Friday, October 21, 2011

The Engagement Story

Eric and I had been planning for our families to come visit the week of Labor Day, we had the week off of work and thought it would be a good idea for them to meet for the first time. We decided to have them fly out on Tuesday, the day after Labor Day so we could have the long weekend to relax and get ready for visitors. On the Friday before the weekend, Eric asked me what our plans were and I said not much since we agreed we were not doing anything. I told him I just had some errands to run on Saturday. He asked it I could be done by 11am, I said of course.

The next day I left early in the morning to get stuff done, sneaking in a manicure (just in case). I got home right around 11am and Eric told me to pack a bag for the weekend, he was taking me away on a surprise trip. I definitely was surprised! He wouldn't tell me anything....

An hour later we got in the car and headed to the surprise destination. The only hint I got was that it was some place I had never been. He also said he had made dinner reservations for 8:30 so I knew it was less than 8 hours away. 6 hours later we were in Morro Bay, California. It was beautiful! Eric booked us a room in a small Inn over looking the water. We got settled in and went for a walk on the beach to watch the sunset. We moved around a few times because it was a bit cloudy there but finally found a spot on the rocks. Eric pulled a small box out of his backpack and proposed!

It was perfect, the ring, the words (even though neither of us remember exactly what was said) and the setting. After all that and a couple quick phone calls we had to hurry back to make our dinner reservation which was also at the Inn we were staying at. We went to the restaurant where I noticed the owner looking at my hand, he congratulated us and sat us at their best table and gave us our menus. Inside the menu under appetizers was "The fture Mr. and Mrs. Forand - Priceless", yes you read that right "fture". Eric did not plan that part, it was a nice surprise from the hotel. As I have said before, my life is like a Seinfeld episode and that about summed it up.

That coupled with the bottle of Dom Perignon Eric had chilling in our room was the best night of my life so far! And what I think is the best proposal in history!

The next big adventure

It has been a while since I posted anything, mainly because we have only traveled back to our home states to visit. Not that Michigan and Connecticut are not exciting but we have all heard about those places.

I decided to turn this into a blog about the newest adventure in my life getting married! We probably won't be traveling much this year since we are saving for a wedding and I would like to keep it going. We have been engaged for 7 weeks now and have 358 days until the wedding, well at least the first one.... Which is why I decided this could be somewhat interesting. Stay tuned for the engagement story.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Weekend trip to Michigan & so much more......

Hello blog followers... It has been a while but that is what happens when you go back to work. Although my writer friends would say that is not an excuse.

This weekend I went back to Michigan (my hometown) I flew out on the redeye flight from LAX and landed in Michigan at 6:30am EST. I won't even get into my experience with Spirit Airlines (whom I will never fly with again) but let's just say it was very unpleasant. I got very little sleep on the plane, thank god for the very large glass of $14 wine from the sports bar at LAX or I would have gotten much less.... It started with my uncle (my godfather) picking me up at the god awful hour I arrived with coffee and McDonalds breakfast. I had been so used to waiting at the airport for someone to pick me up at a more reasonable time that I forgot how nice it was for someone to be there waiting when I landed. Thanks Uncle Rick! Then it was off to mom's, it had been 9 months since my last visit so I was really looking forward to this trip. Had more coffee and gave mom her gifts from my S.E. Asia trip and her mother's day present and just caught up a bit.

We headed to the store around 10am to get things ready for the grand opening gala of her new store TaraMaria Fashion Boutique. This was the main reason for my trip, mother's day was just a bonus. It was a success! From 12-6pm it was non-stop, packed with family, friends and strangers checking it out. I got to see people I have not seen in a long time, some even years! I also got to see my friends and some new additions to the family. I was so happy and so proud of my mom for finally fulfilling her dream! It's a ton of work and she is still working her regular full-time job but after this weekend we could see the potential the store has.

