Travel writing is an art, and Bob Jenkins is an artist. He is a veteran of the decades when Americans greeted each Sunday morning with a newspaper account from valued journalists who traveled the world. End Bag is a fine collection of some of Jenkins' best. --David G. Molyneaux, editor, TheTravelMavens.com, former travel editor, Cleveland Plain Dealer
Follow in the footsteps of Bob Jenkins, an exceptional travel writer, to explore a palace, or a Picasso in Spain, the wilds of the Chilean Lake Country or the club scene in Las Vegas. Armchair travelers with a passion for history will appreciate this superb sampler of memorable stories. --Marybeth Bond, National Geographic author
It began with an abbreviated phone call from his managing editor, and for the next 19 years, Robert N. Jenkins was the first fulltime travel editor of the Tampa Bay (formerly, St. Petersburg) Times. But first, he had to get a passport.
His reporting and editing earned eight awards from the Society of American Travel Writers Foundation’s Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Competition. And by the time he stepped away from that assignment -- after filling up two passports -- Jenkins had been to the Soviet Union, Brazil, Hong Kong, Egypt, Costa Rica, Denmark, Thailand, Mexico, Hungary, Norway, Bermuda, Singapore, the Czech Republic, the Caribbean, countless states and repeatedly to Canada and the United Kingdom.
He also had sailed on about five dozen ships to write about – from crossing the Atlantic on the fabled Queen Elizabeth II to sailing between Bahamian islands on a freighter to standing alongside the pilot as he directed a small ship through the Panama Canal.
Among his memories:
- He was lucky enough to not only fly on the Concorde but also to be strapped into the cockpit’s jump seat for the landing at Dulles International Airport.
- He read a book under the light of the midnight sun as his Hurtigruten coastal steamer crossed the Arctic Circle one summer night off Norway.
- Being asked, by a young woman in Brazil, when the United States would be invading, because “We have the natural resources you want.’’
- In the Soviet Union, being startled when the headmistress of a school for the children of Communist Party members began to cry as she asked her American visitors to not “kill my children’’ with our nuclear missiles.
- And he got so drunk in a restaurant in Russia that he passed out in a men’s room stall. When he came to, the restaurant was empty: The only other person was the cloak-room attendant, leaning against the wall by Jenkins’ windbreaker, his arms folded.
In this illustrated anthology, End Bag, Jenkins has selected more than a dozen of his articles. They take readers through the contradictions of Cairo and those of the former Soviet Union. Articles bring to life the somber history of the killing fields of what is now Gettysburg National Military Park, but also the cornpone tour of the Jack Daniels Distillery.
He offers readers the chance to compare two similarly named but disparate regions: the Lake District of Chile and the Lake District of England. Accompany the author as he fishes in the morning mist of an Arkansas river, and as he chugs along Mexico’s happy-go-lucky Tequila Express, with its mariachi band and free-flowing liquor.
Stride with him beyond the velvet ropes of Las Vegas after dark – and meet a 42-year-old, Russian-born stripper or watch elfin Celine Dion during her lavish show.
Wander the “village you want to lick’’ – the Technicolor Burano, in the lagoon a few miles from the tourist crush of Venice. Or meet the gentle “Newfies’’ – natives of ruggedly beautiful Newfoundland whose own government hardly cares for the province.
Get to know one of the world’s great storytellers, Hans Christian Andersen, wh