Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Earth Hour A Success!

Earth Hour took place this past weekend around the world. I think it is incredible when you can take a concept and a statement and enroll a big chunk of the world in it - including Las Vegas the city of Lights.

As I am sure you know we are big Vegas fans and were stunned when we saw how the strip took part (it's the last photo of this link)

http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2009/03/earth_hour_2009.html

Make sure you check out Toronto too - Our hometown! We had a 15% decrease on the Grid that night - I was so proud. But I know we can do better next year!

Congratulations world! I can't wait to see after a whole year how many more will participate.
Thanks to Joanna Haugen for bringing this web page to my attentiong through twitter @joanna_haugen and her site is http://joannahaugen.com/home/91/the-latest

http://www.earthhour.org/home/

Monday, March 30, 2009

Waikiki Beach at Sunrise

Good Morning!

The first morning we arrive in Hawaii, we are usually awake before dawn. The 6 hour time difference makes it 6 am when our bodies are still on noon. You can usually figure out who the people from the East coast are by the ones walking on the beach before the sun rises.

In July 2008 we stayed in a Tower Suite at the Westin Moana Surfider. I took a video just as the sun rose, you can see the beach well and it isn't too busy, except for those Easterners walking the beach with their Starbucks in hand. Oh and the surfers of course.
Don't mind the narration, It was 6 am and I was tired.....I wanted you to hear the waves too.


Friday, March 27, 2009

Friday's Favorites Wrap Up

I have started this weekly post about my favorite websites or posts that I have found during the week. Every week it gets tougher as I am finding some amazing sites and articles that have some GREAT vacation ideas or travel advice.

Alot of what I find is from the people I meet on Twitter. I am amazed at how much fun it is, and how I can see by following twitter what people are interested in. I try to retweet (essentially taking posts that I think are valuable and copying them to send to my followers) only posts that you would get value from.
So this weeks finds are:
Articles:
21 Things you can do to experience traveling without leaving home - Everything-Everywhere.com
Twitter - @EverywhereTrip
Guide to Kid Free Cruising - Cruise Source - for those romantic vacations.
Twitter @cruisesource
Surviving a Theme Park Vacation - Professional Travel Guide

Websites:
Journeys Within Blog - They are helping us book our Thailand Trip!
Twitter - @aprilcole and @andreaross
Dog Travel Company - Because I would love to travel with my dog like this!
Twitter - @DogTravelComp
Travel With Kids - Awesome Videos for traveling with kids!
Twitter - @Travel_WithKids

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Monday, March 23, 2009

What is your Scariest Travel Experience?

This morning I was reading something somewhere on the Internet about scary travel experiences. It's interesting because I have been to every continent except Antarctica, and my scariest travel moment was as I was flying into Moscow in February of 2000.

My sister and her husband had adopted a baby from Kazakhstan. She had to spend a few days in Moscow to get approvals from the Canadian Consulate for my niece to be admitted into Canada. My parents and I were in Europe on business (back when I worked for the family business) so we decided to detour to Moscow to spend it with them and to meet the new member of our family.

Yes we had to eat at McDonald's - It was a Canadian initiative after all!

I grew up in the 70's and 80's. Even though I grew up in Canada we were still "concerned" about the USSR. We had heard stories about how people were treated and how they would have to line up for hours to get bread and food. And of course the "nuclear" threat.

The flight from London to Moscow was on BA. They showed a movie called "East/West". It was nominated for an Academy Award for best Foreign Film, and it was a really well made movie. It told a story that should be told, just not a great idea to show it while flying into Moscow.

The movie was about a Russian Expat Doctor who was asked to come back to Russia to live and practice. Stalin asked many soviets that left the USSR after WWI to return and help to "rebuild" the USSR with no repercussions for fleeing in the first place. Well of course Stalin lied and killed some as soon as they arrived, or in the case of this family took the French wife's passport as soon as they arrived and then pretty much treated them like prisoners.

As we landed my heart started racing, I was shaking and my face was flushed. My dad actually asked if I was OK.... He didn't watch the movie - he was safe!

My logical mind said - don't be silly...this doesn't happen anymore - it's the year 2000 - the new millennium - the wall fell ages ago...People visit here safely all the time...my my emotions said - "What are you Crazy????"