After the opening I headed to a friend's house for her son's 2nd birthday (actually this was the after party) and a few other friend's were there. One thing I have learned over the years is that no matter how much time goes by, no matter what ups and downs you may have and how far away you may be the friends you had way before life took over are the friends you will always have and love. I also realized how lucky I am! I have my 2 best friends who have been with me through the years and I also have my good friends who we maybe grew apart during a time when peoples lives were going in different directions but as I sat at the table talking and laughing with them it was as if we never missed a beat. I am lucky because I have the best of both worlds, I have great new friends out here in California, some who have become like family and some actual family but I have the real true friends back in Michigan (and Ohio). The ones that loved you back then, when you had a perm, braces, obsessed with 90210, loved the Beastie Boys and totally disregarded anyone's advice when it came to dating. We may now have better hair, straighter teeth, not so into the new 90210 (because let's be honest no one can replace Dylan McKay) but we still love the Beastie Boys and well for the most part evolved from the dating debacles but will be there for each other if bad decisions are made. It all comes down to people who have shared most of the memories you have with. To quote OAR "When in the end we can all call a friend, well that's something I know is true. And then a thousand years and a thousand tears I'll come back to my original crew"

I heard my friend who was also celebrating her 10 year anniversary and my mom both say that in that weekend they saw all their bridesmaids. I can only hope that in ten and twenty-six years I can say the same thing.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Angkor Wat

Sunday, March 6, 2011

More images to enjoy.....Hoi An, Viet Nam

When in doubt.... Fried Rice

One thing I really looked forward to on this trip was the food. Although I tend to be what some may call a "picky eater" as I have reached my 30's I have broadened my horizons a bit in the food department. For exmple I hated onions my entire life but after traveling in Central America where they put them in everything, even when you ask them not to, I love them! Which is good since they are in everything here too.
In some more traditional places in S.E. Asia, they don't have menus. Some places have pictures and while you are not exactly sure what ingredients it contains you do know if you are ordering chickens feet or not. A universal understanding everyone seems to have is fried rice. Each country has its own spin on it and it even varies from region to region, it's basically a safe bet where ever you go.
It is interesting to go into some restaurants and find the "Western Food" section on the menu. It usually has a burger of some kind, pizza, which I had a handful of times when I just couldn't take any more rice or noodles and the famous club sandwich.  While these menus were about 12 pages long, it bascially contained different combinations of fried noodles, steamed or fried rice with chicken, beef, pork or seafood and soup. They did have a large vegetarian selection due to the large Buddist population. Don't get me wrong, the food was great! I actually lost weight on the trip (quite a bit) Asian people have cornered the maket on that no doubt. But what's that saying about too much of a good thing?
In the end I have enjoyed my experience with the food, pad thai, beef luk lak (I think) and of course Pho.I just have one final thought for S.E. Asia in regards to food, club sandwichs do not have chicken or egg just for future reference.

Water Puppetry

It is exactly what it sounds like. This ancient practice started when the rice patties would flood, the Vietnamese people would do these shows to pass the time. You walk into a rather small theather and I just don't mean the size, the seats are meant for people about 5 feet tall. Instead of a stage in front of you there is a pond with a live band set just above it on the left. When it starts the lights dim and the puppets appear from the water. At the end the puppeteers come out from behind the backdrop and walk through the waist deep water. The puppets (we later learned) are on long poles and controlled from behind the curtain, the puppeteers are in the water the entire time. There were about 6-8 puppeteers total and the show lasted abut 45 minutes. It was pretty cool!

Long live the king or in this case the Vietnamese Marxist revolutionary leader

Yes in true Communist style Ho Chi Minh's body was embalmed and put on display in a glass sarcphagus in a monumental mausoleum in Hanoi. Today we saw it... To answer your question, it was creepy as hell! Thousads of people come from all over the world to pay their respects, but make sure if you want to embark on this adventure you show up Sat-Thu between 8-11am in the months of  January to August. He gets shipped to Russia in September for 3 months for his yearly maintenance. You have to form 2 lines and basically filter through in a brisk single file manner with proper attire and no cameras. Yeah, like I really want a picture of a man who has been dead for 42 years. I must say impresive work by the Russians, he doesn't look a day older then 79. Did I mention "Uncle Ho's" last wishes were to be cremated?

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Never lose your wits...

