Category Archives: Random

A conundrum of sorts…

Leaving Lima

It’s common to be asked by the airlines to show your flight itinerary out of the country you will be entering.

At the Copa counter in Lima we were asked just that. “Where are you going after Panama City, Panama?” To which I promptly whipped open my Expedia app and showed the gal we would be heading to Georgetown, Guyana. “Por favor. May I please see proof that you had yellow fever shots? It is necesario to travel to Guyana.”

“No podemos!” declared a stunned Paige.

Ok, ok…… so we were supposed to get yellow fever shots but the thing is there were none in Charleston. They had been out for over a year.

Bill thought we needed the shots and when he couldn’t find them he went back on the internet and searched until he found an article that said we didn’t need them. The power of the internet right. You can find any answer you want!

Well, you don’t need them if you’re flying from the USA. Not the case if you’re coming from South America!

You see Bill’s original plan was to fly to Guyana first from the USA but oh no Paige needed her Panama hat first….

So…. we have two non-refundable airplanes flights. One to Guyana and one leaving Suriname and we’re not allowed in either country.

Get shots in Panama you say? The vaccine takes 10 days to be effective and we leave on the 14th. You do the math.

So plan B is in the works. Columbia? Nicaragua? El Salvador? Suggestions?

Once again I contacted my mother to asked her to call Suriname Airlines (our flight home) and beg for a refund.

So much for having to show where you are going next. We’re currently flying to Panama with unusable tickets out of the country. Perhaps we’ll be staying at the Panama City Immigration Hotel.

Hello Panama

A Roman Recovery

Today was our last full day in Italy.

After spending the day in bed yesterday we took the time to revisit (our first time was 12 years ago) the Coliseum, Forum and surrounding areas.We managed to accumulate ten miles on these weary bodies of ours. My heels are not happy.Room service, bed and Charleston by tomorrow night.

Day 5 of the Via Francigena

Well rested and ready to hit the trail again.St. Vincent to Verres – 11 miles and 7 hours including a lengthy lunch break.

The morning was a series of up and down. There’s nothing like a straight up hill to get your blood pumping. The ground was damp from the yesterday’s rain and dew drops glistened in the morning sun. Fall was in the air.We gathered that as small children we all cut our hair (you know that one spot, crooked and close to your head) and we all put our tongue on a frozen pipe or fence. Like minds think alike.

We can learn to see each other and see ourselves in each other and recognize that human beings are more alike than we are unalike.” – Maya Angelou

With the beauty that surrounds us we took the wrong path. Upon finding the correct path Bill said “You know how they say all roads lead to Rome? That’s bullshit.” Darrell quickly followed “Some lead to a castle that you don’t want to go to.”Bill and I purposely walked upon the furrows in the rocks worn down by Roman wagons. I tried to teleport myself back to Ancient times.

There was one small town that gave us the opportunity to have a delicious lunch. Salad, ragú, carbonara, bruschetta and seafood salad.Back to the Via following the River Dora with its intriguing glacial water.We are at the Ostella (hostel) Il Casello tonight.We have private rooms with a shared bath/shower room. It rests right next to the train tracks. The roof shingles blowing in the wind should lull us to sleep tonight.Here’s Roxanne’s post and photos:

The Fab Five are back on The Via to Rome after a lay over to breath in the mountain air at the base of the Matterhorn and to bathe in the spa waters of Saint Vincent.

Batam, Indonesia

Day trip from Singapore to Batam via the ferry.

We stepped out of high rises, high-lights and high prices to well…. the complete opposite.

Parked right around the corner from the Singapore terminal was Paul Allen’s (Microsoft co-founder) 414 foot, $200 million yacht named Octopus – the biggest privately owned yacht in the world.

We had 2 choices – the island of Batam or Bintan. We were told to go to Bintan because it had luxurious resorts, shopping and nice beaches.

We chose Batam.

A short taxi ride to Nagoya for the best massages ever. A little Indonesian lunch and a bottle of wine from the tiny duty free shop – 75% cheaper than in Singapore. It’s going to taste that much better too.

The exchange rate from roughly one to one to $1 equals $10,000 rupiahs.

The night sky was especially beautiful on the return trip.

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Zigzagging and being present

Bill and I are yogis – enjoying the practice 4 times a week keeps us committed, flexible and forever trying to be present.

