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Eric: The Oceanfront Part 2
The Oceanfront of
Orange County, California:

A Personal Journey
Part 2

Text and Photography by Eric Anderson

drive south from Los Angeles to San Diego heads through the small sleepy towns of the southern California coast -- but it cannot help but pass through the powerhouse that is Orange County. As Seattle dominates the Pacific Northwest (like the proverbial elephant in the room) so Orange County rules Southern California. But it’s a benevolent ruler, too busy improving itself to worry about what other places might offer.

Those who live in this county are quick to point out its charms. They’re emphatic they don’t need Los Angeles, they have all the sophistication they might want in Orange County and additionally they have this benevolent, comforting coastline, what they call “The Oceanfront.” It’s hard not to rhapsodize about this little collar of land washed by the blue Pacific especially when it chooses to have a half dozen travel writers as its guests for two days as part of a preview of a forthcoming 2011 sweepstakes to be called the Ultimate Guy's Getaway. It will start February 1 and end May 31 - just in time for Father's Day. Part 1 of the “ManFam” experience can be seen at our previous TravelingBoy article on The Oceanfront.

Our preview includes a mixed bag of attractions like paddleboard, surf and Segway tutorials and a (literally) hands-on lesson in falconry (the "green way to control pests”). The sneak peek of what the winning package of the sweepstakes would look like swings from macho activities like bourbon sampling at the Sand and Surf to “explorations of your feminine side, guys,” namely spa treatments at the Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort and Spa.

I wasn’t sure how bourbon sampling would work for an ex-Scotsman. I recall the night of my medical school graduation party in 1958. The chair of surgery in Edinburgh was held then by Professor John Bruce; he would be knighted by the queen five years later. He died in 1975 as one of eleven professors of surgery at Edinburgh who had occupied the chair since 1803. At our party he had been department head for only two years and was in full swing. He was chatting with three of us when the waiter came up to ask if we wanted drinks.

“I’m buying for my young friends,” our professor called out to the elderly, stooped-over waiter. “Three whiskeys, please!“

“Small or large, Professor?” faltered the waiter.

“Bottles, man, bottles!”

bourbon sampling at the Sand and Surf Resort, Laguna Beach, Orange County

And so that evening progressed half a century in my past. Whiskey always meant Scotch, that golden nectar for the heather clad hills. How would I handle bourbon? We sit in Splashes restaurant at the Sand and Surf Resort in Laguna Beach as the surf crashes below us. It’s an older resort, long established and successful. It’s part of JC Resorts with its great golf resorts at Temecula Creek Inn and at the Ranch Bernardo Inn. The group also has the 14-room La Jolla Scripps Inn. A tile mural beyond the pool at Laguna shows how little the coastline has changed in all those years.

The bourbon tasting is a surprise. As a young man I would prefer bourbon to Scotch only because it was cheaper. I have never tasted expensive bourbon before but in this Walter Mitty-like experience I am having I can’t believe how smooth a single malt bourbon such as an 18 year-old Yamazaki can be; I didn’t even know it existed. I hear someone say the recipe of this had been lost in New Orleans then discovered by the great-great grandson but I am more enthralled with the taste than the story. We sample Hudson, a white bourbon with “a clean taste of the cornfield,” and Bulleit that is “sweeter and more smoky,” but the bourbon with the cherry-like spicy flavor and the unexpected Japanese name is the winner even if I’ve never heard of it while living for four years in the sophisticated rural, remote reaches of Texas.

We move a short distance for lunch to the Montage Laguna Beach. We eat overlooking its artistic mosaic pool, another reminder Laguna Beach has been an artist village since the 1960s. This is going to be lunch with a difference. We are going to cook it ourselves (Ha!). We will be trained to make one meal for the women in our lives. There is a problem: we draw lots: I am going to be the chef but the writers catch my British accent and launch, of course, into ”Hell is a place where the police are German, the politicians French, the engineers Italian, the lovers Swiss – and the cooks British.” So the hard work made easy is done in the Loft restaurant by executive chef Rob Wilson.

