Destinations

California Christmas 2018

Sometimes things don’t go as planned yet they still can be a lot of fun. So Mark thought he was booking a trip to San Jose Costa Rica and instead he accidentally booked San Jose California. We figured it out 8 hours later and we could have canceled but decided why not? We just wanted to get out of town for Christmas because it would be the first Christmas without his father. So we really had a nice relaxing time and went to three different areas. Morrow bay, Yosemite Valley Lodge in Yosemite national park and Half Moon Bay. Here are the photos.

Hearst’s Castle
I knew we were close when all of the sudden I saw lots of zebras in the fields with horses. Really who has zebras in their front yard?
The swimming pool that was enlarged three times. Many celebrities came here. To me the man had more money than taste. This was such a mish mash of styles.
The little house they lived in before big one was built.
Elephant seals with babies are just 4 miles down the road. The baby right in the middle next to his mom is one day old.
Loved this hotel right on the water in Morrow bay. We had a ball at the Siren bar with live music.
Our view!

We had reservations at Yosemite national park Valley Lodge for two days during the government shutdown. No rangers or guard gate attendants. Everything still worked and you don’t need internet when your here. So much beauty and hiking! We ate several wonderful meals at the Majestic Yosemite hotel. Christmas Eve an evening gown was required. That was fun.

Yosemite National Park . The redwood trees are really red!
Everywhere you look in Yosemite is beauty!
I love this redwood house!

We then travel to Half Moon Bay and the Cypress Inn. What a joy and the breakfast was better than I have ever had in any 5 star hotel. French toast to die for and Eggs Benedict at absolute perfection. Breakfast was delivered to your room even on Christmas morn. The view was phenomenal. Being an east cost girl I never really see the sun set over the ocean. I only see it rise. So this was a joy for me.

Cool funky house along the boardwalk by the shore.
Loved this little park!


Destinations

Ireland 2018

Our favorite Castle!

We stayed in the room on the second floor facing the parking lot. Most reviewers say to get a room with a view of the river in the back of the castle.  We loved our view out the front of the flowers and the Helicopter landings.

The river view is lovely and this is the view from your breakfast and dinners.

Wonderful hiking and biking on the property. This is the rear view of the castle.

I loved this little room. This is Ireland and it does rain a lot but this castle is prepared. If you arrive by helicopter they will meet you at your plane with boots and rain jackets and umbrellas. This river is known for fly fishing and the castle always has a few fisherman wandering around. They also use this rain gear.

The son of the man that built this castle petitioned hard with the parliament for it to be illegal to hurt animals . At the time they were putting cows in a ring and sending in 6 aggressive hungry dogs to tear it up. He is the first known person in Europe to actively pursue passing laws for the prevention of cruelty against animals.

This is down the road at the Ashford Castle.

This is the Leslie Castle where Paul McCartney had a wedding reception.

I say that the Irish fairy’s live in the bottom of the trees. You can almost see them here!

Dublin – a good place for comfort food and Irish Music and Dance. Simple but worth a visit.

This is a snug at the end of the bar in the old Palace Bar in Dublin.. Years ago a lady could not sit at the bar and have a drink. They also could not order a pint only a half of a pint in the ladies area. So story goes that if a man wanted to drink with his wife he would reserve the snug. Another story is that if a priest enjoyed drinking he would reserve the snug so no one would see how much he was drinking.

Mark and our friend John in the snug in the bar in Ireland.

These are the marvelous hydrangeas I looked out at from my room in Ballynahinch Castle.

Lots of fly fishing on this river. Fisherman all over the castle.

Near Ashford Castle. Do you see the burnt carving in the wood of the eagle?

The greenhouse at Ballynahinch castle.

The walled garden at the castle is such a delight to walk around or just sit.

Cute little greenhouse!

Wonderful vegetable and flower gardens.

Fresh vegetables from the garden.

Belfast- the Titanic museum

Belfast- the young militants are taught to handle guns from 14-17 years old. They are told not to let your grandfathers die in vain. Of course this war has been going on for over 300 years. How about we let this war go?

Black Taxi Tours will help you understand Ireland’s history.

 

Here is my cheat sheet for currency since we had both the Euro and the pound in northern Ireland.

Two things we loved about Ireland are that you can drink the tap water in most places and they speak English.

