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Hopping on and off the bus in 4 great cities

Editorial: It’s August, the month when ‘the girls’ go to New York City, not every year, of course, but often enough. Over time we’ve seen most of its landmarks. When we’re there we always take a ride on the hop-on, hop-off bus. It’s now a tradition even though it’s a touristy thing to do. I’ve taken the hop-on bus in other cities as well. It works for me. On the website this month we’re visiting cities in the United States, China and Malaysia from the ‘top of a double-decker’: NYC, Chicago, Shanghai, and Georgetown.

Sometimes I get on the bus and don’t get off until it finishes its loop; that way I get an overview of the place and it helps me decide where I want to spend my time—where I’ll ‘get off’ the next time around.  It’s a way of addressing “big-city hassle”, according to Jane Maas in her new book, Mad Women. In it she describes the “I love New York” campaign in the late 1970s that was “without question the most successful tourism promotion ever launched”. During the campaign, visitors could purchase packages that included sightseeing and transportation; this made the whole experience easier. Now I’m not a ‘tour-package-sort-of-person’ but the hop-on bus similarly makes visiting a big city more doable.

The first time I visited NYC was 1980 when the campaign promoting Leona Helmsley’s Palace Hotel was going strong. Jane Maas talks about that in her book too. We stayed at the Palace and there was a magazine in our room that told us how ‘Queen Helmsley’ wanted nothing but the best for her guests and assured this by keeping a very close watch on the staff. The tagline was “The only hotel in the world where the Queen stands guard”. We loved being in that famous hotel even though all four of us had to share a room to make it affordable. The “Queen”, however, eventually became known as the “Queen of Mean” for how badly she treated her staff.  Memorable.

Jessica and Ian just returned from four days in the great city of Chicago where they went to celebrate Jessica’s 30th birthday. Ian said he would prefer to blend in with the locals rather than ride on the top of a double decker bus but, hey, it was her outing so he went along with it.

Not everyone wants to go to a big city when the weather is hot. Some prefer to hang out at the lake, which is easy to do in Canada for it’s a country of lakes. Oceans also border this country so bring your bathing suit if you’re coming for a visit during the summer. And consider pitching a tent or renting a cottage. A favourite road trip of mine is driving up the west coast of Newfoundland and catching a ferry over to Labrador while watching the icebergs float by. We’ll leave that story for another day and instead go to the other side of the country, to Vancouver Island, where Andrew, Erin and their two kids rented a cottage looking out over Georgia Strait. They just mellowed out and it was blissful.

If you need some stimulation to get you moving during these lazy days of summer, then read Barbara Reinhardus’ article about making a garden at a Canadian cottage, and a fine one at that.

Enjoy.

Sylvia Fanjoy
Sylvia@ridingthebuses.com

Photo credit: Gray Line New York, Citysightsnyc

© Riding the buses 2012

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