I visited Latin America several times and found it quite enjoyable and very unusual. On my first visit I was excited because I'd studied Latin in high school and thought this would be the ideal place to put my education to good use. Imagine my surprise when I arrived and found out that they don't speak Latin in Latin America. What's up with that? There are not even any Latin words for rain forest or spider monkey. I think they should change the name of the area to Spanish and Portuguese America so a traveler knows what to expect.
Latin American countries have unsurpassed beauty and spectacular resorts, but there is also danger lurking in the jungle. If you are paranoid like me, you know that when you visit an exotic location you'll return with a case of dengue fever or you will get bitten by a tree viper. But the worst thing that will really happen to you is intense sunburn or a rum-induced hangover. Whenever I travel, I carry my paranoia survival kit. It contains snakebite serum, antimalarial pills, and a pouch of freeze-dried stew. I have had the same kit for 10 years now and never used the snake serum or the malaria pills. The stew came in handy one night in Omaha when room service was shut down and I was really hungry.
I have visited several places where English was not the language of choice among the natives. This was true in Columbia, France, Italy, and Miami. When you travel to a locale where the spoken language is foreign to you, you will have to rely on your trusty foreign phrase book to help you communicate. Be very careful with your pronunciation in a foreign country. The slightest emphasis on the wrong syllable can turn “How much is this sweater?” into “Where can I get an inexpensive prostate exam?”
Food can pose a challenge too in a foreign country. South American cuisine, for instance, features a vegetable called yucca, which is the most appropriately named foodstuff I've ever eaten. But if you want a wild and unusual trip where you don't have to worry about the food, hop on a cruise ship. They will feed you food you recognize, and they'll do it eight times a day! Between the early riser's breakfast, the dining room breakfast, the mid-morning snack, early lunch, late lunch, snacks at the pool, afternoon tea, pre-dinner appetizers, dinner, and the midnight buffet, you will pack your cheeks with an extra 10,000 calories a day. When you get home, don't step on the scale for at least two weeks. You don't want to get sticker shock.
Dale Irvin brings the last laugh to meetings with his unique recap of each day's events for such organizations as the Million Dollar Round Table, Thrivent Financial, Penn Mutual, and Allstate. For a good time, visit www.daleirvin.com. For booking, call Ruth Levine at Speak Inc., (858) 457-9880.