His recipe for “Coffee Rubbed New York Steak is deceptively easy: 27 words, so simple even guys can do it. “The coffee rub is one part finely ground coffee, one part kosher salt, two parts brown sugar. Mix well. Coat the steaks generously with the coffee rub. Grill.”

executive chef Rob Wilson at the Loft Restaurant, Montage Laguna Beach, Orange County

The meal is fabulous; you can cut the steak with the proverbial fork. The enjoyment of the meal seems proportional to its simplicity. The chef grills two slices of zucchini for each plate and slices and grills a large tomato “from my garden.” He prepares a simple salad with generous slices of Parmesan cheese atop it then slices the coffee-rubbed steak tangentially on top of his tomatoes. A guest drifts by with her husband to observe -- then leaves pointedly telling him in a stage whisper, “That is so easy, even you could do it!’ He murmurs, “I am not Italian,” as he leaves. But you know we could all do that. Easy.

As easy as accepting a mini-spa treatment at the Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort & Spa. I have mixed feelings about going to a spa. It doesn’t seem macho but I’ve had three back operations for prolapsed disk and it helps. I went across Europe once writing about health spas for a doctor magazine. I overheard the spa director in Baden-Baden welcoming Prince Rainier of Monaco and saying breezily to him, “Welcome to my spa. I promise you will enter it as a prince but leave as a king!” This attempt at German humor did not go over well and the prince scowled as if his title had been trivialized. I had to bit my lip.

But I found the German spa guests so unembarrassed by nudity that when I was sent to the New Otani Hotel in Los Angeles (now the Kyoto Palace) to write about a shiatsu massage, I undressed completely, put on my robe and went downstairs. The Japanese masseuse turned her back on me and asked me to hang up my robe then lie down on the sheet on the floor. I did. She bent over me then did a double take. “You bad boy!” she exclaimed and slapped me on the bottom. “Go upstairs and put on underpants!” And I thought I was being so suave.

I’m not convinced that I get any lasting benefits from massage but it sure is self-indulgent and the Laguna Cliffs Marriott is beautiful. We glance at some of the books on the spa shelves: The Lotus Effects,” “Pleasure Healing,” “Mindful Affirmations,” and one perhaps more suitable for guys: “Leave Your Mind Behind.” We are shown the “couples room,” clearly one of its special attractions and the staff seems very comfortable dealing with a bunch of somewhat sheepish men.

I remember when Fairmont took over the Scottsdale Princess and created a new spa, Willow Springs, in its group of resorts. This was an important step because the hotel group publicist said Fairmont was going to spend more on spa development in the next few years than hotel growth. It was the future. She said Fairmont had commissioned several psychologists to go across the United States to live briefly with different families and find out why the American male was so hesitant about accepting spa treatments as we apparently are. The answer was males accept spa treatments if they are rewards for behavior, such as the tennis player’s massage, the golfer’s special and so on.

top: a 1940 Woody Ford on display at the Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort & Spa; bottom: a massage room at the Laguna Cliffs Marriott

The Marriott has a nice touch, a 1940 “Woody” Ford beach wagon on display as if “This Way for the Surfer’s Special!”

We spend the night at the Ritz-Carlton in Laguna Niguel. I stayed at it the month it opened 26 years ago. It was the first grand resort built on the coast of California for 35 years and I’ve long felt from several stays it was the best hotel in the state especially when it spent $40 million to freshen up about six years ago. I remember the general manager saying the unexpected asset they found in their valet parkers was the personality of local young men so used to family wealth they were comfortable around guests with the poise to charm them completely.

The first difference now from the past is the bed of the luxury hotel. Upscale hotels today all have magnificent beds, the kind you would love to have delivered home, the type you sink into and are asleep in before you even fluff the pillow.

