Thursday, January 17, 2019

Meryl Streep’s Performance in Out of Africa

After working for more than two decades in healthcare, Manuel Marquez, MD, changed careers and moved into the travel and tourism industry, studying at the International Tour Management Institute and becoming a travel director with Insight Vacations by Destination America, a group leader with Road Scholar, and a tour guide with Ventura Food Tasting Tours. No longer working as an MD, Manuel Marquez' favorite movie is Out of Africa, and his favorite actress is Meryl Streep.

In the 1985 film, Ms. Streep played the role of Karen Blixen, a woman who moved to a plantation in Nairobi with her philandering husband. Out of Africa marked the first time that Ms. Streep shared the screen with Robert Redford, who played her love interest, big game hunter Denys Finch Hatton.

Praising Ms. Streep’s performance as strikingly original and truthful, New Republic film critic Stanley Kauffmann wrote that the actress emanates a noble bearing through her voice and movements that remain interesting even when the film’s narrative begins to flag. The performance earned Ms. Streep her fourth Academy Award nomination as Best Actress.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Travel to Mexico - Avoiding Digestive Upset

Certified as a tour director through the International Tour Management Institute (ITMI), Manuel Marquez, MD, has led numerous travelers on tours throughout Mexico. Manuel Marquez, MD, has led more than 20 Mexican tours of seven to 60 days' duration in cities such as Guadalajara and Mexico City.

Although Mexico is a beautiful and popular tourist destination, travelers should be on guard for gastrointestinal illnesses that plague many tourists who are not acclimated to certain conditions in the country. Digestive distress is, in fact, a risk for any international traveler, particularly if they expose themselves to improperly cooked foods or untreated water.

Because tap water in Mexico may contain parasites or other bacteria, travelers should restrict themselves to bottled water. The water in the common five-gallon garafones is safe for drinking, as is purified water and water from some hotels and restaurants that have internal filtration systems. Travelers should never assume that any place has such a system, however, and should always ask for verification.

Travelers may also wish to avoid raw vegetables and fruits, unless they are treated with an iodine solution or comparable natural product. Peeling produce with edible skin may be an effective extra step as well.

Any produce contained in street-vendor food may be suspect, as may meats. Vendors often keep their hot foods at temperatures that are too low to prevent microbe growth, just as seafood restaurants often fail to keep their frozen fish frozen overnight. Fish products from a restaurant near the coast may be safe, as these establishments often get their fish in fresh, but inland restaurants do not always run their freezers consistently enough to offer safe seafood.

Finally, travelers should take care to wash their hands before eating whenever possible and keep preventive medicines at hand.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Staying Healthy While Traveling

Manuel Marquez, MD, serves as a tour director with Destination America's California-based Insight Vacations. Manuel Marquez, MD, entered the travel industry following a successful career in family medicine.

Nothing can ruin a trip like a badly timed illness. Contagious viruses and food-borne microbes can bring down even the most hardy traveler, but a few protective measures can help to reduce the risk of infection.

Individuals traveling outside of domestic borders can start by letting only bottled water past their lips. This means using bottled water even for brushing the teeth, and keeping one's mouth closed in the shower or when washing one's face. Many travelers supplement this technique by taking a bismuth subsalicylate tablet before each meal, as a preventive against certain food-borne illnesses.

Experienced travelers also protect against unwanted microbes by carrying alcohol-based hand sanitizer and using it every time they come into contact with germ-laden surfaces, such as door handles and dining trays. These travelers also avoid touching anything in the bathroom unnecessarily, and they wash their hands for at least 15 seconds before picking up their belongings.

Similarly, travelers may choose to disinfect surfaces close to them when they ride a bus or a train. Many viruses, including norovirus, can live for weeks on certain surfaces, so disinfectant wipes on seat handles and tray tables can go a long way toward infection protection. Air vents should point directly down, which keeps potential infectious agents away from one’s face and airway, and regular use of hand sanitizer can provide additional protection.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Recently Rediscovered Churchill Essay Ponders Extraterrestrial Life

A tour director for Insight Vacations by Destination America, Manuel Marquez, MD, guides motorcoach tours throughout the United States, striving to facilitate cultural and social exchanges while fostering fun through his on-board commentary. Experienced in directing historical tours, Manuel Marquez, MD, also has a personal interest in history. 

