Bangkok to Ko Tao, Thailand, December 17, 2013 – January 1, 2014

December 17, 2013

It feels good to relax a little the past two days!  We decided to see Bangkok from the Chao Phraya River – after heavy negotiations with the boat people, we were off on an hour ride….

RIverboat/canal ride, Chaya Phraya River, Bangkok

Riverboat/canal ride, Chaya Phraya River, Bangkok

RIverboat/canal ride, Chaya Phraya River, Bangkok

Riverboat/canal ride, Chaya Phraya River, Bangkok

RIverboat/canal ride, Chaya Phraya River, Bangkok

Riverboat/canal ride, Chaya Phraya River, Bangkok

At one point, we stopped at stopped off by a sign saying “feed the fish for good luck.”  The  boat driver gave us a package of bread.  As we threw bits in the water, hundreds of giant catfish erupted to the surface and started to splash about in competition for the food.

RIverboat/canal ride, Chaya Phraya River, Bangkok

Riverboat/canal ride, Chaya Phraya River, Bangkok

RIverboat/canal ride, Chaya Phraya River, Bangkok

floating souvenir shop – Riverboat/canal ride, Chaya Phraya River, Bangkok

RIverboat/canal ride, Chaya Phraya River, Bangkok

Riverboat/canal ride, Chaya Phraya River, Bangkok

RIverboat/canal ride, Chaya Phraya River, Bangkok

Riverboat/canal ride, Chaya Phraya River, Bangkok

After we got off the boat, we wandered around the city near the river….

Sathon area, Bangkok

Sathon area, Bangkok

Sathon area, Bangkok

Sathon area, Bangkok

Duck anyone?, Bangkok

Duck anyone?, Bangkok

Skytrain at rush hour - Bangkok

Skytrain at rush hour – Bangkok

Rush hour, Bangkok

Rush hour, Bangkok

We explored the Siam Center – it seems like each mall is more upscale than the previous!

Siam Center, Bangkok

Siam Center, Bangkok

Siam Center, Bangkok

Siam Center, Bangkok

Siam Center, Bangkok

Siam Center, Bangkok

Siam Center, Bangkok

Siam Center, Bangkok

Siam Center, Bangkok

Siam Center, Bangkok

Merry Christmas!

December 18, 2013

We are taking the sleeper train south from Bangkok to Chumphon, then a bus to the ferry to an island called Koh Tao – Turtle Island – in the Gulf of Thailand.

Waiting for the train, Bang Sue Station, Bangkok

Waiting for the sleeper train, Bangsue Station, Bangkok

Waiting for the train, Bang Sue Station, Bangkok

Waiting for the train, Bang Sue Station, Bangkok

Second class sleeping berth , Bangkok

Second class sleeping berth , Bangkok

We went to the dining car for dinner and when we returned to our seats they were made into beds with sheets and pillows.  We slept okay – the ride was a bit bumpy and loud – but it was comfortable!  We arrived at our station about 6:00 am., boarded a bus for the 20-minute ride to the dock and boarded the ferry at 7:00 am.

Ferry to Koh Tao, Thailand

Ferry to Koh Tao, Thailand

Ferry dock, Ban

Ferry dock, Ban

Sunrise over the Gulf of Thailand, Chumphon

Sunrise over the Gulf of Thailand, Chumphon

The ferry ride was 2 hours on rough seas – 10 foot swells.  Most people were getting sick…. it was a relief to get off the boat!!!!!

Rough ferry ride

Rough ferry ride

The island is really pretty – our room is in the jungle with a great view of Sairee Beach….

Koh Tao Cabanas

Koh Tao Cabanas

View from the room, Koh Tao Cabanas

View from the room, Koh Tao Cabanas – the water is perfect for swimming!

Koh Tao Cabanas, Thailand

Koh Tao Cabanas, Thailand

 

Breakfast spot, Koh Tao

Breakfast spot, Koh Tao

We rented a dirt bike to get around the island.  Driving on the left side was a bit terrifying at first (!!!!), but Scott adapted quickly.

