Škrip, Croatia

Visited the Olive Oil Museum where we saw how olive oil was traditionally made and also were treated to a snack of delicious tapenade, olive oil and balsamic vinegar and fresh figs. Posted from Postira, Split-Dalmatia County, Croatia.

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Athens, so many mixed feelings

I fully recognized that some of what I am about to write will seem extremely ungrateful, privileged, and may offend some. But the truth is we are extremely grateful to be able to travel and to be able to see different cultures and get a glimpse into their daily lives. Coming up to our departure date, I still had not done much research at all on Athens or Greece.  Besides the lovely pictures of Santorini and the Acropolis, I really knew nothing at all except gyros and “opah”! As we rode in the car from the airport to our airbnb,[…]

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Whistler Notes

   We started by going up the Village Gondola to the Mid Station and on the magic carpet and the Olympic Chair but quickly became bored. The Olympic Chair run is a decent run to iron out or learn to parallel ski but at this point too slow for just skiing. So we took the Gondola up to the Roundhouse. Took the Ego Bowl down but probably ended up on the Cougar and Jolly Green Giant because Meeta had a wipeout next to the fence line on the right. Ego bowl is steep and too bumpy and none of us[…]

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Rancho Margot – an Eco Lodge

Rancho Margot is a beautiful property in the cloud forest near Arenal Volcano. What makes Rancho Margot special are it’s efforts to be environmentally conscious. It generates all of its own electrical power from hydroelectric generators. It has it’s own dairy and produces its own cheese. You can even try your hand at milking the cows if you like. It grows a lot of the food that is used by its kitchen to create the food that is eaten by its guest as well as the volunteers and interns. You can also help harvest daily. We help picked some greens[…]

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Panama City … A mixed bag and up and coming travel destination.

Panama City is an up coming area. We decided to stay in Casco Viejo which is the old quarter. The area is exactly our vibe except that it is under major revitalization. It recently became a UNESCO Heritage Site and all of the buildings are protected. The area several years ago was run down, dirty, overcrowded and basically neglected. The buildings, however, are amazing. The streets reminded us of Rome and just about every single one of them is under restoration right now. It’s great to see the area being turned around but it made for a very quiet stay.[…]

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Panama City Carnaval

So, Carnaval in Panama City was….less exciting than expected. We thought that it would be a good substitute for Rio but not a chance. There were 5 floats driving around in a loop about 3 blocks long. The crowd wasn’t excited and no one was dancing. The line to get in was absolutely crazy. It was probably 4 blocks long with pat down searches for everyone coming in. There was a line for men and women so whoever got through first would wait in the DMZ until the other person came through. It reminded me of images of refugees being[…]

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Chattanooga Family Trip

We piled everyone into the minivan and drove 2 hours to Chattanooga for a family getaway. The first thing we saw was Ruby Falls, a 145 foot high waterfall that is 1120 feet underground in a cavern. A very strange thing to see since we are use to seeing waterfalls in Hawaii under blue skies. To get there, we had to walk through a corridor through the mountain. Poor Nilesh had to hunch down the entire time. Unfortunately, someone decided the falls were not beautiful enough naturally and decided to light it up in a rainbow of changing colors synchronized[…]

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Tellus Museum was a blast. And yeah, the kids liked it, too.

It took us an hour to get there, and it’s in the middle of nowhere, but the Tellus Museum in Cartersville, GA was a lot of fun. The first thing you see is a mammoth dump truck in the parking lot. It’s so huge they had to get it there in three parts. Why do they change the name of animals that no longer exist? I grew up with Brontosaurus being the largest dinosaur, but now it’s Apatasaurus. Wait they’re the same thing! And then there’s the Honu the size of an Escalade. And don’t forget the armadillo the size[…]

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Stone Mountain Adventure

We climbed the largest granite formation in the world. It’s just outside of Atlanta, GA. Avinash charges the mountain. Slow and steady. Sometimes racing… Sometimes jumping… Rewarded by a picnic at the top. We met some really “cool” friends. Do you need a hand coming down? Posted from Stone Mountain, Georgia, United States.

