I returned this past monday from a trip to Delhi and Bangkok, organized around the debut of the new South Asia edition of Travel + Leisure—it’s our sixth, after Mexico, Russia, Turkey, Australia, and China. Beginning with the magazine’s launch party in the terrace garden of the Taj Mahal Hotel in New Delhi, my eight-day sojourn was filled with special moments. I made copious mental notes on these distinctly colorful events in an effort to prevent them from getting lost under an avalanche of memories: an ice cream cup at midnight from the Kwality truck (really, a three-wheeled bicycle-wagon) by the India Gate; lunch with the governor of Bangkok at the Suthat Buddhist temple, after a ceremony marking the removal of the pillars of the Giant Swing; the closing-night performance of Bangkok’s Eighth International Festival of Dance & Music, an extraordinary dance rendition of the Bizet opera Carmen by Madrid’s Aída Gómez Flamenco Ballet company.
Culling the most significant experiences is an essential task for T+L writers and editors. This month, we bring you wide-ranging personal accounts, from Gary Shteyngart’s rowdy odyssey in Bahia ("Brazil’s Untamed Heart") to Christopher Petkanas’s intimate look—eye mask, slippers, and all—at the architect Frank Gehry’s first hotel commission, on a Basque-country wine estate ("Vintage Gehry"). Then there’s Sean Rocha’s report on the lively contemporary art scene in Cairo ("Visions of Cairo"), and Anya von Bremzen on where to eat in New York right now ("New York’s Top 50"). As a handy response to another frequently asked question, we offer our "Ultimate Caribbean Hotel Guide", spearheaded by deputy editor Laura Begley. We also celebrate the winners of our second annual Global Vision Awards—the people and organizations that are changing the face of travel through preservation and conservation. Finally, I must now sadly note the loss of a colleague and friend who had his own singular vision: Butch Kerzner, CEO of Kerzner International, the moving force behind One & Only Resorts and the Atlantis. Butch died on October 11 in a helicopter accident in the Dominican Republic, and leaves his wife, Vanessa, and two children. He will be missed.
I rarely mention airlines on this page, but both Continental Airlines and Thai Airways deserve a place in my Delhi-Bangkok honor roll. The direct flights they have introduced enabled me to prepare for and review my new experiences with all the important advantages of sleep.