Shavasana is when we are to be most present.  Per Wikipedia it is intended to rejuvenate the body, mind, and spirit. In Shavasana, practitioners’ breath deepens, and the stress of the day is released. The yogi forgets all other thoughts and surrenders any psychological effort. While in Shavasana, yogis slip into blissful neutrality and reflect on the practice.

Yeah right – we also make plans and lists….

However, travel – from experiencing all the beauty in between using a bathroom with urine overflowing the brim to seeing a dead man laying on the street – gives me the most opportunities to be “present”.

Everything is new. Engaged in our surroundings there is no room for lists and planning and there are no expectations.

I always thought golf, scuba diving and being with the kids made me present. However, upon reflection golf is just a plain masochistic way of being present – scuba diving has me constantly looking for sharks and being with the kids (best of all) still has me being the mom.

World exploration is good for the soul.  It has helped me become more accepting and tolerant. I am constantly learning. Reflection and deeper thinking has lead to more understanding.

When present I don’t have time to fear.  It affords me the opportunity to get out of my head.

“The use of traveling is to regulate imagination with reality, and instead of thinking of how things may be, see them as they are.” – Samuel Johnson

Photo of the Day 305

Built directly into solid rock. 

Known as Church of the Rock – Rock Church and Temppeliakio. 

I think the designers were channeling Frank Lloyd Wright.

October 31, 2016

#churchoftherock #rockchurch #temppeliaukio #helsinki #finland #design #architecturephotography #architecture #peaceful #explore #welltraveled #fromwhereistand #tlpicks #doyoutravel #cntraveler #guardiantravelsnaps #lonelyplanet #photofrommyday2016 #photooftheday

Camino Santiago Portugues Day 6

We start our mornings at 7 and head to the closest cafe for coffee and breakfast that’s coffee with milk – 2 sugars and a pastry. 

We have yet to burn off the calories we eat in one day. I know this because my Fitbit tells me so.

Today we had to walk 5 miles before we found a cafe. Chappy needing his daily coffee fix almost sprinted there – we’ve decided for the rest of the Camino to dangle a cup of coffee in front of him to get him to pick up the pace.

Another beautiful day. The mornings are cool and the breeze keeps us comfortable as the sun takes over the day.
 This day the Camino took us through small towns, ugly rural housing, a short trail (still muddy in places) and industrial areas. Pavement – lots of pavement.

A generous man, Nelson, stopped his car and gave each of us a plastic bag with a bottle of cold water and 2 apples – the timing was perfect! 

I’ve decided that our bodies are equipped to walk 9 miles! Anything beyond that is torture.

34,294 steps and 14.59 miles. Chappy said my Fitbit is a POS and we actually went 15.3 miles today. 

Darrell found us a modern hotel in Aqueda – we are sleeping like tourists tonight – not pilgrims.

Bill asking for directions – 100% language barrier


 

Appropriately named Iceland

WOW Air red-eye from Baltimore to Reykjavik screams party right?

The airport to town center is a 50 minute drive through endless lava fields hugging a frigid coastline.

Layering up was no match for the cold – wind gusts threw us around like drunken sailors. Thank goodness we only had a quick 25 hour stay. 

First on the list was the magnificent Harpa Concert Hall – glass, mirrors and more glass.

The town is spotless with yummy dining choices – plenty of cafes to thaw out – multitude of wool sweater stores – corrugated steel sided minimalistic architecture – cool street art

 

and a cut to the chase newspaper..

We dipped our toes in the Icelandic culture and plan to return to see the Northern Lights.

Burning Man 2015

New motorhome + new camp = new experience.

This year we did not have a planned camp. There were 5 of us in 2 vehicles – a 34′ RV and a pickup truck pulling a large horse trailer with living space.

Campers enter from the 6:00 axis – where you can then turn right or left.  We chose left because that was familiar to us.  Burning Man had only been officially opened 18 hours and we discovered tens of thousands of people turned left too.  It took 2 hours and a flat tire to find a spot.

Camp Burning Man 2015 Home Burning Man 2015

A perfect spot mind you because we met the kindest, funniest people and despite the 4 straight days of wind we giggled.

Perhaps the highlight of my burn this year was spending those 4 windy days making a Djembe drum thanks to Dr. Thelonious and his Family of Vagabonds.

and taking Fish Lips Kisses photos…

and volunteering at the Center Camp Cafe.

But in spite of the constant dust storm, did we ever have fun, including the margarita party in a 75 mph gale –

just look at these photos (click on photos to enlarge):

 

Birth of a Vision – Our New Burning Man RV

Who knew at our age we could conceive….