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Disneyland Tokyo

Disneyland Tokyo is the third Disney park we’ve been to on this trip. Nothing can compare to the VVIP experience we had at Disneyland Paris, so that will always be the bar that all future experience will be judged. DL Tokyo is actually not owned by the Disney corporation. It is also larger than Disneyland in California or Disneyworld in Orlando. It is kind if fun to see everything localized to Japan but at the same time annoying that EVERYTHING was in Japanese and we couldn’t understand any of it. Avinash got to ride one of the big rides. The[…]

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Lemonade as Our Teacher

Coming down the jetway trying to catch one of our flights in Hong Kong, I caught a glimpse of this poster and had to stop to take a picture of it. It summarized so many things we were trying to accomplish in our trip with Avinash. 1. We wanted him to be aware of the world we live in. To be mindful that we do have cultural and regional differences, but that everyone still loves lemonade. 2. Isn’t a lemon by any other name just as sour? Whether it’s called lemon, limone, limbu, chanh, or anything else, a lemon is[…]

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Laundry: The Surprise Travel Problem

There are a lot of things you have to think about and plan when traveling. Since we’ve been traveling about 8 months now, most of those things are easy. Need a hotel? Jump online, check TripAdvisor, narrow it down, look at pictures and reviews and “KAPOOW” book it. Not so with getting your laundry done. Unless you want to spend about $1USD per article to get your socks washed you’ve got to find alternatives. For some reason, all the world over laundry service seems to be $1USD per article. It’s like it’s a global per item laundry price fixing conspiracy.[…]

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Taxi Drivers are Funny People

In our experience, taxi drivers are generally not a breed to be trusted. We always make sure that if needed a fare is pre-negotiated or that the meter is used. We generally have a basic distrust of taxi drivers and it is built upon our experiences and misadventures. Nowhere have we had such a bad experience with taxis drivers than in Harbin, China. One taxi driver took on another passenger and took her to the airport first and then wanted us to pay the entire meter. It was 4 times what we should have been charged. Another took us to[…]

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Modes of Transportation

Plane Car for one month in Italy Train from Italy to Paris, Mumbai to Varodara and Tokyo to Hakone Pony rides in Jarden du Luxemburg, Paris Car Ferry to Sardegnia and in Saigon 5 hour canoe ride in Madagascar On top of the Jeep on Safari Puddle skipper prop planes in Kenya Camel back in Pushkar Camel cart in Pushkar Elephant back in Jodhpur Cable car in Hong Kong, Great Wall and Hakone, Japan. Funicular in Croatia and Hakone Round woven fishing boat in Quy Nhon Cableway up to top of Great Wall of China and tabongan down. Pedicabs in[…]

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Here’s Why I Will Never Book Through Hotels.com Again

Hotels.com and other travel sites have great websites that make finding a hotel to stay very easy. Having used it extensively I still use it to FIND hotels but I will NEVER use it to book another hotel stay. Here’s why: 1. You have very little recourse if something goes wrong. In our case, we has a few situations where we showed up at a hotel and did not stay because it was unacceptable. We tried to work with the hotel and tried to work it out with Hotels.com but they would not refund our money paid. So just dispute[…]

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Can Gio – Sac Mangrove Jungle

We booked an excursion to Can Gio which was advertised as a Mangrove Forest Reserve where you can interact with the monkeys and other animals. We thought it would a great day trip keeping in theme with our animal adventures. We drove for an hour and then took a ferry across the river to the island. Then we took a canoe ride through the mangrove jungle. What it turned out to be was a tour of the command post for the guerrilla Viet Cong during the war and a tour of the area. It included a video of the Sac[…]

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Scooters everywhere!

