Monday, December 31, 2007

Central Europe, September 2006

Our jovial group which toured Central Europe in 2006

A German waitress in a Munich beer garden on her way to deliver our beer. She said this was an easy load. She can easily carry twice the number! I have to drink mine with both hands - either I am a weakling or she is a superwoman lol.

This photo was taken from our hotel room in Warsaw the day we checked in.

Nighttime view from the same window. Warsaw, Poland claimed to be the most devastated city in World War II. I think Manila was a close second.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Yosemite National Park

One of my grandsons who wanted his tiny tent set-up far away from our group. When nighttime came and one of the park rangers warned us of the nocturnal visits of bears foraging for food, he decided to spend the night with Mommy in the rv LOL.

This was our camping area and you will notice that it was a bit crowded. It is always the case whenever you camp during the summer months, unless you backpacked your way to the boondocks away from leisure campers with their cars and recreational vehicles.

A deer straying too close to the roadway

Taken from a distance with a 3x zoom point and shoot digital camera

Taken during an early morning hike

Thursday, December 20, 2007

A working vacation in the old days

When I was still working in a now defunct government agency, we used to soften the hardships of being assigned to remote places by considering field works as a vacation, a respite from the bundy clock controlled, boring routine of a desk assignment. We were poorly equiped in the field and made do with what we had and what we could improvised.

However, I had more fun traveling then than I do now despite all the modern conveniences and facilities available or within easy reach these days.

We had to cook our meals in an improvised "kalan" - three stones to support a "kaldero" and dry twigs to fuel a fire and a designated cook and his assistants who had no clue of what they were doing. To this day, I still think those meals were more satisfying than the fancy meals served on cruise ships and star-studded restaurants on shore.

Only our legs to propel us from place to place, not the air-conditioned, toilet-equiped and comfort-laden touring coaches...

and crude lean-tos to protect us from the elements at night, not a fancy suite with a minibar, high definition tv, wifi and a gold-plated bathroom.

Ah, those were the days worth reliving!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

SE Asia and China cruise, Nov. 2007

We went on a cruise to SE Asia and China late October to early November this year. Our itinerary included Thailand (Bangkok), Singapore, Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh City, Nha Trang), Hongkong (including Macau), Taipeh, Japan (Okinawa and Nagasaki) and China (Shanghai and Beijing). Unfortunately, Philippines was not included in the itinerary. I understood it used to be but for reason(s) not known to me it was excluded since. I hope it will be a port of call again because Philippines has so much to offer to cruisers and land based tourists.

Floating market in Bangkok

Chau Phraya river, Thailand

Singapore sidewalk

A view from inside the Presidential Palace in Ho Chi Minh city (formerly Saigon)

An early morning view as the cruise ship approaches its berth in Hongkong

A facade of a famous church in Macau

A view from a revolving resto in Macau

Our ship sailing out of Hongkong harbor

A mobile toilet! I have never seen one like it in Europe or North America.

A photo of a tree house in Okinawa taken from inside a blue tinted glass tour bus. BTW that's not a real tree!

A tourist having her pic taken at the Peace Memorial site in Okinawa



Ship's atrium during one of the formal nights

One of the entertainment/dance venue on board

The hypocenter of the atomic bomb dropped in Nagasaki (background)

Panoramic view

Wide avenue and modern buildings in Beijing

A street food vendor in Beijing

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Las Vegas, Zion and Bryce Canyon road trip

We went on a four-day road trip to Las Vegas, Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks recently. On the way to our destinations and back, we ran into high gas prices (not unexpected), some rain, some snow, plenty of sunshine and a small town cop patrolling a speed trap zone (three different speed limits posted within a short distance!). He gave our designated driver for the day a speeding ticket for allegely driving 39 mph! He knew we were all from out of town and would not be inclined to fight in court an $82 traffic no matter how unfair we think it is. What a bummer!

We figured we could recoup our travel expenses and the cost of the "speeding" penalty by playing the slot machines in Vegas. Wrong! We unreasonably increased our expenses instead LOL. Oh, well, we had fun and that is what this trip was all about.

A panoramic view at Bryce Canyon Nationa Park

Another panoramic view inside the park

A nice view taken from our minivan while we were enroute to our destination for the day.

A lone sentinel at the overlook

On our way to Zion National Park we ran into freezing weather

...and snow

The temperature inside the park was going down but still a couple of notches above freezing.

We wanted to walk all the way to the narrow canyon but the park ranger warned us about eminent danger of flash floodings. That's all we needed to get us out of there and back to the warmth and safety of our minivan.

A view outside the Venetian

If you think this is an expensive suite, it is! However, one of our companion is a regular at Venetian so we got the suite for a song.