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Mosquitoes, Markets & The Art Of The Yucatan Sale

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  This is our modest rental home in Merida, Mexico.   Our huge Roman Bath on the rooftop deck. You could fit 15 people into it.     The house has everything we really need, accept for the uninvited guests – mosquitoes! The little buggers get in everywhere and they are so tiny you can barely see them. (There is no need to seal doors and windows in tropical countries to keep out the cold.) You don’t feel the sting of these mosquitoes until some time later when you start scratching and look down to see a big red welt. … More…

The “Lucy Arnez” of Merida, Mexico

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  We’ve travelled all over the world having many misadventures, but very few times were we ever been duped out of our money.   One day a lady named C, stopped by and introduced herself. She is a “Lucy Arnez” woman, full of spunk and energy, talking a mile a minute. She first asked if we had a cleaning lady. Yes, sorry, we did. She lived just a block away and said if we needed anything at all just to call her.   She dropped by again the next day with her 16-year-old daughter who speaks fluent English and we … More…

Locked Out Of Our House in Merida

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Here we are in sunny Merida, Mexico, skin soaking up the luscious moisture and the warmth of the sun like a sponge. It’s easier to breathe here. Such a dramatic contrast to the cold dry air of winter in Canada; it’s almost a shock to the system. It was a long line-up through Customs and Immigration in Cancun this time, and we had some hassles with the rental car, as usual, but after an hour got it all sorted out, and headed down the highway from Cancun to Valladolid. We know better that to drive at night here, but it was … More…

2014 Year In Review For Travel To Little Known Places

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  We are so pleased to announce that we now have over 11,000 subscribers. A big thank you to our top commenters: Marnee, Wendy, Alison, Joanne and Tami.   Click on the link below to see a map of what countries visited our site – there are so many all around the world. http://jetpack.me/annual-report/50477331/2014/   We continue to work on the book, and had no idea how much work it really is to write a book. It is on its way.   Thank you so much for following our jaunts around the world and stay tuned for our a first … More…

The Cure For Boredom Is Curiosity

  We’re off another adventure! I’m a little nervous though and I have no idea why. Maybe it’s just excitement, or the stress of wondering if I have covered all the bases. Staying in another country for four months is not quite the same as a one week or one month vacation where you move around all the time, but it will be so wonderful to be in a warm country during our frigid winter.   The house is booked – nothing extravagant, just a little two-bedroom, two-bathroom house in colonial Merida, on the Mayan side of Mexico. This is the side … More…

Mr. T is Mr. Christmas – He’s At It Again

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  Mr. T is Mr. Christmas.   You’ve heard about his smart remarks and wry sense of humour in previous posts, but I think we shall reveal a little more of his character, since he is always the silent partner in our escapades around the world.   Did you ever in your life hear of someone having 30, yes thirty, Mr. and Mrs. Santa Clause dolls, most of them 2-3 feet tall?!   One set is even a Vintage Animated Mr. and Mrs. Claus. Aren’t they the cutest?   But that’s not all – no, no, no, not by a long shot.   … More…

Argentina: Coffee, Croissants And Cads

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  D and I decided to rent a car and explore the beaches South of Buenos Aires. Stopping at beaches along the way, we stayed overnight in a few places, but it was late afternoon when we got into San Clemente and saw the beautiful beaches.   We definitely wanted to stay for a few days, and started looking for a hotel. For three hours we drove from hotel to hotel to hotel, on and off the beach, and all hotels were absolutely full. We were actually exhausted from jumping in and out of the car running in to ask … More…

Uruguay: Private Chauffeur, Body Guard, Chef & Surf Instructor

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  We were lucky to have a friend who had a friend in Montevideo, Uruguay, and he was enthusiastic about meeting us.   Montevideo, Uruguay, is just across the water from Buenos Aires, Argentina, so with a 3 hour Buquebus ferry ride across the very wide Rio de la Plata, which opens into the Atlantic Ocean, we arrived. We met a lively woman from England on the ferry who helped us call our friend in Montevideo.   We took a taxi to his house and there we met his wife and son. They were a sweet and kind elderly couple … More…

Argentina: How To Kayak Without Getting Wet

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  Had we gone canoeing here on our own, we would surely have been lost for days.   The Parana Delta in Argentina is a maze of tiny waterways through a wetlands jungle forest. It is one of the largest deltas in the world covering over 8000 square feet. The Parana Delta is only smaller than the Amazon river system.   The Parana Delta is also called the El Tigre Delta because El Tigre is a town between the delta and Buenos Aires. Tigers used to roam the area, hence the name. The dark orange part in the photo below … More…

Paraguay: Pride of the Guarani

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  We left Iguazu Falls on a high of blustering waterfalls surrounding us in a circle of thundering water, but we forgot to tell you about our excursion to Paraguay.   We booked a catamaran boat excursion down the Iguazu and Parana Rivers into Paraguay.   The Iguazu and Parana Rivers cross each other at the three-country border of Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina.   The catamaran wasn’t a sailboat: it was a motorized pontoon boat, but we needed it for shallow areas of the river.   Along the way we were going to see an original Guarani Indian site in … More…