Your browser does not support the video tag We would not have thought of taking our son on a scooter in Sai Gon before this trip started. Today when we were asked about a scooter ride, we said “Fun!” Posted from Ho Chi Minh City, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

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Cruisin in Sai Gon

We arrived in Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam yesterday. I love how we can hit the ground running almost anywhere we go now. Since we’ve been in Hong Kong for a couple of weeks already we’ve acclimated (easily)to Asian culture and food. Can’t wait to spend a month in Nam’s birth country.

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Vietnam

I ran across these men playing Chinese Chess.  It brought back memories of playing when I was young.  All the moves came back and strategies revealed themselves to me again.  I could have won this game in 7 moves, but it took the guy on the right 16 moves to get the job done.   Posted from Ho Chi Minh City, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

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Customer Acquisition Specialist

We met a very interesting person tonight. We’ll just call him “Mike”. We couldn’t exactly come up with a good job description for Mike, so we made one up: Customer Acquisition Specialist. In my opinion, Mike’s talents are being wasted. Let me backtrack a little. So we are walking the streets of Istanbul and at every restaurant there is a person standing next to the menu board waiting to try to get you to eat at their restaurant. I generally have no problems with just walking by and ignoring someone if I don’t want to interact with them. Meeta on[…]

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Papa Pig vs. Mama Meeta

Today we took a small hike on a trail behind Spannochia. Meeta had encountered what she thought were wild boars on a previous walk so we were hoping to see some. Inside, I was a little nervous remember reading somewhere how quickly domestic pigs becomes wild and also remembering reading somewhere that wild boars are very unpredictable. So I pick up a stick that I found and hinted to Meeta subtly that I was a little concerned about the situation we might get ourselves into. Of course we don’t want to alarm Avinash or create a fear in him of[…]

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Saturnia

Leave it to us to find the path least traveled. Our most brilliant example ever of this was in Yosemite National Park. We had just arrived at the park with Erica and saw a beautiful waterfall. So we stopped the car and started walking towards the falls. It was mostly knee deep in snow but we were so excited that we forged onwards. At one point, Erica stepped into a hole and went all the way down to her hips. We pulled her out and saw that below there was a running river of water. We kept going, now with[…]

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iPhone Turn-by-Turn Fail…In a Bad Way.

No sooner do I finish extolling the virtues of the iPhone for travelling that it fails us. We were making our way from Grosseto to Saturnia. All was well. We had been enjoying the turn-by-turn navigation on the iPhone and were talking about how it has made things so much easier. No more spending hours mapping routes. No more maps that you have to unfold and can never fold back up again correct. It seemed perfect. So much so, that we never questioned the GPS lady on previous days when on two different trips to the same location, she took[…]

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Food Notes

Boston – Quesadilla filled with mashed potatoes. London – Pickled eggs at the pub Rome – Sicilian fried chickpea triangles. Panelle. Saturnia – Warm Ewe cheese with pear mousse. Ravioli with ricotta and sage. Ricotta with honey. Florence- lemon ricotta ravioli Siena- cantucci with vino to dip in Pisa – Cecina, a regional (Lucca) chickpea crepe Sardegna – Seada Sardegna – Culirgiones -pasta filled with mashed potatoes. Close to pierogis Menemen- Turkish egg and tomato India: Bhaji Roti (Rotla) with Makhan and good (gore) Puran Puri Daal bhati Pudla Khaman Panda Bharfi Gulab jamun Tropicana pani puri Vietnam Triangle sandwich[…]

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How the iPhone has changed the way we travel.

This is the first time we are really travelling with the iPhone.  Sure we’ve taken some trips where having the iPhone has come in handy for looking things up on Yelp, of finding quick directions.  But this time around, it is an indispensable part of travels. Siri may make it Our World of 4. It’s been a while since we have travelled internationally.  The last time we did was to Vietnam.  Communications was important, but it was not critical.  Today, communication is mandatory and necessary.  But it’s not what you think.  We sort of skipped over the need for international[…]

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Rome, I am overwhelmed.

