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… →
Before we met our guide for the island of Faial, and during a three hour wait between island flights, we went for a long walk and ended up at a snack bar where a table of 10 or 12 robust working men were having a year-end dinner. When I asked if I could interview them, they giggled like school girls, and became quite flustered. I chose the best-looking man. They all laughed nervously. “What type of work do you do?” “We’re construction workers.” Big smile. “Do you have a good boss?” “He’ll be a `good boss’ if he pays … More… →
There was one contrast on The Azores islands that we found intriguing. While the countryside was serene and quiet, the pastoral settings unavoidably relaxing, and the people quiet and gentle, the main streets of the towns echoed with the clamour and whine of car engines and constant horn honking! One might just get ear damage. Drivers zip along the narrow winding streets, their engines reverberating off the buildings as they pass through the small channel perhaps up to 150 decibels! If a driver is unsure of whether a vehicle or pedestrian is aware of their oncoming approach, especially at … More… →
As people kept referring to farms in the Azores – often right in the centre of towns and villages, we would look around expecting to see an expanse of field, and never find it! All we could see were houses, and trying to be polite (and not wanting to look foolish that we did not see something that was perfectly obvious to them), we refrained from exclaiming “Where? Where?!”. Later we discovered that everywhere, in town and countryside, there were tiny stone-fenced corrals about five to ten feet square. Apparently these little corrals behind the houses made up … More… →
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… →
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… →
Halloween Apples, Peanuts and Cake, If You Don’t Give Us Any, Your Toilet Will Shake! Remember that? Ok, that was even before my time, before indoor toilets even! – but it has a lovely rhythm, n’est ce pas? Moving to Ontario has been almost like exploring another country. On the prairies, few people go all out in decorating their homes like they do here. It was a surprise to see scary Halloween monsters everywhere I looked, from on the street, to in the country, to at the stores. Here’s are the gloomy decorations on our neighbour’s … More… →
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… →
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… →
Taking the Trans-Canada Highway from our home in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, to our home in London, Ontario, is a long, long drive. 7000 kilometers, to be exact. Crossing Saskatchewan and Manitoba over miles of prairie and whispering grain fields holds a wonderful sense of freedom. You can see for miles, the roads are straight and the driving is easy. The land is as flat as a pancake and sunsets are sensational. Wheat field. Canola (yellow) and Flax (blue) fields. We have to say we were shocked to see giant marshmallows growing in the fields. (Until we realized … More… →
We don’t agree! T and I, that is. Usually we pretty much agree about a country. Not only do we disagree about our favourite best bits of Ireland, but we can barely decide which of half a dozen places we individually feel are our favourites. T says, “The most fascinating place was Ballynahinch Castle (see Ballynahinch Castle) because it seemed like stepping back in time. It felt real and authentic.” “For me, it was Wicklow County. Those amazing rolling green hills and deep valleys were mesmerizing to me. I could easily live there.” I say. “Yah, it was nice, … More… →
My print book is done! Well at least it’s big news for me. It was a ton of work, I mean it really was hours and hours of painstaking editing and review. I’ve read it and scoured it and changed it and revised it at least one hundred times. Now I think I am satisfied that it is the best I can do. I hope you agree. Feedback graciously accepted! DESCRIPTION: Travel. Exotic destinations. Once in a lifetime adventures. What could go wrong? Often revealing their silliest fears or dumbest travel mistakes and consequent misadventures, you will be … More… →
What a thrill it was going to be to actually stay in a real castle! We were excited. After spending a few days in Limerick and driving out to see the Cliffs of Moher, we were on our way to our first castle – Ballynahinch Castle. We drove down quiet roads winding through the countryside towards Galway, passing by small towns, green fields with endless stone fences, driving right by impressive castles, and crossing bridges over creeks and rivers. The scenery was always engaging and quaint. There was even a flooded road… where we had dutifully followed … More… →
The first thing you need to know if you’re driving around Ireland is that there are no traffic lights. That’s right, no traffic lights. Instead, there are 50 million roundabouts. On arrival the ten or more roundabouts just to get out of Shannon airport caused us great anxiety. As a Canadian, driving on the left side was plenty enough challenge, but to make any attempt to understand the rules of a roundabout at the same time was well nigh impossible! Is there one lane or two, sometimes it’s clearly marked; other times it is not. Do you use … More… →
Even if it was raining all the time in Ireland, we loved it. I’m sure you’re wondering how anyone could love rain, but just wait a minute; there is some real evidence of the beauty of the Emerald Isle. After spending a few days in Limerick, we drove the 100 km to the coast to see the famed Cliffs of Moher. The Cliffs of Moher in the rain are so beautiful… especially in the rain. This is the lookout tower, O’Brien’s Tower, at 214 meters or 700 feet above sea level, built of local stone by Cornelius … More… →
One of the sexiest dances I’ve ever seen, except for the Argentine Tango, is this Cumbia. We just happened upon a fiesta in the little town of Chelem, west of Progreso, in the Yucatan region of Mexico. Part of the fiesta was a Cumbia Dance performance. We had made a stop in Progreso first. It was a dramatic difference from the weekdays, where the beach and the town was quiet and empty. This was Sunday, the busy day; portable shops were set up along the beach, bar cafes were set up right in the sand on the beach, … More… →
When we moved from Merida to the beach near Telchac Puerto, we had no idea we would have so many visitors, especially these kind. First challenge though, was finding the tiny sand road turnoff to our beach house. It was a bit of a challenge, even in daylight, because so many roads looked exactly the same, and even though it looks big in the photo, the sign was tiny from the highway. Our beach house was lovely, right on an empty beach with houses scattered far apart along the beach. Inside, the rooms were large, and there … More… →
Take a walk into Lol Tun Cave, and it feels like you are walking into a grandiose cathedral or castle. It is a bit of a rough walk down and into the cave but it is well worth the effort. There is a mysterious quality to caves. While the water drips and every small sound echoes in the vast cavern, your eyes settle on the gigantic icicles of mineral deposits drooping down to the ground. Caves are fascinating in that it makes one wonder why the earth’s crust doesn’t fall into these enormous holes under the very ground we … More… →
Thursday, February 26: A few days ago, February 22, in Mexico, the cat sitter emailed us that the pipes are frozen in the house, and that there is no water, so no bathrooms either. Car is also unlikely to start and is buried in a mountain of snow. They have had record-breaking cold temperatures between 20 and 40 below in the last few weeks. Colder than the Canadian Prairies! It seldom goes lower than –10 in Southern Ontario. Coldest winter in 30 years. We got home about 11 pm last night, checked the pipes, no water anywhere in … More… →
While I screamed and hollered and swore at my computer with the new hard drive that would not load emails from the external drive back-up, T went merrily off to the Merida Zoo. He has been into long walks lately, so he walked. It was a long walk on a hot day. At the zoo, he was pleasantly surprised to see that the animals were well taken care of and had plenty of room to move around. Only the wild cats – tigers, lions, and panthers were pacing back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, and … More… →
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