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Tell me about your non-European destinations

The post on Rick Steves' Facebook page about his trip to Cuba got me thinking about my long wish list of non-European destinations to add to the European list. So many of you are so well traveled, I thought it would be fun to hear about your other adventures - listening to the travel stories of the tour participants was one of my favorite parts of our trip. Where have you been that you loved? Where would you still like to go? Do you intersperse your European destinations with destinations in other locations?
As a newer traveler, my list is pretty short. I've been to Canada, Mexico, Belize, Costa Rica and Guatemala. Of those, Costa Rica was my favorite - maybe because I loved the mountain region or maybe because it was the most exotic place I'd ever been at the time. We've also been trying to add more domestic trips in - we've been to most of the East Coast states and to Alaska, Washington, Colorado and Louisiana. We are going to add Arizona, Utah and Nevada to that list on a trip to the Grand Canyon and Zion parks this year. Of those places, Alaska and Colorado are my favorites, as I have a passion for mountains. Topping our wish list is Peru and the Patagonia.Then my husband is most interested in New Zealand and Australia while I'd really like to see Morocco. I don't think we'll ever be bored! Hopefully we will continue to have the good fortune to be able to travel. I'd love to hear about your adventures!

Posted by
3336 posts

I'm like many places, not enough time!
We've traveled all over the world but my two favorite destinations so far are Thailand and China.
Thailand...the food, the people (lovely!!!), the prices (cheap!), the beaches, the snorkeling, the wildlife...I could go on and on. Just an amazing place.
China...horribly polluted and an environmental disaster but so interesting! The food was fabulous, the culture fascinating, and the history and architecture just wonderful. I want to go back and spend more time.
We also loved the Czech Republic and rural Norway. The Philippines still has many corners that are still unspoiled by tourism.
My husband went to Patagonia without me, came home, and declared we were moving to start some sort of farm...nope.
He did the same thing after he got back from Croatia...although this time we were moving to an island.
I agree with you on Morocco - DYING to get there!
So many other place I could go on about but I'll leave it at this!
Fun thread!

Posted by
1386 posts

Loved Uzbekistan and Tajikistan (especially the Pamir Highway) - amazing mountain scenery.

Absolutely amazed by Southern Africa (Namibia, S. Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana) - definitely recommend if you like wildlife - trying to plan another 6 week trip to this part of the world in 2017 but will look to hit Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, and Kenya.

I've also enjoyed a little of the Pacific islands - Guam, Okinawa, Palau, Philippines - need to find time to travel to some of the more remote places in the S seas.

Posted by
4637 posts

Number 1 for me was Nepal. We stayed 6 weeks, saw Kathmandu Valley, trekked from Jiri to Kala Patar. Everest base camp is in the valley, on one side Mt.Everest (or Chomolungma or Sagarmatha) on the other side Kala Patar. View from there toward Mt.Everest is absolutely stunning and breathtaking (literally - elevation 18300 ft). After that - trip to Royal Chitwan National Park on the border with India. Then Pokhara.
Other memorable Beyond Europe: Australia including Tasmania, Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, China including Tibet, Yukon, Alaska and of course B.C., Ontario, Mexico.

Posted by
29 posts

Greetings from Africa my fellow travelers.

My albeit totally biased opinion is:

Morocco - culture, cuisine, landscape, shopping = unforgettable. Whenever anyone asks me about Morocco, I always reply that no matter what your expectation is or what image you have in your head, Morocco always delivers.

Safari in Southern Africa - ignites the nature-lover in us all. I've accompanied home-loving husbands who have become avid twitchers (i.e. birding enthusiast) and suddenly take an extreme interest in the habits of the dung beetle :-)

Keep on travelin'!

Darren Humphrys

Posted by
14885 posts

On my been-to list: Melbourne/Sydney/New Zealand, Beijing, Cambodia - enjoyed. Really want to return to: Thailand, Vietnam, Hong Kong/Macau. That will be my next non-European trip, hope to add Shanghai. Whether they are European or Asian destinations is debatable - Turkey, Armenian, Georgia.

On my wish list: Morocco, Tanzania.

Zion is my favorite place in the world. I love the desert, ALL of the colorful Colorado Plateau. Do not miss Bryce Canyon - 2 hour scenic drive from Zion. Really the entire western North America is terrific.

