"I am truly an Accidental Tourist" american_tourister's Profile
UPDATE May 2011
I have been assigned to a project in Saudi Arabia (again). I will write from here but the powers that be in this place are very sensitive so I will be gentle as well as objective.
I work for a large international contractor and have for a number of years. This has allowed me to travel the world for both business and pleasure. I try and combine both at times too.
I have lived in several countries as a child and as an adult. Mt father was also a contractor and I followed in his footsteps. It is not a lifestyle for everyone and we are a vagabond sort of group that does this kind of work. You never really have a home, you just jump from place to place.
I write from an American perspective. I do not ask everyone to agree with everything I say but these are my personal reflections on places I have been. I also have a macabre sense of humor and find some things funny that others do not. I don't ask you to have the same sense of humor as me but try to understand that I try to find some humor in everything. Life is too dog gone short to be serious all the time.
I took the name American Tourister because it says so much. I am American, not German-American or English-American like some of my relatives call themselves. I am simply American. I love being a tourist. I am not one of those guys who "goes native" when he visits some place and acts so nonchalant. I actually go "ooohhh" and "aahhh" when I see something wonderful or when I see something I have only read about or seen in photos. I love tourist attractions, museums, and guided tours. American Tourister is a brand name of luggage. It is tough and simple. It takes a beating and lasts. That is me, not so tough, but I have simple tastes and simple pleasures. I think there is nothing better than family and friends. The best days of my life are simple ones.
My understanding is that VT is for people to share information and opinions on places, not to try and please everyone all of the time. I am sorry if anyone is offended but I am honest in my impressions.
Conventiality be damned. I am an iconoclast, a dreamer, a trouble shooter, a wanderer and a family man all at once.
The greatest joys in my life are my wife, son, and dog. Even though I love what I do for a living, they sacrifice for it. My wife is the best!
My son, my wife, and my sister are the most important people in my life. We don't get together often enough but when we do, the party is on! This was taken at the Miramar Air Show at Miramar MCAS in San Diego. Airplane buffs all around!
This is me with Bill "Tiger" Destefani. Tiger is the 7 time Air Racing Champion at the Reno National Air Races in the Unlimited category. He flew a modified P-51 Mustang named Strega (Witch in Italian). I have worn Strega T-Shirts in Mexico, Russia, Bosnia, Italy and Iraq. In every place, usually at an air show or air base, some one will come up and ask me about it. Tiger is famous in air racing circles and it was a real treat to meet him. Alas, he has retired and this photo was taken just after his last race at Reno in 2002. I will miss my hero racing but I will still enjoy the sport.
UPDATE ON TIGER - Tiger is back with Team Strega as owner. He leaves the flying to others but at least he is back in the sport.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Strega is being flown by a wonderful young (22!) pilot named Steve Hinton and he won the Reno Nationals in 2010.
The love of my life and my first born child. What could possibly be more important than that?
I am missing so much by being gone most of the time. I have missed most of the Christmasses in his life. This was taken on 25-12-2004 at our home in the USA. He was opening his gifts from Santa. My sister told me that my wife was crying while this was going on.
As a long suffering Anaheim Angels fan I did what I had to do to get into games 6 and 7 of the 2002 World Series.
I got tickets for game 6 (pictured) from an attorney's office. They wanted work, I got tickets! Here I am with some of my buddies just moments after we took the lead. The Angels were down 4-1 and we came back in a storm to win and force game 7.
I bought tickets for game 7. Another buddy of mine and I paid $500.00 for a pair of nosebleed seats out past the 1st base foul pole but we didn't care. WE WERE THERE!
I got to see the Angels win game 7 and the World Series in our home stadium. There will never be another sports moment for me like that. Even being in the Rose Bowl for the Women's World Cup in 1999 and seeing USC win the Rose Bowl in 1986 did not top this one.
In the movie "The Accidental Tourist" the protagonist hated travelling. That was his bane. I love it and have been fortunate to have jobs that have allowed me to indulge.
I catch a lot of hate from some readers who do not agree with what I say but I don't erase what they say. After all, we are trying to bring freedom around the globe and freedom of speech is a right. I have also made a promise to some others to avoid arguments if at all possible. If you want conversation and genuine discussion I am available but I will not argue with those who are profane or who hide in anonymity. If you don't have a real page don't bother contacting me.
OK, I am copying some other ideas but imitation is the most sincere form of flattery.
25 Cool Things I have Done (No certain order):
1. Rode a bicycle down Haleakela Mountain at dawn
2. Scuba in the Red Sea, Mediterranean, and Carribean
3. Ate fresh cherries with an Orthodox Monk in the Troodos mountains
4. Took the Eurostar under the English Channel
5. Flew aerobatics in a Stearman (Biplane)
6. Flew in a Dragon Rapide in Duxford
7. Got married on the Queen Mary
8. Had my Bachelor Party in Las Vegas
9. Had tea with the Emir of Bahrain
10. Got coined by LTG Chirelli in Baghdad
11. Attended the 1999 Women's World Cup Finals
12. Attended the 1996 Rose Bowl
13. Attended games 6 and 7 of the 2002 World Series
14. Been to the top of the Burj Khalifa (World's Tallest Building)
15. Ate dates from the trees in Saddam's Palace in Baghdad
16. Got drunk with Russian Soldiers in Bosnia
17. Sat in the front row of a Rolling Stones concert at Dodger Stadium
18. Did the Rosarito-Ensenada Ride 10 times
19. Parasailing in Jamaica
20. Swam in the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans.
21. Attended the Papal Audience with Pope John-Paul II
22. Was best man at a wedding at the 24 Hour Church of Elvis
23. Took my dog into the San Gabriel mountains to watch the Persid Meteor shower
24. Took a submarine down the wall of the Cyaman Trench
25. Got married and had a son!
I saw a list like this too and thought it was much more intriging than a "best liked" list. In my opinion (here I go again) these are the worst that I have experienced.
Worst Towns and Cities
Ras Khafji, Saudi Arabia
Worst Tourist Attractions:
Hollywood Walk of Fame
The Thing (so bad it is good) AZ
Any wax museum
NASA Houston (used to be great)
World's Largest Thermometer - Baker, CA
Rap - Hip Hop
de Sans Culottes (Belgium)
Iron City (PA)
Carta Blanca (Mexico)
Worst Foods (That I have actually tried):
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- 627 Reviews
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- Commented on paulhefford's profile page
- Posted in Travel Seoul Forum "Western Food Markets in Seoul"
- american_tourister and Parisforless are now friends.
- Wrote a Review Day trip to Frankfurt from the airport in Frankfurt am Main Things to Do
- updated a Saudi Arabia Travel Page "Open your eyes and mind to appreciate it"
- Uploaded a Photo to "Mein MutterFamilienheim"
updated their Profile Page "I am truly an Accidental Tourist"
- Uploaded a Video to Amsterdam
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