Our transportation on Koh Tao

Our transportation on Koh Tao

Koh Tao, Thailand

Koh Tao, Thailand

Koh Tao, Thailand

Koh Tao, Thailand

camoflauged on Koh Tao

camoflauged on Koh Tao

Koh Tao, Thailand

Koh Tao, Thailand

P1080496 One afternoon, we explored the Dusit Buncha resort – it is built right into the rocks along the edge of the island.  P1080509

Koh Tao, Thailand

Koh Tao, Thailand

We took a dirt road over to Mango Bay – we came over a hill to see several Thai young men and a huge pile of groceries.  They pointed and told us that down the hill off the road was the way to the beach.  We parked the bike and took the path – straight down.  They were carrying supplies to the resort which are normally brought in by boat, but because the sea was too rough they were carrying everything down this hill – wow!  They loaded bundles onto each end of a stick they had over their shoulders – one guy had a large container of eggs on one end with toilet paper on the other.  The way down was much easier than coming back – Scott dragged me all the way back up the hill!  The second load of supplies in a pick up was arriving as we left.  I think those guys will be happy when the seas calm down!!!!

Jungle ride to Mango Bay

Jungle ride to Mango Bay

Mango Bay, Koh Tao

Mango Bay, Koh Tao

Mango Bay, Koh Tao

Mango Bay, Koh Tao

Sweaty after dragging Vickie up the mountain!

Sweaty after dragging Vickie up the mountain!

December 24, 2013

We found a resort that served a Christmas turkey dinner.  It was delicious!  The view from their dining area was beautiful.

Christmas Dinner, Koh Tao

Christmas Dinner at the Darawan Restaurant, Koh Tao

Sunrise

Sunrise

Sunrise, Koh Tao

Sunrise, Koh Tao

We rented a jungle house that overlooked Sairee Beach for part of our stay on Koh Tao – the jungle noises lulled us to sleep every night.  Watching the New Year arrive was pretty amazing – endless fireworks, hundreds of lanterns floating upwards… we finally went to sleep, but I don’t think the island ever did!

Our Jungle House - Koh Tao, Thailand

Our Jungle House – Koh Tao, Thailand

Happy New Year!  May this year be filled with blessings and joy for you, our family and friends! 

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Bangkok, December 10-16, 2013

December 10, 2014

The Prime Minister of Thailand announced today that the parliament was being dissolved – this resulted in traffic jammed up in our neighborhood from the protestors celebrating.

Bangkok

Bangkok

Bangkok

Bangkok

Swensons…. our new place for dessert – just a short walk from the guest house!

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Our Tuk-tuk ride,Bangkok

Our Tuk-tuk ride,Bangkok

Our Tuk-tuk ride, Bangkok

Our Tuk-tuk ride, Bangkok

Bangkok

Bangkok

Alliance staff Christmas party, Bangkok

Alliance staff Christmas party, Bangkok

Alliance staff Christmas party, Bangkok

Alliance staff Christmas party, Bangkok

We have spent several hours over the past week getting supplies for the guest home at Home Pro – Thailand’s version of Home Depot.  Lots of people in orange aprons willing to help, but not in English! 🙂

Home Pro

Home Pro

Lost in translation, Bangkok

Lost in translation, Bangkok

Hardware store cat, Bangkok

Hardware store cat, Bangkok

At the hardware store - Scott and David, Bangkok

At the hardware store – Scott and David, Bangkok

Bangkok

Bangkok

Bangkok

Bangkok

Bangkok

Bangkok

The people we have met have been the best part of our trip!  I think I have already said that the Thai people are very kind and welcoming.  We have found a few restaurants that we eat at regularly – the owner and his staff below were so happy to learn how to say our names so they may greet us.  Their pad-thai is amazing and costs around $7 for two to eat!