And so is my little corner, 3000 years of history - Phoenicians, Babylonians, Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Muslims, Crusaders, Ottomans . . . everyone's been here and left their mark. We don't have majestic mountains, but we have the Dead Sea, the Med Sea, the Red Sea, and 500,000,000 migrating birds come through every year. And the best falafel in the world :-)

Posted by
608 posts

You guys have had some awesome adventures!

Anita - I think I would have taken him up on moving to Patagonia! It looks so beautiful! I'm so impressed with your Asian travels. I'm very interested in Asia, especially Thailand, but am a bit intimidated by the language barrier there, as it's so much different than anything I've been around. I'm sure we will go eventually!

Arnold - South Africa is a big dream of ours! We are so interested in animals, so I know we would love it.

Ilja - Nepal sounds amazing! I know my husband would love to see Everest one day!

Chani - so glad to hear you loved Zion! We are really looking forward to it. We will have to look into adding Bryce. I would love to travel to Israel one day.

I love hearing about all your travels!

Posted by
9682 posts

Well, less exotic but one of my favorite repeat destinations is Yellowstone. You can pair it with Grand Tetons for more mountains and if you have enough time add in a side trip to Cody and then another day for an out and back on Beartooth Highway. Many do a Road Trip loop out of Denver over a 2 week period and include Black Hills (Mt Rushmore, Custer State Park, Badlands) then hit Devil's Tower on the way to Cody, then Yellowstone, Grand Tetons and if there is still time some of the sights in Southern Wyoming and Rocky Mountain National Park before returning back to Denver.

I usually get to Yellowstone at least once a year to get my dose of geysers, mudpots, waterfalls, bears and bison, lol~

Posted by
6478 posts

I love to travel and I pretty much love every place I've been to and would probably go back to each of them if I could. My non-European trips were to China, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, a couple of Caribbean cruises and 'road trippin' across the US (every state except for New Hampshire, Alabama, Mississippi, Hawaii).

Favorite non-European places were: New Zealand (absolute all-time favorite), Puerto Rico, Alaska, and the US Southwest especially the National Parks.

Non-European wish list: Japan, South Africa, Australia.

Posted by
5697 posts

Hawaii! ! Especially Kauai. Went every year for Christmas for about 6 years. Great place to relax and enjoy the natural beauty.

Posted by
360 posts

Our favourite non- European trip so far has to be French Polynesia. We spent a month in the region, first on a two week freighter cruise aboard the Aranui 3 travelling from Papeete, Tahiti to the Marquesas Islands ( a great distance) where we visited 6 islands and took included excursions while freight was off-loaded and re-loaded at the various islands. Seeing the lifestyles of the Marquesan Islanders was an eye-opener and they are lovely people. After the 2 week cruise we spent another 2 weeks on the island of Moorea where we stayed with a Tahitian friend as well as at a resort. Again, we got to live, play and dine as a local. Will never forget this fabulous experience. Portugal is our next destination. Can't wait.

Posted by
6868 posts

Favorite trip was to Argentina. Given its massive size, just concentrated on the northwest portion (which was very sizable in itself) and a side trip to Iguazu Falls on the Argentinian/ Brazilian border. It was a great combination of cities (Buenos Aires, Salta, Cafayete, and lots of smaller Andean towns), spectacular and changing scenery (desert, mountains, cloud forest, salt flats, valleys, wine regions), and whole lot of open space in between. It was great to have a car, go out on long drives, and be constantly amazed at the scenery. The economy is mismanaged and, therefore, great exchange rate as well (it's even better now than when I went) - everything except the intra-country flights was a bargain, especially considering the value. Steak lovers would really appreciate Argentinian steak (unfortunately, that was not me - but the wine and Italian food was amazing too).

Posted by
608 posts

Pam- I'm really hoping the Yellowstone and Grand Teton areas can be our next domestic trip. Have you been in the winter and summer? I've seen pictures of both and am so torn about when to go because they are both so beautiful. It will have to be next year some time though. So much to do, so little time!

Posted by
565 posts

Outside of Europe, I have only been to Israel, Jamaica, and Japan, but Japan was easily my favorite. I would love to go back and see more.