Two things we did not like about Ireland is the confusing Pound vs Euro in northern Ireland.
They drive on the left and the roads are so narrow with thick rock walls on both sides. Most all the rental cars are stick shift. We ended up paying 500 Euros more for an automatic rental car. It was worth it for the week of travel.

Destinations

Montreal and Mont Tremblant 2018

Montreal has a jazz festival in early July for 10 days.  Over 300 acts for free and about 150 for a fee.  We had a ball in downtown Montreal going to 3 days of jazz on the streets.  We did buy one ticket to Ben Harper and Charlie Musslewhite which was well worth the money.

 

 

 

 

 

In Montreal we also were very fortunate to go to the Barbie Expo.  Barbie’s came out in 1959 when I as a young girl.  They were the hot new toy and I loved them. The first outfits were made by Parisian designers.  So this expo had over 1000 Barbie’s all dressed by current designers here are a few.

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another must see is  the Notre Dame Basilica.  It was first built-in 1642.  It is very pretty and has a good free tour in English. They have an organ with 7000 pipes.  It takes 5 rooms to hold all the pipes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What I like about Canada

  1. The exchange rate is great now.  1 Us dollar buys $1.33 Canadian.
  2. Most everyone speaks English.
  3. The same voltage for electricity.
  4. Same time zones.
  5. Everyone is very kind and accepting of all people.
  6. Canada is very clean.
  7. Canada is very safe.
  8. The 3 day metro pass in Montreal is only $19 Canadian.

 

Mont Tremblant is a little Ski resort town north of Montreal that hosts a 10 day Blues festival.  So we had 3 days of jazz in Montreal and 3 days of blues in Mont Tremblant.  One of my favorite lines from one of the  blues songs was “money talks but it does not speak!

I like the small town feel and closeness of the stages.  What I did not like is that it is a very steep uphill climb to the top,  we did find a nice free lift at the end of our stay but it closed at 8 when all the bands played.

 

 

 

I loved a little cafe called Couleur Cafe.  It was a nice break to get out of the maddening crowds and go to a quiet little sandwich and soup shop that made the best food.  We licked the soup bowl clean!

We also loved the oldest farmers market in north America.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Destinations

Buenos Aires, Bariloche and Moreno glacier-Argentina 2018

They have a saying in Argentina -They have a scar on their hearts that never heals.  I know this feeling too.  This painting is very large and I sat and looked at it for a long time.  Each face is a painting on its own.  The sign in the back says bread and work.  I have never known real hunger, but I see it on these faces.  This is a very famous Argentine painter.

There are two-horse racing tracks in Buenos Aires.  The first one is the San Isidro.  This is a very old track and was featured in the movie with Carmen Miranda in the 1940 movie called Way Down Argentine Way.  The second track is the Hipodromo  Palermo and is much more modern and close to the city. To me the most exciting part of the horse racing is when everyone runs outside toward the finish line and starts yelling for their horses.  I have no idea what they are saying but I feel their excitement and passion.    I just love the passion that exudes from the people at the track.

We watched the jockeys come off the track and watch the reruns of the race.  Sometimes you would see a big fat owner grilling his jockey about why he lost.

YOU HAVE TO LOVE MEAT-The food is amazing for carnivores.  Huge slabs of meat for lunch and dinner.  There is something very special about their beef and how they grill it.  They also grill chicken that is so tasty.  They really do not have many vegetables at all.

Not many people speak English.  We have traveled to many countries and usually the young will speak English.  Not here and they really do not even try.  It is up to you to try to communicate.  We got into one taxi and he turned and started driving.  So Mark says “can I tell you where we want to go.”  He says “ no comprende” and keeps driving.  So we get out our google translator and give him the address.  At first I was mad and then Mark says they are like robots and machines and just keep driving.  He is right. Argentine’s work many jobs just to survive.

The Tango started in Buenos Aires!  You walk down the famous Florida street and you will see young and old Tango dancers with their little boom boxes.  They dance for tips.  What is interesting is the way the men ask the women to dance at the tango clubs.  If a man wants to dance with a women he goes to the middle of the dance floor and catches her eye and cocks his head.  If she wants to dance with him she will meet him in the middle of the dance floor.  If she does not she simple looks away.  This seems so much kinder on the man so he is not rejected in front of other women.