A small piece of lost and forgotten history was recently discovered, confirming an interest in potential extraterrestrial life for former British Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill. Aside from helping protect Britain and the western world from Nazi rule, Churchill was himself an historian and writer of note, evidenced by the Nobel Prize in Literature he won in 1953. 

One of the influential leader’s unpublished essays was recently discovered in Fulton, Missouri, at the National Churchill Museum. The essay deals with the possibility of alien life somewhere out there among the stars, and according to astrophysicist Mario Livio, Churchill’s approach to the topic was “like a scientist.” Churchill starts the essay by defining what life is before naming the required conditions for life to exist. 

Churchill’s essay predicts the discovery of exoplanets more than 50 years before scientists actually discovered them. The essay also discussed what is now referred to as the “Goldilocks” zone, the area between a star and planet that determines whether a planet is too hot, too cold, or just right for supporting life. 

Shortly following the rediscovery of Churchill’s lost essay in Missouri, the first draft was found at the Churchill Archives Centre, located in Cambridge, United Kingdom. The Churchill Museum is currently navigating the piece’s copyright issues in hopes of eventually publishing the essay, almost 80 years after it was written in 1939.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

SOAR Initiatives Lead to Short Commute in Ventura County

Manuel Marquez, MD, donates to Save Open Space and Agricultural Resources (SOAR), a volunteer organization that puts forth voter initiatives on public bills regarding open space areas and agricultural land in Ventura County, California. Specifically, the organization’s donors and volunteers such as Manuel Marquez, MD, seek to preserve these areas and prevent them from rezoning and development.

Part of the organization’s mandate is to see that development occurs in Ventura County’s cities, not in its unincorporated agricultural areas. As a result of these efforts, Ventura County has the third shortest commute time of nearly 100 other metropolitan areas in the United States, according to a study by the National Brookings Institution. Through voter initiatives and public awareness campaigns, the organization has proactively avoided the development of sprawling suburban communities, which only serve to remove individuals from their workspaces and increase commute times.

For more information on SOAR, visit:

Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Nature Conservancy's Adopt an Acre Program

Manuel Marquez, MD, works as a tour director for Insight Vacations by Destination America, where he provides guided motor coach tours throughout the country. With many tours of national parks and other natural sites under his belt, Manuel Marquez, MD, is passionate about nature and donates charitably to the Nature Conservancy.

There are multiple ways to support the Nature Conservancy, which strives to address the world’s most pressing environmental threats. 

The Nature Conservancy’s Adopt an Acre program allows you to symbolically adopt an acre of land in a key conservation area. Your donation contributes to the Nature Conservancy’s environmental and conservation efforts in the area you choose. For example, adopting an acre in the Northern Rockies area helps protect the habitat for local animals like grizzly bears, wolverines, and the Canadian lynx. 

The Nature Conservancy offers five locations across the country from which you can adopt an acre. These areas include the Northern Rockies, the Central Appalachians, the Great Planes, the Gulf Coast, and the Northern Sierra. Upon symbolically adopting an acre, you will receive an adoption kit that includes a certificate, photos, and information on your adopted location.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Tips for Fall Leaf Viewing Travel

Manuel Marquez, MD, stands out as a tour director certified through the International Tour Management Institute (ITMI). Manuel Marquez, MD, is qualified to lead fall foliage tours during the New England leaf-viewing season.

If you are hoping to view some of New England's famous fall foliage, begin by scheduling your trip for late September to the middle of October. This peak season tends to provide the best vistas and the boldest colors, though you will need to carefully plan your route to optimize your viewing experience. Small curving roads tend to provide the most varied scenery, particularly when they wind through woods, villages, and farmland.

Experts suggest planning a trip that includes plenty of opportunities to leave the car, walk around the area, and use as many of your senses as possible. Remember to take time to breathe the crisp fall air and feel the leaves underfoot as you walk, and schedule your excursions so that you can experience the foliage at different times of day. Early morning presents the most vivid colors, while the low light of dusk serves to highlight rich hues.

Finally, be sure to seek out many of the cultural and scenic experiences that autumn in New England offers. These may include outdoor activities such as a hot air balloon ride or zip line tour, though a wine tasting or an amble through a picturesque town can also be an ideal enhancement to your visit.