The other cultural change is in how hotel guests dine. There was a time only 10 to 15 years ago when guests would explore the neighborhood for their dining delights; they would seldom think of dining all the time in the hotel. How it’s changed. Most upscale hotels now have such wonderful restaurants people who are not staying at the hotel will come because of the hotel restaurant’s reputation.

top: dinner at the Ritz-Carlton's Raya; bottom: a room at the Ritz-Carlton

Our group has dinner at the Ritz-Carlton’s Raya, a new “Chef Richard Sandoval concept of Pan-Latin Coastal Cuisine.” He and chef de cuisine Greg Howe say they are inspired by the “vibrant ethnic communities across Latin America.” We all try the smoked swordfish dip with its tang after-taste, and the sweet corn soup with truffled masa dumplings and crab, clams, lobster and avocado. Says our youngest writer really diving into this dish, “I bet this is better than what the Soup Nazi offered on Seinfeld.” Bet it is, too. The restaurant serves more than a thousand of this item a month. It is the most popular seasonal dish. The favorite appetizer is the lobster taco and the most ordered entrée roasted halibut. Raya makes a point of protecting the future fish supply in the world’s oceans by subscribing to the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Program.

The other outstanding dinner we have is at another new restaurant, Seasons 52, a fresh grill and wine bar at the South Coast Plaza, a shopping venue with more visitors every year than Disneyland and Universal Studios combined. Seasons 52’s point is not just that everything is fresh but that none of its entrees exceed 475 calories. This captivates those in the restaurant as if you can dine without guilt. We do. The choices are legion: from grilled clear springs boneless rainbow trout and caramelized sea scallops to wood-fired maple leaf pork tenderloin to mesquite-grilled filet mignon. The restaurant is very busy. Says a waiter, “People are always looking for low calories but they get tired of tiny portions. We have lean meats, fresh vegetables and we season with herbs and spices; we don’t flavor with oil.

dinner plate at the Seasons 52 grill and wine bar at the South Coast Plaza

The Seasons 52 is a remarkable memory from our Ultimate Guy’s Getaway, that food can be so tasty and satisfying yet reduced in calories. This will become an interesting restaurant group to watch in the future.

Related Articles:
The Oceanfront, Orange County Part 1; Central Coast, California; In Search of Kirsch, Stout, Wine & Whisky; La Quinta, California Resort


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Tell Eric what you think of his article.
In the meantime, here are some of the feedback we have already received:


Hey Eric and Nancy! As a fellow Traveling Boy journalist, and as a confirmed WW2 aficionado, just wanted you to know how much I loved your story on Arnhem. Really great stuff, and truly brilliant riveting writing.

I’ve been there twice and covered it on my KNX radio show when I was on LA radio, and your story and evocative photos brought back a ton of wonderful and poignant memories. This could have been an amazingly brilliant military operation – as you both know – that might well have ended the War in Europe maybe a year earlier. However, allied misreading -- and in my view disregarding certain aspects of the situation in Holland -- plus the fact that they dropped the paras over 3 days and not in one huge assault at night (and not in the day as they did) doomed the mission to failure.

Your clever words and great photos brought all this graphically to life, and it should be required reading for anyone interested in any aspect of WW2, and certainly should be read by today’s teenagers. Again Bravo and well done!!!!

John Clayton
Travel with A Difference

We just couldn't leave your website before saying that we genuinely enjoyed the high quality information you offer for your visitors... Would be back frequently to check up on new stuff you post!

Raanana

* * * * *

What a fantastic write-up!

I could almost copy and paste most of your narrative verbatim as it reflects our fantastic experience with Fantasy Cruises almost to a tee. It was truly one of the greatest vacations my girlfriend and I have ever experienced.

Cheers!
Mike Richard, Editor, Vagabondish.com

* * * * *

One of my dreams is to go to Alaska by way of cruise. This article very much intensifies the longing for that dream to come to fruition. I simply cannot wait much longer. And I will never again be able to think of a waterfall without picturing myself "nosing up" to it. Thank you for this intriguing, virtual journey.