 

 

Bariloche Argentina

A beautiful lakeside city surrounded by the Andes mountains. This lake is 40 miles long and the most beautiful blue you have ever seen! It is the gateway to the Patagonia Lake District. Supposedly one of the top 7 views in the world is at Campanario Hill. You take a chairlift high above the trees and see snow-covered mountains that mirror in the blue blue lake. Breath taking.

 

Cool little shops and musicians that play under the arches for great acoustics.
 I spent probably an hour watching a Guitar player and an interpretative dancer. I heard the music and went looking for it. Then I stayed to watch her dance. As usual most musicians are poor. The dancers shoes were so worn out. She was as thin as a rail but what expressive dancing. One dance made me cry because the story she told was that she was in love with someone who beat her and then she finally walks away. A little audience member joins her and she loans her a little skirt.

Some of my favorite places in Buenos Aires

SIAMO NEL FORNO PIZZA PLACE-  THE BEST PIZZA IN THE WORLD- NO LIE!  

You watch them make it right in the dining room in this brick oven.  McDonald’s, Starbucks and American chain Pizza places moved into Buenos Aires many years ago.  McDonald’s and Starbucks stayed but every American pizza place closed and left .  You taste one Argentine pizza and you could never go back to America pizza.  If I were rich I would fly down here just to get that pizza again.  It was that good!

 

Sunday Flea Market that goes on for 50 blocks!

Recolita market

Don Julios chicken and mashed potatoes

Malba museum

Bocca –A very colorful area in Buenos Aires.  Many beautiful murals and brightly colored homes.  This is a mural of the famous White scarfed grandmothers in Argentina.  They protest every Thursday looking for their missing children and grandchildren .  She has one huge muscle on her arm to show how angry they are over the government not giving them answers about what happened to the kids.

 

 

Recolita graveyard- Well worth seeing how people with way too much money buried their dead.  Ostentatiously vulgar but beautiful.  Eva Peron is buried here and people will line up to see her grave but it is not that impressive.  What is impressive is how long it took to get her body buried there. Some one stole her body and kept it on their dining room table for many years!

The cemetery is free but wear sunscreen as all that marble reflects the sun on your skin.  I loved the girl with the dog the most.  If you rub its nose it will bring you good luck.

GAUCHO GIL SHRINES– a cool folklore about a handsome young man who died a long time ago.  There are shrines all over Argentina on the roads to him. The tackier the better.  You are supposed to pour him a beer  on one of these shrines so he will get you safely to your destination.  

NOTORIOUS -FOR LIVE MUSIC– it is in the back of a record shop but it is a nice intimate little club for live music.  We went there twice in one week.  We saw Ismail the son of the Buenos vista social club founder.  Make reservations as they only have about 34 tables.

DOG WALKERS –  They tend to have 7-10 dogs all around the same height.


Moreno glacier a stunning sight!

 

Argentine people do not put their money in the bank.  They have learned over the years that their money can be devalued overnight.  An example was when the exchange rate was 1 peso to one US Dollar.  All of the sudden it dropped in one day to 1 peso to .25 cents US.  Little children do not have piggy banks.  They learn to either go spend it that day or exchange it for US dollars.  Just recently the Argentine peso dropped by 20% overnight.

 

This was my cheat sheet for February.  Unfortunately I made this spreadsheet up a month ahead of time and it was outdated by the time we got there.

 

 

Travel Troubles

Did they loose your bag?

Airlines have gotten much better about not loosing your luggage now a days. That does not really comfort you when you are the one without your suitcase.

The best way to ensure return of a lost bag is preparing before you travel.

1. Make sure you have tag inside and outside of the suitcase with your information.
This holds a piece of paper that list all locations you will be staying and phone numbers. When you move several times on a trip it makes it difficult for airlines to find you to return your luggage. Place this on the outside of your luggage.

2. Are you doing multiple countries or traveling every 2 days to another destination? Then use these yellow travel document holders on the outside of your luggage.

3. Know the following information. Keep it on you.
Flight number
Departure and/or arrival airport
Your name  on your ticket
Baggage tag numbers and a photo of your suitcase would be helpful too.
Snap a picture of your luggage before you leave the house on your phone.

