Paris owns 'Bourne' author
Eric Van Lustbader (Victoria Lustbader,)
Q: What is your best and/or worst vacation memory?
A: How can there be only one? Spending time with a baby black rhino and our adopted baby elephants at the David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage outside Nairobi, feeding the gorgeous and endangered Rothschild giraffes at Giraffe Manor, watching a cheetah kill in the Serengeti from beginning to end; and, of course, making friends with people who live halfway around the world. But if I had to pick just one, it would be this. Recently, my wife and I took our 25-year-old goddaughter to Paris. We watched her fall in love with all the things we ourselves love about the city and open up like a flower to the sun.
To increase Paris' legendary magic, we witnessed her fall in love with a brilliant and funny 29-year-old nuclear physicist and become the happiest and most carefree we'd ever seen her. At the end of our two-week stay, he invited her to come live with him in Geneva, where he will be working for CERN on a new linear particle accelerator. It doesn't get any better than that! As for worst memories, I make it a rule never to remember them.
Q: What is your favorite vacation destination?
A: Paris has exerted an inexorable grip on me. Over the decades, it has been a mecca for artists and writers. I am no exception. To my mind, Paris is the world's most beautiful city. Between its graceful architecture, wide, leafy boulevards and array of magnificent parks, it can't be beat.
Q: Have you traveled to any places that inspired you to include the locales in your books?
A: There are many, most notably Paris, Rome, Capri, Africa and Bali. Russia is one place I write about extensively that I have no interest in visiting, perhaps because it is too vividly rendered in my imagination that the real thing can only be a letdown.
Q: Where would you like to go that you have never been?
A: Komodo Island (Indonesia) with our friends from Bali. We've been trying to coordinate this trip for about three years now, but there are six of us involved — all with very busy lives — so it's been something of a challenge.
Q: What would be your dream/fantasy trip?
A: An Abercrombie & Kent around-the-world trip via Marco Polo private plane. I've discovered that the more exotic the location, the less I want to deal with the minute-to-minute hassles endemic to travel. I want someone else to do it. I want to be cosseted. Traveling long distances is arduous enough.
For more from the reporter, visit jaehakim.com.