Sandra Mines, Seattle, WA

Thank you for writing, Sandra. Alaska really is a wondrous place. Re "Nosing up" to a waterfall: we have a different article up at Physician's Money Digest on the same cruise (Small Ship Cruising: Alaska by the Back Door). The third last set of images there shows a crew member filling a jug of ice water from a waterfall while standing in the bow of the ship! Best wishes. Get there! To Alaska one day.

Eric & Nancy

Loved your photos from Alaska! Because I am the Director of Sales & Marketing for Westmark Hotels, I am up in AK and the Yukon quite often to visit our hotels and staff! But your pictures were so enjoyable-love to see the "real" Alaskans!

Heidi Howeiler, Seattle, WA

Hi Ms. Howeiler, That was kind of you to write and yes, you do see real people in Alaska, don't you? Alaskans always remind us off rural Texans or Australians in the isolated Red Centre of their country: hard working, sensible, rolled-up-sleeves people with no affectations. We love your Westmark hotels and we take our hats off to the person who started your company, Chuck West. What a great guy!

Eric & Nancy

Enjoyed your realistic and practical comments on Provence. Always wanted to go there ever since reading Peter Mayle's 2 books on Provence. But the two times I went to France, time was always short, so we spent our days in Paris. And now you say, it is losing its unique charm to tourism. (Sigh). It's always a choice between sharing beauty, and keeping it hidden. The world lurches on. Thanks for your thoughts.

Dette, Iligan City, Philippines

Hi Dette, (Would love to see all your waterfalls), Thank you for writing. Provence is busy in the tourist season but it hasn't lost all its charm or the quirkiness Mayle talks about in his book Provence A to Z. It's still a place to visit. Appreciate hearing from you. Best wishes.

Eric & Nancy

What a great article, especially regarding Louis XIV. I was not aware there was a contemporary account of his execution. It was fascinating. Thank you!

Celtic fan, Nashua, MA

Dear Celtic fan, Thanks for writing. I didn't know about the account of his execution either till I stumbled upon it. Sad to think that the French revolutionaries thought they could be both judge and jury. We are lucky to have a more elegant system today. Thanks for writing.

Eric & Nancy

Nancy and Eric,

Enjoyed reading your article on Santa Fe, NM. I was in AZ travel nursing in 2008 and 2009 and made it to Santa Fe. Took a lot of pics and really loved walking around the old town while I was there. Hope to be able to take the wife there in the future.

Brett Eidson, Soso, MS

Hi dude! Nice to see your site. It's beautiful. My congratulations.

New York

Hi New York, Thank you for writing. Best wishes.

Eric & Nancy

Hi www.travelingboy.com! Your web-site is very interesting and I want to tell www.travelingboy.com G'night.

New York

Dear New York,

Thank you for writing. Glad you find the site interesting. We are here for you. Keep visiting.

Eric & Nancy

* * * * *

This is all genuine. I will return to scan.

Keflavik

Hi Keflavik, Thank you for writing. We are happy you will return.

Eric & Nancy

Good article.

On Behalf Of Diane, Port Ludlow, WA

Thanks for writing from Port Ludlow. We hear that's a beautiful place. Best wishes.

Eric & Nancy

* * * * *

When I was hurt in a boat accident my life would be changed totally. I really don't post much but thanks for the good times I have here. Love this place. Long time lurker, thought I would say hello!

Miami

Dear Miami, Thanks for writing. It's nice to hear from you. Hope you are getting better. Glad you get some good times at Traveling boy. Good luck.

Eric & Nancy

* * * * *

Dear friends,

My name is Adelina. I am a 22 years girl from Italy. I was looking for a free translation software and I found one. Program's name is Babel Fish and it supports 75 languages. I installed it but I could not understand how to use it. I am not a computer expert. Can someone help me please on how to run this.The link is here :http://access.im/3/babelfish. I thank you very much for your help.

