BATW Executive Director Jim Gebbie inspects the Fiat 500, parked in front of The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco

BATW Executive Director Jim Gebbie inspects the Fiat 500, parked in front of The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco

“Puttin’ on the Ritz at The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco”

By Robert W. Bone

Cars, the Caribbean and Costa Rica captured the attention of BATW members attending the June meeting at the luxurious Ritz-Carlton hotel in San Francisco.

Attendees learned much about these subjects, such as that the diminutive Fiat 500 automobile, now sold in this country, is manufactured in Poland; there’s a place in Costa Rica where you can see both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans at the same time; and on the small island of Montserrat, travelers can take a lava tour to inspect a live volcano.

Speakers included Cheryl Andrews, who heads her own PR firm in Miami, Alejandro Castro, marketing director of the tourism board of Costa Rica, and Scott D. Brown, media relations manager for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

Andrews represents several tourism locations in the Caribbean. Castro answered many questions about Costa Rica, which he described as “the longest-lasting democracy in Latin America.”

“We have no bull fighting in Costa Rica,” he said. “Instead, you can see bull riding by the campesinos (rural residents). “It’s pretty wild!”

Following the meeting, Brown led an inspection of two Chrysler-made cars parked in front of the hotel, a Jeep Grand Cherokee and a Fiat 500. Some members also visited the new wine tasting room off the hotel’s main lobby.

Many thanks to Tom Wilmer and Scott Brown, who arranged this event.