Something Happens to People at Christmas It happens to people when they start thinking about the joy people will experience from the gifts they will give. They suddenly feel kinder, more generous, more caring. They want to spread a little happiness! It should happen all year round, but the thought that we should do a good deed or spread a little happiness every day might pop into our heads, but then it promptly leaves when our busy lives take over. If Kids Can Do It… Some of the things people in our local communities are doing to spread … More… →
The Women of Tonga The women in the Kingdom of Tonga are beautiful and large. Many are over six feet all and well over two hundred pounds. In fact, the bigger you are in Tonga, the more respect you have. That’s a hard concept for people in North America – a place where slim and skinny are preferred by both men and women – to grasp. Fat people have little prestige in North America, the exact opposite of the cultural norm in Tonga. Even in beauty contests in Tonga, slim women are not considered to possess … More… →
We all wish we were multi-millionaires at Christmas and that money was no object when buying gifts. Millionaire Unfortunately, most of us do not have unlimited funds (however much we fantasize about winning a lottery), and we could all use a few tips, and a few hundred extra dollars, on how to spend less on gifts for Christmas. Saving money Here are a few suggestions. This list is by no means exhaustive so feel free to share your tips with the rest of our readers. My Idea Make a list of those lucky People who will get gifts from you. Send an email asking for Wish Lists by the … More… →
I have always been afraid of spiders – I’m not sure why, but they just seem creepy. There are no dangerous wild animals in Tonga, and not many bugs, but they do have harmless spiders. Ouleva Island, Tonga We were on an uninhabited island, Ouleva, in the Haap’ai Group, an absolutely breathtaking island with white powder beaches and crystal clear turquoise water. We had this gorgeous Tongan island all to ourselves. Tonga – Ouleva Island Tonga – Ouleva Island I had read that there is only a big centipede (“molokau”), that had a painful bite, and a few … More… →
Tonga: Going to Ouleva Island We were flying from the Vava’u Group in Tonga to the Haap’ai Group, where we had arrangements to take a boat to an uninhabited island, Ouleva. At the airport, as we walked out to our small 8-seater plane, I noticed the pilot was actually leaning out over the nose cone of the plane cleaning the windshield! Tonga Pilot Tongan plane But I’m Not a Pilot A few minutes later, I was standing outside waiting my turn to go up the stairs into the plane, when the pilot came over, pulled me aside, and … More… →
Tonga is probably our favourite place in the world; a gorgeous chain of South Pacific islands with crystal clear turquoise water, white sand beaches, and sweet people. It’s the kind of place that is in your travel dreams. Tonga: Vava’u Group of Islands The second island we stayed on was in the Vava’u Group of islands, at Talihau Beach, at Lucky’s Beach Cabins. In Vava’u it was unusually hot, but we had a lovely fale (small house) at the end of a peninsula where there was the perfect cool breeze blowing off the point, and a gorgeous blue lagoon. Talihau’s … More… →
Our taxi driver from town was hilarious. “How do you know when a Tongan has had enough to eat?” he says, grinning. Since the larger you are in Tonga, the more prestige you have, we were curious to hear the answer. “When he only has enough room for… one more plateful!!!” He laughs heartily. We laugh with him. Tongan Sense of Humour All of the Tongans we met had a big broad smile and laughed easily. We thoroughly enjoyed their easy sense of humour. How much fun it is to be … More… →
Yes! Lonely Planet has just named CANADA as the number one travel destination in 2017. Don’t you just love it?! Well, especially if you are a Canadian, that is. Canadian Pride They say Canadians don’t have an abundance of national pride. That just might be because we are also known as a modest and polite group of people. We don’t like to brag. But hey, if you feel like this is a day that deserves a little chest-busting, I think it would be A-OK. Photo credit Mat Kelman Canadians, let the good word be known: Canada is … More… →
Ever since taking an anthropology class at university, and reading about the Kingdom of Tonga, I had longed to go there. Kingdom of Tonga Anthropology of the Kingdom of Tonga Reading that the bigger you are in Tonga, the more prestige you have, shocked me. There was also something about cultural sexual norms hundreds of years ago that included encouraging teenagers to experiment with both sexes. Interesting. And many many years ago – cannibalism was the norm in Tonga. The people were family oriented, gentle and super friendly! Then there was the intrigue of pristine, crowd-less and peaceful Polynesian … More… →
There are a million things to learn when setting up a word press website. Let me say first that while setting up my website, it was so frustrating that I almost gave up. Even for a computer-literate, detail-oriented person, it can be one of the most challenging jobs you’ve ever set out to complete. Of course there are simpler instant website services, but WordPress offers literally thousands of plugins to adapt your site to whatever you want and need. Personally, I like having many options and choices to tailor my website to exactly what I need it to do. … More… →
