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5 Jaw-Droppingly Stunning Islands of Palawan, Philippines

    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…

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Getting To The Best Island In The World: El Nido, Palawan Island, Philippines

  Cebu to El Nido   We were on our way to El Nido, Palawan Island, Philippines, voted as holding the #1 spot for the “best island in the world” (Travel + Leisure Magazine), 2016.    Arriving at Cebu Airport for our flight to El Nido, there were colourful shops with every kind of Filipino packaged foods and snacks. One shop even had the Filipino delicacy, Lechon, proudly displayed in an airport shop window. Lechon is a special dish where the entire pig is spit-roasted over coals, with the crisp, golden-brown skin served with liver sauce.   We had to take a … More…

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S. E. Asia: “99% Of What We Worry About Never Happens”

  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…

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What’s So Great About The Panama Canal?

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  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…

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Panama: Crossing The Most Dangerous Bridge In The World

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  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…

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Panama: Fording Rivers To A Rain Forest Cabin

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  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…

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Best $5 We’ve Ever Spent: Off The Beaten Path Panama

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  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…

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#1 Travel Cosmetics: Irresistible BOOM!

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  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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If I Had One Thousand Dollars…

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  We’ve been researching all kinds of travel accessories to see if there are any that are truly worthwhile, and which ones are just another tech toy to take up more precious room in your carry-on.   But I wish they would invent one friggin’ cord that works in ALL DEVICES. I’m really tired of packing all these individual cords and chargers and accessories for each devices. Aren’t  you?   Of course we all have a cell phone or an Ipad or a small laptop today with many travel apps to guide us in our travels. Be they for maps or … More…

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Which Beach Would You Choose?

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  Isla Mujeres is an island surrounded by beaches and depending on the weather, you can choose the best beach. Having a choice of 4 unique beaches is really quite fun, and the best ones are all within walking distance of the North third of the island.   If it is very windy, you can go to the calm West side of the island, facing Cancun, where it is protected by the mainland. You can get a reasonably priced massage here too.   Cancun across the water at dusk…   If it is just a little breezy, The North Beach (Playa Norte) on … More…

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Take A Walk On The Wild Side

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  Isla Mujeres, Mexico, has a wild side, a very wild side. In fact, it has two wild sides.   It’s worthwhile to rent a golf cart and drive the length of the 7 km island.   Along the way, you will find Chedrauil, the big grocery store, a village, the natural bush land of the island, treed roads, a turtle farm, a dolphin experience, roadside food and seashell crafts.    As the Southern tip of the island narrows you can see both sides of the island at once and it is quite spectacular.   Usually there is a Mayan … More…

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Flores: The End Of The World

  I became quite ill after the rough flight to to the tiny island of Flores (The Azores). In a wild storm, and after several aborted landing attempts and a rugged one-wheel landing, I could barely stand up when getting off the plane. There was dark magic in the roaring winds that sent wild waves crashing onto jagged rocks and a fearful wind that tore the leaves and branches of every tree on Flores. It sent waterfalls flying backwards into the air and onto the highway. Yes, backwards! Photo Credit http://www.thisiscolossal.com   Flights were cancelled indefinitely. It seemed that the earlier … More…

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The Azores Diet Plan

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  The problem, you see, was that almost every restaurant we went to in the Azores served only fish dishes.  At first we thought we had accidentally chosen “fish-only” or “seafood-only” restaurants, but after the 4th or 5th restaurant, it finally dawned on us that perhaps, just perhaps, people in the Azores ate mostly fish because fish were abundantly available in the ocean around every island!   Now maybe that is not a problem at all for you “fish-lovers”.  And maybe you’re healthier than all get-out, but I cannot stand fish. I wish I liked it; I really do, but … More…

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10 Reasons Why “I Love My Island”

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  “I love my island” the guide said, gazing across the majestic vista of land and sea.   She fell silent for a few moments, then, when she turned toward me, I saw that her face was flushed with emotion.   “Every time I come up here, it seems to catch me anew.”   She was referring to Terceira, one of the islands of the Azores, and then she continued to point out and explain various historical sites and points of interest. Her love of the island was not difficult to understand. Dreamy panoramas of ocean, hills and sky caused … More…

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Drunk On Flower Pheromones

Azores Like A Garden Of Flowers

  In The Azores, the terrain consists mostly of rolling green hills with vegetation that was an odd cross between desert cacti and tropical fern – an unusual mixture.   But most of all, I was enthralled that my favourite flower, Hydrangea was literally growing everywhere!   Hydrangea flowers create a magical highway lined on both sides with purple and blue flowers, like something out of the Wizard of Oz. How awesome is this!   The Hydrangea bushes kissed the entire edges of rivers and lakes, flowers dancing in the water reflections.   Terceira is often called the Lilac Island … More…

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History Is Boring

History Repeats Itself. Which May Explain Why It's So Boring.

  Some people find history fascinating; others find it completely boring. I used to be the latter, finding all those dates absolutely meaningless (stop scowling). Random dates and events seemed like completely useless knowledge. I wanted to know what was happening today! Not 500 years ago.     In high school, I hated history. Memorizing lists of pointless dates was excruciatingly dull, and I barely scraped through Grade 9, 10, and 11 History courses with marks like 51% and 53%. Then in Grade 12, the principal, Mr. Warick taught Grade 12 History. All he did was wander around the front … More…

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Close Your Eyes & Spin The Globe

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  We couldn’t decide where to go so we just closed our eyes and spun the globe. Crazy way to choose a place, but exciting none the less. Wherever the finger landed was where we would go. We landed on some little dots in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. What the heck is that, we wondered? Closer inspection revealed that it was a group of islands called The Azores. We knew absolutely nothing about them, but that’s where we were going.    The lost islands, the flower islands, the lonely islands, the forgotten islands, the pastoral isles – these … More…

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Mr. BIG Moneyyy

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  Ok, so maybe Belize wasn’t so bad after all. One of the few times in Belize that we saw that inimitable Caribbean turquoise water was when we were on the ferry heading toward Caye Caulker from the rather ugly Belize City. It was thrilling to see the true blue Caribbean waters after only seeing wild dark waters banging against cement walls on the coast.   We deliberately chose quiet Caye Caulker over the expensive and over-developed Ambergris Caye. It seems that most of the beautiful blue water is found on the islands off the mainland. Who knew this? Why hadn’t … More…

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Belize, A Bit Of A Disappointment

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  Belize is a tiny Central American country on the Caribbean side, so that usually means amazing turquoise waters, white sand beaches, and Spanish-speaking people. Because I have wanted to go to Belize for about 10 years, I could hardly wait, but to be honest, it was a tremendous disappointment.   Belize does not have those beautiful white sand beaches and turquoise water. Most of the beaches are walled in with wild water banging against rock or cement walls. As an English-speaking country, it definitely was easier to communicate in English, rather than Spanish, but the only place we found the … More…

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Mexico To Belize

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  As I was saying in the last post, Belize is located directly South of Mexico, below the Mayan Riviera on the Yucatan Peninsula. It was cheaper to fly into Cancun and then drive down the Mayan Riviera coast, scattered with luscious turquoise beaches, and then drive on into Belize.   We started in Cancun, and after sorting out problems with accommodation and the rental car, we headed south towards Tulum (see last post: An Inflatable Car? ).   When we were in Tulum 7 years ago, it was a tiny village. Now it was more like a town. Development is happening … More…

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