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Six years of adventure with pics to prove it.

Lizard?

Filed under: Roatan — she_travels at 7:07 pm on Friday, February 27, 2009

This place, my current most favorite island, has lizards of many kinds. Many shapes and sizes of lizard, some are big, some are small, some fast,   some  slow, though not many. Some scream about on two legs when frightened, some change colors. The critter I wish to tell you about makes a sound like a bark or chirp.

I have heard various voices from the lizards here abouts but for the most part I have a pretty good idea of what I am hearing, often times I get a glimpse of the beastie as well.

Many of  the homes on the island are constructed in such a way the lizards come and go as they please. In Bob Marley’s home you can see them zipping up and down the walls, they don’t bother any one so why hassle them.

This home (Miss Gato’s) is not a home a lizard can investigate, never mind they must get past the ever gecko patrolling kitty.

The neighbor told me a story last week of Miss Gato jumping from this deck to his in pursuit if a green arrow of a lizard. From what I understood in some way the lizard found the top of the deck railing.  Kitty jumped,  caught the unfortunate gecko her mouth mid air over the railing and kept going landing on the beach sand a good ten feet below. I told the guy he was nuts but he says it’s truth. Gecko killing cat this is.

I tell you  this cause I was astonished when last week I heard a lizard chirping in the house. I have been living with them off and on for years, they don’t bug me much so I didn’t bother with him. I would hear him off and on,  though out the day from various part of the house, some times louder or with a slightly different voice.

Three days of listening to him, it occurred to me to go looking. I had zero luck finding him though I did narrow down his location to either the lower bath or the laundry room.

Five days of listening to him  I was sure I needed to find him.  I started by looking the the closet next to the bathroom, no lock. While I was looking in the bath I heard him but not in the bathroom. Ok, so I went around the other side if the closet to the laundry room. I heard him again, he was not in the laundry room.

I went back out to the kitchen to listen, that was when I saw the phone the owners had given me. You can bet I was feeling pretty silly when I flipped it open to see several unread text messages.

It took five days and looking for a non exsitant gecko to realize the noise I was hearing was the text message alert for the phone.

By Gosh, By Golly,

Filed under: Interlude — she_travels at 11:04 am on Tuesday, February 24, 2009

We are all caught up…woohoo! Man. I hope I never get that far behind again.

I am back on the island of Roatan. The 1st week I spent with Bob Marley and all their fuzzy friends. I am now living with Miss Gato whose parents went to Colorado to visit family and work in a bit of skiing.

It has been cold and raining/pouring off and on since I arrived. I was only in the pool at Bob Marley’s house once and that was just to see if I could talk myself into it. Rain water and no sunshine make for a very chilly pool.

Kitty and I have been updating both the blog and the web site. I still have several stories to write but at least all the photos I have with me are posted.

I shift to a new place Saturday. It is a new area for me,  should be fun to meet new people and hang out in a new place. The cabin  on a bit of iron shore, a point, with a huge ocean view and plenty of opportunity for sunset photos.

I will be here until March 19th when I go back to Colorado for Spring Break.

Kitty is batting the screen door, her code for “Door person, get up off  your hinnie and let me out.”

July 2008 thru Jan 2009

Filed under: Colorado — she_travels at 4:04 pm on Monday, February 23, 2009

Ok gang, seven months in Colorado very fast.

Twenty days after arriving from eight weeks in South East Asia I was out horse-back riding with a friend,  in the mountains behind Boulder. I was not paying anywhere near enough attention to what was going on. Smack/crunch! I was kicked by my friend’s horse who was trying to nail the horse I was on.

Some of the tale can be found here.

Anywho, we called 911, waited 45 minutes for Mountain Rescue (those are the guys are who ya want on your side). An ambulance ride to the emergency room, x rays, drugs, emergency surgery, four horrible days in the hospital, six weeks non weight bearing and another six weeks with the pain dissipating and my brain learning to walk without a limp. The last of the pain was gone the end of January. That is a LONG arse time to be healing, it felt like for ever and there were times I wondered of I was ever going to walk properly again.

Mom came down to help me deal, she was in the hospital before I got out of surgery.

I had a friend helping me with the animals I was taking care of when I got kicked.  She continued to do some of it while mom and I took on most of my work the day I got out of the hospital. Mom cleaned barns while I played with dogs and cats.

