The Traveling OYEster - About Cara Nicole's Travels

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December 3, 2013

Guilin and Yangshuo Continued

I had a good night sleep.  The roosters certainly made for a solid wake-up call.
We had a good breakfast followed by a Tai Chi class.  This turned out to be pretty relaxing and of course, entertaining.

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Guilin and Yangshuo

We arrived late at night.  Our guide, Li is chatty Cathy…
Our hotel was decorated by Liberace.  

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November 29, 2013

Panda Panda Panda

Feeding the Pandas apples:

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Terracotta Warriors

We had a ‘free’ morning.  The only thing this means is that we do not have enough activities

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November 28, 2013

Xian

We arrived late at night from Beijing.  Besides checking into the hotel and heading to sleep,

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The Wall

I think about how I may feel when I arrive at a famous landmark.  Even though there were 1,000’s of people at the Taj Mahal when I visited last year, I felt like

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November 27, 2013

Day 1 in Beijing

I heard so many mixed things about Beijing before arriving.  I am almost glad they were mixed as I had zero expectations on what to expect.

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November 24, 2013

Next Adventure – CHINA!

It’s only 6am!  I woke up in a guest house in Beijing this morning around 4am.  As I fought to stay awake last night after the 13 hour flight, I was toast by 7:30pm.

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January 3, 2013

Wrap Up of India in Time for New Year’s Resolutions…

I saw my future… it was approximately 10 or 20 years from now.  From the surface I liked what I saw.  After to getting to know the 40 or 50 something year old me, I realized I wasn’t as happy as I could be.
I learned I need to listen more and ask questions.

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January 2, 2013

Pushkar

Heading to the holiest city in Rajasthan, I tend to wonder exactly what I am in for…

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December 28, 2012

Octopussy in Udaipur

One word.  Octopussy.  This is where the movie with Roger Moore was filmed.  It is a beautiful India town with the 2nd largest palace in all of India.

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Almost Perfect R&R

After leaving the campsite, we headed to the village of Bijaipur.  The first thing, were the kids once again screaming in excitement – just one, just one.  They wanted to see a picture

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Lakeside Beauty

We woke up at 5:30am for 6am breakfast to catch jeeps to get us to the local train which was scheduled to arrive at 7am.  It was freezing!  By 8am, we still haven’t

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December 25, 2012

Bundi!

Today was one of those memorable days.  My roommate nearly had a breakdown last night.  She was debating rearranging the next few days of the trip so she can attempt to see

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India Thus Far

There are many things that become the norm while in India.  Cows in the middle of the road, stray dogs everywhere, random monkeys, and zero traffic lights except for a select few in

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December 23, 2012

Bollywood and Monkey Urine

Our 1st stop on our free day was the mall.  Yes, we found tickets for the premiere of DaBangg 2.  It was opening day!  Some of the fancy theatres have been sold out

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December 22, 2012

Pink Hustle

I woke up at the fort after a night of laughing when I presumed it was haunted.  Our door wasn’t closed and the wrought iron bolt was shaking.  There was a photo of a man staring

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December 20, 2012

Princess Me

We left Agra bright and early to make our way to Jaipur.  Before hitting up Jaipur, we got off our bus in Bassi to be transferred by Jeep to the village of Madhogarh.
The jeep ride was a trip as there were no doors

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December 18, 2012

Taj Mac Great

I have tasted all sorts of Indian food.  I love when I ask a waiter what isn’t spicy.  I get 2-3 choices.  Then I end up sharing food with my roommate and she usually orders something without asking

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December 17, 2012

Sensory Overload

Upon waking up at 3am… seriously jetlag!?  I starred at the ceiling for a few hours until I got in the shower to get ready for the start of a long day.
We began by taking the metro.  The most interesting

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December 16, 2012

Arrival in Delhi

A 14 hour flight, a spill of cold water on my lap and my arrival in Delhi is here!!
Wow, 10.5 hours ahead.  I didn’t know if I should nap or force myself to stay awake.  The flight was an easy one.  I had a 21 year old college girl whose dad was relocated to Delhi [...]

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December 10, 2012

Thanksgiving in Puerto Rico

I sometimes forget how people come into our lives.  I was sitting around the dinner table on Thanksgiving with complete strangers in a town I have never been in before.  The only person I knew I had spent all of 4 days with in my entire life.  Three of those days were spent in Barcelona, [...]

