By Lynn and Rob Belles
Independent Vacation Specialists
You will make friends with passengers, cruise line employees and people in exotic countries. Meeting people on the ship who love to cruise is easy, just eat in the dining room or pick a favorite bar. Recently we met The Merry Widows in the piano bar, two fun loving ladies from England who were, in their words, “spending their husbands’ pensions.” Tip: classify them as cruise friends on Facebook so you can message them next time you cruise.
We also make friends with cruise line employees. We keep in contact with everyone from shopkeepers to dancers and photographers to entertainers. Recently we started following The Designated Divers from LA online. A group of youngsters whom you would think were our age by the music they can play. Too much fun. Tip: this is the only way to keep track of the entertainers you like because they don’t publish who is where.
Some of the wildest friendships are the locals we meet in the places we visit. On one trip we paid a cab driver for an entire day of sightseeing. We noticed a large cross on a hill near the port. It had not even appeared in our diligent blueprint research. At the end of a seven hour day with the driver, returning to the port, we saw the cross again and asked him about it. He looked at his watch, asked if we wanted to see it, and without waiting for an answer made a hard right turn up a dirt road towards the cross. He folded his sun visor down to proudly show us a Polaroid of his family in front of it. We had to be the only tourists that got into this beautiful building that day. The Third Millennium Cross Monument had been the only cross in the world erected in in honor of the year 2000 there in Coquimbo, Chile. It was a symbol of great cultural pride. Tip: when you travel always ask about the architecture, you won’t regret it.
As we were leaving, our new friend called our family together in front of the cross for a Polaroid that he arranged and paid for as his thank you for the enjoyable day we had. Travel Like an Architect, take a chance now and then and you will make many friends around the globe.
Rob and Lynn Belles are owners of Belles Firm of Architecture a local professional design firm, and the only real Architect Travel Agents known of. They are seasoned travelers with family and adult only international travel experience. They are teaching others what they know about traveling as a family, a couple, and as business owners who stay connected with their clients, even while they are traveling abroad.