I was not any fun to be around, confining me is a hairy scary thing for me but add reactions  the drugs and ya get a complete basket case of a gal who no longer has any control over her emotions, is either screaming or crying, will not eat anything and whose brain thinks she needs to pee all the time but her body says no. I was a wreck!

Needless to say it was a rough 12 weeks til I could drive again.

Christmas was fun cause the weather was nice.

I collected three new clients in 2008..woohoo!

Part of Dec and all of Jan were spend with Jackson, the fetching wonder dog. I was chatting with a friend while living with him and realized the five weeks I was in Jackson’s house was the longest amount of time I had spend in any one home over the past two years. Wacky huh?

Whew! the end of the Asia posts

Filed under: Thailand — she_travels at 3:33 pm on Monday, February 23, 2009

From a post dated the last day I was in Thailand.

Quick thoughts before going to find some food… I don’t think anyone should come to this part of the world and not see Angkor Wat in Cambodia. History lessons from friends you meet along the way are grand. Vietnam is not all jungle and I may go back one day. The beaches I saw in Thailand do not compare to Roatan. The Mekong river is HUGE! It truly is hot and humid!

I landed in Denver July 1st 2008. Here it is Feb something and I just now have all the pics up. I am sorry..  the excuse is a good one but another story. As I sit here listening to the pouring rain, posting pics, the memories come back. I truly did enjoy the trip, am pleased as punch I did. Yes,  there were times during the eight  weeks I wanted to toss the whole thing and hop a plane to Australia but in the end I am very glad I stuck it out. I saw  many things, learned stacks of stuff about the culture, made some  new friends.

Travel, every one should do it. Just get out of your box from time to time to see what is happening in the rest of the world. Get out of your comfy zone just to see if ya can.

Man!! It really is raining, I had to shut all the window for the drops leaping into the house. Rain down here is a whole different animal than it is at home. Tis the land of the Caribbean and tropical weather.

Phu Quoc, Vietnam

Filed under: Vietnam — she_travels at 3:06 pm on Monday, February 23, 2009

Phu Quoc is as island off the coast of Cambodia which belongs to Vietnam. I must have a few pics but at the moment I can not find them.  Google can if your interested before I get sorted out. 

The ferry ride over was easy enough, long, maybe 4 hours. I am not sure I would have been nearly so well when I arrived had I not had my noise reduction ears pieces for my MP3 Player. That boat was LOUD! 

I did not see as much of the island as I had wanted, it poured rain the 1st day I was there. The following morning I was SICK. I am still not exactly sure what I had but if felt like,  what people describe as,  a sinus infection. The congestion was only in my head and the pain was far greater than I would have though. It was much like my migraine headaches with the added bit of sinus congestion. I could not look out the window for the stabbing pain in my head, hell moving was a challenge. 

I was so afraid it would not resolve by the time I had to get on a plane,  I forced myself to stay indoors drinking nothing but water for the next two days. At some point it finally occurred to me I had a new version/strength of my migraine medication with me..I popped one of those, went back to bed and by the third morning I was fine. Good thing too I had to get on a ferry back to Rach Gia to spend the night then hop a plane to Bangkok the next morning. 

I will look for pictures of  the island.

Mekong Delta

Filed under: Vietnam — she_travels at 2:33 pm on Monday, February 23, 2009

While in Saigon I started to feel the pressure of getting back to Bangkok on time to catch my flight to Los Angeles. There were several things I wanted to see before leaving this area, one was parts of the Mekong Delta, another was a visit to Phu Quoc island. Because I was running out of time I asked a tour agent to sort it out.  I paid her for the two day Delta tour, two nights in Rach Gia on either end of a three day visit to Phu Quoc, ferry tickets to Phu Quoc and an airline ticket from Rach Gia to Bangkok two days before my flight out. All I had to worry about the next week was finding a place on Phu Quoc to sleep.

Many pics of  the Mekong Delta follow. Water, water every where!

Fishing boats being loaded with ice. See the bricks in the middle if the image, they are on a conveyor belt.

So, many kinds of conveyance!

I love this one!

Floating market. See the pole at the top of  the image, it tells everyone that sell Pineapple.

This pole as many more items on it cause this groups of boats is selling all kinds of things.