Adelina, Celaya

Adelina, I didn't want to download it but I saw examples online. It seemed easy. You select the page you want translated, copy it and paste it into the box. You then click on the button to translate. You may have to do one page at a time. You can also use Google to translate a page; that's what I do because I don't want to load too much software.

Eric & Nancy

* * * * *

Amiable brief and this mail helped me a lot in my college assignment. Thanks you seeking your information.

WordPress Themes, Gray Mountain

We are glad to have been of help. Best wishes.

Eric & Nancy

* * * * *

What's up everyone? Great forum. Lots of lovely people. Just what I need. Hopefully this is just what i'm looking for. Looks like I have a lot to read.

Spanish John, Benidrom

Encouraging to get your feedback. Glad to hear from you. Thank you for writing.

Eric & Nancy

Nice dispatch (http://www.travelingboy.com/travel-eric.html) - and this enter helped me a lot in my college assignement. Thank you as your information.

Gray Mountain

Hi Gray Mountain,

Thank you for your comment. Your email reminds us all at TravelingBoy how important it is to be accurate in what we write. Good luck with your studies and have a great life.

Eric & Nancy

* * * * *

Hello people, I just signed up on this splendid community forum and wanted to say hey there! Have a wonderful day!

Jacksonville

Hi Jacksonville, We are pleased to hear from new readers at TravelingBoy. Your feedback encourages us all to do better. Thank you for writing.

Eric & Nancy

* * * * *

What a fascinating bit of Russian history you wrote about! How sad to learn that 100,000 churches were reduced to create skating rinks and such during the revolution, after seeing the photo of the interior of a magnificent church filled with art! War is so devastating on so many levels! The art of their culture is so beautiful as is shown in the image of the painted box! Thank you,

Yoka, Westlake Village, CA

Dear Yoka,

Thank you for writing. Nancy is originally Lutheran and Eric is a dour Scot, more used to the frequently cold and often cheerless churches of his native land so we were both overwhelmed to see the beauty of Russian churches. It was kind of you to write, Yoka.

Thank you,
Eric & Nancy

Interesting observations.... Very informative and thought provoking. Questions.... What would be the best way to get from Moscow Airport DME to boat dock? taxi? prearranged limo? prepaid Viking Tours transfer? Any idea on cost and travel time for taxi or limo or Viking Cruise pickup from airport to boat? We shall be flying to Moscow on our own. Do you happen to have an address for the river boat dock that Viking Cruises uses in Moscow? I would be nice to Google map the situation. Thanks,

Robert Hopwood, Ottawa, Canada

Hi Bob,

Excuse the delay; we were on a trip. I do understand your question and will try and get you an answer. The Viking river dock in Moscow was for us in the north part of the city but once we were on the boat it was an easy ten minute walk to the Metro station that had us downtown within 30 minutes. I'm a lot more relaxed at the end of a trip than at the beginning and therefore I always feel taking the cruise-line sponsored trip from the airport to the dock makes sense: What starts right usually ends right.

Eric & Nancy Anderson

Hi Bob,

I’m back with more information. The river port’s address is Northern River Boat Station Leningradsky Prospekt, Khimki. If you Google that you will see it is about 15 minutes’ walk from two Metro stations. http://www.aptouring.com.au/files/documents/17/29022_Moscow2.pdf .

I spoke to Nancy at customer relations at Viking Cruises at the new LNR Warner Center in 5700 Canoga Avenue, Woodland Hills, Calif.

