If you want to get a feel for local culture in Cuba, settle down for a morning (or afternoon or evening) of people-watching in any one of Cuba’s central parks. You’ll find a central park in every village, town, or in each area of a city all through Cuba. Warning: you may find it fascinating. The people and activity in the little park, Plaza del Cristo (Parque Cristo) which was half a block from our Casa Particular in Old Havana, was quite entertaining. Here is a little photo essay of regular Cubans in one of Cuba’s Central Parks in … More… →
Cheap Food in Old Havana Cuban food is good. No matter what you’ve heard, it is good basic food. The cheapest and best Cuban food is found in Paladares, the locally-owned and run restaurants, the smaller Mom and Pop Restaurants. Rice and beans are served with every meat or seafood, so if you want cheap food in Havana, look for the paladares, or eat at your Casa Particular. If you want something different than Cuban food, you’ll have to go searching, like we did. We found that there was a great range of prices at restaurants in Old … More… →
We cannot deny it, our trip to Cuba was definitely not our best trip. Of course there were amazing things about Cuba, but we always promise our readers to write exactly the way we experienced a country, and not to glamorize and sensationalize it like a tourist brochure. The Weather Check the forecast before you go. 28 of the 30 days we were there (to escape our cold Canadian winter), the weather in Cuba was cold, windy and rainy. I mean so windy, it would blow your hat clean off, and so cold that the locals were … More… →
Travelling through the mountains of Borneo, we made a stop at Gomantong Cave, known for its ancient Bird’s Nest harvesting. A delicacy in this part of the world is Bird’s Nest Soup. Inside the Cave The first half-kilometre into the cave is a beautiful forest. Not only is this magnificent cave full of the priceless bird’s nests of the Swiftlet bird, it is also full of bird poop, bats and cockroaches! There were actually piles of bat dung 8-10 feet high, and the walkway was 3 feet off the ground. Not my favourite cave. David Tseu, our … More… →
One of our stops on our way to a new jungle resort in Borneo was for Indian food. What a treat it was to watch this guy making each individual fresh roti, and with a bright smile that showed how much he really seemed to enjoy doing it. To watch it was true art. How to Make Roti Starting with a little ball of dough he starts stretching it and throwing it in the air until it is paper-thin and two feet across! Then he folds the thin dough many times into a square, oils … More… →
The Wilds of Borneo Wild. Untamed. Natural. Full of natural jungle and wild animals! Wild Boars, Macaques, Elephants and Orangutans. Private Tour of Borneo We highly recommend a private tour of Borneo. To drive to, and find, the wild animals and accommodation in the depths of the jungle on your own would be a very challenging experience, and it’s doubtful that you would have the inside of knowledge of a professional local guide. Just take a look at this fabulous Itinerary created by our private tour guide, David Tseu (We’ve added prices in … More… →
Skip Manila in the Philippines. It is a big, noisy, busy, dumpy, dirty city. Sorry to be so blunt, but that is the truth. Unless you like big, noisy, busy, dumpy cities, that is. Leaving El Nido Leaving the fantastic islands of El Nido, Philippines, was difficult, and as we flew over the Philippines towards Manilla, it was with a wistful goodbye. We will always remember these gorgeous plush lagoons and islands. When we were told that El Nido was voted the best island in the world, we were a bit doubtful. We thought the … More… →
Arrival El Nido Airport The Philippines were gorgeous. We can never forget the amazing colours of the ocean or the sweet people, but something else pops into our heads as soon as someone mentions El Nido, Philippines. The lovely welcome and the not-so-lovely departure from El Nido Airport. We’ve mentioned this in earlier posts (Getting To The Best Island In The World), but we also want to share our videos of arrival and departure with you so you can truly feel a connection to these experiences, and just so you know what to expect if you go to El … More… →