So we made it 34 days and today was the first time someone tried to scam us. Thankfully between living in Los Angeles, Detroit and Boston we trust no one.... We learned in Central America how to handle the taxi drivers, first ask how much (even if there is a meter) usually there they did not have meters. Next one person (usually the man) gets in the passenger seat and the other sits behind the driver. This intimidates them and let's them know you are not a first timer. Also in case he does go off the grid this way the passenger can stop the car and the person behind can grab the driver, very Jason Bourne like.
At the beginning you are totally on guard, but after 34 days you start to get into a groove. First thing we should have noticed was the cab company was not a name we have seen. The colors were the same as the one we have used throughout Viet Nam so we did not think twice. We got in saw a meter that started and told him where to go. About halfway we noticed the meter jumping significantly, then I noticed we did not have a picture ID anywhere in the taxi. Luckily we knew what it sould cost since this was our taxi ride back. We politely pointed out the that meter was wrong, he just played dumb and kept driving. Then we told him to stop, we knew we were close and could figure out the way. Also it was the town circle, lots of people were around. He then argued with us about the fare 397,000 dong (almost $20) we paid 28,000 dong ($2.50) to get there. We firmly told him the meter was wrong, he said he would the police. When he realized we had no argument with that, he took the 30 dong and got the hell out of there!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Last Big Hurrah...

In 2 hours we depart Hue' and head to Hanoi. We have about a 16 hour train ride in a berth with 2 sets of bunkbeds. This is also our last tavel day/ night since we fly out of Hanoi on Monday. I am not sure what I am more excited about the actual train ride or knowing that it is taking me to the place I head home from...... It is funny the things you look forward to and the things you miss or don't miss. Like I can not wait to have a salad! I also look forward to wearing some different clothes.You can imagine how many outfit choices you have when traveling with a backpack that is smaller then my carry-on suit case I take home to Michigan for a long weekend. If I don't ever see my linen capris until my next trip, I will live a happy life. Suprisingly I do not miss my cell phone, this is the longest I have gone in about 15 years (since I have had a cell phone) without talking on the phone. I am however addicted to skype! I look forward to grocery shopping and cooking at home. I watched Julia and Juile twice on ths trip and it inspired me to write more and to cook more. Specifically to buy Julia Child's French cookbook and learn from that. I do not necessarily miss driving but I do miss having the freedom to come and go as I please. Things are so limited here. While it makes you reaize how simple you can live, you also appreciate what you have. I love that we have traffic laws and that you are not allowed to smoke anywhere!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Vietnamese Cooking class

This morning we took a cooking class, I had been looking forward to this the whole trip. We debated about taking a Thai one as well but I am sure I can figure out pad thai on my own, since we like Vietnamese food more we thought it ould be a good choice. We were right on! White Lotus was the place, Ty who is the head chef was our teacher and t make things even better we were the only ones in the class. Also, White Lotus is a restaurant that is non-porfit and the proceeds benefit displaced adults in the area. It is part of Project Indochina, an organization founded by an Austrailian that helps people throughout Viet Nam, Cambodia and Laos find work and a better way of living. We ate there 3 times already, hence the reason we chose to learn from that chef.
Our morning started at 8:30am, we got to the restaurant and had Vietnamese coffee. Then it was off to the maket to get our fresh veggies. Ty showed us around, it can be a bit overwhelming. He pointed out what we need but he also gave us a crash course on Vietnamese vegetables and fruit basics. There were so many that we had no idea about, some of the things we use in the states but did not look even close to what we are used to "same, same but different". Then it was a boat ride back to the restaurant to begin the preparation.
Next it was the first course complete with chef hats. I actually thought he would have aprons but chef hats are so much cooler!  Yesterday we got to choose 3 courses from about 12 dishes. Our first choice was papaya salad with shrimp and pork with prawn crackers. Not necessarily something I would pick off the menu but it's all about trying something new. Good choice!! He did make fun of me for being left-handed apparently that is not big in this country. Luckily there was a girl there who was as well and she showed me how she used the fancy gadget used to cut the onion juliene. It's backwars but it works, story of my life.... I told her in my country left-handed people were smarter, she laughed but I think she secretly believed me. Then we ate! Awesome salad!
Next course, what we have been waiting for Vietnamese soup otherwise known as Pho (fa). Pho Bo' (beef) tobe exact, pho ga (chicken) is for breakfast. Now eating with chopsticks is hard enough for me but cooking them is even harder. I had to boil the rice noodles while Eric chopped to ingredients for the broth, I had to use the chopsticks to get the noodles out of the water when they were ready. No strainer here.... Then bon appetit....
Lastly, it was the main course sweet and sour pork. This one threw me for a loop, who would have thought they used ketchup to make the sweet and sour sauce. Then, you guesses it, we ate. After that course they served us fresh fruit.
We left there with all 3 recipes printed out for us, a calander with picutres of the children in the villages that people in the program took and a memorible experience that will last a lifetime! Not to mention the homemade recipe for Pho for Eric's mom to add to the famly cookbook with an even better story to go along with it.