She was very helpful and advises you to take the Viking transportation service. She is biased, of course, but she’s right. Moscow DME airport is 40 miles away on the opposite side of the city, at least two hours driving time. The airport has no Metro station; you’d have to take the Aeroexpress train to Paveletsky station then change to the Metro and go to Rechnoy Vokzal station then take a cab to the port. A cab all the way from DME would cost at least 2000 rubles (more than $70). That’s less than the $60 each that Viking would charge…but…I think you’d be ill-advised to do it on your own. Why start the trip where the potential to screw up is so likely? Moscow taxi drivers are as dishonest as most tourist city cab drivers and probably yours won’t speak English. I think the address in Russian is

BUT...

I strongly discourage you from economizing on this and doing it on your own. Buy the transfer and save money somewhere else.

We have other Viking Volga web articles up at http://travelingboy.com/archive-travel-eric-russia.html and at http://www.ericandersonsworld.com/story.php?id=6LvDg.

Good luck. Great show Canada’s putting on for the Olympics!

Eric & Nancy Anderson

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

Reseller Hosting, London

Hi, Is it Britni Freeman?

Thank you, we think... We suspect your comments are valid. In fact we think all of us writing for TravelingBoy are starting to get into the swing of things and do a better job -- and your encouragement spurs us to do even better. Thank you for writing. Have a good 2010,

Eric & Nancy Anderson

Dear Nancy and Eric

Thank you so much for the wonderful article on statues in Europe. Statues are my favorite art form and your descriptions were delightful to read - knowledge and fun together. I do still wonder about that foot in Rome...

Peggy - Pasadena, CA

Hi Peggy,

Thank you for writing. We appreciate your comments. We used to be critical of people who can't identify the persons on statues in foreign cities -- until one day a tourist stopped us in our own San Diego and asked us, in vain, for details on a statue we'd never noticed before! We wonder about that Roman foot too. If Eric had stood any closer he'd be in his typical foot-in-mouth position.

Eric & Nancy Anderson

I live in Santa Fe and see and delight in it every day, but your writing makes it sparkle even more. How nice to see Santa Fe through your eyes. Great photos!

Cynthia Whitney-Ward - Santa Fe, NM

Dear Dr. Anderson:

I have followed your writing career for as long as I can remember, and I think the thing I enjoy the most about your travel writing is the sense of joy and discovery that leads the reader to anticipate ever corner you turn in your travels.What a delightful traveling companion you are, and I know have always been, with that wonderfully eternally youthful joie de vivre...I wonder:do you feel that East, West, home is best? And where IS that place you have never been, but want to go most of all,yet? Bring we, your devoted readers ever along!

CAT -- San Diego (Scrips Ranch), CA

Dear CAT,

Thank for taking the time to write to TravelingBoy.com. You are very kind. We don't know that travel writers make the best companions; we suspect they may be obsessed with getting the best photograph or may monopolize the guide with questions so that others don't get to ask what interests them. What place is best? Well, it may be fun to sit in a rickshaw in Beijing or try to master the Metro in Moscow, but -- as you imply -- it is good to get home after trips.

Home is as comfortable as a pair of old shoes and home for many of us fortunately contains family.

We've never been to Easter Island and may have missed the boat (no pun intended) there. The island is losing its innocence; we've seen that happen at Machu Picchu or, closer to home, at Lake Powell in Arizona. So maybe the best travel advice is: Go when you are fit and healthy, before rising prices make a destination inaccessible -- and before hordes of tourists ruin any destination's mystique.

With best Holiday Wishes from Traveling Boy,

Eric & Nancy Anderson

* * * * *

What a fantastic primer on New York City. I think you have really captured its essence with this exciting overview of its offerings. Well done!

Gillian Abramson - New York

* * * * *

You describe a city on wheels - er, wings - and an absolutely perfect way to travel. SHOWERS & FLOWERS! Amazing! I love that your passion for all-things-aviation comes through in this story about an almost unbelievable airplane. Thanks for breaking the news in such an engaging way!