4. Another tip is to place a luggage strap around the outside of your luggage in a bright color. That way if you suitcase accidentally comes open, most of your contents will still stay inside.

5. I always use zip ties to secure my luggage. Yes you can use security approved locks but you will not know if anyone entered your luggage and took something . With a zip tie you know if someone got inside your suitcase.

6. You can buy luggage trackers for you trip. They can run anywhere from $15- $80. The problem with these is if it has a lithium battery in it. Just recently they started banning them.

7. Make sure to report your lost bag at the airport where it did not show up.

8. One great tip if an airline looses your bag is to go to their twitter account and talk about how frustrated you are with not having your luggage. No airlines wants this kind of criticism so they will work very quickly to get your bag back. Many will respond to you within minutes. I know a young gal whose luggage was lost for over 2 weeks. A friend told her to go on twitter and it was returned the same day! Try using the following airline twitter accounts to get your point across. Also make sure to keep your emotions in check and your tone acceptable.
Alaska Airlines: @AlaskaAir
American Airlines: @AmericanAir
Delta Air Lines @DeltaAssist
Frontier Airlines: @FlyFrontier
JetBlue: @Jetblue
Southwest: @Southwestair
United: @United
Virgin America: @VirginAmerica

Destinations

Is a safari in Tanzania on your list?

Selfie in the Serengheti
Early morning hot tea and toast and along comes our Cheetah host to mark her spot on our tree!

The Serengeti is a trip of a lifetime!

Have you been dreaming of going on a safari in Africa? Do you want to see 100’s of animals up close? The Serengeti will not disappoint. We saw 100’s of elephants, zebras, wildebeest, diks diks, hippos, lions, antelopes, baboons and 6 leopards and 10 cheetahs, 10 hyenas, 10 warthogs, 1 sable cat, 1 rhino, 1 huge white owl, 25 secretariat birds, 100s of flamingos and several real ugly huge birds and at least 25 giraffes. This was a trip of a lifetime. It does take some planning and here is what it was like for us in July 2017.

What to wear?
I remember googling what to wear on a safari and this one gal recommended getting cargo pants from Nordstrom’s for $368.
Now you can go by $368 cargo pants and be decked out in designer clothes but with that money you could donate to a school or donate to a safe water maker for 9 families. Our money can do so much good in this poor country.

They tell you not to wear black or blue colors.  These colors attract the bites of tsetse flies.  So kaki, light green and brown are the colors you are supposed to wear. Some sites tell you no white or bright colors but many of our travelers wore very colorful outfits.

Dress in layers. I had a tank top and a short sleeved top and then a lightweight jacket and usually long pants.
I went to Good Will and got many pair of pants in a kaki, green and light brown colors. I bought tops and jackets to match. Over a 6 month period I probably bought 20 items at about $4 an item. Good will separates clothing by colors. I narrowed it down to just a few items for the trip.  Most of the time I wore my hiking boots or orthotic sandals.

I did bring a couple of nice things to accessorize with them. At the end of my tent camp I folded up ¾ of the clothes I did not want to  take home and left them for the tent attendants who were quite pleased. They were going to take it to their wives or sisters.
The last night we stayed in a coffee lodge where we had a dinner in someone’s home. I packed up most of the rest of my hats and clothes and gave it to that woman who hosted us for dinner. She promised me she would send me a picture of her kids every year. She sent me an African blessing on What’s AP that I really loved. She cooks outside on the ground yet she has What’s AP on her phone?

Definitely a hat. A hat is a must.

Polarized  sunglasses are also a must as well as  a small scarf to wear around your nose and mouth during dusty drive.

The lady on my left is 98 years old and kissed my hand for a blessing!

Try and be respectful and stay somewhat covered. Short shorts and short dresses really are frowned upon. When we visited a home the host asked one of the ladies to cover up her legs with fabric. That she was not properly dressed. Be respectful.
I did go sleeveless at times in the jeep on game drives. I always had a long sleeved shirt to cover up in markets and towns.

You can wear some make up. You get up at 5: 30am and it is dark and you have one little mirror in your tent.
I used the head lamp on a hanger to shine the light on the little mirror so I could get ready every morning. There is no electricity in your tent. You do have a light bulb that works off of solar. You’re not going to get to blow dry your hair or roll it for 4 days. That is why a hat is good and scrunchies too.