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February 28, 2012

My Day with Rose in Monteverde

The entire evening was windy, rainy and freezing!  I debated staying in bed vs. going for our morning walk into the Cloud Forest.  Then I thought I don’t want to miss the opportunity to see something new and amazing.  Our pickup was at 7:30am.  As it was rainy and absolutely freezing, I layered every article [...]

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February 26, 2012

Monteverde

We left La Fortuna around 8:30am.  We drove to Lake Arenal where we got on a boat.  About 45 minutes later we packed onto 2 vans (as there are 17 of us including our guide).  The roads to Monteverde are more like dirt roads, so to say the least…

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February 25, 2012

La Fortuna

I found out I am traveling with a professional traveler, a geneticist, an accountant, a biologist, an army doctor, and generally speaking – amazing and interesting people.

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February 22, 2012

JFK to SJO

And we are off…  I have tears in my eyes saying goodbye to Harvey Keitel.  Yes.  He is a dog, but as I previously mentioned, the love of my life.
As soon as I get in the NYC taxi, I get asked if I could pay cash.  OYE.  I took out cash for my time in [...]

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February 20, 2012

The Good, The Bad and The Recently Very Ugly

It has been a year since my last international trip.  It’s about time I go somewhere!
A lot has happened over the past year, the good, the bad and recently, the very ugly.

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February 15, 2011

Favorite Things About Southern Africa

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Lion Encounter Walk in Livingstone, Zambia
River Cruise through Chobe National Park, Botswana

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February 12, 2011

Back to South Africa

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I left Zambia in the morning and headed to Johannesburg.  I headed to this huge B&B about 15 minutes from the airport.  Turns out I am the only guest.  My host for the night was

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February 11, 2011

The Big Five in Kapama Private Game Reserve, South Africa

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I am one lucky girl!  During my last game drive, I finally saw leopard!  I wasn’t sure it was going to happen, but it did.  Here are my favorite photos of The Big Five.  Enjoy!

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February 10, 2011

Last Day in Zambia

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Before Locke left, he introduced me to Eric.  Eric is a local taxi driver who claims to have been a tour guide in his past career.  Anyhow, as many of the activities I wanted to do weren’t available due to the minimum # of people required – I hired Eric to take me around.

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February 8, 2011

Brave Day

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Wake up is at 6am for a 6:30am pickup.  The tour is over but I still have another week ahead of me of selfish time.  I decided to do a Lion Walk Encounter.  Walking with the lions?  Really – hell’s yah!
Besides myself, there was a couple from Australia and a bloke from

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February 7, 2011

Natural Wonder of the World

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Well, we crossed the border via foot (ferry) into Zambia from Botswana.  It turns out there are trucks waiting up to 5 days to cross the border via ferry.  If we kept our vehicle, we may have come across some problems, so we had a van waiting

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Chobe

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We arrived in Kasane.  Locke and I took a drive into town where I was able to pick up some more bug spray.  Until this point, I am l am happy to report I only have 1 mosquito bite.  I am starting to get itchy even though I shower most days.  Between sporadic cold showers [...]

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February 6, 2011

More Botswana – People of Gweta and Elephants :)

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My new buddy from the lodge in Gweta invited me back to the school in the morning.  I was excited by the invite so of course I took him up on it.  We visited the headmaster to get permission for me to greet the children and ask them some questions.  The difference from the day [...]

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February 3, 2011

Botswana

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The last 2 days have been amazing!  I woke up to find the open safari vehicle was waiting to take Locke and me to the Okavango Delta.  He headed over some dirt roads until we got to our mokora boats.  For the 2 of us, there were a total of

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January 31, 2011

Hut, Stars and Bugs Galore

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I spent the last 2 hours sitting around a fire starring at 1,000’s of stars.  I have never in my entire life seen so many stars.  It was dark outside and the sky twinkled.  It was a nice night.  Getting here is another story.
We left Windhoek, Namibia

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January 30, 2011

Goodbye Crazy Lady

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We left Etosha.  I was sad to leave the beautiful watering hole where I found nothing but peace and quiet.  I didn’t get to see my rhinos yet, but I hear I will have plenty of opportunities the 2nd ½ of my trip.
We arrived in Windhoek to find

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January 29, 2011

Etosha National Park

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After driving a few hours, we arrived at Otjiwarongo.  We headed to the one attraction in town – a crocodile farm.  As we all know, I heart all lizards so this was awesome!  They had areas for the adult crocs, the juniors and the babies.