Richard Frisbie - Saugerties, New York

* * * * *

Enjoyed your blog on Romania. Noticed you called Bucharest "The Paris of the East." I wonder, is there any city not called "The Paris of something." I've read San Francisco is 'the Paris of the West,' Buenos Aires 'The Paris of South America,' and even Tromso, Norway 'The Paris of the Arctic.'

Terry Cowan - Fresno

* * * * *

Hi Terry,

Thanks for writing to TravelingBoy. And thanks for educating me; I didn't know that about Tromso, didn't even know there was a Tromso. I heard Bangkok called the Venice of the East when I was there and, in two weeks, I'm heading for the Venice of the North, St. Petersburg, Russia.

It does become a bit silly, doesn't it? But we are originally an immigrant nation that was Eurocentric. Maybe it gave our forefathers confidence even courage when they took old names, old ideas to the New World with them. I know I feel nostalgic if I drive around Ontario, Canada and see all the British place names.

I appreciate your email. Thank you for writing.

Eric

Eric -

Enjoyed your article on Madrid. I noticed that you find it superior to Rome. Most of the Spanish folks that I meet seem to prefer Barcelona. How would you rate that city?

Samuel K
Seattle

* * * * *

Hi Samuel,

We loved Barcelona although driving around the city was surprisingly complicated as our maps were inadequate. The cathedral had scaffolding around it so I couldn't get the pictures I wanted but we found the architecture fascinating and the Picasso museum rewarding. We were anxious to get on the road to Costa Brava and didn't have more than a couple of days in Barcelona.

Thanks for writing.
Eric


Great article on Madrid. I've heard there is a rivalry between the people of Madrid and Barcelona. In which city are the people friendlier? How about for hipness? I noticed you were Scottish. I felt a similar thing in Scotland, with a Glasgow v. Edinburgh vibe.

Gary
Santa Monica

* * * * *


Thank you for writing to TravelingBoy, Gary. We found Barcelona friendlier.

Maybe that's because it's not the capital and it's not so busy either. Maybe it's because the Gaudi architectural influence is pervasive and -- to both its citizens and tourists -- comforting. Maybe it's because Barcelona is the gateway to the work of artist Salvatore Dali, and his spirit catches us. (I don't know much about art but I've seen a lot of Dali's work enough to think he never took himself too seriously and often painted tongue in cheek. Maybe fun people spring for fun places?) Hipness? Madrid is more formal and dressy but Barcelona, I believe, is more hip maybe, again, because it's more fun.

Your points about Scotland are valid. It's more than a joke. The Glaswegians are more down to earth. I think we see it here in the belief that if you had a flat tire in Middle America passers-by would be more inclined to stop and help than perhaps New Englanders.

- Eric

Dear Eric,

I liked the article. As I read it, I was wondering how you as a physician were influenced by Hippocrates. What influence did this historical figure have on the practice of medicine beyond the obvious 'oath.' Why is Hippocrates considered to be such a paragon of medicine? DWA - San Pedro, CA

* * * * *


Dear David,

Thank you for writing to Travelingboy.com.

Hippocrates is revered because he believed his duty was to the individual patient, not to the community at large. This is a very important premise. The Romans, whose empire followed that of the Greeks, achieved much in health matters by emphasizing clean drinking water and personal hygiene, and created great national works like aquaducts and public baths but wealthy Romans apparently preferred Greek doctors as their personal physicians.

Hippocrates is also respected because he brought intellectual thought to diagnosis. He taught his students to use their five senses in assessing patients and was openly critical of the junk science of his day as practiced by the priest-physicians who preyed on the fear and ignorance of the ill persons who came to them.

It is true that not all medical chools today require graduating doctors to take the Hippocratic Oath but most conscientious physicians base their lifetime commitment to the practice of medicine on the life and teachings of that one man.

Or so I think. Perhaps if we knew more about our heroes they would seem less heroic. But in Hippocrates' case he did leave a record of his thoughts and some of his principles are today as strong as ever.

Thank you for writing, it is appreciated.

Eric

Stay tuned.


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