As always dress in layers. The mornings were cool and by afternoon you were hot. Mostly I wore my hiking boots just to stay stable and keep bugs off of me. I wore long pants and a couple of times I wore a skort.
Always wear sun repellent and spray your feet and shoes with bug repellent.

Game drives-what really happens

Your jeep for 12 days.

You get up and go by 6 am usually. The roads are awful. I am not saying bumpy, I am saying GOD awful. I held onto the hand rail so tight during these rides that I felt like I was pulling my wires out of my pacemaker.

Honestly my pacemaker started to hurt so I switched sides in the jeep to give that arm a rest. I had bruises on my arms from hitting the sides of the jeep. My husband had little cuts on his head from hitting the top of the van yet, we would not trade a minute of the game time drives. One day my husband announced that this was the best day of his life, even after hitting his head on the top of the jeep.

Selfie with a lady lion!

 

You could reach out an almost touch the elephants as they come so close, but never do it or they will send you home.

 

You are going to eat dust!!!!

I wrapped my outer shirt around my face to block the dust!

Not only are the roads beyond bumpy but there is a drought going on in Tanzania and the dust just rolls in the windows. You can feel it in your teeth. Your face will be covered in dust.

Our dining room for all meals. This is also the place where you charge your phone and keep all your food that your brought so it is not in the tent.  It is in the freezer behind the table.

Just getting to the tent camping with all of our duffle bags and weariness after taking the long road into the Serengeti.

Our guide told us that your memories will last lots longer than the road. He was right. Usually you are back for late lunch and then go out again for a couple hours before dinner. Everyone has to be back in their camps by dusk by Serengeti rules. Then you spend some time around the campfire, take your showers, eat and are escorted back to your bent where you stay until they wake you up in the morning with JAMBO.

The sun rises very quickly and sets very quickly. The stars are amazing and you can see the Milky Way. It was hard for me to recognize any stars because they are upside down from the states.

You can sleep with the windows all the way unzipped for better viewing of your nighttime visitors.

 The inside of your tent.

Nighttime I would awake to munching outside my window. I could not see who it was but grass eaters are always welcome. When I shined my flashlight it was just little dik diks. Then I could see eyes of the hyenas. I also was awakened by the roar of the antelope right next to my tent. A whole family of baboons was crawling over the tree next to me.
I felt like a little prairie dog because I am a light sleeper and I would wake up and pop my head up and look both ways at any noise. We kept our windows unzipped all the way so we could experience all the sounds.
No food in the tents. Really no food in the tents. Unless you want visitors.
The two twin beds were really very comfortable.
They clean up your tent every day and give you fresh towels but no wash clothes.
If you take your shoes off and walk around the tent your feet are going to be black.

Balloon rides

Yes you should do it. 16 people in each basket. You will be surprised how therapeutic it is to see the morning this way. Stunning views!

Hippo view from above in the river.

Your start and end on your side of the balloon. It was surprisingly very smooth.

What I found helpful
– Oil of Olay wash clothes, Little hydrating masks at night
– Head lamp, Scarf for face to cover your nose and mouth
– Wet wipes, Toast in a baggie every morning  to help motion sickness.
– Little oatmeal and chocolate cookies that they sell in most markets in Tanzania.
– Pepcid ACS and Tons of Advil
– Tylenol PM
– Cell phone for pictures
– My hat
– Vaseline for lips

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

– My cloth foldup bag for game drives to hold cameras, jackets, wet ones, cookies, toast, pills, fan toilet paper and scarf or mask for face. Keeps your purse clean and can be washed and used for a second carry on bag.
– Ear plugs for fellow travelers who are in your jeep and think they need to talk continually.
– Ginger ale when you could find it.
– Duct tape when my suitcase ripped at the airport coming home.
– Extra straps to hold suitcase together, Suitcase locks
– A good light weight binoculars  such as Nikon 8 x 25 travelight. I used them a lot.
– Packing cubes,  2 gallon baggies for clothes and organization.
– Nose spray and eye drops.

 Sunrise over the Serengeti.

 

What is a tent camp like?

