In the hit Showtime series “Ray Donovan,” Steven Bauer plays Avi, Donovan’s right-hand man. “He’s the good soldier who does what Ray needs done.” The vein of these tasks? Bauer alludes to these missions’ nature by describing his TV boss, Donovan, as, “…a good guy, but he’s lethal.” Which leads one to wonder, is Bauer, who’s also known for films like “Scarface,” a tough guy? Talk to the actor about travel and he comes across as a real softie. Though there may be an urchin out there that begs to differ.
What’s something you never fail to pack in your suitcase?
Usually, I carry the book I’m reading with me on the plane, then pack a second great book I’ve been wanting to get to. The other thing I always pack is a swimsuit. Whether it's a hotel swimming pool or beach somewhere, I’m going to find a place to go in the water and swim.
Carry-on or check-in?
If it’s more than a week, I check-in. Less than a week -- carry, carry, carry.
Window or aisle?
I need the aisle. I have long legs and invariably I’m going to need to stretch those legs, get up and move.
What’s your idea of the perfect vacation?
Two options: Either go home to Miami and spend time with family and play, or travel far away to a new place where I can discover beauty I’ve never seen before. Or, revisit beauty I’ve already seen by going back to places like Florence or Israel.
Tell us about a vacation you’ve taken that’s come close thus far.
When filming in the Dominican Republic, I had three days of work and 10 days of freedom. I was able to go around the entire island, visit beaches, taste food and meet wonderful people. It turned into a perfect vacation.
What’s the worst vacation you’ve taken?
Once I traveled to Mallorca for a few days that I thought were going to be idyllic. I’d booked a hotel on the rocks, overlooking the ocean. It rained for three days and there was nowhere to go. That kind of situation – going somewhere that requires great weather – can turn bad really quickly if it happens to be the one time of the year squalls and thunderstorms hit. It can destroy a vacation.
Where’s your favorite destination for filming on location?
Israel, because I have an affinity for Israeli people and the Holy Land. The Dominican Republic because I speak Spanish and get along well there, the food is great and you can escape to the beaches. And South Africa.
What's the most unusual souvenir you’ve ever brought back from a trip?
I brought back some exotic masks from Africa made of bark and rope. Once I got them back home and out of context, they were really scary. Nobody wanted them and, since they scared people, I couldn’t hang them up on the wall.
Ever try a food you wished you hadn't?
Live urchin. After that, I decided no more live stuff for me, no matter what the delicacy level is.
Favorite hotel you've ever stayed in?
Alexander Tel Aviv Hotel, which is on the beach. And the Occidental El Embajador in Santo Domingo, which used to be used as the polo grounds for the president of the Dominican Republic. It has a great pool.
Favorite restaurant you’ve discovered while traveling.
I toured Tuscany with a friend who wanted to buy a house and vineyard there. He ended up not buying a house, but we sampled all the wine and food at at least six great restaurants. It was ridiculously lovely.
Biggest regret you've ever had while on vacation.
Years ago, I was in Ecuador and skipped a trip to the Galapagos Islands because I was too busy. I was also in Peru and didn’t make it to Machu Picchu. Someday I’ll visit both, though.
The one thing you're willing to splurge on when traveling above all else.
I don’t hold back -- I’m willing to try the best restaurant in the city and go to hole in the walls, too.
Three artists on your travel playlist?
I always carry Dire Straits’ “Brothers in Arms,” Bob Dylan and the Beatles.
Where would you take someone visiting your hometown for the first time?
In Miami, we’d go first to a Cuban restaurant in Little Havana, then tour downtown and the beaches. When you hit the causeway and see Biscayne Bay while crossing over into Miami Beach and the (Art) Deco District, it’s startlingly beautiful.
You only get one more trip in your lifetime. Where will it be?
Cuba, where I was born.
- Steven Bauer