Hoi An

This is one of our favorite places so far! It has everything, a nice small colonial town where you can walk to everything and a beach a short bike ride away. It is also part of the South China Sea but calmer and whiter sand. This is the area you visit if you want any clothes or shoes made. Eric kept saying it was too bad he didn't wear suits..... We did however get shoes made, yep our feet were measued (both of us have 1 bigger that te other) and we picked out the style, the color and even the heel in my case. We pik them up tomorrow morning, I mean how cool these are shoes tailor made for or feet. Eric got leather boat shoes and a pair of sneakers that look like Vans and I got a pair of mid-calf red leather boots for a grand total of $73. Take that Nordstrom rack....

Nha Trang

We compared this to a mellower version of Daytona Beach minus the vomit or urine smell. If you have been to Daytona on Spring Break you know what I mean. It is nice and we stayed at a $10 a night hotel accross from the beach with a balcany, mini-fridge and actual bathtub. There are a ton of restuarants, we even broke down here and had pizza. The waves were a little crazy, I actually got pummeled by one but still enjoyed my body surfing experince on the South China Sea. As scary as it was to me at times, I still really want to learn to surf. We even decided to go all out one night and had a 5 course meal with pre-dinner cocktails and a bottle of wine and still only spent $24. Overall, we enjoyed ourselves but it was just missing that Viet Nam experience.
FYI, it is suppose to have the best diving in Viet Nam.

Buses, trains and automobiles.....

Transit from place to place throughout all the countries has actually been easier then I thought. Mainly because more people speak english in all 3 counties then I expected.The buses are sometimes double-decker, most with a bathroom and all with air-conditioning (not that all worked but it had it) and all made periodic stops for snacks or for me the occasional car sickness. Yes, leaving Da Lat was a gnarley bus ride down the mountain and a very frightening run in with a cloud and now visibility.
The trains however have been slower but a semi-smoother ride with a nice view of the coutryside. That is if you don't sit next to a woman with stinky fruit. Our biggest venture is yet to come, it is from Hue to Hanoi and it is about 16 hours and we have bunkbeds we share with another 2 people I just pray no one has fruit!
Taxis are needed a little more since things tend to be  bit spread out. We have left the land of the tuk-tuk and the cyclos ( man riding a bike with a small cart you sit in) is not really the best way to get to the bus or train station on time. As long as the meter works you are good, even better if the hotel calls them.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Da Lat

Da Lat, Viet Nam is a mountain town that Vietnamese people go to for holiday or honeymoon. It's a nice ride up the mountain, a quiet town that is significantly cooler than Saigon. It's actually funny getting off the bus and seeing people with Northface jackets and hats on, I mean it's still in the 70's. We did a nice little hike to a waterfall, otherwise we enjoyed a break from the heat and the craziness. Sometimes it just feels good to do nothing.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Surgical Masks

I used to wonder why Asian people always wore those masks..... Were they germaphobic? Now I see how much air polution is around, mainly due to the large amount of motorcycles. What I don't get is if you are so concerned about breathing in bad air, why do you allow smoking everywhere? I'm not going to lie Eric and I almost got masks, they sell designer masks all over, since we got sick. Most of the buses are air-conditioned and there is no ventilation, germs fly around like crazy. We just couldn't do it....

Sunday, February 20, 2011

American War

The war remnants museum was a bit of history remembering the "American War" (Vietnam War to Americans). I would be curious to know what kinds of propaganda were floating around the states then because what we saw there was basially showing the world supporting Viet Nam. They specifically had one room dedicated to pictures of children that were either burned or born with deformities from napalm. I did like the room they had that was photos of photographers that were killed in the war. They photographers were from all over the world so the pictures were more objective. Most were just candid shots of the countryside and the locals.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Landmine Museum and The Killing Fields in Cambodia

