Italian clown themed Cirque show delightful

By Gary Cox


Tightwire, one of the Corteo acts


Corteo Duo Strap, one of our favorite acts

Wonderful! Corteo, Cirque du Soleil’s Italian themed traveling show, was a pleasure to watch. We enjoyed a Saturday matinee during the show’s visit to Miami, Florida. It was a harmonious and well staged performance with elegant and colorful costumes, melodious music, humor, and an enthusiastic troupe. From our premium seats in the section nearest the stage we had an outstanding view.

Corteo reminded us of the first Cirque show we saw which filled us with a sense of excitement, fun and wonder. From a visual point of view it was like looking at a Renaissance painting come to life with angels, elegant clowns and period costumes in elaborate detail. The acts were a mixture of acrobatic feats, Cirque’s characteristic live music performance, and striking images. These included:  Acrobatic Duet,  Bouncing Beds, Chandeliers, Cyr Wheel (a favorite), Duo Straps (a favorite), Helium Dance, Juggling, Ladder, Paradise, Puppet Artist, Teeterboard, Tightwire and Tournik.


The Corteo Clowness, Little Clown and Giant Clown

Beautiful violin and classic guitar passages, Italian words throughout the show and a whimsical performance involving whistling, water glasses, crystal and musical instruments were some of Corteo’s distinctive highlights.

We parked in the designated area on the grass ($20 per vehicle). This required us to walk about four city blocks to reach the Cirque tent entrance. We saw a few ladies in high heels struggling to get through the uneven grass. There were long lines to the rest room and for snacks and merchandise. Corteo will remain in Miami through December 21, 2008. Next stop: Japan.

Corteo was designed to represent a festive parade imagined by a clown and located somewhere between heaven and earth. As the show unfolded the clown pictured his own funeral taking place in a carnival atmosphere, watched over by angels. The creators set out to contrast the large with the small, the ridiculous with the tragic, the perfect with the imperfect. The show strives to highlight the strength and fragility of clowns and their wisdom and kindness while illustrating “the portion of humanity that is within each of us.”

Photos: Marie-Reine Mattera  and Richard Termine Cirque du Soleil, Inc. 2005

A luxury organic lodge in the Canadian bush

By Chester Godsy


Green Inn on the River from the outside


The lodge great room at Green Inn on the River


Our room at Green Inn on the River

During a two week trip to Canada this summer we spent a delightful three day break at the Green Inn on the River, a remote property located in the Canadian Yukon.  We especially liked the opportunity to relax while enjoying a healthy organic lifestyle and excellent meals, hiking, canoeing as well as the company of our hosts and other travelers. Click here to read a dedicated article on Green Inn on the River.

Johannesburg boutique hotel remains a favorite


A cozy room near the Ten Bompas bar


Dinner at Sides was savory and satisfying


The living area of our suite at Ten Bompas

This 10-suite hotel, originally a private home in a residential area of Johannesburg, remains a Simon & Baker favorite. One of our teams stayed at the property during a trip to South Africa earlier this year and found recent changes in management had little impact on the many positive features we like about the luxury boutique property. Notable changes include a new property manager, Andrew Paterson, and a new chef, Paul Barrett.

Since our first visit several years ago, Ten Bompas has stood out for its affable staff and personalized service, convenient location, spacious and well appointed suites, in house restaurant and wine cellars well stocked with premier South African wines. Click here to read our complete article about Ten Bompas Hotel.

Visiting one of the largest protected wilderness areas in the world

By Chester Godsy


A mountain view in the Kluane National Park


Stone sheep

yukon native totem pole

A native totem pole

During a recent two week trip to Canada we included a nine day visit to the Canadian Yukon.  While there, we sampled local favorites like wild salmon and visited the Kluane National Park.

This park and the surrounding parks adjacent to it make up one of the largest protected wilderness areas in the world. The remote region of the Yukon boasts an extremely low human population density and pristine areas. Click here to read a dedicated article about Canada’s Yukon.