Thursday, July 12, 2018


And I’m not talking about beauty contest winners, gorgeous glamorous celebrities, or as-yet undiscovered alluring beauties. My definition of “beautiful” in this post is “of a very high standard; excellent.” As travelers, we get exposed to many unfamiliar, uncomfortable, unnerving situations. During such trying times, when you meet people whom you don’t even know but step up to help with a kindness of the highest order, consider yourself lucky. You have just come across a beautiful person.

Nine years ago, Bill and I had just gotten married and we flew to the Philippines to introduce my home country to my new groom. On the way back, we passed by Taipei, Taiwan to visit his friend for a couple of weeks. The small country island was easy to visit with the High-Speed Rail System that can take you from Taipei, the northernmost capital to Kaohsiung, the southernmost urban center in just 2 ½ hours.  One of our day trips using the system was to Tainan on the southwestern side.

Taiwan’s capital for 200 years during the Koxinga and Qing dynasties, Tainan boasts of many old fortresses, historic temples, and rich folk cultures.  After visiting Fort Provintia, the old Dutch fortress, and the oldest Confucian Temple of Taiwan, we took the bus to the Taiwan Salt Museum in the Qigu suburban district. The bus driver did not speak a word of English but took pains to help us understand that we better be on the same spot where he let us off at 3 pm, the last bus back to Tainan. 

Taiwan Salt Museum

The Museum consists of a huge salt mountain, salt spas, and the building housing the exhibits built on the site of what was once the country’s largest sea salt field after the salt mines ceased operations in 2002. As luck would have it, we missed the bus! After anxious moments with the non-English speaking staff, the Manager came and ordered a taxi for us. It came an hour later by which time I was already hungry. We could only find a cup of coffee for Bill. Inside the cab, the driver noticed me, stopped the cab, got out, opened the trunk, and handed me the best crackers I have ever tasted!

After the Taiwan trip, we decided to extend our honeymoon by driving an RV all over North America. We bought a 24-foot Class C and traveled from Seattle to Boise, to Calgary then to Alaska through the Alaska Highway up to the Arctic Circle, down the West Coast to the US Southwest. Then we got ready for our three-week tour of Mexico from Nogales, Arizona through Hermosillo, Los Mochis, Mazatlan, Guadalajara, Mexico City, Saltillo, San Luis Potosi, Monterrey, and Laredo, Texas. Actually, many friends were convincing us it wasn’t safe to RV in Mexico but no one could stop us from this next adventure.  We felt we were on a roll!

our RV at the hotel parking lot

From Nogales, Arizona, our first stop was Hermosillo, Mexico. Our RV Park was right along the highway; it was easy to find. It was quite unnerving, however, that we were the lone RV in the Park. The next night, we had a more difficult time looking for our Park.  We stopped at a gas station to fill up and, in broken Spanish, asked about where the Los Mochis Trailer Park could be. Two rough looking young men in the beaten-up car in front of us looked at the address I had scribbled on a piece of paper and quickly motioned us to follow them. The next twenty minutes were agonizingly uncomfortable. But they did lead us to Hotel Los Mochis.  It turned out our RV Park is the hotel’s back parking lot! The young men refused the pesos we offered for their help. That night we may have been again the lone RV but no fear settled in. We had just met two beautiful people. We would meet many more in Mexico. 

In 2014, we were on a UK road trip on the way to my youngest daughter’s wedding at the Guthrie Castle in Scotland. I was with my husband, my eldest daughter, and her daughter.  The road trip was to take us from London to Stonehenge, Bath, the Cotswolds, Wales back to the Windsor Castle and London before the flight to Edinburgh. With plenty of sight-seeing planned, our hotel stays were going to be just sleeping time. Our first night was at the Farmers Hotel, between Stonehenge and Bath in the town of Warminster.
Farmers Hotel

The building was 300 years old. It was difficult getting our luggage up the narrow, convoluted stairway. But the beds were comfy. We quickly went down to the Italian Restaurant on the premises. Our pasta and pizza dinner was delicious, but it was the company that was remarkable. The hotel was run by a small Italian family. The father was the Manager, his three sons, the Chef, the waiter and the butler, and his daughter, the cashier. That evening our families became one. The Chef was so happy he gave us tons of free dessert. The father invited us to watch the World Cup Championships on TV. Although England lost, it was such a fun night. My granddaughter got up early the next day to buy a potted plant as a gift to the family. Lots of souvenir photos were taken before we headed out for Bath.

the family of beautiful people with my family
Luxurious facilities, excellent location, wonderful amenities may make the most popular lodging options, but places like Farmers Hotel are one in a million. My daughter thanked me profusely for selecting the hotel.  Today, my daughter and I still keep in touch with the daughter through Facebook. This small Warminster family, the two Mexican young men, and the Chinese taxi driver are some of the most beautiful people we have ever met. When you travel, you get the chance to meet many! 

Note: Headline Photo is from the "Top 12 Most Beautiful People in The World" post of Sarah Salman in the WondersList Blog

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