment, food, good weather and of course beautiful exhibits
R.F Orchids was honored with three American Orchid Society 
awards on plants it entered for judging.

Airline Passenger Bill of Rights Act of 2009

Association for Airline Passenger Rights (AAPR)
1501 M Street, NW – 7th Floor. Washington, DC 20005 

Airline Passenger Bill of Rights Act of 2009

Purpose: To amend title 49, United States Code, to ensure air passengers have access to necessary services while on a grounded air carrier, and for other purposes.

Summary: The Airline Passenger Bill of Rights Act of 2009 was re-introduced in the Senate (S.213) on January 12, 2009, by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), and in the House of Representatives (H.R.624) on January 21, 2009, by Rep. Mike

Thompson (D-CA). The legislation aims to improve airline customer service commitment by enacting minimum standards for long on-board tarmac delays, as well as to improve the health and safety of passengers and crew under such circumstances.

The legislation would require the airlines to provide essential services to its passengers when a flight is substantially delayed, including:

• adequate food and potable water;

• adequate restroom facilities;

• cabin ventilation and comfortable cabin temperatures; and

• access to necessary medical treatment.

Equally important, however, it would require airline contingency plans providing passengers with the opportunity to safely deplane from long on-board tarmac delays after three (3) hours; such an option shall be made available at minimum once every three (3) hours so long that the plane is delayed on the ground with its doors closed. The legislation does grant the pilot some flexibility, if determined that allowing passengers to deplane would jeopardize the safety or security of the passengers, or if notified that the flight will depart or unload within thirty (30) minutes after the three (3) hour delay.

To address safety and security issues, both the airline industry and airports are required to submit proposed contingency plans to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation. The Secretary is called upon to periodically review the plans and make updates as necessary; initial contingency plans must be approved by the Secretary within six (6) months, and all updates within 60 days.

The airlines and airports shall be required to make accessible their contingency plans on their respective websites, or other means.

Finally, the legislation would establish an “Air Passengers Complaint Hotline” for air passengers to register their complaints. The number shall be made public by the Secretary of Transportation

Analysis: The Airline Passenger Bill of Rights Act of 2009 (H.R.624/S.213) aims to accomplish one important objective – to improve customer service for airline passengers. This objective would be accomplished by implementing contingency plans for long on-board tarmac delays, and establishing an air passenger complaint hotline and information.

The legislation takes a balanced approach to enabling the airlines to safely execute air carrier take-offs and landings, while protecting the rights of air passengers during excessive delays on the ground. It recognizes the unique circumstances surrounding the safety, security and accommodations of air travel – but attempts to remedy the growing dissatisfaction among air travelers nationwide. It ensures that airlines maintain minimum comfort standards for their passengers. The contingency plans in the legislation represent a positive solution to the systemic problems associated with long on-board tarmac delays, providing for the deplanement of passengers.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

The Punta Cana destination is made up of the areas (going from south to north) of Cap Cana (Juanillo), Punta Cana, Cabeza de Toro, Bavaro, El Cortecito, Arena Gorda, Macao and Uvero Alto.

Today, the East Coast beach strip is one of the best choices for those seeking the perfect beach and R&R (rest and relaxation) experience. Punta Cana is that perfect place for a honeymoon  first or second. This is a place for vegging out miles of silky-fine white sand, deserted beaches with coconut palms. Unless you rent a car or purchase an excursion, don't expect much sightseeing or outstanding shopping opportunities nearby. This area is made up almost completely of large all-inclusive resorts populated mostly by couples or families. Some resorts in the area cater to sports-minded people, others are couples only. But most resorts focus on family entertainment. The exception is spring break time when groups of university students fly down from Canada and the US. The better hotels for this crowd are the larger complexes, where night time entertainment is more lively. 
                 Iberostar in Bávaro, Bávaro Beach (Above)

                 Barceló Junior Suites Delux, Punta Cana (Below)


Cigar Country / Dominican Republic

The Second Procigar Festival took place in the Dominican Republic from February 15th until February 20th.  The event brought in cigar smokers from around the world for an unforgettable experience of great cigar education, the Best Premium Smokes the Dominican Republic has to offer; all surrounded by fun, sun and golf.
In 1992, the most traditional and experienced Cigar Manufacturers in the Dominican Republic formed Procigar. An association whose objectives then, and now, are to defend, protect and divulge the good name of the land of Cigar Country, number one exporter of Premium Cigars in the World. Preserving this heritage and maintaining the quality on which is built – is the mission of La Asociación de Fabricantes de Cigarros de la República Dominicana, ensuring Cigar Country’s continued status as the world’s premier manufacture of first-quality cigars.
Following the footsteps of those visionaries who first recognized the crystal clear rivers and fertile mountain valleys as ideal tobacco country, building on traditions that have been passed down in meticulous detail from generation to generation, our association is committed to preserving the consistent quality and unrivaled reputation of Dominican Cigars.

Playa del Carmen (Riviera Maya, Mexico)

Tequila lounge in Quinta Avenida, Playa del Carmen.

Casa Ticul
Right in the center of Playa del Carmen.

Las Villas Akumal (Akumal beach)

Street craft market in Quinta Avenida, Playa del Carmen.

Silver aficionados should stop by Silver Palace (Quinta Avenida bet. 6th & 8th ST, (nearer to 6th ST), quality+price favorite shop.  52 (984) 803-5023
EMail Silver Palace

Cancun (Mexico)

Estuve en Cancun y en Playa del Carmen recientemente. Usualmente prefiero hoteles pequeños, pero esta vez estuve en un amplio All Inclusive. Y me gustó! Se trató de The Royal Playa de Carmen, en la Riviera Maya, y en el The Royal Cancun, en la ciudad balneario del mismo nombre.
Ambos Royals están muy bien. En mi opinión, son unos de los mejores hoteles donde uno consigue tener mas amenidades y comfort por el dinero que se paga. UBICACION super, buena PLAYA, además de ESPACIO, SERVICIO, AMENIDADES. Qué mas uno quiere?
Como novedad, los de Real Resorts (dueños de The Royal) han incorporado elementos creativos y útiles a su website www.realresorts.com
a) Se puede seleccionar la habitación que uno quiere al estilo de lo que tienen las aereolíneas para que uno elija el asiento deseado.
b) Se puede ver un video a la redonda de la habitación y de la vista que se tiene desde el balcón de esta.
c) El hotel mantiene una webcam en su playa, que permite tener una vista ACTUAL de lo que está sucediendo en su las 24hrs.
The Royal tiene buena comida, concierges amigables, camareros serviciales. En el Spa Azul (de Playa del Carmen) una masajista que vale todo el dinero que uno se gaste alli. Por último, la Quinta Avenida en Playa del Carmen o la Avenida de la Zona Hotelera de Cancun quedan justo en la puerta de cada hotel.

DEFINITIVAMENTE Puerto Madero (gastrononía argentina, italiana, y sobre todo Calidad mundial), NO lejos del hotel, pero no estaría mal tomar un taxi.

Puero Rico, la isla encantada.

As one of the oldest and most diversified cultures in the world, Puerto Rico is a vibrant, modern, bilingual, multicultural society, one that has been molded by Spanish, African, Indian and U.S. influences. 21st century conveniences in an alluring 16th historical setting both ultra-modern and bewitchingly exotic, Puerto Rico is truly the Island of Enchantment.