Monday, June 12, 2017

Author David H. Minton

 Bermuda:  I like the laid back posture of the people and the variety of museums and restaurants.  Anytime you can travel by water is nice, so the ferry from Hamilton to Waterford or Cavelto Bay is splendid.  If you take the ferry across to Waterford, the Frog and Onion Pub on Kings Wharf is a very traditional English Pub.  Many travelers wonder how English Pubs get such strange names, like the “King and Cock” or the “Three Barrels.”  The answer is that most of the patrons of the pubs, back in the day, were illiterate and hence the names were provided through pictures.  Eventually it became an important advertising method for the individual bars, all because text was useless.  For this particular pub, however, apparently the name came from the owners when they opened, a Frenchman (The Frog) and a Bemudian (the Onion)—named after Bermuda Onions, at least so their story goes.  It has a very traditional English fare, and I liked the Shepards Pie.  Don’t ask for details about what is in it, however.  The pub also serves interesting sea food and of course the island drink, a “dark and stormy,” which is essentially rum and ginger beer.  Bermuda rum is quite famous, thanks in large part to British sailors.  

In Hamilton, the Jamian Grill and Ruby Murry’s were interesting places to eat for ethnic Jamacian and Indian foods.  I’ve been to Bermuda six or seven times and always enjoyed myself.  I recommend any of the variety of nautical museums, and The Bermuda Botanical Gardens.  I’ve usually stayed at the Princess Hamilton and a time or two at the Royal Palms.  Bermuda maintains vestiges of its colonial heritage and that is apparent everywhere, from the architecture and decor to the costumes of the staff at some of the hotels.  Note that many things are closed on Sundays and you can’t buy alcohol on Sunday in Bermuda, at least not any of the times I’ve been there.  You can get alcohol by the glass with a meal on Sunday at restaurant that serves it normally. 

Alaska:  I like the grandeur, beauty and what I’ll call the rawness of the people and places in Alaska.  I’ve been there maybe fifteen or sixteen times.  It inspired my first novel.  The main hotel I’ve stayed at in Anchorage is The Captain Cook, which is very nice, especially in the winter (just make sure you aren’t trying to get a room during the Iditarod, unless you are there for it specifically, in which case plan well in advance).  Both the bar and the restaurant there are fine, especially if you like halibut and king crab.  The hotel also has several little boutique shops for interesting and expensive shopping.

Once, while on a business trip, I arrived in Anchorage from Tokyo, having been diverted by my boss.   It was early March, a bitter winter and much to my surprise, after I arrived, I was unable to get a reservation, even though it was the dead of winter.  It turned out the Iditarod started the next day, which is how I learned about it.  The Iditarod starts the first Saturday in March and is one of Anchorage’s premier events.  For the most part it is recalled as commemorating the diphtheria serum run in winter conditions from Anchorage to Nome, in 1925 during the epidemic in Nome.  But in the larger sense, it is a celebration of dog sled mushing, which until the early 1960s, when they were replaced by the “iron dog,” was about the only way to get around Alaska in the winter.  All shipping, cargo, doctors and priests, engineers and Indian chiefs moved by mushing.  In the early 1960s, the iron dogs, namely snowmobiles and snow tractors, began replacing the dog teams.  Many Alaskan natives thought this was terrible, particularly because when an iron dog breaks down in the wilderness, it won’t keep you warm. As the band “Three Dog Night” made people aware, dogs will keep you warm at night.  A “three dog night” is one so cold you needed three dogs in your sleeping bag to stay warm.  Nights as cold as that are common in the Alaskan winter.  The Iditarod was in large part a way to commemorate and maintain the heritage of dog sledding, or mushing.   “Iditarod” is a native Athabascan word which means something along the lines of the far or distant river.  It is the name of the river near Iditarod, a town along the route from Anchorage to Nome.  

Anchorage is not a huge town and many, if not most, of the good restaurants and hotels are within walking distance of each other around third and fifth streets.  I’m not a big shopper when I travel, but there are several shops downtown with scrimmage and other native artifacts available.  There are a couple of relatively big shopping centers I’ve never been to.  Museums, on the other hand, are my thing and I especially enjoyed the Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum, as well as the Heritage and Native Heritage Museums.  I also like to visit local cemeteries when I travel and the Fort Richardson National Museum has a very interesting one.  Helicopter tours, including a glacier landing are easy to enjoy and although I’ve never been in a hot air balloon in Alaska, I have in other places (Africa, Lower 48) and would recommend trying one.  Most any excursion in and around Anchorage, or anywhere else, can lead to a moose or bear sighting, or both. 
Seward is a relatively short drive from Anchorage and well worth the trip.  A variety of boat tours are available taking you through the Kenai Fjords where you can see and hear glaciers calving and buy a drink on your boat made with million year old, or older, ice.  Whales are frequently seen on these tours, lots of sea lions and even the occasional dolphin.  You will also get to see a variety of interesting birds, including, of course, both horned and tufted puffins with their stark black and white plumage and their orange and yellow beaks.  