I grouped these together because I got the same eerie feeling with these as I did when I visited Dacow, a concentrtion camp in Germany. That feeling of knowing you are standing on the same grounds that thousands of people were killed on. The landmine museum was a little diffrent since most of the landmine were not actually on those grounds. The founder of the museum is a man around 40 years old who was a child solider. He was recruited to join the Khmer Rouge after they killed his family. He held his first gun at age 10 and learned to build landmines. He know travels around Cambodia disarming landmines, there are roughly 3 to 7 million active landmines still in Cambodia. Most of which were put here by the U.S. He also has a sort of rehab center for children who have been injuried by these landmines, it is located behind the museum. What affected me most about this was seeing these kids who have lost an arm or a leg from these landmines or bombs that were dropped during the war that never exploded, knowing that someone I know could have been responsible for this.  I feel like people supportng the wars in the Middle-East should visit this place to see the long-term after affects it has on innocent people.
The Killing Fields got to me because it is so recent that you could still see bones and clothing in random spots walking around that has been washed up after the rainy season. It also is unbelivable to me that the Khmer Rouge killed their own people and not just adults, they killed the entire family so no one could come after them for revenge. We saw what was called the "killing tree" the actually banged babies heads against it to kill them. Most of the people were blungend to death so they did not waste bullets. They have detained they key people involved in this genocide except Pol Pot who was the leader and died in 1998. The first to go to trial was just sentenced in July 2010, the others are awaiting trial. Look it up if you don't know about it, there is so much I can not even write about. I will leave you with this during this nearly 5 year period 1974-79, the Khmer Rouge wiped out 20 percent of Cambodia's (their own country) population. I plan on watching "The Killing Fields" when I get home.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Angkor Wat

The temlples of Angkor Wat capital of Cambodia's ancient Khmer empire, the largest reigious building in the world, said to be the 8th wonder of the world but so was Andre the Giant so who really knows..... It is beautiful and amazing! We spent 3 days here and still did not see everything. We even watched the sunrise over Angkor Wat (the largest temple) which is a must do even if it is at 5:30am. Our hotel set us up with Tut our tuk-tuk driver for the 3 days. He showed us around and even took us to some more remote temples. He drove us from place to place then waited outside until we were done. He was awesome! He could spot us out of the crowds of people from anywhere. I couldn't believe how after thousands of years some of these temples looked so prestine. The carvings were amazing and so detailed, some of them even told stories. Most were shrines to the king and queen or Budha. At some point Hindus took over and defaced the Budhas in some temples, Budhists could not repair all the damage after they tok back control so some are just altered. It is very interesting. I mean they are stone carvings, it's not like you can just paint over it that easy.... They also had sacred "Lingas" they were phalic shaped sculptures that when water ran through them they believed they fertilized the land and that the water was magical. So basically we can blame budhists for men being so full of themselves.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Chinese New Year!

2011 the year of the Rabbit who knew all of Asia celebrated it? This meant the Vietnamese Embassy was closed for a week. Seriousy, Americans are lucky if we get 1 day off..... This also meant our plans for getting our visas in Thailand had to be postponed. That was ok since we headed south for the week. Back in Bangkok, we had to venture to the embassy yesterday to hope to get them by Friday, otherwise we would be here for another 3 days.  You get a little nervous when you have to leave your passport for the day, maybe the weekend seeingas it is the only thing that can get you anything in another country. We said or prayers and headed to Siam Square by sky train to hang for the rest of the day.

Early this morning we visited the floating market, this was definiely a sight to see. It was amazing to see these woman cooking full meals in a tiny wood boat. A 2 hour bus ride from Bangkok but worth it! What we didn't plan was the ride back taking much longer. The embassy closed at 4:30 and traffic is worse here then in L.A. We got there at 4pm! It worked out and we are headed to Cambodia in the morning.