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January 26, 2011

Swakopmund

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We arrived in the early afternoon.  I have an entire day and ½ free to do whatever I want in this ‘Nazi’ town.  The entire town has German influence.  I have never been to Germany, but apparently it has a strong resemblance with German restaurants, street names, etc…  It even has shops with

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January 24, 2011

Dunes!

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Today was an awesome day!  After one of the best home cooked meals of all time last night, we slept with no AC and survived as it was nice and cool out due to some rain.
Wake up was at 5:30am

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Flooding in Namibia?

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Apparently, this is supposedly a very dry and rigid area of the world.  I come and there is flooding for the first time in… according to Locke – the first time he has seen it.  He is in his 40’s.
One thing that I never experienced before in my life is

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Fish River Canyon

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Around 4:30am my battery died in my phone which acts as my alarm clock.  Oops.  I ended up stretching on the river front around 6am.  Breakfast was at 7am.  Linda showed up very late

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Namibia!

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We started our drive from Lambert’s Bay, South Africa around 9am.  We stopped for lunch at 1pm.  We finally got to the border crossing around 3pm.  It was pretty smooth considering John

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January 20, 2011

John Locke is My Leader

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So I rode shotgun during our 5 hour drive from Cape Town to Lambert’s Bay which is north up the coast.  Our meeting time was supposed to be 8:30am.  Lifeless Linda who was too good to stay at the lodge (I ended up with her single room for the night thanks to my brilliant tour [...]

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January 19, 2011

Robben Island, Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, Cheetahs, Wine, and an Ol’ Biatch

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A lot has happened over the past 2 days.  I started my day yesterday wondering if I should go to Robben Island.  After reading about it, I realized I should probably check it out; however I really wanted to go to the botanical gardens as I LOVE gardens!  So my host convinced me as it [...]

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January 17, 2011

Camps Bay

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After another long night of sleep, my host asked when I wanted to get moving.  I asked for 30 minutes as I was completely off center.  I threw my bathing suit on and 50 SPF.  We headed to Camps Bay.  My host dropped me off a little before noon.  He said he would pick me [...]

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January 16, 2011

Beautiful Town

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After my amazing dinner, I headed to sleep.  After some weird dreams, I woke up around 3am.  Startled I stayed awake for another 2 hours before falling back to sleep.  I haven’t even started taking my

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January 15, 2011

Cape Town Baby

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Its day 1.5 or what seems like day 4.  I left my apartment in New York City on Thursday morning at 6:45am.  South African airways suggest you arrive 3 hours early no matter what!  OK then…

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December 10, 2010

Packing Do’s and Don’ts

Now that this journey has ended, I can officially say, I am an expert on packing.  If I decide to do something like this ever again, I know exactly

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December 6, 2010

Hong Kong and a Bug

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After leaving Siem Reap, I flew to Bangkok for one last night before my flight to Hong Kong.  I simply relaxed by the pool and slept a lot while I was in Bangkok.  The last tour wiped me out!

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December 3, 2010

Angkor Wat and a Side of Foot Fungus

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We arrived at 5:30am.  There were hundreds of people standing around and waiting; waiting for the sun to rise over these mysterious temples.  It happened slowly

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November 29, 2010

Turkey…not so much

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It was one of the girl’s birthdays on the tour. About 9 of us went out for dinner to a ‘Westernized’ restaurant. It was

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Hard to Handle Part 2

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After leaving Phnom Penh, we arrived in Siem Reap.  The first stop was the floating villages.  This is a huge and undesirable wake up call.   The people who live in these villages simply bathe, swim, crap, wash plates, etc. in the same

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November 27, 2010

Hard to Handle

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We arrived in Phnom Penh.  Just yesterday the news broke how over 300 people died in Phnom Penh at the end of a celebration that turned into a stampede.  Today, the death toll was closer to

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November 26, 2010

Cluster Bomb

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It was a moving and informative day.  We arrived in Vientiane which is the capital of Laos.  Our first stop was COPE which stands for Cooperative Orthotic

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November 25, 2010

Vang Vieng

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The drive from Luang Prabang was pretty rough as we were warned.  On the way there, we stopped for some lunch overlooking some of the most beautiful views.  I was green at this point

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November 23, 2010

Feeding Monks!

