We take a break from Man vs World’s Olympic Games coverage for a competition of an entirely different sort – the blogger relay.
Chrystal at Chrystal Clear has passed Team Purple’s baton to yours truly, and with it comes the task of condensing more than five years of fantastic travel memories into three brilliant ones: Gold, Silver and Bronze.
Well, I’d better not just stand around here talking about it.
On your marks, get set, go!!!
Bronze: Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, New York
I’m thankful for a lot of fantastic travel memories – but I’m really thankful that I was in New York for the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade a few years back.
Formerly just a parade that I was vaguely aware of due to oblique references to it in US television shows like Friends and Seinfeld, it’s since become the yardstick against which I compare all festive holiday events. Everything’s bigger in America – and nowhere is this adage more apt than in New York City.
People take to the streets hours before the parade begins, searching for the best spot to watch giant inflatable cartoon characters, marching bands and incredibly colourful floats move south along Central Park and in to the concrete jungle that is New York.
The New York winter is a cold one but for the few hours that the Thanksgiving Day Parade runs for the atmosphere on the streets of the Big Apple could not be warmer.
Crimson, scarlet, ruby, red; as far as the eye could see – everything was blanketed in tomato.
On the last Wednesday in August every year, Buñol in Spain is ground zero for the world’s largest food fight; one hour of tomato-throwing mayhem punctuated only by water cannons firing into the crowds to signify the end to one of the world’s strangest festivals.
Truck-loads of tomatoes are hauled in and dumped on to the streets while thousands of locals and tourists alike jostle for position, grabbing armloads of the mostly over-ripe fruit and launching them at all and sundry.
Later, the frenzied food-fighting fun becomes a water fight as locals launch buckets of water from the rooftops above to wash down the streets and everyone on them.
Call it shell-shock or call it battle fatigue, but for weeks afterwards even the sight of a tomato would make me feel a bit queasy…
Gold: getting engaged in Bali
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: getting engaged to my long-time travelling companion was a wonderful bookend to my recent adventures backpacking in South East Asia.
The setting was perfect – sunset on Kuta Beach in Bali – and the timing was just about. Except for one Indonesian woman who decided to beg for change while I was mid-proposal, the single most romantic moment of my life went without a hitch (she actually said yes!).
It was so unexpected that Nicola, my girlfriend and constant travelling companion for more than seven years, actually had to ask me if I was serious before she responded in the affirmative – not that I’ve ever joked about popping the question before.
As far as travel memories go, getting engaged in Bali was by far the most special to me; here’s hoping the wedding day and subsequent honeymoon live up to the hype.
And now, on that extremely sentimental note, I’d like to pass the baton for Team Purple on to Raghav at Traveling Ticker.
Run, Raghav, run!!!