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Downward Mobility

I guess it’s a matter of taste. Four – and Five – star stays during holidays here sentence the visitor to isolation and distance. From what? In my experience, the juice of the country they’ve come to experience.

Barry Giovanetto taught me the importance of the title phrase of this installment from Greece.
He drove a VW bug when he could have driven Audi. He said it kept him real – and free.
Nowadays I interpret that wisdom in travel.

This is the view from our apartment balcony in Gennadi – a real village in the island of Rhodes.

We’ve seen the alternative elsewhere. A bus and ferry tour to Symi left from one of the upscale resorts up the coast. I ventured in to look around. It was exactly the same. Just like the Palladium in P V. Just like Kaanapali. Just like legions of other resort hotels. It’s like being in a Walmart – well not quite.

But you get the point. You could be anywhere. There are the rooms strung out in multistory buildings fronting on pools. A central lobby with dining space. The sports rental concession down at the beach. Maybe a little used tennis court. The tour booking desk accompanied by time share or condo sales. Sound familiar?

It’s a formula that assures travellers they are safe and that standards they expect will be met. And they are. Uniformly. The same as everywhere else.

Outside our balcony the music of village Greece floats up. The sun strikes the church standing at a respectful distance opposite. Mourning doves coo, dogs bark. Brilliant azaleas sing out from the abundant balcony above the public fountain below me. We’re about to go down to the killer bakery through a labyrinth of lanes to return with a delectable custard confection that will make a pretender out of any imitation. We will be greeted by Barbara and Giorgios – our generous hosts who ensure we get everything we could possibly require. We recall our grilled sea bream supper on a patio under the setting sun while the sea hummed gently below our isolated restaurant last night. We’re deep into Greece. As one of my buddies said, “You’re so into it, you’re out of it!”

But to the point. If you go to get experience of the place you are travelling to – consider the non pre-packaged (cheaper!) alternative.

Rick Steeves of PBS fame has long advocated Europe through the back door. He means go as they go. Take a (small) chance. Don’t book everything in advance.
People in most countries – not all, I’ll grant you – live comparably to us. Comparably but different. Vive la difference!

The Internet makes it easy to start. I am blessed with Elaine who’s game for – and organizes – this approach.

You can never be totally sure. But you can never be sure of anything. Except the alternative, which you know – too well. And you can always get that!

Don’t get me wrong. Like everything else, it depends. If I’m going to Egypt, its five star all the way!


Doug Bouey
Catalyst Strategic Consultants Ltd.

What’s Our Business?

Bringing out the best in you, your company and your people.

Doug Bouey, President
Catalyst Strategic Consultants Ltd.

Calgary, AB // Phone: 403.777.1144


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