Snorkeling around Koh Tao

Monday morning we took a journey back to the other side of the island. The more populated and party side, the islanders have parties here based on the moon. They have the half moon, the full moon and the blue moon party which was Monday night. Techno music was on until 4am.... Still our main focus was finding the best snorkel trip for Tuesday morning. AC tours was what we found. Starting at 9:30am we met Charlotte our French guide and the 4 other people in our group ( a couple from Italy and 2 guys from Greece) and walked over to the Long Boat with our gear to be transported to the dive boat about 400 yards off shore. First stop Shark Bay to check the Black Tip Reef Sharks, I saw 6. The sharks were cool but it was sad to see all the coral was dead. Next stop Aow Luek, then Hin Wong Bay where we returned to the boat to find fresh fruit waiting. Here Charlotte gave us the warning about the Trigger fish, they can be aggressive so in case you happen to see one don't panic and swim away slowly. Sure that is always what they say, again I saw 2 and panicked. Then I quickly exited the water. Next we headed to Mango Bay where we had lunch. We were lucky that we had such a small group, most other boats we saw had large groups and it was very distracting and people were on top of each other. Lastly we stopped at Nangyuan Island. This is a private island and a national park. We had to pay 100 baht (about $3) each to enter but it was worth it. We hiked up to the top of the island for an incredible view, then took a dip in the water where at high tide the beach gets washed away separating the islands. After the trek back to the boat we headed back. This trip was 550 baht ($16 each). Not a bad day on the island. Tomorrow it's back to the mainland.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Day 6, Koh Tao, Thailand the first adventure.....

So the ride from Bangkok to Koh Tao was nothing less than interesting. Koh Tao is a small island located in southern Thailand off the coast of the Gulf of Thailand. We took an overnight train from Bangkok that took 8 hours! We heard it was slow and late but thought since we were traveling at night it would be okay, not to mention we got second class tickets in an air conditioned car. Sounds good right? Well the car was about 10 below 0 .... Freezing! We had to get our fleece jackets out and I wrapped the scarf I bought around my face and head. This wasn't so funny since we were traveling with muslim Thai women. After we arrived at the station, we had a bus ride, then took an almost 3 hour ferry to the island. After w stopped for breakfast we took a taxi (a four-wheel drive pick-up truck) through the jungle to the other side of the island to arrive at Posiden to check into our beach bungalow all before noon. Then we hit the beach which is all we plan to do for the next 2 days. A little snorkling, a few beers and food!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Thai bathrooms

So I have noticed a trend here with the bathrooms, no one uses toilet paper and there is no separation between the shower and the actual bathroom. They have a small spray nozzle next to the toilet kind of like the one my mom had next to the sink. It's like the Thai version of a baday, what I don't get is wouldn't you still want to dry yourself off?
The shower is in the bathroom, sounds normal right? Not really, it is next to the toilet with the drain also next to the toilet. Basically the bathroom floor is wet all day long which means so are the bottom of your pants.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Day 2- Bangkok... Temples, temples, temples

Today we woke up super early, still trying to adjust to the time change. Good thing the restaurant at the place we are staying (My Guesthouse) opens at 6:30am.
The day started with temples, we saw the Emerald Budha, the Golden Budha and every Budha in between. The also visited the Golden Palace, the king doesn't actually live there but I think his people hang out there. We prayed at the temples which was interesting, every place had a dress code and there were no shoes allowed. No wonder they had so much insense.... After that we headed to the train station to buy our tickets for tomorrow night. We are taking an overnight train to the beaches. We rode our first tuk-tuk, which was fun and scary but something we had to experience. There is no rhyme or reason to traffic here and even crossing the road is an adventure. The people we are noticing are very nice and helpful. We have that mindset that everyone is trying to scam you and while you need to keep your eyes open, for the most part they are just trying to help. Now time for a Chang beer and off to a Thai boxing match, this should be interesting.....

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

We made it! Day 1 in Bangkok.....

We arrived at about 11pm last night, after a 11 hour flight from LAX to Tokyo, a 2 hour layoverm then a 6 hour and 45 minute flight from Tokyo to Bangkok, which was awesome! Got to love Japan Airlines! Free beer, sushi, green tea and ice cream. We went right to the hotel had a beer and crashed! We headed into the city this morning and today is a day for exploration. More to come....

Monday, January 31, 2011

Game day!

