I'm sitting on the edge of a fishing boat, dangling a rod in the sea for the first time in my life, when my line suddenly pulls tight. To my surprise - and slight horror - an eel thrashes in the air. I throw it back, lean in the sun to relax and pray I don't catch anything else.
The Silicon Valley capital, San Jose, is now the closest gateway to the beauty spots, vineyards and cultural treasures of central California. But San Jose is also a great jumping-off point for the national parks of the west and south-west in a year when New Mexico, just two super-scenic states away, is attracting art aficioadoes to the landscape made famous by artist Georgia O’Keeffe.
Images of Frida Kahlo, that nice Jewish girl in traditional Mexican dress who has become the most merchandised art icon in the world, tell you a lot about her native land. That Mexico, where the Catholic conquistadores and indigenous tribes who preceded them were immigrants themselves, is an inherently tolerant country whose Jews feel a deep sense of identity with their adopted country.
There was a time when the best view over New York was to be had from the Empire State Building. First timers to the Big Apple would traditionally head to Fifth Street and West 34th Street where this iconic building rises up seemingly into the sky, to take a lift to the 86th or 102nd floor observation decks.
New York City has more Jewish inhabitants than anywhere in the world except Israel - almost 1.2 million. With so many kosher mouths to feed it's not surprising that several kosher restaurants have appeared on the gourmet landscape and its not just about delis, bagels and falafel. Here are four good kosher steakhouses to blow your tastebuds away.
It didn't start brilliantly, when we missed our connecting flight from Bogota to the coastal city of Santa Marta, and ended up running around Colombia's main airport, frazzled and grappling with paltry information and appalling Spanish, to secure a later one.
I'm taking the bus from the terminal building at Antigua to the twin-prop plane standing on the tarmac. We pull up and I get out with my luggage to board, but the door's closed. The bus driver is right behind, turns his key in the door, pulls down the steps, and leads us on board. He's the pilot, and the guy who I thought was helping with the luggage, is his first officer.