Posted by
1723 posts

Peru is wonderful. Utah and the American southwest - gorgeous. Also add in Glacier National Park in Montana - spectacular. Chani, we're headed for Tanzania and Zanzibar this summer for safari. We can't wait. I'm trying to get my husband to go to Iceland in June. It's a photographer's dream. I agree with the comment about so many places and so little time.

Posted by
9682 posts

Tamara, yes, I've been multiple times in winter and go at least once or twice every summer season.

For a first visit I really think summer (early June if you are OK with the possibility of snow) is better. Winter is jaw-droppingly beautiful but you are pretty restricted with movement as most of the park is accessible only with over the snow vehicles (snowcoach or guided snowmobile tour) so you are on a fairly strict time frame.

Posted by
14885 posts

I had a great trip that started in the Tetons and ended in Jasper, so I hope you get to do that. I got to Jackson Hole around May 22 - gorgeous, snow capped mountains, lots of bison and even an elusive moose or two. Then 5 days in Yellowstone (great day trip to Cody - scenic drive), with baby bison and lots of bears and elk, lots of snow on the ground but not cold. I left on Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, as the hordes were arriving (perfect timing, totally unplanned for). Then scenic driving to Helena, overnight to see the state capital, and then a day (should have stayed overnight) in Glacier - it was Memorial Day, so lots of people, but definitely not crowded. It was the first weekend the Going to to Sun Road was open and it is one of the most scenic drives I've ever done (and I've done lots in the West). Then across the border to Waterton Park, and on to Banff and Jasper - with lots more wildlife out and about - bears, elk, bighorn sheep. Perfect time of year to go - at least it was for me.

Where were you in Louisiana?

Posted by
2065 posts

Chani, if you want to see moose, just hang out in Pam's back yard!

Posted by
3932 posts

I've only ever made it to the US - East Coast and West Coast - as non-Europe trips. I loved California and would love to return and spend more time at Yosemite and along the PCH; Sequoias National (which we missed in 2013 because of the gov't shutdown) and Joshua Tree National Parks. And even with two trips to NYC under my belt, I could still go back for more.

In the future (after hubby retires - come on 55!) Australia and New Zealand are the dream trip.

I think we'd also love to see Japan and I'd love to do a safari in Africa. And Hawaii and other places in the States - Arizona and the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Oregon, cities like Chicago...and the west coast of my own country...BC and Alberta...

Otherwise, I have no interest in South America or India, China or Asia or places the snowbirds flock to in Feb (Dominican et al). I could see somewhere like Dubai on the wish list to see the over the top architecture, but I don't think that'll ever happen unless we win the lotto. I have so much of Europe I still wanna see!

Posted by
379 posts

Agreed with Agnes about Argentina. Buenos Aires made me feel more like in Europe than in South America. The Portenos are sophisticated, courteous and welcoming to the tourists. Hotels and dining are great value. As a steak eater, I was in heaven. The country's stunning natural landscapes are huge, with a wide range of variety, mostly unspoiled, and not overrun by hordes of visitors. As a photographer, I was in heaven. IOW, quite different from Europe.

Argentina tops my return visit list.

Posted by
608 posts

Chani - your road trip through that area sounds perfect! I'm going to save this as a guide for when we go, as Glacier National Park is high on my list too but I haven't done enough research yet to know how to tie things together.

I'll have to move Argentina up our list too - it sounds wonderful!

Posted by
334 posts

I'm chiming in a bit late here, but anyway... most of my non-Europe travels have been to the US National Parks/Monuments and I've covered most of the US except for the northwest, northeast, Hawaii and Alaska -- all of which are on my future list. Each year, my wife and I try to make at least one domestic trip to a state that one of us has never been to before. Last year, we went to Virginia and Shenandoah National Park for the first time. I had previously been to the Smokies, but it was my wife's first visit there. The year before, we took a tour of the National Parks in southern Utah (Bryce Canyon is far and away one of my favorite places now). We have our sites set on the Pacific Northwest now, but haven't decided between Oregon, Washington, and Alaska.

