By:Bob & Sandy Nesoff

Members: American Society of Journalists And Authors

North American Travel Journalists Association

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If you are considering visiting an iPic movie theater, think twice. You may not want to go. Oh, there’s nothing wrong with the experience there, it’s just that it’ll spoil you from ever going to a regular theater again. iPic is more than a movie theater…it’s an experience. iPic has opened its 14th national location in Fort Lee, NJ and will open its 15th in New York City next month. Other locations range from two each in Texas and California to Maryland, Florida and more.

You can go to AMC for a let less money, but you can’t get a reserved seat. Oops, let’s correct that. You don’t get a seat. You get a “pod” similar to the best First Class accommodations on the world’s finest airlines. The theaters are among the most modern and contemporary theaters to be found anywhere outside of a Saudi sheik’s private home theater. All are numbered and reserved when you purchase a ticket. Each pod has two reclining seats, a pillow and a blanket in case the A/C is too chilly. But don’t bank on that because virtually every detail for your comfort has been thought of and put into motion.

 

There is virtually total privacy and the most you’ll see from your next door neighbor is the top of his/her head. Each pod has a small service tray. Why would a movie theater have a service tray? For your food, of course. iPic has easily the best trained staff catering to your every need. And that’s not an exaggeration. They are polite, professional and well-trained.

 

You’ll have a menu to choose from for a variety of appetizers, entrees, and desserts. They are delivered right to your pod by the staff, all wearing back so they fit in with the atmosphere, much like the stage hands in an old Greek play. Want an adult beverage? No problem. There’s a fully stocked bar from which to choose. Order a rum cocktail and the server has a litany of rum brands from which to choose. No little bottle as on an airplane. The drink comes mixed as it would in First Class.

 

There are “economy seats” in iPic theaters, but they hardly seem so. They are plush and comfortable and, if you’re not hungry and just want to enjoy a movie, try them on for size. Another feature of iPic that’ll ruin regular movie-going is the screen. The screen is not only huge, but the clarity of the movie it affords is beyond anything you’ve enjoyed at a regular theater. The sound system, while sometime a bit too loud, but is all enveloping and enjoyable. iPic advertises itself as “The ultimate night out.” That’s not far from the truth. For more information, check out www.ipictheaters.com

We’ve often heard stories about the “Ugly American” traveling to Europe, Asia and other places. Frequently Americans are loud, brash and dress as though they are going to a backyard barbeque. Here are some of the pitfalls to avoid when traveling outside of the United States. Please note that we referred to “The United States,” and not America. That’s one of the faux pas that too many of us make. Canadians in particular, take offense. Although they call themselves, Canadians, they consider Canada to be part of America. The same holds true for Mexicans and others from The Americas.

 

As noted above, dress for the location. Shorts, brightly colored shirts, sweatpants and the like appear disrespectful in many locales. Be careful about finger signs. In some places a “thumbs up,” while common here, is akin to giving the middle finger salute. In Britain where Winston Churchill originated that digital “V” for victory sign using the index and middle fingers, doing so the wrong way will cause a problem. When signaling victory, make sure your palm is facing away from you. Palm facing inward is again like the middle finger.

 

In Palma de Mallorca we once encountered a German tourist who asked a question. When he was not understood because he was speaking German, he repeated the question louder and louder and finally walked away in disgust because no one understood him. Too often tourists are under the misimpression that everyone speaks their language. Take a little while before a trip to a foreign country and learn a few words of the local language. You’ll more often than not find the residents appreciate your effort.

 

If you are in a spa, perhaps sitting in a sauna, keep quite. Bending someone’s ear because you are a chatterbox is considered inappropriate in many countries, even in the United States. Enjoy the warmth and relax. Here’s an odd one. In some countries blowing your nose into a hanky is considered a true no-no. It’s thought of as unsanitary and disgusting, especially in Asian countries. Carry a pocket-size packet of single use tissues and dispose of them properly.

 

Americans (those from the United States) frequently tend to over tip. In Many European nations a gratuity is often included in the bill. Check to see if a “Service” charge is noted. You can leave some extra small change if so, but no more. In some Asian countries tipping is considered, leaving more than indicated on the tab is thought of as an insult. Traveling and meeting new people and cultures can be enjoyable. In some cases long-term friendships are developed. Just check out the local customs and mores before you go and the trip will pay dividends.

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