One day I was checking out all the shops around Parque Cristo in Havana Vieja, when I saw the Churros wagon in the park. The delicious aroma of fried dough was wafting directly to me. Mmmm… 50 pesos (65 cents) for two freshly fried Churros filled with chocolate or Dulce de Leche. I’m on my way… Mouth watering, the smell of doughnuts simply intoxicating, I turned quickly to walk across the busy street to the Churro Stand. I was checking both ways for the constant traffic of cars, bicycles and people on the street, but as … More… →
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… →
Did you know that Sloppy Joe’s were invented in Havana? Yes, those good ol’ Sloppy Joe sandwiches were invented in Havana. Remember that ground beef/tomato sauce mixture you slopped on buns? Then you devoured it in minutes thinking it was the best thing you ever had? Sloppy Joes were the brainstorm of a local Havana restaurant (Paladar) owned by a guy named – you got it – Joe. It happened in the 1920’s during prohibition when mobsters and gangsters began to flock to Havana for its availability of alcohol and gambling. Joe wanted to cater to this … More… →
Orangutan Break-In We were down for breakfast at the Myrne River Resort in Borneo when David told us that there had been an Orangutan Break-in! Most of the cups and glassware had been removed from the Coffee and Snacks station in the centre of the Restaurant because a wild Orangutan had wandered into the open-sided restaurant and started smashing everything in the Coffee station! Gulp. I almost choked on my coffee, as I glanced around to see if there were any orangutans lurking nearby. We had heard of lots of different types of break-ins, but never … More… →
Gigantic Butterfly Relaxing on the deck before our Borneo River Safari, something moved beside my chair. I looked, and made a small gasp. There was a huge creature fluttering on our patio window a foot away from me! I stood up, stepped back… and took a closer look. Well, it was just a butterfly! But it was the most gigantic butterfly I had ever seen. We were in the middle of jungle after all. It was kind of pretty too, in fact, beautiful. For a few moments, I was mesmerized just watching her, probably with the … 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… →
We had rented a cabin and were about to spend a week on an uninhabited island, Uoleva Island, in the Haap’ai Group of Tonga. It was an island we would have all to ourselves with absolutely breathtaking white powder beaches and crystal clear turquoise water (perfect for skinny dipping). There were no roads, no cars, no shops on the island. Flying Over the Dozens of Islands of Tonga As we flew over the islands of Tonga, the clear, blue atolls were amazing! We flew over island after island, atoll after atoll, with miles of white sand and the most brilliant … More… →
The Lake It was the most mesmerizing lake we had ever seen. Set in the Borneo rain forest like a jewel of peace among wild thorns. (Double-click on any photo to see it full size) Reflections so perfect and so still, you’d swear there were two lakes. Most astounding was the silence. In any forest you will hear the sounds of birds and animals and insects, yet at this enthralling place in the Borneo rainforest, there was not a sound. The unusual silence was hypnotic. Even the remote Northern Lakes of Canada were not this noiseless. … More… →
Sepilok Orangutan Nursery We were still giddy from seeing the wild Orangutans that morning. After returning to the gorgeous Sepilok Nature Resort, we had lunch and a short break before we headed to the Sepilok Orangutan Nursery and Rehabilitation Centre. The Orangutan Nursery and Rehabilitation Centre houses orphaned and stolen baby orangutans. Many of the little orangutans were originally pet orangutans that had been illegally kept as pets; some were orphaned babies whose Mothers had died or been killed. They were all babies or between 1-2 years old. Stolen and Orphaned Orangutan Babies The … More… →
Move over Africa – Borneo could offer as much as Africa, without the price! Check out our amazing adventures below while on Borneo Safari, and just see if you wouldn’t rather go to Borneo at half the cost of going to Africa. WILD ANIMALS OF BORNEO With one of the oldest rainforests in the world, and protecting the endangered Bornean Orangutan, the Bornean Elephant, the Proboscis Monkey, the Sumatran Rhinoceros, the Leaf Monkey, and the Bornean Clouded Leopard, Borneo is fast becoming an alternative to the African Safari. Afar named Borneo first in a list of unique safari … 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… →
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… →
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… →
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… →
A big apology to all adventure-loving readers: we just discovered that our contact widget was not working. It is fixed and working now, so you can easily submit Your Funny Travel Story. See below… Everyone enjoys reading about the comical, amusing or unfortunate experiences of others, right? We all love a good laugh. Slipping on a banana peel, falling in the lake, trying to walk through a glass door – somehow these things are funny – when they happen to someone else! And our readers can’t wait to hear your funny travel story! We are now accepting submissions … 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… →
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Shirley and Mr. T
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