As far as foreign travel, I've been to Mexico a couple times as well as Barbados in addition to my time in Europe. We've talked about going to Canada (Banff, Jasper), Costa Rica, and any number of the Caribbean island nations. I would also like to go to New Zealand and Japan some day. As far as Europe goes, the top of our wish list is Norway and the Faroe Islands. We also want to return to Budapest (had much too little time their on our first visit), and I'd like to include some time in nearby Slovakia and Slovenia. I've always had a thing for traveling to the lesser known/appreciated places. I wanted to go to Slovenia on our trip last year, but it was cut just as a matter of geography and time.

And my wife would die of excitement if we ever had the chance to go Giraffe Manor in Kenya.

Posted by
4684 posts

Ghana, a place near and dear to my heart. Beaches, culture, history, natural beauty, diverse regions. Endless possibilities and the kindest, friendliest people on earth.

Posted by
203 posts

Have spent time in south America and Africa (only parts of each). My husband and I both agree that south America is our favourite place in the world. Specifically Peru and Chile. There are some stunning places in Argentina 9Moreno glacier, Valdes peninsula etc)but we loved the people in Peru and Chile. We have always talked about moving their for a year with the kids, but they are getting older and we still have no money!! Having said this our favourite town was a little town in the middle of nowhere in Ecuador called Banos. we got stranded there for a week and spent the time wandering the nearby hills watching farmers wander with their llamas, sipping coffee in a little coffee shop with wall to wall bookshelves, practicing our pathetic Spanish on very helpful and patient locals. We were there in 1997/1998 and am desperate to go back and see how it has changed.
Africa was OK. Glad I went, I think it is one of those places everyone should go once, nothing better then looking a large male lion in the eye from 10 metres away, and the signs on the bar door saying "All spears to be left outside" (with a bucket like we would have for storing wet umbrellas, full of spears beside the door) gave me a chuckle. But no real desire to go back.
I live in Australia so to be honest, not all that fussed on domestic travel, plenty of time for that later.
New Zealand was cool. It was my husbands way of introducing the kids to travel but not jumping in the deep end in Vietnam and Cambodia which was my idea. We loved NZ. Would love to go back but so many other places to see too.
Last year we went to Italy/France/England. High on the bucket list is Iceland.
Too many countries, too small a bank balance

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4 posts

Over 16 years of travel, all 7 continents, some many times.
Three of our absolute favorite places:

North Rim of the Grand Canyon
and many more, too numerous to mention.

Going back to Antarctica and Patagonia later this year. Antarctica is a truly mystic place.

Posted by
541 posts

St. Bart's in the French West Indies. It is not Caribbean at all. It's Southern France in the Caribbean. Reminds me of Antibes or Cannes. Michelin worthy restaurants ( very famous Michelin chefs retire here) where you wear shorts and sandals, no crime where you leave your $1k worth of camera equipment on the beach for a couple of hours while you snorkel then return to your unlocked car where you left your purse on the seat and head to a fancy lunch of whatever AirFrance brought in that day from Paris. Lots of mussels, duck, and fois gras. Then head to your private house to enjoy a bottle of Mumms Rose Champagne for less than $10€, oh, at your private pool. And guess what?!?! All cheaper than Europe if you don't go in the winter. I'll be deleting this soon so my regular private paradise isn't spoiled!

Posted by
608 posts

Mike - you are killing me with the Giraffe Manor thing! I'd never heard of that, but i had to look it up, and how cool! You guys will love Alaska if you go, and it's neat because it has some beautiful mountain scenery but on the Peninsula where Ketchikan is, it has a climate very much like the Pacific Northwest, so you get the best of both worlds.

Mrdpro - how neat that you've been to Antarctica! Did you take a tour there? I've been curious to learn how to travel there, as it seems difficult, but I know my husband would love it.

Posted by
1556 posts

Have traveled to many of the places mentioned in previous posts and I have enjoyed every place I visited. Everyone needs to visit Machu Pichu and the Galopagos. Both are facinating! Somehow I have to find my way to Easter Island!