The owners of one of our favorite restaurants, Bangkok

The owners of one of our favorite restaurants, Bangkok

Glory is a very sweet young lady that works in the front office of the Alliance Guest home – she will be going to Australia to study soon.  She asked if she could call us Uncle Scott and Aunt Vickie….  🙂

Scott and Glory, Bangkok

Scott and Glory, Bangkok

One day we were eating lunch at one of our usual places.  I was hoping that I had ordered what I thought I had ordered, but when the waitress placed the plate in front of me, I wasn’t too sure.  I began to eat, thinking that this wasn’t at all what I expected.  Turns out, it was supposed to be served to the gentleman sitting next to me.  After he complained, the server brought him another meal.  We began talking with him during lunch and for the next hour and a half, enjoyed his interesting conversation.  His name is Khanat Phandharakrajadej, the Secretary General of the Institute for Promotion and Development of Democracy in Bangkok.  We made plans to meet him again the following day and again enjoyed a meal together.  He is very interested in American politics.  We learned much about the government and culture of Thailand.

Scott and Kaphon, Bangkok

Scott and Khanat, Bangkok

Our favorite massage girls, Bangkok

Our favorite massage girls, Bangkok – $5 for an hour foot massage

Chatuchak Weekend Market, Bangkok

Chatuchak Weekend Market, Bangkok

Chatuchak Weekend Market, Bangkok

Selling coconuts – Chatuchak Weekend Market, Bangkok

Chatuchak Weekend Market, Bangkok

Chatuchak Weekend Market, Bangkok

Chatuchak Park, Bangkok

In the park….Chatuchak Park, Bangkok

Chatuchak Park, Bangkok

Chatuchak Park, Bangkok

Chatuchak Park, Bangkok

Monitor Lizard swimming,  Chatuchak Park, Bangkok

Chatuchak Park, Bangkok

Chatuchak Park, Bangkok

Bang Sue Train Station, Bangkok

Bang Sue Train Station, Bangkok

Taking the subway, Bangkok

Taking the subway, Bangkok

Broken tuk-tuk, Bangkok

Tuk-tuk repair shop, Bangkok

napping tuk-tuk drivers, bangkok

napping tuk-tuk drivers, Bangkok

Bangkok

Planters, Bangkok

street-side laundry mat, Bangkok

street-side laundry mat, Bangkok

Food, Bangkok

Food court, Bangkok

Ronald Mcdonald - Bangkok

Thai Ronald Mcdonald – Bangkok

The malls in Bangkok are pretty amazing – we walked around the Central Plaza – 8 floors of interesting things to see.  We went to the movie theatre and enjoyed their special seating while watching The Hobbit -2.

Theatre seating, Bangkok

Theatre seating, Bangkok

Bangkok

Bangkok city dwellings

I will post this before it gets too long!  Hope all is well in your part of the world!

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Bangkok, December 7-9, 2013

December 7-9, 2013

The food is very good – our biggest challenge is figuring out what to order.

Street food - mussels, Bangkok

Street food – mussels, Bangkok

Coconut ice cream - Bangkok

Coconut ice cream – Bangkok – more to my liking – yum!

December 8, 2014

Went to Sunday morning service at the Evangelical Church of Bangkok with Randy and Kerri.  Their daughter and son-in-law, Jill and Kevin, are on staff.  Jill and Kevin have a sweet baby boy named Jeremiah.  The church is international, English speaking, and is experiencing more Thai attending services.

Evangelical Church of Bangkok

Evangelical Church of Bangkok

After church, we decided to be real tourists and took the Sky Train and a taxi to see Wat Pho and the Grand Palace.

Bangkok

Bangkok

Bangkok

Bangkok

Wat Pho, Bangkok

Wat Pho, Bangkok

Wat Pho, Bangkok

Wat Pho, Bangkok

Wat Pho, Bangkok

Wat Pho, Bangkok

Wat Pho, Bangkok

Wat Pho, Bangkok

 

Wat Pho, Bangkok

Wat Pho, Bangkok

Wat Pho, Bangkok

Wat Pho, Bangkok

Wat Pho, Bangkok

Wat Pho, Bangkok – laughing buddha, hahahaha

Reclining Budha, Wat Pho, Bangkok

Reclining buddha, Wat Pho, Bangkok

Chayo Phraya River, Bangkok

Chayo Phraya River, Bangkok

At the Grand Palace, you have to be dressed appropriately – if you aren’t (my sleeveless blouse was inappropriate), you have to go to the dressing room and rent the appropriate clothing.  Before you leave, you return the clothing to get your money back.