We have yet to name her.  I was thinking Lizzy – Bill is pleading the 5th.  Perhaps you can help? One would think that after conceiving, nurturing and then finally creating life a name would appear – especially after looking into her eyes and seeing our reflection.

We sold the Pinnacle of Love after Burning Man 2012.  It was time for a new canvas and a newer motorhome.

February 2015 brought exactly what we were looking for.  A 1996 Pace Arrow Vision – the inside had been well cared for and rocked the perfect floorplan.  The oversized refrigerator and sectional couch were luxuries we hadn’t dreamed of – the outside was faded – crying out for some lovin’.

Having years to mull over themes and spending many a sleepless night searching the dark recesses of my brain looking for something unique to paint – I always came back to what was comfortable, cozy – images from colorful Mexico – Calaveras, Frida, sombreros and cardones (cactus).

So it began….

First – caulk and reseal the roof.  Next, Bill scrubbed and washed the sides with a degreaser followed by a primer coat of Kilz paint.   A clean canvas.  We were ready to roll…

Luckily we were able to work inside an enormous old metal building to avoid the intense summer sun. It was Bill’s perfect environment – a sauna! We got to paint and detox at the same time.  Our reading glasses continually slipped off our noses and the sweat dripped from our brow.  Bill was in heaven. It was the perfect environment to create.

As Heywood Broun said:  Sweat is the cologne of accomplishment.

I sketched for days using the remaining Kilz as my whiteout (perspective is hard to obtain without an eraser).  Whilst Bill and our paint angels started bringing this baby to life.

We painted from dawn to dusk using an array of semi gloss and high gloss exterior paints.

And finally she was born…

A special shout out to our angels ~ Kate, Darrell, Roxanne, Piper and Boo.  Without you we could not have made the deadline.

A Space for Artfulness

In recent years the desire to have a dedicated “art” area has been intensifying.
It started with the notion of buying a large storage shed and plopping it on our parcel – only to find out it would not fit within the mandatory setbacks.
Next was a consultation with a contractor to have a little room built off the laundry room. “This roof line doesn’t meet that – the floor elevation doesn’t meet this.  We have to change the roofline, dig out a new subfloor”.  Dollars were mounting. The heck with that.
Penny pincher Paige gave up on the whole thing.
Last month we decided the clean out the garage – the walls seemed to be closing in.  It was time to give the kids all the childhood clutter we’ve been storing for years (why make them wait until we kick the bucket). We sorted through all the novelties we haven’t looked at in 10 years. Give away this, throw out that, save enough for the kids to reminisce about later on. Divide and conquer.
And then the lightbulb went off.
My new art room.
*click on photos to enlarge
* Our handy dandy handyman took down one of our shelves in a creative way – lowering the middle shelf to create a tabletop and then cutting off the remaining top selves.  He installed particle board over the tabletop to allow room for a cantilevered sitting area while notching out  room for my legs on the shelf below.  Pegboard now hides the torn sheetrock.
New paint gave the table and adjoining shelves a crisp clean look – Minwax Polycrylic Gloss  protects the work surfaces from chipping and scratching.  Walmart curtains hide the storage shelves and create a more finished effect. I painted the floor a checkerboard pattern to pull all the colors in and chose teal green to paint an old barstool and storage boxes to add a little pop.
Violà – or Walah for us Americans…..

Spring – new beginning – a new canvas

We are now the proud parents of a 34′ Pace Arrow Vision motorhome.  Shiny (and I mean shiny) on the inside and fading on the outside – begging for a crazy paint job – our new canvas.

This baby is huge – so much taller and a longer than the Pinnacle of Love.  A road warrior.

The interior is a conundrum of sorts – apparently someones great grandmother had the honor of decorating this beauty – bedroom and bath plastered in gaudy shiny pink and spearmint floral wallpaper, valances and bedding ruffle wrapped – a dream gone bad.

As Dr. Seuss famously said “Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.”

Be gone…….  old granny bedroom. Behold…. new and vivid.

Monday – the bathroom metamorphosis begins…

 

I have been advised…..

A kind note from my sister this morning advised me to blog more.

Being afraid of the Facebook over posting syndrome (you know the issue – those who share their Starbucks purchases and gym runs) I had decided to blog only occasionally.

So here goes with more description and more frequent postings……. You too can click the unlike or unsubscribe button if you deem to be over shared!