Nicer than I expected but you are going to get dirty. Let me just say it is impossible to get squeaky clean.
My husband kept teasing me before we got there that we were going to have a talking shower. Well he was right in one way.
You tell one of the tent attendants that you want a shower and then he loads up a hot 5 gallon bucket and heists it up in the air. Then you shower under water flow that is a little better than a heavy trickle.

They tell you to soap up and turn the water on and then turn it off and soap up your hair then turn the water back on to rinse. Meanwhile you are standing on a wood pallet thing in your tent. They do zipper up so you can have privacy.
You would be surprised at how long a 5 gal bucket will lasts. Really it could do 2 people if needed. At our camp they would do it right before dinner but not after dinner. All water has to be put up before dark. I missed the first night shower because I thought I could do it after dinner.

They also had two little tent baskets in the front that you could wash in one and rinse in the other and then a clothes line to hang up to dry. Everything including chairs had to be put up out of sight at nighttime. Even clothes had to be put up in your zippered tent.

Why you ask?

Because the animals are all around you at night. Our tents had only been up for two weeks so many animals lived in the area and pretty much were unafraid of us. At nighttime we could see the eyes of the hyenas. After watching them crack bones and eat the leftovers of lions during the day you knew to be afraid of these guys. One even tried to push a zipper open on one of our tents. They ended up eating the soap for washing clothes that was left outside.
Another woman got a rat in her tent. They give you a whistle and tell you to blow if there is a problem but that you are never to leave the tent without an escort. Just whistle. So this gal whistles and whistles and one of the tent attendants comes and he steps on the rat and kills it and picks it up and takes it out of the tent. She then made him clean up the blood.
The next morning I see this tent attendant and say I hear you are the best rat killer around. So he tells me no I just step on the rat and lift him by his tail and throw him outside. I say really because that not what the gal told me. So he says” you report me” I say report you for what? He says that it is against the law to kill any animal in the Serengeti even a rat. I say so what if a lion is in my tent you’re going to say go away little lion?
The tour leader told us how they handle encounters with animals. One time a whole heard of elephants surrounded this one guy’s tent. So all the 5 helpers and 3 tour guides got into their jeeps and surrounded the tent and told him to stay in the tent , stay in the tent, the elephants are just drinking your bucket of water. The elephants moved away. Another time a lion was going in front of each tent and drinking the washing water from in front of every tent. Again they drove their cars down and said stay in your tent stay in your tent. After that they made it a policy to always put up every bit of water before bed.
The food was fabulous in the tented camp, even though hyenas were constantly around. I don’t know if it was the thrill of seeing animals all day or just how camping food always tastes better, but our food was the best we had the whole trip! Every night was a feast.

The toilet

Yes you have a toilet on a wood pedestal that worked but it was very hard to flush anything down. It has its own little zippered compartment too but you are in a tent. If you are short like me then it is a little difficult to get up on the pedestal but I was glad it was there.

Malaria Pills OMG they have side effects
Our tour guide told us that Malaria pills cause problems on the 4-6 day of taking them. I had this problem with diarrhea and so did 4 people out of 15. It is over quickly. Usually just one full day and you are better.
One great tip is every morning before you go on a game dry they will serve breakfast. Toast is always on the menu. Pack up 4 pieces of toast and put them in a zip lock bag with your back pack. That way if you start to feel queasy the toast will help.
Of course you do not want to get Malaria so you take the pills 2 days before your trip and 7 days after you get home.
You will be thrilled once you stop them as they give you WILD DREAMS, STOMACH ACHES AND BAD HEADACHES.
Make sure you bring plenty of your favorite stomach pain medicine because you will not be able to get it there.
We went to a pharmacy in Arusha and they did not have any Tums or anything like it for the stomach except one pill. When we read the instructions it was for ulcers. No pain medication available even at the pharmacy. Really just a little room with very few pills to choose from.
I did see women in the market selling lumps of clay that they said was for stomach aches but really are you going to chew on some block of clay?
Headaches were almost round the clock. Yes you can get rid of them with even just one aspirin or Advil. But you will do this all day almost every day.
Wild dreams oh yea! Crazy and wild is all I can say.

The schools

All young girls shave their heads. It is part of the uniform.

 

 Bring maps that show the world for schools.

They need everything. The kids did not even know where the USA was on a map. Our guide even asked them have you not heard of Obama land. No one in the class knew about the world or geography. Bring maps for each classroom. Bring any school supplies. They need everything.