Grand Palace, Bangkok

Grand Palace, Bangkok

Grand Palace, Bangkok

Grand Palace, Bangkok

Grand Palace, Bangkok

Grand Palace, Bangkok

Grand Palace, Bangkok

Grand Palace, Bangkok

Palace Guard, Grand Palace, Bangkok

Palace Guard, Grand Palace, Bangkok  He looked so imposing until Scott stood next to him!

We are learning a few phrases…. hello…. goodbye….thank you….not too spicy….  The Thai people are very gracious!  🙂

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On our way to Thailand! December 2-6, 2013

December 2-6, 2013

Another adventure!  A little different that our last since we don’t have the motorcycle with us; however, we have brought our helmets just in case we find a bike to rent.  Our plan is to explore Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia and Laos over the next three months as well as help out at the Alliance Guest Home in Bangkok.

LAX - on our way

LAX – on our way

Left LAX at 2:30 pm on Monday, December 2, 2013 ….

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After 11 hours, we had an hour stop in Tokyo….

Tokyo

Tokyo Dr. Pepper

Then after another seven hour flight, arrived at the Singapore Airport at 2:30 am –  We spent some time walking around enjoying the Christmas decor – a beautiful airport, devoid of people at this hour.

Singapore Airport

Singapore Airport – check out the orchids!

Enchanted Garden in the Singapore Airport

Enchanted Garden in the Singapore Airport – see the koi?

Christmas orchids - Singapore airport

Christmas orchids – Singapore airport

Arrived in Bangkok around 8 am on Wednesday, December 4, after 27 hours of travel (whew!) and got on the train into the city.  After a long walk (shorter if you aren’t carrying your luggage!) we found our way to the  Alliance Guest Home (Christian and Missionary Alliance).

Alliance Guest Home, Bangkok

Alliance Guest Home, Bangkok

We were welcomed by Randy and Kerri Nielsen, with whom we had been communicating by e-mail.  Originally from Oregon, they have been managing the guest home since January.  We will be staying here for several days to help them with some projects.

Randy and Kerri Neilsen

Randy and Kerri Nielsen

Alliance Guest Home, Bangkok

Alliance Guest Home, Bangkok

Alliance Guest Home, Bangkok

Alliance Guest Home, Bangkok

Alliance Guest Home, Bangkok

Alliance Guest Home, Bangkok

Alliance Guest Home, Bangkok

Alliance Guest Home, Bangkok

Alliance Guest Home, Bangkok

Alliance Guest Home, Bangkok

After a short rest, Randy took us out to look around town.  December 5th is the King’s birthday so this was a common sight in his honor.

Decorations for the King's birthday

Decorations for the King’s birthday

We are impressed with the friendliness of the Thai people, as well as the cleanliness of the city.  Some pictures while we have been out getting some supplies….

Bangkok

Bangkok

Bangkok

Bangkok

The food is delicious, and inexpensive!  We had cashew chicken for around $6 total for the two of us….

Dinner - cashew chicken

Dinner – cashew chicken

Street sweeper - Bangkok

Street sweeper – Bangkok

Honda, Bangkok

Honda, Bangkok

Itty bitty fish pond, Bangkok

Itty bitty fish pond, Bangkok

Window washers - Bangkok

Window washers – Bangkok

We found the perfect cure for our jet-lagged bodies – Thai massage…. ahhhhhh….I had a foot massage…..happy feet!

We would appreciate your prayers that we are an encouragement to the Alliance Guest Home while we are here!

Blessings to you!  🙂 ❤

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Oaxaca – Acapulco, Mexico, to HOME! April 28-May 8, 2013

Sunday, April 28, 2013~

We began the day by exploring Oaxaca, Mexico, with our gracious hosts, Riccardo and Guadalupe….  Oaxaca is pronounced “wha-ha-ka.”  They guided us through the town to see some amazing things!