I was so flustered I left my laptop ON THE PLANE!. I rushed back to get it and 2 very stern security personnel (with guns I might add) told me in Russian (at least I think this is what they meant) - that I had to turn around and go back - I couldn't go back onto the plane! I knew it - this was a plot to steal my stuff like they did in that movie. Well OK I am exaggerating a bit!

I stood in the very long immigration line up...with my papers in hand...still fearful....who knows what might happen once we get past that line.

We then got to the baggage claim and low and behold a flight attendant had taken my bag off for me. Whew!

We went through customs and found a taxi...The rest of the trip was AWESOME and we got to meet my beautiful niece for the first time later that night.

In my 4 days and touring around in the cold. They only time I got "hassled" by the authorities was when I was in a taxi going back to the airport - they wanted to see my papers - I happily obliged.

So it was just my mind that made it all up! I guess that is the power of the mind.

The lesson I learned - Don't make up what isn't there .. stay present while traveling. Assess what is actually going on..Not what you think might happen!.

I asked on Twitter today "What was your scariest travel experience?" I got some great responses...
From children and parents being hassled in Jamaica to have their hair braided...To a smoke filled plane from Jakarta to Bandung .... To trying to vacation in Tahiti while a huge and violent protest was going on over a French Nuclear Testing program nearby. (thank you on twitter to those that responded!)

So what is your scariest travel experience? Please comment below!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

NCL Dawn Video - July 2006

We took an AWESOME cruise in July 2006. We took a cruise the Norwegian Dawn in the Owners Suite, From New York City to Bermuda and The Bahamas .

We were treated to an awesome time with our Butler Ramadan , Our Concierge Claudio, and of course the Group Coordinator at the time (she is now the Crew Activities Director on the NCL Star) Island Luxon.

Here is a video of our suite on the ship.


Friday, March 20, 2009

Friday's Favorite Websites or Posts

I thought I would start a new weekly post about my favorite websites or posts that I found during the week.

I have met so many cool people online and have found some AWESOME sites and posts during my web travels.

I am very picky about what I recommend to others as I know their time is valuable. I only love to share things that I find that I think are worth looking at or may add value for you .


I post some of them during the week on our main site Excellent Vacation Ideas , but I think it would be fun to do summarize them here too.

This will probably evolve over time. If you find any sites that you think we should see then send please leave it in the comments section here.

This Week's Posts and Articles are:

Travel and Leisure Mag - Weirdest Travel Agent Requests
7 Reasons to Travel with Your Kids
8 Roadblocks to Family Travel
Top Travel Myths


This Weeks Sites:

10Best - Great Travel Guides if you are looking for the best things to do, places to stay or where to eat on your travels!

Everything Everywhere - Gary sold his house and hit the road a couple of years ago. This is his site. He twitters and blogs about his adventures. He is funny and great to follow.

Soultravelers3.com - they are a family of 3 that sold up, picked up and are traveling the world. Their adventures are amazing and fun to follow.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Picture of the Week - March 17 - Happy St. Patricks Day!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!
Today's Picture comes from Sydney, Australia.

This is one of the waterfalls in the Chinese Garden in Darling Harbour, Sydney, Australia.
We spent a morning here in August of 2008. It was beautiful and contrary to what I thought it was going to be, a lot of fun!
We enjoyed it as a family, Warren and Montana even rented and dressed up in Chinese Emperor and princess costumes and we took some GREAT pictures throughout the gardens.
The Chinese Gardens are a must see in Sydney!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Photo of the Week March 10, 2009 - Sydney Harbour Bridge


The Sydney Harbour Bridge in Sydney, Australia. Taken Winter (August), 2008. It was a beautiful sunny day but quite cool. If you look really closely, you can see the bridge hikers. They climbed the bridge for the amazing views!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Picture of the Week

Wailua Falls., Kauai, Hawaii




Made famous in the opening scene of Fantasy Island. 80 feet tall and easy to find. If you are Kauai, find this waterfall as it is worth the drive. The waterfall lookout is at the road so you don't have to hike to it.

Some people hike to the bottom and swim in the pool below - but it is not advised as it can be quite dangerous. Best time to go is early morning.

This picture was taken around noon.

Directions:
Take Highway 56 north to Lihu'e to Ma'alo road, Hwy 583 on the right. Located at end of the road - parking may be tight. About 5 minutes from Lihu'e