First of all, there is something I need to explain. What you are about to discover is that in this country…. … the bigger and the broader you are, the more prestige you have! Quite a reversal from the cultural expectations in North America! Every time I tell someone about the big men and women on this South Pacific Island nation, especially women, they say, “I want to move there!” And well anyone might want to just that. It is jaw-dropping beautiful! This is Tonga. People in Tonga are enormous, often over six feet tall, and well … More… →
Travel to Little Known Places is not your normal travel site. What you’ll find are down-to-earth experiences of a crazy couple travelling to little known and off-the-beaten path places. We like to get out of the big cities as fast as we can. We like to rent a car, and just go exploring. It is absolutely amazing some of the things you find that are not in the guidebooks. Locals, Not Tourists We’d rather meet local people than other tourists. We’d rather eat local food, or go to a small town celebration than be part of a tour group herded from one … More… →
Our style is sassy because it is a bit different, a bit bold, a bit adventurous, and as inexpensive as possible. Follow along for travel tips galore. Trends are more and more toward adventure travel, which we love, but we like comfort too, so we don’t do hostels and backpacking. On the other hand, luxury travel is out too because we like to experience the local culture, and like the average person, we simply cannot afford luxury travel. Still we travel somewhere every year, for at least a month, to one country, usually a little-known place. Our logic for spending a month or more in visiting that … More… →
Of course we had to go see the magnificent Panama Canal while we were in Panama. Maybe I expected too much or maybe I didn’t really understand its purpose or maybe, dare I say it – it’s something more appreciated by men, but for me it was quite plain and uninteresting. The Panama Canal is Not Pretty What I saw was not something pretty. The so-called “amazing” Panama Canal was all huge gray cement canals with murky water running through it. So what’s so great about this, I wondered. Big deal. Borrrringgg. What others … More… →
Our helpful Panamanian friends in Tonosi had recommended that the best way to get to the paradise San Blas Islands of Bocas Del Toro on the Caribbean side of Panama, was to take the new highway across the mountains of the Palo Seco Reserve. Lucky To Be Alive Little did they, or we, know the disasters that lay ahead. We can adamantly say that we are extremely lucky to be alive! Boca Brava Island Before heading over the mountains on the new highway, we took a detour to see the island of Boca Brava, turning off the Pan-American Highway … More… →
We were on our way to a cabin high in the cloud forest of Panama, but we still had a few days of driving to get there, and Panama offered more delightful surprises. Playa Cambutal Although there were only crude signs on the sides of shacks and fences, it wasn’t difficult to drive around the bottom of the Panama peninsula – at first. Travelling through rolling hills and lush valleys, we came to the village of Cambutal where we saw signs to the beach. Feeling adventurous, we bounced along to the end of a dirt … More… →
Driving Out of Panama City Don’t be discouraged when you drive out of Panama city on the four-lane highway and see beach after beach packed with people, music blaring, garbage everywhere and noise booming out in every direction. Keep on driving and you will be rewarded with pristine beaches and not another soul in sight. As you get away from the hustle and bustle of the big city and into true Panama countryside, you’ll see things like barb-wire stick fences with green sprouts growing out the top. With such a vigorous growing environment, all you need to do … More… →
The Rooster It was 3 am in Panama: dogs were barking and a rooster was squawking. It wasn’t even a nice cock-a-doodle-doo but a whining half-squawk, over and over and over again. Good grief. We rolled over. The Salamanders At this hotel there were tiny green salamanders as cute as could be with the daintiest little feet you ever saw. This one was no more than three inches long. The geckos were here and there all over the aptly-named Greco Hotel, a 3* hotel, with little cabins that had no hot water (it was hot … More… →
After years of travelling all over the world, there are certain things that we consider travel must-haves when we travel. Here is our Travel Must-Haves List: Camera Sony Cyber-shot DSC R100 – this is the best little travel camera you could ever have. It takes high quality pictures in a pocket-fitting point-and-shoot size and it takes amazing night pictures. Its ability to take low-light pictures is a top feature for us, plus its small size, and compared to other cameras in the same price range of around $5-600, it has more of the high-end features than similar-priced cameras. … More… →
Wow! I just love BOOM Sticks. Compact cosmetics sticks, perfect for purse and travel. I don’t know about you, but when I travel, I rarely have time for make-up. We are anxious to get out and see the million things there are to see in a new country. Still, it would be nice to have something small, light and quick to soften and protect my skin and it’s finally here. BOOM cosmetics are perfect. The Boom Sticks (which I call Boom-Sticka-Boom because they are amazing) will change your cosmetics routine. There are 3 small sticks, perfect for … More… →
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Traveling tends to magnify all human emotions.
— Peter Hoeg
Shirley and Mr. T
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