As one of the most beautiful places on earth, El Nido was a week of pure indulgence. Relaxing in a hammock, staring out across an aquamarine bay studded with gorgeous islands, tucking into a good novel, eating great food, and with barely anyone else there, what could be better than that? Really Fresh Chicken For Dinner Of course there were a few surprises. Like the day we were sitting in the restaurant of our resort, Garden Bay Beach Resort, wide shutters open to a soft breeze on a warm day, when we heard a fluttery noise nearby. Looking … More… →
Dazzling Colours 5 of the most stunning islands in the world are off El Nido, on Palawan Island in the Philippines. Majestic and breath-taking views in every direction simply made this one of the most memorable tours (and we usually dislike tours) that we have ever taken. Simply jaw-dropping. We hope our photos demonstrate the true beauty of El Nido, Palawan Island, and the stunning islands surrounding it. Palawan Island was named the best island in the world by Travel + Leisure Magazine, 2016. We were skeptical, but now we have to agree. The jaw-dropping and changing … More… →
Malaria As many of us have said before, “99% of what we worry about never happens, and the other 1% we can handle.” And so it was with our fears of Malaria, and fears of the side-effects of the drugs to prevent Malaria. It’s a well-known fact that some of them make you feel really sick, and who wants that to ruin your trip. First of all, I was given Doxycycline, an antibiotic that apparently is also effective against Malaria, but not with the adverse effects of Malarone or Choroquine or Mefloquine. It was great. … More… →
DapDap, Lapu Lapu has such a nice ring to it that I went around repeating it over and over again like a 7-year-old. It sounds like a child’s song. “DapDap, Lapu Lapu… DapDap, Lapu Lapu…DapDap, Lapu Lapu…” The address of our hotel in Cebu, Philippines was Dap-Dap, Lapu Lapu City, Cebu, Mactan Island, Philippines. Losing My Shoes On The Long-Haul Flight After a gruelling 25 hours of flying across Canada and across the vast Pacific Ocean to Cebu, Philippines, we had barely slept. It was strange with the time difference – we had left Monday night yet … More… →
Last Long-Haul Trip We’re going on our very last long haul trip over the Pacific Ocean to S.E. Asia – our Asia Super Trip is what we’re calling it. It’s our last long plane trip because it is just getting too hard to be on a plane for three-quarters of a day. Travel is not much fun when it becomes an endurance test, so a word of caution to all travellers – do the long distance 10-15 hour-flight travel while you are young, save the 2-6 hour flights for later. Requesting Your Advice for Asia Super Trip … 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… →
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… →
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… →
To get from New Orléans, Louisiana, to Destin, Florida, you need to go through the states of Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, over the Gulf of Mexico, and known as the Florida Panhandle. All the clichés about the South and blacks and prejudice were undeniable, but there was some surprisingly unique countryside. Louisiana Because we were driving from New Orléans on the Coastal Highway along the water on the Gulf of Mexico, many of the houses at the water’s edge were on stilts. The longest bridge we’ve ever seen was over Lake Pontchartrain, a huge lake just North of … More… →
OK, this is the best travel tip we have ever given or heard about! Cheapest flights you will ever find. We came across this new site by accident and we were wowed by the cheap flights! Incredibly cheap. If you want to save money on flights, it just cannot be beat.
Since we are thinking of going to Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia and Borneo so I did a quick check for flights from Canada to Manila – $650 per person return! Last time I checked prices they were around $1200 per person, but the price on this new site is almost half the price!
We wanted to pass this quick tip on to you: if you’re looking at a flight for a vacation next winter, or anytime, take a look here first:
The Audubon Zoo in New Orleans is ranked as one of the top zoos in the United States. We didn’t know this at all at the time. In fact we had no idea how amazing it would be when we decided to take a break from Mardi Gras in Nawlins’, which of course, was fantastic fun, and in fact, when T suggested going to the zoo, I almost poo-pooed it. Who wants to go to a zoo when they’re in the middle of a place known for its fantastic music and parades and food? Now I am so … More… →
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Shirley and Mr. T
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