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Derrick Bloch

A regular contributer to Travel Industry Today, Derrick has been recognized by National Geographic Traveler as one of the top 80 travel agents in North America.   Derrick has lived in five countries on four continents  and has come a long way from Namibia in southern Africa, where he grew up. His experience, knowledge (and humour) bring an incisive global perspective to his writing.  

RECENT ARTICLES


IT COULD HAPPEN TO YOU
10 MAY 2018: There is probably something in the Scriptures (and if there isn’t, there ought to be) saying something like “getteth thee not to high and mighty about thyself because surely it will cometh back and biteth thee in thy bum". Or as the hillbillies might say “don’t go gittin’ all biggity” MORE

THE TALE OF THE TRAVELING TOMATOES
A true story
12 APR 2018: One of the things I love about our profession is the people we meet and the stories they tell. Take my clients Jean and Chris, who are from South Africa, and who have a home on a game ranch. (“game” as in lions and giraffes and antelope, not “game” as in Candy Crush) MORE

DINING ON THE FLY
22 MAR 2018: Mention WardAir and Canadian travellers of a certain generation go all sentimental and googly-eyed. They rhapsodize about “leg-room” and “fillet steaks on porcelain plates – in coach’. But WardAir has gone – a distant memory. It’s gone the way of all airlines who promoted that unusual concept of customer comfort. And with them has also gone reasonably edible airline food. I am utterly convinced that if someone were to create a political party that ran on just one issue – improving airline food - she or he would take the next election in a walkover, no matter how many tight-fitting suits his or her opponent has in his wardrobe.   MORE

IN SEARCH OF OLD FLORIDA
01 MAR 2018: Since we've been coming to Jacksonville eight years ago we've been hearing references to "Old Florida". As in "yeah, it's pretty, but it's just not Old Florida" Old Florida is apparently a mythical place without strip-malls, without Walmarts, without chain hotels or chain restaurants. Where Disney's tentacles don't intrude. I've seen people go all dreamy-eyed over Old Florida. So, we set out to find this fabled place.   MORE

ONE FOR THE BOOKS
03 JAN 2018: On the southeast corner of Adelaide East and Toronto Streets, basement level, stood a temple to travel - until "progress" stepped in. Toronto's Open Air Books closed in 2016. The owner, Jeff Axler, could find a map or a guide book to anywhere on his higgledy-piggledy shelves   MORE

GEORGIA ON MY MIND
28 DEC 2017: In the summer of 1994 the good folks at Georgia Tourism invited me to visit south-east Georgia. John Berendt's bestseller Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, depicting the goings on in a Savannah that outsiders don't see, had shot to the top of the best-seller lists and the Georgia Tourism was exploiting the free publicity for all it was worth.   MORE

WHERE NORTH IS SOUTH
18 DEC 2017: The further North you go, the further South you go. It's a contradiction that's only true in Florida. Head north from Fort Lauderdale, Naples, Fort Myers and you end up in the Southern States, the Southern mindset, Southern cooking. North of Orlando and you're in chaw-spitting distance of hush puppies.   MORE

PILOT PROJECTS
12 DEC 2017: Back in the 1950's I grew up in Windhoek - WDH - in what is now Namibia. The local airport was served by a couple of daily flights to Johannesburg and Cape Town (sometimes via Oranjemund), on South African Airways' DC3 Dakotas and DC4 Skymasters. South West Airways (Namibia was called South West Africa at the time) operated Cessna 172's for local flights, based out of a corrugated iron hangar with a payphone.   MORE

ASK THE BELLBOY
21 NOV 2017: I come from the hotel industry. I waited tables, ran the banqueting bar, worked in cost control (and caught a pastry chef selling the hotel’s butter on the side). I eventually graduated from hotel management school.   MORE

NEXTGEN
13 NOV 2017: I have a confession to make: I am not the most organized person in the world. On a good day my desk looks as though a whirlwind has just blown through my office. On a bad day – well, let’s not go there.   MORE

LAS VEGAS A MONTH LATER
'Why' is irrelevant
06 NOV 2017: Almost sixty people died. More than 400 families’ lives were irrevocably changed. “Why?” is irrelevant. “Why?” doesn’t matter. Knowing the reason won’t change anything. Let’s be honest. “Killed” doesn’t begin to suffice. “Shot” certainly doesn’t.   MORE

HOMEWORK
02 OCT 2017: Eleven years ago my wife and I started to work from home. We had just switched from an agency in a mostly residential area, perhaps 10 minutes’ drive from home and where parking was easy and free, to a downtown Toronto agency. The new agency was a mere ten miles from home, but we found that we were spending almost 3 hours a day sitting in traffic, and another $400 a month on parking. MORE

RENTAL CAR SURPRISES
25 SEP 2017: I happened to walk past the back door of a rental car office at the airport in Jacksonville FL recently. The door was open and I could see inside, and what dominated the room was a huge whiteboard featuring a table setting out which employees had sold the most add-ons; add-ons like insurance, like upgrades, like prepaid fuel, a GPS, or pre-paid tolls. “Or similar” to quote the rental car industry’s own language. MORE

MYANMAR II
Astounding temples and fabulous landscapes
19 APR 2012: From Mandalay we drove southwest through far-between, tiny villages, stopping occasionally for a market or temple to arrive at Mt. Popa Resort, a classy retreat on the lush slopes of the volcano, with arguably one of the world’s best views. It looks out upon a 740-metre high, steep finger of land formed at the last eruption some 250,000 years ago. Atop sits a collection of temples – think fairy-tale and you’ve got it. MORE

BEING THERE
Myanmar. The excitement of change
18 APR 2012: At the Shwedagon Festival in Yangon, the anthem of Myanmar’s National League for Democracy blasts from a booth where good-looking youth wearing red headbands, sell t-shirts adorned with the face of Aung San Suu Kyi. It is February and the walkway to the Shwedagon Pagoda, burgeons with vendors offering everything from bowls of Mohinga to cell phones; there is a cacophony of voices and music, and the aroma of spicy food tinges the dusty, hot air. MORE

THE ACCESSIBLE ROAD
Quebec and Keroul open doors for disabled travellers
07 SEP 2010: If you ever have a yen to be invisible – and don't we all from time to time – try a wheelchair. You'll simply vanish. Taxi and bus drivers drive past you, waiters and clerks look past you to ask your companion what you'd like for lunch. MORE

CANADIANS CZECH IT OUT
The Czech Republic celebrates 10 years
07 DEC 2009: CzechTourism Canada and the Consulate General of the Czech Republic in Toronto, recently held an Appreciation Night on the occasion of the 10th year Celebration of Successful Operation of CzechTourism Canada. The event was well attended with participants from the trade, tour operators, airlines and media. MORE
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