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Luang Prabang is an interesting place.  Some love it here; while others may find it a bit boring.  I think it’s a beautiful place with many nooks and

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November 22, 2010

Boat, Bus, Tuktuk, Elephants… Simple modes of transport in Laos

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The day was overcast and chilly on the boat along the Mekong River.  I utilized 2 blankets and snuggled up in a ball and pretty much napped the morning away.  We stopped at a cave temple (Pak Ou Caves).  Honestly, this was super

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November 21, 2010

Border Crossing!

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It was an early start as we were heading to cross the Thai/Laos border by boat.  As some of our group was hung over and Dean has started to get lazy and doesn’t want to become the bad guy, I definitely started

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Chiang Rai

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We drove from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai. We checked into our hotel before heading to unique hill tribe villages. These were fascinating as I had never seen anything like it my

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November 17, 2010

Chiang Mai – LadyBoys and Monks

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After a lovely sleep on the overnight train, we arrived in Chiang Mai. The good news is that we actually arrived on time! I guess this is the same story in all 3rd world

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November 16, 2010

Sleeping with the Cockies

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I am on my overnight train heading up North to Chiang Mai.  The day was spent in ‘touristville’ in Bangkok.  This included the Royal Palace and boat rides along the canal.  It was hot

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November 15, 2010

Bangkok

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Ahhhh, sidewalks and streetlights finally!  What a relief from Vietnam.  The last few days flew by.  As I was fighting getting sick, I took it easy for the most part.  I enjoyed my beautiful

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November 12, 2010

Vietnam…

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Vietnam is a phenomenal country.  The landscapes and cities vary drastically.  Starting in Ho Chi Minh City was a good look at an overcrowded city that was a bit

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November 10, 2010

Vietnam… the Depressed, the Beauty and the Hangover

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My last day in Hue was wet and rainy.  I slept straight through the morning activities which including a cyclo ride (where you get pushed by a bicycle in a little cart – like a stroller).  Marley came back with a soaked

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November 7, 2010

Rain and a Mute with a Neat Trick

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Its official, my sneakers are so soaked they haven’t dried in almost 2 days.  My feet have turned to prunes and I

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November 5, 2010

Rained OUT

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November is supposedly the end of rainy season; however some call it the wet season.  I am confused.  Supposedly it is supposed to rain for an hour or two in the afternoon and that’s it

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November 3, 2010

Hate of the Mosquito and War

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Even though I slept under a mosquito net and wore 100% DEET, I managed to get bit a bit too many times.  Within 48 hours, I have discovered 8 bites in total.  There is a girl on my trip from Colorado.  She simply said, gee, I hope you don’t get malaria.  If she wasn’t so [...]

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November 1, 2010

Sin Chao

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I arrived in Ho Chi Minh City in the afternoon.  I hop into a cab only to have a driver who thinks he can rip me off.  I ask the airport security if the driver knows where

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October 29, 2010

Leaving Paradise…for the Next Big Adventure

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I am sitting on the largest bed in the entire universe right now.  This would comfortably sleep 4 adults.  I have never seen a bed so large.  It reminds me of

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October 27, 2010

Chapter 7 in Paradise

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I arrive at my hotel in Koh Samui.  There are many hotels on this island.  With the help of a friend (thanks RKY), I narrowed down staying in Chaweng Beach

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October 26, 2010

Hello Jordan. Goodbye Jordan.

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Reality bites.  I realize my last friend visiting me from home just left.  I almost started to cry as she got into

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October 25, 2010

The End to Chapter 6

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One word: HOT. It was freakin super hot in Egypt. I know you aren’t supposed to sweat so much in dry heat… but I schvitzed

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October 24, 2010

Tombs, Pharaohs and the Nile

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I had some free time in the morning.  I joined Jane and Andy, a lovely couple from the UK to see the Aswan Dam and Philae Temples/Island (can only get there by boat).  The rest of the group woke up at 3am

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October 19, 2010

Back to the Heat in Chapter 6

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I stopped counting after 39.  It was time I gave up on trying to count how many times my taxi driver from the airport was going to honk

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October 16, 2010

The Ending of Chapter 5

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I arrive at my B&B in Istanbul.  I get a room on the ground floor.  As a New Yorker, I don’t enjoy the ground floor

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October 15, 2010

Last 2 Days before the Exploration of the Big City

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The main reason people come to Selcuk is to see Ephesus.   Ephesus is known to be the commercial, the religious and the social center of antiquity.  Well, the only thing that made this trip interesting

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October 14, 2010

Cotton Castle

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Ahhhh…I had a lovely day of serenity.  I was with a group of about 12 people from all over.  This was one of the 1st days where there was no one

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October 12, 2010

Get me to Chicken quick!

