Now that I have a moment, I’m going to begin my brief retrospective on 2005 with my travels. While I made it to many destinations over the preceeding twelve months, there are several sights I’ve had the good fortune to see that remain stuck in my head. And while it was difficult to sort out those that would make the top 5, here goes.
1. The Petronas Towers – Kuala Lumpur – Currently the second tallest building in the world (tallest twin towers), they rise above the skyline of KL and are a phenomenal sight to see. Each tower is shaped after a five-pointed star, with a skybridge connecting them.
2. Bar Charlotte – Charlotte, NC – THE favorite hangout spot when we actually had a few minutes free during our migration weekends in Charlotte, this bar was a riot. Women were dancing on the bar, and there was at least one swing up there as well. On the opposite side of the room, high above everyone, were several poles to dance on. And don’t forget the mechanical bull for good measure. There are things I saw I won’t soon forget.
3. Manoa Falls – Island of Oahu, Hawaii – After a trek along a rough path (flipflops = bad idea), your reward is a beautiful waterfall raining down from at least 100 feet up. The lush vegetation makes the locale feel remote, even though you’re just a short drive from Waikiki and Honalulu.
4. The Andes Mountains – Mendoza, Argentina – Though I never made it to the Andes up close (the tours I found were entirely in Spanish, making it difficult to jusity both the cash and the 7 am departure), from Mendoza they were always off to the horizon, rising up and providing a phenomenal backdrop for this fertile agricultural region.
5. Rutgers v. ASU in the Insight Bowl – Phoenix, AZ – The 10,000 fans in scarlet were excited come game time. Though we were outnumbered in the stands and outgunned in the end, the trip was well worth it to be present at the first RU bowl appearance in 27 years.
Runners-up include the baggage handling facility in the Houston Airport, the Northwest Folk Festival in Seattle, and the red rocks of Sedona in Arizona.
While 2005 was a relatively quiet year on the negative side, terminal D at the Philadelphia International Airport is the worst terminal I have experienced. The closest airport that compares is perhaps the temrinal in San Jose, Costa Rica. Both are heavy, bloated concrete dungeons with practically no amenities. Even the terminal in Mendoza, with its single jetway, was a nicer place than Terminal D.