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Twenty priceless destinations ruined by tourists. Are salad bars our best hope?

Kyoto -Japan, Halstaff – Austria, Hanoi Street Train -Vietnam, Spanish Steps – Rome, Ejaoragljufur Canyons -Iceland, Komodo Islands – Indonesia, Venice – Italy, Machu Picchu – Peru. and many more. One list names 60 destinations – all have been spoilt by too many tourists. That’s according to the site, ‘Insider Today’.

Damn! I was hoping to visit six of those locations.

My globe-trotting friends have told me of tourist annoyances in exotic places. Come to think of it, we have experienced some of this ourselves in gorgeous Bali and on the great Wall of China. I was glad that no New Zealand destination was listed on the ruined destinations. Hmm! Crowds, traffic, and parking at Hot Water Beach can be frustrating at peak times. If the flow keeps increasing, it could make the list of ‘ruined destinations’!

Some years ago, I heard Kim Hill interview a Norwegian tramper who spends his annual holidays here in Fiordland. He mentioned the annoyance sandflies caused him. Kim asked him why did he come here when there were numerous spectacular fiords in his home country and no sandflies. “I come to New Zealand to get away from the buses and the crowds,” he replied. He went on to say that tour buses lined up in the car parks adjacent to the viewing platforms and the walks to most spectacular fiords. “In New Zealand, you can experience the grandeur of the fiords far from the maddening crowds. That’s not possible in Europe,” he said.

Supposing we have saved up time and money for a break, what are we to do then? What’s the scenic or cultural wonder that will excite and refresh us. That has me thinking about ‘salad bars.’

For years we worked and travelled in the USA. American states are really like different countries. However, there is one thing that we appreciated in every state. That is, a spectacular salad bar. We country bumpkins living at the bottom of the world don’t really know what a salad bar was – we could not conceive its wonders. When I stood in line in Kansas City for my first salad bar, I literally didn’t know what I was looking at. I filled my plate with a respectable amount of amazing colourful portions, when my host said, “Mr Stewart you have filled you plate with dressings, condiments. The salad is still ahead”.

American salad bars are vast. They are colouful. Here we are not talking about lettuce and tomatoes. The salad bar is an exotic world of its own. Cold food from around the world and items we think of as desserts are all in the American salad bar. Beautifully displayed, aromatic, mysterious, a world of itsown. “Choose what you like and you can come back for more”.

USA has a great number of the scenic wonders of the world. However, I get the impression that for many Americans, these natural wonders pale when compared with a good salad bar. And the search for a ‘great’ salad bar is unending. And salad bars are constantly being re-invented – salad bars with a Pacific Island theme, or South American, or Filipino or Japanese theme. The wonders of the salad bar just keep coming. And they are not ruined by tourists – they are just right for tourists.

Sounds flippant but I’m half serious. I’m really wondering if it isn’t better to relish a salad bar than to wander through a Cambodian village and photographing the ‘cute’ local people. What if the most hopeful path for our future re-creation is finding more to enjoy at home. What if, in 2024, this is better for us, better for them, better for the world? Why not discover more to enjoy at home? Could this be more satisfying than following a guide with a pointy flag and hoping never to forget the number of our coach (they all look the same). Could this be better than straining to hear our escort tell us about the local people and their unusual ways and where selfies are still allowed.

What about relishing what we have at home. We don’t have salad bars like the ones in USA. We do have the world’s best of natural beauty and our very own restauranteurs are doing their best to create dishes and settings which delight our senses. Go for it! In Whitianga there’s ‘The Lost Spring’. One man’s imagination has created a wonderland for soaking and eating and coffee sipping. Well done Alan Hopper! May your tribe increase.