Take picture of the kids on your phone or iPad and show the kids. They don’t see pictures of themselves very often.

Weird customs

Albinos -Witch doctors in Africa say that if you want to be wealthy or have good luck you should cut off a body part from a live albino. Little albino kids cannot go to school because of fear of someone coming and chopping off a hand. The woman on my left started this place called Albino Peacemakers in Arusha Tanzania. Albino sewing is a safe place for these women to work and make money.

 

                                    Tanzanian young men with white painted faces.

A boy is circumcised at 13- 16 years old in front of his tribe. He cannot make a sound or even grimace. Once this is done he wears white paint of his face to let everyone know he is now a man.

Female Genital Circumcises is against the law for 7 years; this was normally preformed on girls about 12 years of age. Many women have trouble delivering babies later on in life from that surgery.

The Market place– here is where you shop for food. Your trip of a lifetime is right around the corner. Have a great time!

 

Travel Troubles

My hiking boots – true story


I bought a pair of brown Vasque boots 8 years ago.  I wore them maybe 5 times as I don’t really like the color brown.

We are going to Africa on safari and they tell you not to wear blue or black because of tsetse flies.  So I was glad I kept the brown Vasque boots.

One month before Africa we took a trip to hike in Colorado.    I decided to wear them just to make sure I still liked them.

Well going through security I felt like I had stepped in gum.  I looked down and almost the entire sole had come off.

I showed Mark and he took this picture.  We went to REI when we landed in Colorado and they told us they were over one year and we would have to talk to Vasque.  We sent them a picture and told them we would like them to do an autopsy because this should not have happen.  They were in my temperature controlled closet and had not been worn.

Vasque immediately asked my size and sent me a replacement.  Mind you these are $230 boots.  Good shoes last and should be guaranteed! Now we are off to Africa in my new brown Vasque hiking boots.  Just one picture and one email on social media will get a quick response.

Always try on all your clothes and wear your shoes before you head out on an adventure.  Thank goodness I always pack my extra shoes in my carry on.

General Tips For Travel

Go to second hand stores when you travel and especially in foreign countries.

We went to the St. Vincent de Paul thrift store in Waterford Ireland.  I found a beautiful etched vase that needed a little cleaning for 5 euros.  Many former Waterford glass cutters got to keep their machines after they retire. You can find some one of a kind pieces that would cost a lot of money at the Waterford factory.  This was a steal.

In Croatia I asked the proprietor of our B&B did she know of any good second-hand shops?  She gave me directions to 3 of them.  I bought a purple winter rain coat with double zippers that I wear when I travel.  I love it but if I lose it or leave it behind I have very little money in it.  It is perfect for on the water in a boat.  It protects me against wind and rain.  My husband got a beautiful leather vest.

In Colorado after my hiking boots fell apart on the way though security I needed a pair quick, yet I did not want to spend $250 at a fancy Telluride store.  So I went to a second-hand shop in Telluride and bought a pair of hiking boots for eight dollars that got me through the trip until I got home.  Also a great place to get souvenir t-shirts.

In HHI there is a second-hand shop called Bargain Box that people wait in line to get into almost daily. They even had an airplane for sale one time.  I have bought furniture and chandelier and many designer outfits.

Now you won’t find any thing you want in a second-hand store in  Africa or Cuba but most countries and definitely in the United States make sure to hit second-hand stores or even Good Wills to help if you left something at home.  Also a great place to get a used suitcase if yours breaks or a back pack.

We love the cultural treasure hunt.  It is always interesting to look through other people’s clothes and things.  This is great for cheap entertainment.

General Tips For Travel, Tips For the 60+ Woman Traveler

A woman and her shoes, oh my!

Here are the big ugly shoes I needed as a child!

How can you travel if your feet hurt.  Your feet are what carry you on your trip.

No one ever said “look at her cute shoes to me growing up.”  No one! I was born with very flat feet. The Doctors intervened when I was 3 years old and made me start wearing ugly prescription shoes to help my feet.

Now I am in my 60’s and plantar fasciitis, flat old feet and one big bunion later and I am in misery without proper foot wear. Even hiking boots which were my go to shoes for years can start to hurt after many days hiking.

My cute shoes are orthotics!