We’ve Seen Beautiful Waterfalls, But Not Anything Like This One…

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  Sitting in the Buenos Aires airport, we were lazily waiting for an announcement to board, when someone said we had to find a shuttle out to the plane. What? Scrambling to figure out what and where, we finally found the right shuttle boarding at the very last moment to Puerto Iguazu, far up into the NE tip of Argentina.   We had purchased a flight package from Buquebus Turisimo that included 4 nights hotel with air from Buenos Aires to Puerto Iguazu. Buquebus is an Argentine-Uruguayan company that operates ferry services from Buenos Aires, Argentina to Montevideo, Uruguay, and also offers … More…

With My Eyes Closed

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  “Want to go to Argentina?” I said to my friend D. “What? Argentina? Hmm… I don’t know… how long?” “Just a month. There is a great price out of LA.” “A month! I can’t get that much time off work.” “Are you sure? Have you asked?” “No. Ok, I’ll ask… but I don’t think so… it’s always been two weeks.” The next day, she called to say they said YES. I think she was in shock. But she was excited and so was I! Since we were both ballroom dancers, the idea of going to the birthplace of the … More…

Places We Regret Going

  We’ve travelled to over 30 countries, and each one had something special, unforgettable and memorable.   But upon careful review, do we have any travel regrets? Have we travelled to any places that we wish we had not gone to?    There are a few that stand out above others as the best with no regrets whatsoever, like Tonga, New Zealand, Uruguay and Venice, but then there was also China, and Ireland… oh, and Croatia, and Scotland… and France and Mexico and Hungary… there are so many incredible memories, and so many fantastic places!    So… ummm… let me … More…

Cyclone In Tonga

  Our dear friends survived a major cyclone in Tonga this spring. Their beautiful private island, Uoleva, and their amazing cabins on an absolutely perfect South Pacific beach were destroyed. Their entire resort was smashed and they were were lucky to withstand the cyclone alive.   First, here are some photos of what Serenity Beaches looked like when we visited: Arriving at Uoleva Island, Tonga… notice the lush and green jungle…   Our beautiful cabin home made of imported Indonesian hardwood…   Our spa bathroom with outdoor shower…   Solar lights line thick jungle path to gazebo restaurant…   The perfect … More…

Sky Diving – Insanely Incredible!

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  Recently, our friend, Wendy, a fearless adventurer, decided to go skydiving. She described it as “Insane and Incredible!”   She flew with a company called Adventure Skydiving, and found it wonderful. Excited for her, we went to watch, along with her two children, aged two and five years old respectively. We were a little nervous and apprehensive and excited, all at once!   At first we were surprised to see that the children were quite nonchalant about the whole thing, as if this was something Mommy did every day, but upon reflection, it made sense. They had no idea of the … More…

10 Top Travel Secrets For Europe

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  If you would like to travel cheaper, save money and have fewer travel issues, these tips for Europe will help: 1. Forget super-expensive Western Europe (England, France, Switzerland, Germany, Italy). It’s hard to enjoy travel when you are aghast at the costs of everything. 2. Focus on cheaper Central Eastern Europe: Austria, Hungary, Slovenia, and Croatia with a quick 2 day side trip to Venice, a must-see in Europe. 3. Croatia and Slovenia are both as beautiful as France at a quarter of the costs for food and accommodation, and has an amazing coastline  with hundreds of islands, as … More…

Gyor, Hungary

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  I was so excited to return to my favourite small town in Hungary: Gyor.   Near the border of Slovakia and only an hour and a half to continue to Vienna, it’s a pleasant two hour drive from Budapest to Gyor…   Gyor (pronounced “Dyur”) is packed with charm, and has a quiet community atmosphere with the storybook river Raba running through it…   E and I had spent a lot of time here several years ago when she lived in Gyor. She had a pretty little apartment just off downtown.   Since I was there in winter, I … More…

Parking In Europe

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  Get a load of this! Cars parked inches apart! This is the way parking is all over Europe’s cities. Space is at a premium so no parking spot is too small…     In Budapest the view from my friend, E’s, balcony up and down the street in provided ample example of the tight parking…   This type of parking is prevalent everywhere we went in Europe and cars whiz down narrow alley streets and between cars on narrow streets with inches to spare. We came to the conclusion that they are much better drivers than we are in … More…

The Taxi Ride Of Our Lives!

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In Budapest, we took a Danube Riverboat Cruise down the river to a little town called Szentendre.   We enjoyed great views of the bridges and Parliament Buildings as we cruised slowly down the Danube…   Jaws dropped though when we saw a bus floating in the river…  Oh My God.   A few minutes later we realized that it was a bus boat! Hilarious.   After a nice cruise down the river, Szentendre came into view…   Szentendre was a charming little town…   But what really was unique was the Marzipan Museum. Yes, marzipan, the almond paste that can be … More…

A Powerful Voice

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How many times have we said we don’t like something, only to find that an authentic first-hand experience of that very thing astonishes you, and you come away with a complete change of mind… and so it happened with us in Budapest.   First of all, Budapest is an extravagant and exciting city, ranging from magnificent to modest. Architecturally, it is beautiful. Many original historic buildings have been maintained, and these elegant structures seem to be valued much more in Europe in general, than they are in North America.   Much of the charm of Europe is in the magnificent … More…

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