Kalin’s Chronicles: Literary Tours

eatprayloveReading is one of my favorite things to do. And I find that if a book is turned into a movie it usually can’t live up to the way I imagined the characters in the book. However, I find it very exciting to visit a city where a book is based. And tourism boards are banking on that trend with “literary tours” that highlight the sites of popular books and movies.

One of my favorite literary tours is Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil in Savannah, Georgia. I took the tour in the 90’s a few years after the non-fiction book came out. The bus drove us by Mercer House were the real-life murder happened, to restaurants where the characters hung out, and to Club One where real-life character, The Lady Chablis, entertained us with her drag show. I even got her and other real-life characters to sign my book.

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Kalin’s Chronicles: World Travel Etiquette – Japan

It seems that women have more rules to adhere to than men when it comes to world travel.  This can be very frustrating — especially for women from the United States.  I’m a fan of Sex in the City, but I was appalled by Samantha’s disrespecting the culture of Abu Dhabi in the Sex in City 2 movie.

So you won’t get dubbed “The Ugly American,” I’ll provide a few tips throughout the year on cultural etiquette in international destinations.  We’ll start with Japan…

I love Japanese culture – especially their emphasis on spirituality.  But I had a bit to learn about their cultural etiquette while reporting on tourism in Tokyo.  I noticed that the Japanese were always speaking to the male members of my crew instead of to me.  I was the only black member of the crew, so I thought it was my race.  But then I found that in the Japanese culture women always defer to the men in the group. It’s customary to bow when you greet people.  And if you’re doing business, you should also present your business card to the person – always with both hands. Continue reading Kalin’s Chronicles: World Travel Etiquette – Japan

Kalin’s Chronicles: Spa Etiquette

MP900431114Close your eyes and say “aaahhh” — It’s Spa Week! Time to put in some serious R&R at your favorite spa. Through April 17, spas across the U.S. are offering specials on massages, mani/pedis, facials, and everything in between. So I thought I’d offer some tips on spa etiquette for first-timers, and as a refresher for spa veterans.

Spa Etiquette Tips

  • Arrive at least 20 minutes before your appointment to check-in, change, and relax.
  • Turn off your cell phone, and speak quietly to be considerate of the spa atmosphere.
  • Remove all jewelry – they’ll get in the way, and can be damaged by the oils used.
  • If you’re uncomfortable with nudity, leave your underwear on. A sheet is covering you at all times, and only the parts that are being massaged are exposed.

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Kalin’s Chronicles: Traveling with Kids

I don’t have children and hardly ever travel with them, so I’m the last person to give you tips on traveling with kids. However, 40-something Lainie Liberti has been traveling with her nearly12 -year-old son non-stop since 2009. They’ve been to nine countries so far, including all of Central America and now find themselves in their first South American country, Colombia. Here are a few of her comments on everything from bathrooms to best memories.

Bathrooms

First and foremost, carry your own toilet paper and hand sanitizer. You’ll likely encounter a wide range of ‘bathroom’ options. In the big cities, you’ll find quite civilized potty options, but the one thing you need to get used to is throwing the paper in the bin and not the toilet.

Snack Time

Two words: Peanut butter. If you and your child like the stuff, this is the biggest lifesaver when traveling. There’s nothing more packed with protein and energy. (Photo: Lainie Liberti and her son Miro Sevin Siegel) Continue reading Kalin’s Chronicles: Traveling with Kids

Kalin’s Chronicles: Girlfriend Getaways – Part 2

Girlfriend GetawayEditor’s Note: In her last post, Kalin introduced us to Girlfriend Getaways and shared her experiences from her most recent getaway at Birmingham’s Ross Bridge Golf Resort and Spa. In the conclusion of Girlfriend Getaways, Kalin talks food, painting parties and of course, shopping.

The next day we did breakfast at Niki’s West, a historic restaurant that’s popular with the locals. We all enjoyed their delicious biscuits and omelets. If you go, get there early because they fill up fast. And if you’re late for breakfast, just hang around for the lunch buffet. As we were leaving we could already see the lunch line forming as the delicious foods and homemade cakes were being put out for the buffet. After breakfast, we walked off a few calories at The Shops of Grand River, where we shopped at stores like: Jones New York Outlet, DKNY and Wilson’s Leather Outlet (contact the Birmingham Convention and Visitors Bureau for a book of coupons). (Photo: Girlfriends enjoying conversation at Ross Bridge Resort)

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