Enjoy what we have around us. Take new kiwi trails. Encourage entrepreneurs and local government to open-up more amazing locations. Patronise our wonderful coffee shops and support our enchanting restaurants. This is our home place. Explore it and enjoy it. I visit the rest of the world on YouTube. Why not?

 |  The Informer  |  ,
World Destinations

Kyoto -Japan, Halstaff – Austria, Hanoi Street Train -Vietnam, Spanish Steps – Rome, Ejaoragljufur Canyons -Iceland, Komodo Islands – Indonesia, Venice – Italy, Machu Picchu – Peru. and many more. One list names 60 destinations – all have been spoilt by too many tourists. That’s according to the site, ‘Insider Today’.

Damn! I was hoping to visit six of those locations.

My globe-trotting friends have told me of tourist annoyances in exotic places. Come to think of it, we have experienced some of this ourselves in gorgeous Bali and on the great Wall of China. I was glad that no New Zealand destination was listed on the ruined destinations. Hmm! Crowds, traffic, and parking at Hot Water Beach can be frustrating at peak times. If the flow keeps increasing, it could make the list of ‘ruined destinations’!

Some years ago, I heard Kim Hill interview a Norwegian tramper who spends his annual holidays here in Fiordland. He mentioned the annoyance sandflies caused him. Kim asked him why did he come here when there were numerous spectacular fiords in his home country and no sandflies. “I come to New Zealand to get away from the buses and the crowds,” he replied. He went on to say that tour buses lined up in the car parks adjacent to the viewing platforms and the walks to most spectacular fiords. “In New Zealand, you can experience the grandeur of the fiords far from the maddening crowds. That’s not possible in Europe,” he said.

Supposing we have saved up time and money for a break, what are we to do then? What’s the scenic or cultural wonder that will excite and refresh us. That has me thinking about ‘salad bars.’

For years we worked and travelled in the USA. American states are really like different countries. However, there is one thing that we appreciated in every state. That is, a spectacular salad bar. We country bumpkins living at the bottom of the world don’t really know what a salad bar was – we could not conceive its wonders. When I stood in line in Kansas City for my first salad bar, I literally didn’t know what I was looking at. I filled my plate with a respectable amount of amazing colourful portions, when my host said, “Mr Stewart you have filled you plate with dressings, condiments. The salad is still ahead”.

American salad bars are vast. They are colouful. Here we are not talking about lettuce and tomatoes. The salad bar is an exotic world of its own. Cold food from around the world and items we think of as desserts are all in the American salad bar. Beautifully displayed, aromatic, mysterious, a world of itsown. “Choose what you like and you can come back for more”.

USA has a great number of the scenic wonders of the world. However, I get the impression that for many Americans, these natural wonders pale when compared with a good salad bar. And the search for a ‘great’ salad bar is unending. And salad bars are constantly being re-invented – salad bars with a Pacific Island theme, or South American, or Filipino or Japanese theme. The wonders of the salad bar just keep coming. And they are not ruined by tourists – they are just right for tourists.

Sounds flippant but I’m half serious. I’m really wondering if it isn’t better to relish a salad bar than to wander through a Cambodian village and photographing the ‘cute’ local people. What if the most hopeful path for our future re-creation is finding more to enjoy at home. What if, in 2024, this is better for us, better for them, better for the world? Why not discover more to enjoy at home? Could this be more satisfying than following a guide with a pointy flag and hoping never to forget the number of our coach (they all look the same). Could this be better than straining to hear our escort tell us about the local people and their unusual ways and where selfies are still allowed.

What about relishing what we have at home. We don’t have salad bars like the ones in USA. We do have the world’s best of natural beauty and our very own restauranteurs are doing their best to create dishes and settings which delight our senses. Go for it! In Whitianga there’s ‘The Lost Spring’. One man’s imagination has created a wonderland for soaking and eating and coffee sipping. Well done Alan Hopper! May your tribe increase.

Enjoy what we have around us. Take new kiwi trails. Encourage entrepreneurs and local government to open-up more amazing locations. Patronise our wonderful coffee shops and support our enchanting restaurants. This is our home place. Explore it and enjoy it. I visit the rest of the world on YouTube. Why not?