So I am sitting in my apartment at 6:58am waiting to head to the airport. It is 11:58pm in Thailand so it's about time for bed..... See you in Bangkok tomorrow.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

24 hours away

Actually it's 19 hours away but who's counting..... We got our converter app set on the iphone, set our email "out of the country" reminders, printed the train schedule from Bangkok to Southern Thailand, set my watch to the proper time (S.E. Asia is 15 hours ahead) and confirmed hotel and pick up for the first night. Actually that is the only reservation we made, the rest we will figure out as we go. We got our pick up set from our house, arriving about 3 hours early to be safe and figured out a game plan so we can get on the time schedule. If we sleep right away on the plane (11:40am pacific time) we will wake up in the early hours and that way when we land in Thailand (11pm the next day) we will hopefully be able to sleep that night. My plan take my Theraflu night-time as soon as I get on the plane.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Ideas for the trip

Anyone been to Thailand, Cambodia or Vietnam? Or is there anything anyone would like to see? I a looking for last minute recommendations.....

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Last Minute Prep

4 days until we depart for the trip! Today, it is the last visit to the travel clinic for the booster for our Hep B shot and my flu shot. The last and hopefully final trips to Target or REI and the search for flip-flops for Eric. I prefer Reefs, I ordered mine a few weeks ago...... Our trip to the bank to change in the coins I rolled over the last few weeks, an extra $115 goes a long way in S.E. Asia. Lastly the search for travel toilet paper..... It seems to be non-existant anymore.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

1 week out!

So we leave in a week! I am done with work, Eric is finishing up. This week is all about last minute running around; picking up prescriptions which we are finding out is a bit of a pain, getting the remaining toiletries, making a schedule for someone to get our mail and feed the cat. Not as much on our "to do" list as we thought so for me it's all about getting the everyday things done. That is what stresses me out, I have to have the house clean, all laundry done, all our bills paid and scanning and emailing all our documents to our parents so in case of an emergency some one has our info.

We looked at the travel journal from the Central America trip just to compare notes and look at our daily budget. We also made a list last time of things we didn't need and things we want to bring next time. That came in handy! This kept me distracted about the plane, I am sure in the next few days it will all come back to me.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Pre-trip diet

So I remember the days that I could just say "I want to lose a few pounds before my trip" and poof it happened. That is not the case anymore.... Last week I worked out 5 days straight and I am pretty sure I gained weight. There is no way I can fit into my bathing suit or even possibly my shorts. Everyone says "you will lose weight on the trip" which I am sure will happen but I need that pre-trip body. It's like when people used to go tanning (do they still do that?) before they go to a beach. You absolutely don't want to look like a ghost when you step onto the beach and you for sure don't want to burn. In this case I just don't want people to laugh at me. Let's see if I can make that happen.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Plane Anxiety

The closer we get to leaving the more excited I get but the last couple days I have been thinking more and more about the plane ride. It is 20 hours and 35 minutes, I have never been on a plane for more than 7 or 8 hours. How is it possible to fly that long? Seriously.... I start to get anxious after like 5 hours, what if I start to freak out? Should I take anything? I have enough trouble sleeping as it is, will they give me a pillow? These are questions I need answered. Any good long term flying tips would be much appreciated....

Monday, January 10, 2011

3 Weeks Out!

So today marks 3 weeks until we leave for the trip. We are so excited and so ready for another adventure! In fact I am so ready that I have already packed, well at least my first stage. I have three stages of packing the first is going through everything I want to bring, try it on and see what I need. Then I try to see if what I want to pack actually fits in my backpack. Now I know going into this that it never fits.... but it is always interesting to see if I can find a new packing technique that mysteriously lets me bring more. Stage two is about a week or so before and it is adding in whatever new stuff I got which means I need to eliminate some of the old. Stage three is a few days before and well it is the final stage, it's the realistic stage that for a five week trip I will only be able to take about 25% of what I originally packed. Good thing it will be hot!!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Joshua Tree National Park NYE 2010

We left around 7:30am, with no traffic it only took like 2 hours. We stopped for breakfast, fyi there is only a Denny's and Carrow's in Yucca Valley right before you hit the park. We stopped at Denny's, the food was good but service was terrible!

We spent the day hiking and even had lunch on a group of rocks in the middle of nowhere over-looking the park. As the sun went down it got pretty cold so we headed to Palm Springs which was only about 30 minutes from there. We spent time in the pool and hot tub, then hit the downtown area for a Mexican dinner complete with margaritas. We headed back to the hotel to miss the craziness. Since we missed midnight last year in Nicaragua after a very long and draining travel day with a ferry (if that is what they call it) ride that had me praying for my life and as sick as a dog, we made it a point to be awake this time.   Not a bad way to end 2010.....

Monday, January 3, 2011