The older you get the more money you need to spend on your shoes. Your body needs more support than cheap shoes can provide.

Luckily there are many new orthotic type shoes to the rescue.

I love Vionic’s and Ortha heels shoes and sandals. Very very cute. You can walk for miles in these cute sandals!  If you are a flip-flop type a person they also have great looking flip-flops that are better for your feet.  Lots of younger gals also like their sandals for travel.

I pack all my shoes in my carry on. I cannot replace them easily in foreign countries. The heaviest shoes are on my feet on the plane. I also like Merrell shoes and  Clark shoes but nothing beats the Ortha heel in my book.

These are my real cute black orthotic sandals that I wore in Myanmar. I have them in many colors. Ortha heel makes lots and lots of great looking sandals but, I have not found many full shoes that are attractive and work as well as their sandals.  I have their Walker tennis shoes in black to go with black travel pants. They do look like orthotic shoes but I can walk forever in them.  At least they are not white shoes, which look terrible in pictures.

Good shoes will correct your gait and make walking a pleasure.

For the first time in my life people actually say cute shoes! You can find these shoes on-line at QVC (which I like to go to first for the reviews) , Zappos, Amazon or ebay. Yes they will cost more but they are worth it!

You have to get used to wearing them if you have not worn proper shoes in the past. Wear them for an hour or two for a week before travel to get used to them.  Many people give up after an hour and say these shoes hurt my feet but it is just your body getting used to proper alignment.

Hey those can’t be orthotic shoes they are too cute!

Destinations

Hilton Head Island 2016 Valentines

I bought this winter rain coat with double zippers in Croatia at a second hand store. It is perfect for cold rainy days on the ocean.

We love Hilton Head Island. It is unique in the fact that they outlaw any big signage and billboards. The beauty is astonishing.  The Spanish moss waves at you as it drapes  over the large old oak trees.  Let the katydids, frogs and the ocean sing you to sleep each night. Marvel at the sunrise each morning.

HHI is a paradise for animals, insects, fish, sharks, alligators and birds. I even like the fiddler crabs. The boy fiddler crabs have one big hand and one little hand. They wave the big hand at the girls to entice them to fool around together.

We took a little dinner cruise on the ocean on Valentines night. We saw a young man propose to his girlfriend at a table next to us. He had just a diamond spec for a ring yet she was very happy and beamed all night.

List our top ten things to do in HHI.

1. Go to the beach-Hilton Head Island beaches are flat.  They do not have many seashells at all.  They are excellent for walking, bike riding and wheel chairs.

2. Go eat great food!   Thousands of restaurants to choose from in HHI.  We can never get in all of our favorite restaurants when we visit.

3. Go to the second hand shops.  Bargain box, Litter box, St Francis are all great second hand shops with designer clothing and unique home décor.  I always hit Bargain Box as they seem to have the best items.  They even sold an airplane one time.

4. Go to the outlet malls.

5. Get up and watch the sunrise and make sure to walk the beach at night to see all the stars.

6. Get out on the water whether it is a dinner cruise or a lesson on what is under the ocean or our favorite is to rent a fishing boat and go out for a few hours.  Lots of sharks, cobia, red fish and many more to catch.

7.  HHI has a wonderful tradition on Thanksgiving.  The restaurant called Hudson’s along with a few churches puts out an incredible Thanksgiving dinner for free.  They believe that no one should eat alone on Thanksgiving.  Over 1000 people come to it.  You will be at a table with 18 people and you share a really wonderful turkey dinner and all the fixings.  You would think it was just poor people that come but that is not true.  Many wealthy families come that are on vacation and many older people come rather than cook a big dinner for just two.  All they ask is that you make a donation to their charity that helps people in that region.  We have been going for almost 20 years.  We have dined with the poor, the rich and little kids and people into their 90’s.  You will feel like one of the original pilgrims when they ate with the Indians.  A magical experience.

8. Do you like classic cars?  Concourse de Elegance is held the first week in November.

9.  Yacht hop is a wonderful experience for food tasting and seeing yachts.

10.  HHI has one of the best Veteran’s memorial parks around.  My father was military so I bought him a brick there and go by every year to see it.  A very peaceful place to honor all soldiers of all wars.  It overlooks a beautiful marsh and is a wonderful  peaceful place to walk around with your dog .