Scanner column fallout...Long Island, Bahamas...Mark Twain kicks butt...
Well, THAT struck a nerve.
I’ve written probably thousands of stories over the years, and maybe a few dozen columns, but nothing I’ve done has sparked anything near the response of my Saturday column about how people should “shut up” and stop whining about body scanners at airports.
Okay, the “shut up” part was excessive. But I still think people are making WAY too big a deal out of the scanners. I don’t see it as some kind of massive privacy invasion or as big brother reaching into my soul. But a lot of you do. And boy, are some of you pissed off.
I’ve had a number of letters of support; probably more than I expected when you consider that most times it’s only the people who really disagree with a columnist that bother to write in. Still, it seems most of you think I’m stupid or naïve or even a tool of fascism. Not to mention a certain part of the body reserved for expelling waste material.
But, hey, that’s what happens when you take a stand. And I have to say I’m thrilled that people are reading the paper and are involved and angered or stirred up enough to write. And, just to be fair and keep the debate going, I’ll put some of the responses into this coming Saturday's Travel section. (Sorry, I originally said Thursday but Saturday works better for us). So check that out later in the week.
Spent the weekend on Long Island in the Bahamas. Friday was beautiful, with the most enjoyable plane ride of my life thanks to Joel Friese of Stella Maris Resort on Long Island, who flew me and his mom and dad from Nassau to the Stella Maris airport. Spent Friday night at their resort (see photo),
which is over on the Atlantic side of the island. A fine dinner and a powerful rum punch on Friday, then Saturday morning had some time to check out the small beach and wander over the tide pools.
Then I got a ride Saturday over to Cape Santa Maria Resort, which is on the Caribbean side and has a smashingly long stretch of fine, powdery beach. Not as striking as the Atlantic side, but perfect for beach-goers and for sunsets. And it’s owned by Robert Wright, a Victoria resident who made his fortune with a string of fishing lodges up and down the coast of British Columbia.
They’re both really nice places to say, with different feels and different geography. Look for more in a story on Long Island coming up in a few weeks. Sadly, even the Bahamas can get some nasty weather and it turned quite cool Saturday afternoon. The locals are running about in hooded sweatshirts as the temperature has dipped below 20 Celsius and there’s a fierce north wind that’s whipping up whitecaps on usually serene bays.
I caught a flight Sunday from Long Island to Providenciales in the Turks and Caicos as I’m staying a couple nights at Amanyara resort, which is a relatively isolated spot a half hour from the hotels and condos of Grace Bay. Aman is consistently rated as one of the top hotels in the world, and this is their only Caribbean property so I thought I’d check it out.
The weather’s still not great, but the hotel is a stunner. More on that in Tuesday’s blog.
JIM'S DEALS OF THE DAY
$83 - Toronto to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, non-stop return flight ($405 w/tax)
$388 - Toronto to Cayo Coco, Cuba, 1 week all-inclusive vacation ($593 w/tax)
COMPLETELY BESIDE THE POINT
This has nothing to do with anything, except it’s travel-related. I’m reading a collection of Mark Twain’s travel writing; a book my son got me for Christmas called “The Chicago of Europe, and Other Tales of Foreign Travel.” I got to the seventh sentence of his first story, called The Lure of the River, and I read a sentence so beautiful and pure that I almost feel there’s no point in trying to write anything any more.
After a few sentences setting talking about the “eloquence of silence” one gets during a summer sunrise on the Mississippi, Twain writes how he hears birds piping a “jubilant riot of music.” Lovely stuff. But the next sentence just slays me: “You see none of the birds; you simply move through an atmosphere of song which seems to sing itself.”
I honestly don’t know how I can go on after reading that sentence. It might be the single most beautiful thing ever put on paper.
If I ever write a book, and lord knows I’d love to try, I’ll name it “An Atmosphere of Song.”