Floating bar/beverage.

The boat in the middle is empty, the two on either side are full of sand. The eyes on the boats are to frighten away sea monsters.

At the moment this seems to be the last of the South East Asia pics I have re sized and uploaded. I think I was so overwhelmed by the number of photos I had I got lost. I will look for more.

Saigon, Vietnam

Filed under: Vietnam — she_travels at 1:57 pm on Monday, February 23, 2009

I do not remember how long the VIP bus ride form Mui Ne to Saigon was, I do remember when the driver stopped for gas he did so at a place looking much like an Asian version of a Texaco complete with convenience store. I stepped off the bus with my mouth hanging open wondering where on earth I was.  Thank goodness I was alert enough to see a couple of ladies ducking behind the building.

Around the corner of  the building I saw an open door way, assuming it was the bathroom I walked up the the edge of the stair and was stopped by an attendant who motioned me to remove my shoes and put on the slippers at the door.

I was so taken aback by the process I snapped a picture before leaving.

Mind you, I had been in some very interesting restroom situations in Laos.

The traffic in Bangkok is bad but nothing compared to Saigon. Land of the O Mighty MotorBike.

The morning after I arrived I went out for a walk. I managed to get lost so what may have been a short stroll turned in to four hours of wandering. In some areas I felt as though the locals were confused by my being off the normal tourist path.

Do ya believe the power lines? This was to early in the morning for the masses of people to be about.

Crossing the street in Saigon is a bit of an art form. The motorbikes and cars will yield, but  there are so many of them it’s hard to keep track of them all. Your best bet, pick your time wisely, once you step into the street do not stop, be confident and alert.

I was standing on the sidewalk of a fairly busy intersection accessing the crossing possibilities when I heard a voice to my left,  “Crossing is difficult some times.”  When I looked in the direction of the sound I found an Asia looking guy of about 30 smiling at me. I was surprised cause his English was very good.

I agreed with him. I do not remember most of the conversation on the street  before he said, “Let’s sit and talk, I will buy you a beverage.” I followed him around the corner of the shop we were standing in front of. In the mass of people on the side walk he found a set of child’s chairs and table, there were several sets with people sitting, drinking and talking.

He offered me a chair and asked what I wanted to drink, I said water. A lady at his elbow went to the other end of the tables and came back with two waters. The gentleman paid her.

I took a sip, he started talking. He told  me his name,  “Wayne like John Wayne” He is a chicken farmer from Indonesia here in Saigon visiting his brother’s family. He often does cause he enjoys Saigon.

I told him my name, that I was traveling about South East Asia soaking up the culture.

We chatted about many things and nothing. At one point he said “If you would like to experience a true Vietnamese family you can come home with me. My brother and his wife would be happy to meet you.”  Wayne was very nice, polite and easy to talk with, I said sure.

Wayne  trotted through traffic, hailed a cab and held the door while I slid in to the seat thinking,*”Wonder what this is about.* It did not have the feeling of anything sinister.

When the cab stopped it was in an ally between homes.  The homes were all connected, the foot prints were about  the size of a two car garage and they looked to be four levels. Wayne told me they are built this way because land is so expensive. There is no garden just more buildings lined up behind this one with an ally between.

Wayne opened the door to the house next to the cab. We stepped into an outer area, it was tiled with two motor bikes at one end. Wayne removed his sandals before stepping up a single step into what looked like a living area.

When I slipped out of my crocs I was ashamed at the state of my feet, walking in the dirty city was screaming at me. I mentioned my problem to Wayne, he point to a hose and bucket to my left. Prepared they are.

I was offered a seat on the couch by a woman, Wayne excused himself before going up the stairs. The woman, whose name I do not remember,  sat with me for some time talking of this and that. She offered me a beverage and hopped up to get it when I said “Yes,  water please.”

While she was off I sat quietly having a look about the room. As it felt from the outside, the room was about the size of a two car garage, the tile was white as were the walls. The staircase was in the back right corner. The couch I was sitting on was one of four pieces of furniture in the room. The others were a sideboard looking thing against the wall opposite the two couches which faced each other and a coffee table between. I do not remember a single thing on any of the walls. I do remember alot of empty space.