Rome, Rome, Rome. Rome is by far the most beautiful city I have ever been to.  Not that it is sparkling clean, or smells like roses everywhere.  It’s old, it’s weathered, it aged very well. It is so easy to become numb and overwhelmed by the beauty of this city.  If you were to take any of hundreds of buildings found in Rome and put it in any other city, it would become an architectural attraction in that city.  In Rome, it is just another beautiful building.  I started off by taking a lot of pictures, but that got old very quickly.  If[…]

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Avinash the Dome Climber

Avinash for the most part has been fantastic about all of the walking we have been doing in Rome. I haven’t had this much exercise since we trained for the triathlon and marathon. While Avinash can be very unpredictable with when he wants or does not want to walk, when he does put his mind to it, he shows surprising stamina. For instance, in London, we found a race track and Avinash suddenly wanted to run around the track. Of course, I wasn’t going to hold him back, so we started to run. He would get tired, but then he[…]

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We’re getting hammered on foreign transaction fees!

So I checked our account today and saw that we were being charged a foreign transaction fee each time we make a withdrawal at the cash machine. Trying to see how to get around this but something you need to consider when traveling. We will need some Euros when we arrive in Italy, so I went out to find a place that will exchange Pounds for Euros. Found a place that sends Western Union payments so I thought they must be legit. I walk in and ask for Euros and the younger guy turns over to the older guy and[…]

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Indian visas and Hamley’s

It was a mixed day. Most of our stay in London is intended to be used for getting stuff done like getting visas for India, Kenya, Tanzania, and Vietnam. Also more important stuff like the Apple store and Hamleys. Well, after much effort and lots of money spent on passport pictures, we found out today that we’re probably not going to get our visas for India in London. The Indian Embassy has outsourced all of the visa processing to a contracted company. Not to be trite, but the outsourced service is extremely inept, cumbersome, and lengthy. Much more difficult than[…]

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Fresco – Lebanese

We had lunch today at Fresco, a Lebanese restaurant in Bayswater.  It was pouring rain today and after being charged 140GBP at Snappy Snap (yes that is the name of the photo shop) for visa pictures for all of us, I was just looking to go somewhere and sit down.  The food was good not great.  There’s probably much better Lebanese or Mediteranian food to be found but this was what we settled on.  We got the Mezza Plate and Moussaka.  Both were OK.  Food seemed fresh and the service was fine, but the flavors just seemed flat.  Or maybe[…]

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Blog is up….kind of.

Not too many people know about this blog, but if you got here then I wanted to have a least something for you to look at.  We’ll be adding stuff soon, but right now still working on the layout and look and feel.  We’ve got to get it up and running soon before we forget stuff though.

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Avinash and the Street Performer

Today we came out of the Maida Vale Station after a long day of touring around London to the very pleasant sound of a violin playing nearby.  Avinash was captured by a street performer playing the violin.  The performer was obviously trained and talented and looked like an interesting fellow.  He had cut-off gray sweatpants on with a white shirt and a pair of flipflops on his feet.  On his head, he had a black derby hat with a yellow flower on top.  Oh yeah, and his violin was yellow.  Avinash watched and listened for quite some time.  The performer stopped[…]

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Our Journey

16 flights Over 50,000 miles 6 continents 2 times around the world 12+ months And that is only getting us started! We’ve only loosely planned the major hub flights for our trip. From these hub cities we will make side trips to other destinations. What kind of ticket did we get? Well, there are various “round-the-world” type tickets and they are actually very reasonable when you consider what it would cost individually. Some tickets with 5 or 6 stops can be gotten for $2500-$3000. They usually have very strict rules and most require you to travel in only one direction[…]

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Why are we doing this?

Everyone we have talked to has asked us why we are doing this. Besides the obvious “Why not!” there are some very good reasons why we are doing this and why we are doing it now. Avinash is 3 years old and we realized that this would be the last year that we would be able to do a year long trip before he entered school.  Sure we will have Summer and Winter breaks, but we will never again have a full year.  Meeta and I have always wanted to take an extended vacation so it seemed like the perfect[…]

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