For me, working at the Travel Channel was like giving candy to a baby. I was there at the beginning: pre-Bourdain, when it was based in New York; Arthur Frommer was the big deal; and some obscure guy named Matt Lauer had a brief gig there.
It was a dream job for a hungry traveler like me because it was owned by the once-mighty Trans World Airlines (permanently grounded like Pan Am). I was entitled to fly anywhere TWA went, for free. Sort of like a flight attendant, but better because I didn’t have to be a waitress (man, they have a tough job) to get the travel perks.
I produced a news show, which kept me behind a desk much of the time, though I did some field producing for the show.
But equally cool were the trips I took on my own time. I didn’t get much, so I went everywhere I could on weekends, figuring whatever I could see was better than nothing.
That’s the nutzoid way I saw Stockholm, and what was then East Berlin. The former was pretty and cold in the dead of winter; the latter took my breath away, but it had nothing to do with the weather. (Coming up in a later edition.)
For now, I want to focus on a vacation I did take, to Africa. This was sort of around the time when Out of Africa was all the rage. If I couldn’t be Meryl Streep and wear those great Banana Republic-type safari outfits, I could at least go to Kenya, where the story took place. So I booked myself on a safari through London, on Kenya Airways, which offered great deals to other airline types like me. Nice to see it’s still around.
Outside my luxury tent, so-called because it had indoor plumbing. Sporting a sarong made for me by my Australian neighbor Jenny when I lived, briefly, near the Great Barrier Reef. Hi, Jenny, wherever you are.
Still Life With Painted Toenails. Luxuriating inside the luxury tent. Couldn’t believe I was about to embark on a Kenyan safari. That delicious feeling of satisfaction that comes along every once in a great, great while, if you’re lucky. There I was, relaxing to the max, having hung some freshly washed undies out to dry, when …
… I was interrupted by a fellow traveler who said, “Come quick, dear; the monkeys are about to make off with your brassiere.”
They thankfully fled, leaving the goods. No pictures of that first encounter with wildlife because I was too startled to concentrate on capturing the moment for posterity.
To my left, Brassiere Lady; our wonderful guides; and no, I don’t know what I was thinking with that getup. In a Tarzan kind of mood, I guess.