Neighborhood Watch: Taikoo Wharf
The southern Chinese city of Guangzhou is on the fast track to modernization, but its riverfront district offers a slower, cooler way of life
Earlier in my life, I was a social worker and on a smaller budget. I saved every penny for a year for my first trip to Paris with my two sons. We cut back on the cable bill and eating out in preparation for the trip. Once we were there, we stayed at a Holiday Inn with breakfast included and walked everywhere. Those moments will last forever. The funny part is when we went back again with a bit more money, we remembered having more fun on that first trip.
Going with the Flow in Thailand
Thailand allowed me to enjoy luxury for the first time—you get more bang for your buck there, and can more easily stay at some of the nicer hotels in the city or on the beach. The best part is a ferry ride that weaves throughout Bangkok and allows you to see the entire city at night. It’s beautiful.
I love going to Jamaica because I have family from there. I usually stay at one of the big, beautiful resorts, but I make sure to go into the cities for authentic food and reggae music. There’s nothing like picking your own ackee fruit, and then having it cooked for you—you can’t miss out on the real Jamaica.
If Oprah Can Do It …
One of my favorite travel memories is climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge in Australia. Oprah and Gayle [King] did it, so it’s not that bad. It is incredible and, surprisingly, you don’t realize you’re up that high.
The Right Stuff
While in China, you have to do the Great Wall. Pay for the lift. Don’t climb it (not worth it). Also, don’t miss the slide down. It’s an extraordinary experience. Go to the right when you enter. We turned to the left and missed the best sights.
I always travel with a backpack that has a zipper on the front, not the back. When I’m walking around, I don’t have to worry about any shady people pickpocketing me.
When I don’t know the language, I use a translator app. I speak into my phone in English, and then the other person can hear it back in theirs. It makes it so easy to communicate.
I want to know about the little neighborhoods where I can find the best live music, so I always pick up a travel guide in the States before I leave. I don’t want to end up overseas without any idea of where to go.
I always bring a sweater no matter where I’m going. I remember when I visited Melbourne, Australia, we basically experienced four seasons in one day. I like to have options and make sure I’m comfortable.