The woman was back with a plate of bananas, a coke, a bottle of water and a man. The bananas she placed in the middle of the table. She handed me the water and the coke saying “All Americans drink coke”. I smiled and thanked her. Finally, she introduced the man, I no longer remember is name either,  he sat opposite me while she sat next to me.

The gentleman told me of his job, he works for a company which does some thing for casinos. We chatted of the many in a dirty little boarder town of PoiPet, Cambodia. He said he had been there many times with his work. He said only the very rich stay to gamble in those places, that none of them are Cambodian cause it is against Cambodian Law to gamble. He then mentioned he spends an amount of time on docked cruise ships cause they all have casino. When I told him I was headed to an island called Phu Quoc, he said he wold be more than happy to offer me a tour of a ship,  it would be on docked there. I was fairly excited about this having never been on a cruise ship.

There must have been a point where he decided I was relaxed enough to proceed. He told me he and his friends often play blackjack and asked if I had ever played.  I said I understood the premise of the game but had never played. I was far to careful with my money to waste it on gambling. He offered to teach me, but it had to be done in his bedroom.

There still is no sinister feel about the people. The woman was still siting next to me..no one is at all worried.

The gentleman must have seen some thing cross my face cause he said “My religion prohibits me from being in my bedroom with a single woman, she will come with us.”  I did not care to learn to play blackjack but I also was not about to insult these nice people for their hospitality.

Upstairs the three of us went, the gentleman closed the door once she and I had entered. He arranged two chairs on one side of a table at the end of a bed. He sat on the bed and asked us to sit in the chairs.

Once he thought I understood the principals of the game he started talking about how one can cheat. With the help of he and his friends/coworkers you can beat the system.  They have a series of signals between them, the eye the in sky is in on the scam and will not stop you and the dealer aids with a bit of slight of hand..all I had to do was learn the system.

I admit I was a bit curious about how they pull this off, come to find out the dealer actually shows the next card just before he flips it.

The gentleman  went on to say they pick targets, the very wealthy who can stand to loose some cash. He teaches people he believes will not get in to the habit of asking him to help them win. He concluded with saying “If you would like to try, I know someone we can call. She is very wealthy, enjoys the game and  does not get upset when she looses. I will give you a small amount of money , $500, to play with then we will split the winnings.

My brains started screaming!* Holy Crap! $500 dollars? Is this guy nuts? NO, no NO! I will not.* I took a breath, slowing,quietly I said, “I understand yet I am not comfortable. ”

He helped me “Your heart is not happy.”

I agreed, “My mind could do it but my heart says no. Thank you for teaching me, but I just can not.”

He was very nice, he got up. This was my que to do the same as did the woman.

At the door she stopped, he said, “Thank you for coming, I enjoyed talking with you.”

I said “Thank you for having me, I enjoyed our time as well.”

The woman told me she was meeting friends and would call a cab to get us back to town. by the by ~ I never did see Wayne again after he introduced the woman.

The every minute I said no they were done with me. Wacky  huh?

The whole whole experience was so odd I didn’t have any kind of time to sit and think about it til much later. While doing so I decided, Wayne was sent out to find someone they could teach this system to. How he decides is beyond me..but I bet you money it was never about meeting me it was all about how much money they could make if I joined in the scam.

Travel is such fun, ya never know what kind of wacky arse adventure your going to have.

Next up, The Mekong Delta.

Mui Ne, Vietnam

Filed under: Vietnam — she_travels at 5:59 pm on Saturday, February 21, 2009

Mui Ne is on the ocean, most of  the guest houses are as well.

The view from the porch of my room.

I dropped my bag in the room, walked out the door and turned right to walk up the beach.

Sebastian

Organizing the net.

About an a hour later, bringing in the haul.

Bad photo of the catch.

Sorting, I saw honest to goodness seahorses..holy hannah!

The next morning in the dark before sunrise I took a motorbike ride to the Dunes. I was the passenger in the motorbike.

Motorbike guy took me back the way we had come to another area of dunes. When we went by the first time there was not a person or car around, when we came back you had to be very careful not to hit any of the people crossing the road from parking lot to Dunes.

See the gal to the right in a white shirt? She has a rented sled, seems this area is all about the sliding down the dunes in a bit of plastic. I think I prefer snow.

I snapped this from the dunes people were sliding on.

