IC TRAVEL AGENT April 2014 - Page 14

GUEST ARTICLE BY STEVE GILLICK Fishing for That Perfect Summer Travel Experience When I was asked to write an article with something about ‘fish’ in the title, I agreed to do it (just for the halibut) but found it to be a challenge. Then I remembered the quintessential summer lyric, dreamily sung by Ella Fitzgerald and many others. The 7th word in the classic “Summertime” is ‘fish’: Summertime, and the livin' is easy, Fish are jumpin' and the cotton is high. There are lessons in fishing that relate to travellers and their secret summer desires, much like a horoscope that reveals their travel personality. Let me begin by suggesting that I am NOT a fishing fanatic. In fact the last time I went fishing was on a sunset cruise in the Maldives 8 years ago and I don’t believe anyone on the boat caught anything… but the scenery was pretty. The time before that was when I was a kid and we went fishing just north of Toronto. After 5 hours of listening to my transistor radio, as well as coaxing, hoping, wishing, spotting and cursing, not one fish took the bait. Now I haven’t given up on fish altogether. When I embraced the three graces of travel, photography and writing, I discovered the joy of visiting seafood markets. The vendors were hard working but almost always friendly when asked about their products. And then there was the fresh smell of the seafood (which admittedly some people can’t stand, but I happen to love), and the colourful displays, especially in Asian markets, where the produce is arranged with artistic symmetry and pride. I think about the fish market in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia. I was there on a travel agent “Fam” trip and was told that the market opened at 5:30 am—cool, pitch dark, and a 15-20 minute walk from the hotel. But I was there to discover and experience so the first morning I wandered there alone. The vendors were friendly, smiling, posing for photos, explaining their catches, working hard in footgear that ranged from thighhigh rubber boots to simple broken plastic thong-sandals. But this was their livelihood and as the sun rose and the crowds of locals grew, there were times when I just had to put away th