Church of Santo Domingo de Guzman, Oaxaca, Mexico

Church of Santo Domingo de Guzman, Oaxaca, Mexico

Church of Santo Domingo de Guzman, Oaxaca, Mexico

Church of Santo Domingo de Guzman, Oaxaca, Mexico

Church of Santo Domingo de Guzman, Oaxaca, Mexico

Church of Santo Domingo de Guzman, Oaxaca, Mexico

Sunday in the square, Oaxaca, Mexico

Sunday Orchestra in the square, Oaxaca, Mexico

Roasted grasshoppers....in the market, Oaxaca, Mexico

Chapulines (roasted grasshoppers)….in the Mercado, Oaxaca, Mexico

Tastes good....I think!

Tastes like chicken?!

Riccardo and Guadalupe took us into the mercado for some local food…

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Carne Asada lunch, Oaxaca, Mexico

Carne Asada lunch in the Mercado, Oaxaca, Mexico

Lunch, Oaxaca, Mexico

Lunch with Riccardo and Guadalupe, Oaxaca, Mexico

Tejate is a maize and cacao beverage made by the Mixtec and Zapotec people.

Specialty drink, Mercado, Oaxaca, Mexico

Tejate – special drink in the Mercado, Oaxaca, Mexico

Specialty drink, Mercado, Oaxaca, Mexico

Riccardo enjoying tejate, Mercado, Oaxaca, Mexico

Oaxaca, Mexico

Oaxaca, Mexico

Theatre in Oaxaca, Mexico

Theatre in Oaxaca, Mexico

Monday, April 29, 2013~

We left Oaxaca this morning – clutching out (as Riccardo would say) at 8:00 am.

Riding with Guadalupe and Ricardo from Oaxaca to Mexico City, Mexico
Riding with Guadalupe and Riccardo from Oaxaca to Mexico City, Mexico

The ride today was on the Libre – free road – to Mexico City, through some beautiful countryside covered with organ-pipe cactus and saguaro.

Organpipe cactus, Mexico
Organ pipe cactus, Mexico
Donkey - Mexico
Donkey – Mexico
Ricardo and Guadalupe
Riccardo and Guadalupe
Riding with Ricardo and Guada
Riding with Riccardo and Guada

We stopped at one town to see a beautiful church that is being restored. The restoration will take another 20 years to complete.P1060959 P1060963 P1060966 The pipe organ is still used….P1060967 We climbed in altitude through beautiful, lush pine forest and arrived in Mexico City at Riccardo’s condo around 5 pm.

Entering Mexico City
Entering Mexico City

Riccardo says that his condo is just a “hole” for him to sleep in – but it is a very nice hole.  It is just one bedroom, so we are staying around the corner in a hotel for tonight. After resting for a few hours, Riccardo and Guadalupe took us to the San Angel Inn for dinner.

Scott and Ricardo, Mexico City
Scott and Riccardo, Mexico City

Their friends, Miguel (whom we met in El Salvador in January) and his wife, Sarah, as well as Riccardo’s son, Edgardo, and his fiance, Jessica, joined us.  The San Angel Inn was once the main house of a large hacienda that was built in 1776.  The gardens and courtyards are beautiful!  While we waited for everyone to arrive, the four of us sat in the courtyard for hors d’ourves and listened to a pianist play.   Then, we enjoyed a lovely dinner together.  The service was outstanding. What a wonderful evening….

San Angel Inn, Mexico City
Courtyard – San Angel Inn, Mexico City
San Angel Inn, Mexico City
Gardens at the San Angel Inn, Mexico City
San Angel Inn, Mexico City
San Angel Inn with Riccardo and Guadalupe, Mexico City

Tuesday, April 30, 2013 ~

After a light breakfast at the hotel with Miguel and Riccardo, Riccardo left to work for a few hours.  Miguel was our tour guide today to see Mexico City.   He generously took the day off from work (he is a retired engineer who now teaches) to show us the city.   The city is very beautiful with many monuments and historical buildings.

