As happens on our longer trips we have fallen behind in blogging. For that, you can blame Rapa Nui itself, thanks to ample summertime sun, tons to see and do, and often frustratingly slow internet connections on the island. Also, you can blame us, because who wants to blog in a place like this? We leave this place tomorrow, which is a shame. Although we are looking forward to getting home, we’ll be sad to say goodbye to one of the most remote inhabited places on Earth. This place has many names: Easter Island (to the English-speaking world), Isla de Pascua (to Chile–which claims ownership), and Rapa Nui (to the culture that has called it home for about 1000 years). Whatever you call it, it’s magical. Our visit coincided with the annual island culture festival, Tapati, although we only caught the last few days of this two week event. So…Continue Reading
We left Santiago yesterday on a very comfortable bus to the port city of Valparaíso, where I sit typing this over breakfast in our hostel. But we’ll be back to the capital a bit later this month or next. As a bustling metropolis of over 5 million people, there’s simply no way to see much of it in a few days. That said, we did our best, walking several kilometres each day to check out the urban downtown core, a few of the major museums, a bit of nightlife, and several excellent meals. The architecture is one of the highlights of the City, with fortified castles and crumbling 19th century mansions alongside art deco apartments, shiny skyscrapers, and everything in between. We spent our first night in Barrio Brazil, a casual and quiet district east of the downtown centre. Though we had our doubts about the neighbourhood while hiking past…Continue Reading
My computer battery is at 7%, and we need to check out of this place pretty quick, but I thought I would try for a quick blog post. Anyone who’s ever blogged will know that “quick blog post” is kind of an oxymoron. Anyway, we’ve had a great time adventuring in the Monteverde area. Lots to see and do, although everything is very developed and tourism-based. I think the plan is to drive out to the ocean today, even though we could easily spend more time here in the so-called “cloud forest”. Yesterday morning we went on a coffee plantation tour, which was perfect for a couple of caffeine addicts like us. In the afternoon, we checked out one of the bigger adventure park operators in the area: Selvatura ($75 each for access tot heir jungle bridge walk and zipline tour). It was pretty great. We saw several animals and…Continue Reading
We don’t have much time to talk today. We have to hit the pool and then hit the road. But here are some photos from our very cool jungle hike at the Sky Trek place near El Castillo, Arenal. It was totally worth the $22USD price of admission. The trails were very well maintained, and we saw howler monkeys in the wild! – Chris and Laura
Chris and I have reached our new home, Grande Prairie. Today the sun was shining on the fluffy cumulus clouds and the air smelt of the end of summer as I looked upon the solid yellow trees. It was our first full day in Grande Prairie. Chris and I visited the local TELUS store to find out the plans and information regarding purchasing an iPhone. My mind felt jumbled and confused. The over manicured, over made-up woman provided us with the worst customer service possible, but that was really no surprise since it was TELUS. Chris and I then roamed many aisles in a nearby store looking for toothpaste, hairspray, razors and shaving cream. The prices made us both overwhelmed, depressed and stressed out. We had to stick together just help support one another through the aisles. Canada is expensive compared to S.E. Asia. I knew that. I just didn’t…Continue Reading
While in Ho Chi Minh City we visited the War Remnants Museum which focuses on the Vietnam War and the result of chemical warfare, specifically the use of a chemical called Agent Orange. I strongly recommend this museum. It only costs about $2 to enter. They have an impressive collection of tanks, planes, helicopters and artillery outside of the museum. Inside you will view unforgettable and disturbing photographs. If you are American you might feel somewhat attacked while visiting this museum. It is important to remember who eyes and perspective the museum is told from and that in every war no one ever likes their enemy, (otherwise there probably wouldn’t be wars).
We’re in Bangkok right now souvenir shopping and site seeing by day and hanging out with our friend Ben, who we met during The Gibbon Experience, by night. Yet again, it’s the final countdown. After roughly 650 meals in restaurants over the past seven months we only have about 9 more restaurant meals to go. The last three weeks have flown by. I have trouble remembering if I saw something in Vietnam or Cambodia unless I think really, really hard. To help me remember I have kept a rough journal throughout our entire journey where I noted what we bought, prices, what we saw and any other notes or feelings. I also, of course, have my photographs to remind me of our journey. While in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) we decided to visit the zoo. It cost a little more than $1 dollar each. I have been to the Calgary Zoo…Continue Reading
While visiting Chiang Mai, Thailand Chris and I strolled around the city visiting a few of the wats. You might be asking yourself, “What’s a wat?” According to Wikipedia: “A wat (derived from the Sanskrit word वात Vattaka) is a monastery temple in Cambodia, Thailand, or Laos. Strictly speaking a wat is a Buddhist sacred precinct with monks’ quarters, the temple proper, an edifice housing a large image of Buddha, and a structure for lessons. A Buddhist site without a minimum of three resident monks cannot correctly be described as a wat, although the term is frequently used more loosely, even for ruins of ancient temples. (As a transitive or intransitive verb, wat means to measure, to take measurements; compare templum, from which temple derives, having the same root as template.) In Cambodia, a wat is used to refer to all kinds of places of worship. In everyday language in Thailand, a wat is any…Continue Reading
I know you all enjoyed Chris’s wonderfully entertaining post about The Gibbon Experience in Laos, but I also thought my collection of photos might help flesh it out. I am kicking myself now because I took many photos with our point shoot and the quality/focus/exposure of them cannot compare to my 550D Canon.
We are currently in Vietnam. Before coming here we were in Laos for about 11 days. This was much longer than we planed on staying in Laos but since I got ill for 6 days we hung around Luang Prabang and then Vientiane, the capital. Sadly, besides the waterfall, in Luang Prabang and Vientiane we only saw what went by while we drove in our tuk tuk from the bus station to our hotel and the shops on the hotel street. I was bed ridden. My symptoms included chills, slight fever, aching body, horrible constant headache, jaw pain, ear pain, eye pain, soar throat, occasional nausea and eventually diarrhea. Now eight days after first getting sick I am 98% cured. I finally feel like I have the energy to put up a blog post and to see more than one street of the city we are visiting. During our long, long, long bus rides in Laos…Continue Reading
I was filled with anticipation for our two dives at Ko Phi Phi Ley because they were our first dives that were not part of our scuba training and also our first dives not in the waters around the Thai island of Ko Tao. The atmosphere was completely different from Ban’s Diving School. It was relaxed and calm. None of the boat crew or our two dive masters did anything very fast. They were truly living life at island pace. As I spat in my mask one last time before preparing to go down for our second dive, our dive master asked me, “So, what do you want to see?” “Um……I’d love to see a giant moray.” “And have you seen a string ray?” she asked. “No, never. It’d be fantastic to see a Lion Fish also.” I replied, thinking to myself that I must be asking for the world…Continue Reading