Cape Town:  Table Mountain is spectacular, especially when the clouds fall off the cliff down toward the town, but dissipate before they reach the warmer ground.  The variety of boutique wineries with B&Bs all around, the grand diversity the people and the variety and taste of the food and wine are amazing.  I was startled to learn that the largest winery in the world is in Cape Town.  We spent three weeks during one trip, driving from winery to winery and staying at co-located B&Bs.  Note, they drive on the left side of the roadway.  The B&Bs and wineries we stayed at were all splendid and we did not use any particular formula to determine where to stay, just picked places from a Michelin tour book.  We did get to drive down to L’Hagulhas (Lands End) and see the confluence of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans.  The name for the southernmost town at the tip of Africa is from the Porteguse for”needles.”  Lore has it they named it thus because the compass needle pointed due north, or straight at the town, when passing the cape.  From what we could see, as described  in most stories, the ocean in this region is quite active.  Surprisingly, there are short little penguins, about a foot high,  near the southern tip.  In large groups they stink as badly as the sea lions on the beach in La Jolla, California.  

On first arriving, we stayes at the Best Western Cape Suites—I arranged through Best Western to be guaranteed a room when we arrived—it is a long, long flight.  After a couple of days recovering, we moved to a B&B on Banty Bay, called Enchanted.  I can’t say it was particularly Enchanted, but it was very nice. The main thing I’d caution regarding this plan is, assuming you have a car, be sure the B&B provides parking.  There is a shopping center near the Victoria and Albert Waterfront.  We visited it because it was said to be the largest one in the southern hemisphere.  It is certainly quite large, with several interesting restaurants and hundreds of shops.   

London:  Everything is easy to access, all the way to Thurso, near Inverness, Scotland, if you want.  In and around town, the tube is quick, available and easy.  The closness and variety of the shops, shows, and museums are astounding.  There is a well traveled joke about English food:  Traveler asks more seasoned friend; “Where do you find a good restaurant in London?”  Friend answers, “Paris.”  I would agree with that for English food, I mean potatos and bangers and Aberdeen steak can only go so far, but ethnic food in London, from German to Afghan to Chinese, I have found quite excellent.  The variety of ethnic food menus seems never ending, from picnics to very formal dining.  I think the ethnic food in London which is the most delightful and offers the biggest variety is Indian food.

There are a wide variety of Indian resturants, but I have found the ones in Mayfair and Kenisington, as well as those near Marble Arch, to be great and mostly affordable.  For hotels I usually stay at The Churchill (near Marble Arch on the red line) or The Gore Hotel (the one in the Ludlum novels; I’ve had more than one nightcap in that same bar) (near Glouster Road on the blue, yellow and green lines). I’ve tried a hotel in Soho a time or two, but it is a lot noisier there, especially at night.

Shopping opportunities, from Harrods to lots of fashion shops on Bond Street, are almost never ending.  I took my wife Christmas shopping there once and we had a grand time.  Hamley’s on Regent Street is a seven story toy shop and if you can’t find a present there, you shouldn’t be shopping.  A visit to Notting Hill on street market day, tube stop Notting Hill Gate (on the  red line) will be very interesting as well.  The other opportunity for shopping I’ve especially enjoyed in London are books, with Foyles Bookshop being a frequent favorite.  There are several theaters and any of the shows I’ve seen there have been fun and enjoyable. The museums seem to never end.  A visit to the wax museum is sure to reward as well.  I’ve been to London maybe twenty-five or six times.  

Sydney:  I always tell people Sydney is like San Francisco would be if San Francisco had excellent weather and the people didn’t try so hard.  The availability and variety of sea food is astounding, the accessibility of the city, shops, museums is convenient.  I’ve always rented a car, but rarely have had to use it in town.  The opera house is stunning.  I’ve been there on two separate trips.  I always stay at the Hyatt on Circular Quay and any of the restaurants within walking distance, both on the Quay, for the views, and on George Street and Lower Fort Street, for the variety, I have found to be excellent.

As a bonus, there are also interesting night clubs in the same area.  I’ve also enjoyed food and drink at both the restaurant and the bar at the Hyatt, which is above average.  Famous beaches are nearby, including Bondi Beach, and inside Sydney harbor Balmoral Beach.  For readers, there are a variety of book stores and not infrequently you may find an Australian or Euporean edition of your favorite author released before any US edition is available. 

Where On Earth? An Alaska Adventure
By David H. Minton

Fiery Seas Publishing
May 30, 2017   
Romantic Adventure
 available here

Book Description:
Dan Richards, an Iraq war vet, is a surveyor for the mining company, looking to open a new silver mine. Scrambling to establish his helicopter charter business in the wilds of Alaska, while trying to stay connected to his teenage daughter, his world soon turns upside down when he rescues a woman and her dog sledding team after an avalanche.
Samantha Bettencourt, an environmental engineer, is eager to begin her first project with the university. A spokesperson for an environmentalist group intent on preserving the wilderness, she is on the path to saving the wild, but when Dan walks into her life things start to change.
Sparks fly between Dan and Samantha as they find themselves running for their lives—from the good guys as well as the bad guys out to ruin the things they long to protect. Will they be able to escape before it’s too late? Will they get a chance at love or will they lose everything. . . including their lives?

About the Author:
After graduating college, David spent two tours in United States Military Assistance Command Republic of Viet-Nam, before beginning his career as a nuclear engineer, then electronics engineer, tele-communications engineer, and software security engineer. He has previously published three non-fiction books, several poems, and many non-fiction technical and historical articles.  

Tour Giveaway - 5 e-copies

No comments:

Post a Comment