National Theatre, Mexico City
National Auditorium, Mexico City

We took the tour bus and sat on the upper open-air level.  It was a good way to see the highlights of this beautiful city.

touring Mexico City

touring Mexico City on the tour bus

Standing guard at the tomb of the unknown soldier…

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P1070030 Miguel and Scott, with his sweater “hat”  🙂

P1070059 P1070062 P1070071This is the palace where President Obama visited a few days after we were there….P1070075 P1070077 P1070090 P1070096

Mexico City is at an elevation of over 7,000 feet – with very temperate weather – no heat or air conditioning is needed.  We enjoyed lunch with Miguel at his club after our tour. In the afternoon, we met up again with Riccardo and Guadalupe and rode to their lake house.  It is two hours north of Mexico City, in Valle de Bravo.  The ride took us up to over 10,000 ft in elevation through beautiful pine forests, then down to about 7,000 ft to Valle de Bravo – a town on a mountain lake.  Riccardo built this beautiful home ten years ago.  The house has a commanding view of the lake from every room – we have our own suite.

Valle de Bravo, Mexico
Valle de Bravo, Mexico
Valle de Bravo, Mexico

Master of the Casa -Valle de Bravo, Mexico

Valle de Bravo, Mexico

Valle de Bravo, Mexico – javelina that Riccardo hunted

Valle de Bravo, Mexico

Peaceful veranda -Valle de Bravo, Mexico

…  He has one room just for his motorcycles.

Valle de Bravo, Mexico

Valle de Bravo, Mexico

We drove into town for a walk through the plaza and dinner.

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Wednesday, May 1, 2013~

We are spoiled!  After a good night’s rest, Marie made us all a delicious brunch of fruit, pastries, fresh orange juice, eggs, meat, tortillas and quesadillas.  We ate on the veranda, while beautiful music played.  Riccardo, Guadalupe, Scott and I took a long walk down to the village after brunch.

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Valle de Bravo, Mexico

Valle de Bravo, Mexico

We wandered through the market….

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…and bought some candy from Fernando (who was born in Indio, CA)….

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…purchased some fresh berries….

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and bought a few souvenirs…

All these items are made with pine needles!!!!

All these items are made with pine needles!!!!

Scott found a sheepskin for our motorcycle seat….

Deciding which sheepskin to buy

Deciding which sheepskin to buy

Edgardo, Jessica and their girls, Barbara (5) and Regina (10), picked us up in their speed boat for a ride around the lake.

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P1070197 P1070208P1070196 A wolf in sheep’s clothing?  🙂

Edgardo took us back to the marina where they pulled the boat out of the water.

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All 8 of us – 6 adults and 2 children – crammed into their little car for the ride back to the house.

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When we arrived at the house, Marie had a delicious meal waiting for us – salmon, grilled beef, rice, beans, tortillas…. and birthday cake for Regina’s 10th birthday.  We also had yogurt gelatin with berries and cream… So many different tastes for us – and so delicious!

P1070226 P1070240Sunset over Valle de Bravo….P1070242

Thursday, May 2, 2013~

Left early from Valle de Bravo to drive into Mexico City, then on to Veracruz for the BMW ride.

Sunrise on the road to Veracruz

Sunrise on the road to Veracruz

On the road

On the road

P1070251 P1070252

We arrived  around 4 pm and got settled into our hotel.  Dinner with Riccardo and Guadalupe and several people from their BMW club that is hosting the ride on Saturday.  A walk through the square to watch the dancing, musicians and people…. We stayed until almost midnight helping to assemble the bags that will be given to all the riders tomorrow.

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Friday, May 3, 2013~

The riders began arriving in the afternoon.  I helped by giving out the bags to riders as they checked in.  There are 500 people registered.  Everyone is so friendly – even though they can’t understand me, or I understand them – we are welcomed so warmly.

Saturday,  May 4, 2013~

We all assembled at 6:30 am for a picture on the gulf coast.  I heard that more than 450 people showed.  The amount of bikes that are here is amazing!

P1070264 P1070278

De Sol a Sol, 2013

De Sol a Sol, 2013

There is a Go-pro camera attached to a remote helicopter that hovers over us, filming.

Go pro

Go pro

The riders are taking several different routes to Acapulco.  We left with a group of 50 around 7:00 am.

BMW ride

BMW ride

BMW ride

BMW ride – Guada and Ricardo

It started to drizzle, but after a few hours, cleared.  By 11:00 am, after splitting off on our own route, our group was only 12 bikes.

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Special parking….?

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We arrived in Acapulco around 4:00 pm.