Posted by
65 posts

I'm lucky - I have yet to visit a country that I would not mind seeing again. As far as outside of Europe goes:

Africa - short visit to Marrakech, Morocco, with a couple brief day trips ending with a train trip to Tangiers where I hopped on the ferry to Spain. Marrakech took some getting used to. There was a lot of badgering by persistent vendors, and you had to be wary of any offers to help, as these would often end in solicitations of some kind. It was important to make certain of costs before agreeing to anything. Despite this, I look back with (mostly) fond memories. It was my first visit to a Muslim country, and everything was quite exotic to me - the food, the people, their attire, the frequent "calls-to-prayer", the architecture, etc. Despite the frequent pestering, the people struck me as friendly at heart - the nicest little gestures (such as an extra ladle of lentils or a "to-go" cup of orange juice) came from those who seemed least able to afford giving anything away. Djemaa el Fna Square grew more and more intoxicating as the evenings went on. The orange juice at Djemaa el Fna is the best I've ever had, and the food there is very nice as well. Skirt to the "far" side for a more "local" experience.
This set of flickr pictures includes some from Spain and Gibralter:

Asia - a week plus in South Korea where my niece was teaching English, spilt by a side trip to Nagasaki. I spent time in Seoul, Daejeon (where my niece was based) and Gyong-ju (SP???), so I saw a great variety of sights. I was on my own much of the time, and was a bit surprised at the fact that I seemed to be the only Westerner around. The people were quite friendly and helpful. There did not seem to be much risk of being taken advantage of by various scams that one reads about elsewhere. The signs in Seoul and Daejeon had English lettering as well as Korean characters, so it was fairly easy to find your way around, but in Gyong-ju, we had to "match squiggles" to find a recommended restaurant for example. Nagasaki was a pleasure, with a small tram network that took you right to most of the tourist highlights. Bibimbap was very tasty, and the fresh grilled fish (and soup) in Busan was great.

South America - a week plus in Argentina last fall (their spring) with day trips to Uruguay, Brazil, and Paraguay. Buenos Aries should be approcahed with a bit more caution than many Euopean cities, but as long as you do a little research ahead of time, you should be OK. Dealing with the "blue market" was wayyyy out of my comfort zoen, but it saved me a heck of a lot of money! Iguazu Falls was amazing, and I enjoyed the ruins of the Jesuit Missions on both sides of the Parana river. I drank a lot of tasty wine (it was so inexpensive I kept ending up with bottles are I ordered what I tought would be a glass) as well as a couple glasses of Uruguay's "medio y medio" offered to me by a friendly couple a the next table. The steaks were fantastic of course, but I found myself eating empanadas at every chance. The grilled, bacon-wrapped chicken in Posadas was out of this world.

Future dream trips include some sort of African wildlife "safari", as well as retracing as much as possible of William Bligh's "breadfruit voyages". Even though it looks like visiting Pitcairn's Island is a lot of trouble, I have to see it someday, as well as Tahiti, Indonesia. New Zealand and Australia will see me someday as well.

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4 posts


Re: Antarctica Travel

Only way to go is with an expedition type ship. There are several that make the trip to AA in their summer. I think now you can fly from Punta Arenas (?) but for us there was nothing like the ship. They are small ships with a low passenger count. If you like adventure, this may be the trip for you.

Posted by
170 posts

I've only been to three places outside of Europe: Israel, the West Bank and Canada.

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Israel and would go back in a heartbeat. I also enjoyed seeing the West Bank area. I want to walk a trail in the Galilee region of Israel called the Jesus Trail. Mostly Christians walk it, but every faith is accorded respect.

When I was young, I went to Canada four times.

I'd love to visit the Philippines, China, Japan, South Africa and Brazil. I would enjoy a return to a couple places I've been to in Europe, including France, the Netherlands and Hungary. Alas, time in this life is limited.

Posted by
1098 posts

Tamara: **Thailand, but am a bit intimidated by the language barrier

Unless you venture into back country most people you meet will speak (some kind of) English.

Posted by
14885 posts

Tamara, if you mean the language barrier in Asia in general, here's what my experience has been:

Thailand - no problem in Bangkok, though it's a very good idea to have your destination (and your hotel name and address) written in Thai - some taxi drivers don't speak English. No problem in Chiang Mai or Chiang Rai. If you want to venture out to villages in the north, there are good tour guides with cars and good English and they aren't expensive.

Vietnam - Got along fine in Saigon. For smaller places, took English-speaking guides. Great.