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Would you be surprised to know I sat patiently by the side of the road?  My bus driver doesn’t speak English or doesn’t speak in general, so therefore I have no idea what the problem

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October 11, 2010

DUR (Stop in Turkey)

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So after a nice ending to Kas, I make my way to Fethiye.  The public bus system is interesting in Turkey.  The buses are like shuttle buses (not coach/not minivan).  Even though they have destinations

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October 10, 2010

Girly Day

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So last night was unfortunate.  My stomach slapped me for some reason or another.  I drank a couple of liters of water…  I decided to stay close to the hotel in the morning so I literally drank some

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October 9, 2010

Tired

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Getting sick when you are traveling is a terrible feeling, especially when you are alone.  I started with a cold and fought the shit out of it.  It caught up with me and I got worse

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October 7, 2010

Surrounded by real backpackers and some not so real travelers

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I arrived in Olympus after a very long overnight bus and a 2 hour transfer on a smaller local bus…  I was staying at a bungalow/tree house place.  I got a bungalow which is a small wood

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October 6, 2010

Future?

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Ok, so I have to tell everyone about my new friend – we’ll call him C.   C is 32 years old.  He has been working since college.  He took ‘leave’ from his job at

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October 5, 2010

Smurf Land

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I am starting to feel like Smurfette. Day 2 in land formation whacky land, we started our day with a panoramic view of more weird rocks. I got the sensation of the grand canyon… kinda cool, but could have

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October 4, 2010

Whackadoo Village

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I started to name my pet flies in my room.  Even though the temperature drops to about 40 degrees at night, my room is a little oven.  It is an oven with a bed

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October 3, 2010

Long Day to smell some Cocoa?

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Wake up at 5:45am.  Shower, finish packing and grab some grub before my 6:50am pickup.  Arrive at airport at 8am.  Check in Malev Hungarian flight from Rome to Budapest.  Flight leaves 30 minutes

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October 2, 2010

Chapter 4 – Over and Out.

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2 weeks in Italy was not enough time.  I will have to make my way back to this lovely country one day and spend quality

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October 1, 2010

Back to Rome

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The drive from Venice to Rome wasn’t as bad as I initially thought.  We arrived early afternoon and immediately started a walking tour of

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September 30, 2010

Venice Flood

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Ahhhh… Venice.  When I thought about Venice I have always thought romance!  All I have to say after

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My New Home

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We arrived at Lake Garda in the morning.  We hopped on a boat that took us around for about an hour.  It was

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September 28, 2010

No Crimes Committed… then off to Milan

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So it turns out there were no video cameras in our hotel in Florence.  Turns out the guy who had his laptop stolen assumed it was our group as we were on the younger side. 

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September 26, 2010

Florence

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One of the big driving days was upon us.  We woke up bright and early to leave Sorrento to get to Florence.  Besides the 7+ hours of driving, we made a lovely pit stop in the Chianti Region.

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September 24, 2010

Heaven in a Cave

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Turns out there are 50 people on my Contiki trip.  Sounds overwhelming, but it isn’t at all! 

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September 22, 2010

Arriving in Rome

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Jugslie left for NY around 1pm.  My flight wasn’t until 4pm, but I headed to the airport

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September 21, 2010

Chapter 3 is Wrapping Up

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Sleeping on a ranch in the middle of nowhere was one of my favorite experiences.  I absolutely heart nature

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September 17, 2010

Sleeping With the Bulls

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Our last morning in Granada was spent with a luxurious breakfast.  Yes, a luxurious breakfast for the taste buds.  We splurged

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September 16, 2010

Sun, History and Some Suckling Pig

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Our 2nd day in Marbella was lovely.  We went to the beach in the morning, got some sun

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September 13, 2010

On the Road with Jugslie in Spain…

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We picked up our automatic diesel Mercedes at Hertz 1st thing in the morning.  We are super lucky