By Guest Lecturer Larry Tartaglino
The voyage between Florida and the West Coast of California is a special treat for me. I delight in experiencing the beautiful and diverse islands of the Caribbean, and continue to marvel at the achievement and magnitude of the Panama Canal. And finally, I relive my youth as we pass through the ports of Central America and Western Mexico.
It was in Mexico in the mid 1960’s that I was first bitten by the travel bug. My college roommate and I decided to set off on an adventure during the summer between our junior and senior years. We were heading south in search of hot food, warm beaches and cold beer. Little did we know however, that in addition to this, we would discover a wonderful culture, rich history and awe-inspiring Aztec and Mayan ruins. I was bitten!
We set off from the San Francisco Bay Area on a Greyhound bus bound for the border town of Mexicali. From Mexicali, we boarded Mexican trains and buses to travel all the way to Mexico City, stopping to explore the sleepy fishing town of Mazatlan, the bustling city of Guadalajara, and anywhere in between that looked interesting to us.
After that first trip, I returned to Mexico many times: by automobile (a Volkswagen Beetle), by airplane, and now, by cruise ship! In the early days, the roads were nearly all two-lane, and some were unpaved. The airport runways were lit by kerosene-burning smudge pots, and the beaches were pristine and mostly unpopulated. There was music everywhere, and the art and architecture were as impressive and breathtaking as it still is today. I gained a love and respect for this country and its people on that first trip, and I still feel that way today.
From the early civilizations of the Olmec and Maya to the troubled history of Spanish invasion and domination, to the Pastry War with France, to the French occupation, and to Germany’s courting of Mexico to join World War I against the United States, Mexican history is both fascinating and turbulent.
Join me, as I discuss the sights, sounds and history of Mexico, both as a ship’s tour escort and guest lecturer. ¡Viva Mexico!
About Guest Lecturer Lawrence Tartaglino
After a career in the pharmaceutical industry and serving as a tenured professor for many years, Lawrence has turned his attention to world travel and public speaking during retirement. He is also an avid sailor and dedicated runner, and enjoys spending time in his vegetable garden and cooking. Lawrence’s engaging speaking style and passion for travel make him a popular and entertaining speaker. Join him for an in-depth discussion of one of our many diverse destinations.