China - in Beijing, I wouldn't have managed without an English-speaking guide (not expensive in off-season). Wonderful 4 days. Hong Kong & Macau - seemed like everyone spoke English.

Cambodia - Siem Reap. No problem, guides in English with cars available at very reasonable prices for the temples.

Singapore - English everywhere. This was about my least favorite destination ever, but I enjoyed my expensive day and a half there.

Posted by
608 posts

Chuck - great photos! Thank you so much for sharing!

Chani - Thank you for the reassurance! Thailand is big on my husband's list, but I have been nervous about it. I'm glad to know that English speaking guides in some of those countries will help with the barriers.

Posted by
14885 posts

Tamara, I've been to Bangkok twice and loved it. It's crazy crowded but no pushing or shoving, incredibly beautiful temples and lively markets and clean. On the second visit, I also spent a week in the north and 4 days in Siem Reap (Cambodia) to see the ancient temples in Angkor. January-February are the best months. Even though it's warm and humid, it's not as hot as later and it's the dry season. The north is mountainous, both pretty scenery and more comfortable weather - cools off in the evenings so the mornings are cool as well and it's not humid. The people are very friendly, the food is good (though I didn't try any street food) and it's not expensive. Go!!!

Posted by
2526 posts

Two trips to Nepal, are the most memorable ones. The Himalayas are indeed spectacular and the dramatically different Chitwan National Park, with all sorts of wild critters, including tigers that snatch nearby villagers, is a must see as well. The Nepali people are very gracious and humble. They made us feel very welcome. Traveling with proud, young, Nepalis to experience their country was the highlight of the trips. They experienced truly dreadful starts in life and yet are stellar examples of what can be. As for trekking, we hired a fully licensed professional guide and did a custom trek at a fraction of the packaged tours. Only three Westerners were encountered for our trek off the beaten path.

Posted by
379 posts

"including tigers that snatch nearby villagers, is a must see as well"

Please, what is the name of the tour, and how to contact them?

Posted by
149 posts

I'm late to the party as usual but I had to chime in for Mike's wife and Tamara...
Although I did not sleep at the giraffe manor, I did visit the giraffe centre on the grounds. There's a raised platform from which you can pet and feed the giraffes. If you hold the food pellet with your lips, they'll "kiss" you - and before you ask... yes, I did 🙂

Aside from Europe, I've travelled to the US, Cuba, Trinidad and Tobago, Belize, Kenya, Tanzania, Japan and China. The Carribean destinations and Kenya were my favourites, mostly because of the friendliness of the people but also the fantastic outdoor adventures we had there.

I also feel so fortunate to live in Canada where we have such diverse landscapes. My favourite Canadian destinations are British Columbia, the Yukon, the maritime sand Newfoundland. There is still as much to see and do here at home, as there is abroad.

Posted by
518 posts

No later than me! :D

The European standards: London, Paris, Amsterdam, Rome, etc., both independently and with a giant 50-person bus tour. An unforgettable Trans-Siberian journey from Beijing to Moscow and ultimately St. Petersburg, through Mongolia. Tanzania and the Serengeti, overland trip from Delhi, India to Kathmandu, Nepal, Iceland, Istanbul, Hong Kong, Guadalajara, and others I can't think of.

We are headed to Japan in November!

The Trans-Siberian journey and trip to India were with Intrepid Travel, small group adventure tour company. I had a great time traveling with the people in those groups as they were from other parts of the world. I not only got to learn about the places were going but the places my tour mates were from.

Places I've been and would love to go back: New York City, the Swiss Alps, London, Iceland, another European bus tour, and believe it or not, LA
Places I've never been and want to go: Oahu (been to the other HI islands but not this one), Alaska, any number of U.S. national parks, Vietnam, cross-country drive across the U.S. or Amtrak rail journey.

Posted by
2 posts

I traveled the European countries except of Iceland and Canada, USA, Mexico, Guatemala and Belize so far. Of all the countries I was most excited about Mexico and surely will return there again. I love to explore the Mayan sites. This ancient culture fascinates me a lot. But I love the weather, landscape, food and the people there as well. Meanwhile I returned a couple of times to the land of the Maya and documented my visits of their ancient cities in my blog Amazing Temples.