By Jae-Ha Kim
Tribune Media Services
September 8, 2009
He already has a Pulitzer Prize and a New York Times best seller under his belt, but author Jeffrey Marx isn’t resting on his laurels. His latest book — “The Long Snapper: A Second Chance, A Super Bowl, a Lesson for Life” — is a page-turner that succinctly captures the true-life story of football player Brian Kinchen. Marx, who has traveled to more than 20 countries for work and play, says that Italy is his favorite destination. But Greece is one country he can’t wait to visit.
Q. What is your favorite vacation destination?
A. Italy. My wife, Leslie, and I recently spent five days there and we can’t stop talking about it. We especially enjoyed Rome and the Umbria region. We saw incredible sights and met wonderful people. We had the best tour guide anyone could ever want — a real friendly guy, Francesco Miglio, who knew all the ins and outs, and actually became a good friend. I still laugh at the thought of Leslie and her camera. She took hundreds of pictures in Italy, and she’s still sorting through them and making more photo albums. We will definitely go back. And we’re already talking about bringing friends with us next time. Whenever that is, it will not be soon enough.
Q. Where are your favorite weekend getaways?
A. I love Washington, D.C., because I lived there for a long time and still miss it. Sea Island, Ga., is fantastic as well because a bunch of our college friends have a long tradition of taking our families there to be together.
Q. What are your favorite hotels and restaurants?
A. My favorite hotels are Seiyo Ginza Hotel (www.seiyo-ginza.com) in Tokyo and Claridge’s (www.claridges.co.uk) in London. The Seiyo keeps records on its guests so it can remember details about favorite drinks or meals. Overall, it probably has the best service I’ve ever experienced in a hotel. Two of my favorite restaurants are Joe’s Stone Crab (www.joesstonecrab.com) in Miami and Olde N’awlins Cookery in New Orleans.
Q. When you go away, what are some of your must-have items?
A. I have to have magazines and books. Reading is one of the ways I relax, and that’s what vacation is all about. Of course, I never leave home without my cell phone and charger, but who does? I should also never forget plenty of clean underwear. My wife still teases me about running out on our recent trip to Europe, and the fact that I ended up doing laundry in the bathroom sink. Hey, gotta do what you gotta do!
Q. What kind of research do you do before you go away on a trip?
A. I’m not big on research before a trip. I prefer to figure things out once I get somewhere. That’s part of the fun about exploring, you never know what you are going to find.
Q. Where would you like to go that you have never been to before?
A. Alaska. I’ve heard from so many people who have enjoyed it. The Grand Canyon; I know I’m going to be in absolute awe and internationally Greece. I’ve been to about 20 countries. Greece is one that I’ve missed, and I definitely want to do something about that. My desire goes back to a childhood memory related to my Dad. When I was a kid, he once showed me a few black-and-white photos he had taken years earlier of the Parthenon on the Acropolis of Athens. He took the photos when he was in the Navy and happened to be in Greece for a few days. I have never forgotten the magical look and feel of those photos, and I have always wanted to trace those steps that my Dad took so many years ago.
Q. What is your worst vacation memory?
A. Getting into a nasty argument with a taxi driver who tried to rip me off in Paris. Needless to say this was compounded by the fact that I don’t speak French and the driver did not speak English! I would also say that I have had multiple airline issues — way too many to list — but that puts me in with the majority of the population.
Q. How do you try to fit in when you’re a tourist?
A. I’m not sure I’ve ever really tried to fit in. I enjoy being a tourist; I love seeing new places and learning about them.
© 2009 JAE-HA KIM
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