The guy driving the motor bike was not talking to me much,  just stopping where he thought he should I s’pose. The next stop turned out to be a fishing port between the boats in the above image and the tree line.

Had I been less overwhelmed by the masses of people coming and going I would have been paying more attention to what the ox cart was loaded with. See the fish in the woven basket?

Shelling some kind of mussel.

Ice, they were supplying the ships in the harbor.

Sorting squid

The round boat guys were transferring ice out to the ships and bringing the catch back. I was told the ships fish all night and every morning there have this mad, crazy fish market thing going on.

Many motor bikes moving stuff about like this.

Next……

Place called Fairy Creek.

I was told to walk in the water, it was only about ankle deep.

I really enjoyed MuiNe. Sitting on the beach watching a family fish for a good bit of one afternoon was great fun, not to mention sunrise in the sand dunes.

Saigon, here I come.

Da Lat, Part Two

Filed under: Vietnam — she_travels at 9:38 am on Saturday, February 21, 2009

I spent the night with windows closed and no AC with a blanket on me. Yes, it was much cooler in Da Lat.

I joined a tour to see many of the sights about the area.

The land and area around Da Lat is patch worked with the bright greens of  crops and shades of rich brown soil all dotted with the white sheen of green houses.

Flowers, in a green house

The crop closest is young coffee plants.

Coffee

Coffee with pine trees on the ridge.

From Pine tree edge.

+

Next stop…..

A water fall with….

A temple next door.

Praying before a meal.

The balls in the water are silk worm cocoons, the water allows the silk strand to come free. There is a lady standing just out of sight with a spoon she swirls about in the water, when she is happy with the strands on the spoon she taps the spoon to the white upside down cup just below the orange strip. As if by magic the strands of silk travel through the cup up past the blue bit and are spun onto rolls. Pretty cool process.

Next up, fisherman and sand dunes in Mui Ne

Da Lat, Vietnam

Filed under: Vietnam — she_travels at 2:19 am on Saturday, February 21, 2009

This trip was when I started to realize Vietnam is all kinds of diverse in the landscape department.

Not clear cause I was in a bus but the idea here is falt-ish and dry. I had no idea.

Graves.

Then back to the mountains.

I saw the pipe line before I realized  we were going that way.

From some of the way up the mountain.

See the snake of a road we came up?

The next several are from the top of  the hill, the bus stopped at a vista view.

Then there is a bit of town….Just short of 5000 feet elevation.

As I do when I arrive at the chosen guest house I dropped by bag and ventured out into town. I usually choose a direction, make turns in the same direction and end up back where I started. When going out on another day I widen the circle, this way I do not get lost.

Da Lat is constructed on hills with streets which made little or no sense from the ground. I thought I was making a sorta loop when I stopped dead on the side walk wondering not only where I was but,  how the heck do I get back to where I started.  As I stood there  bewildered by the street system I realized I was in worse shape than only being lost, I had no idea my guest house address, heck I didn’t even know the name of the place.

Frozen  on the side walk watching the traffic, coming and going, I wondered what the hell I was going to do. A woman burst out of the shop I was standing in front of  saying, “Are you hungry? You must come eat.”  Sure, ok, I will come eat.

She seated me, handed me a menu, and processed to tell me what I wanted for dinner. “Sure, ok, I will have that.”  I do not remember what it was, I do remember it was yummy, chicken something no doubt.

I was almost finished with my meal when two 20 something gals walked in. They seated themselves at a table next to mine. As they perused the menus someone had left on the table the lady who grabbed me off the street came over to tell them what they wanted for dinner. I overheard it was the same thing I had, once the lady was gone I whispered to the gals the food she was offering was yummy.

They both smiled when one of them, in an Irish accent,  said, “We have been here three nights running, the owner tells us what to eat, we do and it’s very good.” Seems the lady was the owner.

We chatted a bit about travels and upcoming plans.  I mentioned I was a bit lost then attempted to describe the guest house I was staying in. One of them got a silly look on her face while saying, “I think that is where we are staying, if ya want to wait we can take you back.”  I was happy to wait as long as needed.

Out the door and up the street to the right, over a hill down and around poof..my guest house. The Irish gals were staying in the same place.

Whew!! Saved again!

Next up.. a bit more about Da Lat.

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