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It was a great ride.  We were welcomed with cheers, cameras, drinks and pretty girls as we pulled into the Hotel ElCano.

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We heard there was one accident that resulted in some broken bones, but everyone else arrived safely.  We all congregated on the beach in front of the hotel at sunset for our picture again.

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Happy hour was a meal in itself!P1070340 Guada and Ricardo, Acapulco

Guada and Riccardo, Acapulco
Edgardo and Jessica, Acapulco

Edgardo and Jessica, Acapulco

P1070345The celebration dinner at ElCano hotel was fun – the dinner was excellent.  The main dish, Paella  – a Spanish dish with rice, shrimp, chicken, sausage and mussels – was delicious.  The dinner lasted long into the evening.  We have really enjoyed our week with Riccardo and Guadalupe – they have shared their lives and culture with us in such a way that we will remember our time with them forever.  Their friendship is a gift that we will cherish.

Sunday, May 5, 2013~

A day to relax and rest before we make our trek home… with dinner in “Old Acapulco” with a group of friends.

dinner with our friends in Acapulco

dinner with our friends in Acapulco

Monday, May 6, 2013~

Left Acapulco at 7:00 am…On the road home!

Berries for sale on the side of the toll road, Mexico

Berries for sale on the side of the toll road, Mexico – such a good snack!

Mexican military extras

special forces 🙂

The road home

The road home

Wednesday, May 8, 2013 ~

2,137 miles in 3 days….  Acapulco to Big Bear – home sweet home!!!!!!!

Thank you for following our adventure  – we have enjoyed hearing from you all!

“The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” Numbers 6:24-26

~Scott and Vickie 🙂

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Cozumel, Mexico – Oaxaca, Mexico April 20 – 27, 2013

Saturday, April 20, 2013~

We left Cozumel this morning, taking the ferry across to the mainland at 11:00 AM.  The seas were much calmer today and less wind than our voyage over.  The color of the Caribbean Sea is so beautiful….

Caribbean Sea

Caribbean Sea from the ferry top deck

We rode up to Cancun to see if we could find another tire (thinking ahead, knowing that the used tire we got in Belize won’t last us too much longer) .  Cancun is a large city (in addition to the huge tourist area) – population of 600,000 – with a BMW dealer.   We rode to where the GPS indicated a BMW dealer was located.  The dealer had moved locations…  so we rode around until we saw  a motorcycle shop.  The owner didn’t speak English, but one of his customers came over to see what we needed.  He knew where the BMW dealer was now located and offered to show take us to the new loation.  We followed him as he rode his motorcycle.  He gave us his business card and introduced himself, Dr. Jose Kuri Fierros, a pediatrician in Cancun.

Cancun

Dr. Fierros – Cancun

After riding for about 10 minutes, we arrived at the BMW dealer.  The dealer had just two front tires, so our friend took us to another shop.  They suggested we try the city of Merida – about 3 hours away.  Our tire is doing okay, so we shouldn’t have any trouble getting there.  Dr. Fierros shook our hands before he left, saying that we should know that we have friends in Mexico.  We are again amazed at the gracious hospitality of the people we have met on this trip!

After driving on the free road for a few hours, we decided to switch to the toll road since the sun was getting lower and we knew we could travel faster without having to slow for the topes at each village.  I had read about the town of Izamal online and though it might be a good stopping point… the Pope had visited this village in 1998…it is the oldest city on the Yucatan Peninsula…. it is considered one of the “magical” cities…. with cobblestone streets….all the buildings are colonial and painted yellow.  As the sun was setting, we pulled into town – were a bit dismayed at how primitive the village seemed – no cobblestone streets, no yellow buildings!  Perhaps we have missed the better section of town?!   We found the B&B I had seen online –  Macan che,  and Scott went to check it out.

Izamal, mexico

Izamal, mexico

Machan che B&B ended up being a very pleasant surprise!  Our room is new and spacious.

Manchan Che, Izamal, Mexico

Manchan Che, Izamal, Mexico

the painting above the beds, Izama, Mexico

Diego Rivera mural above the beds, Izamal, Mexico

The pool felt great after riding in 95 degree weather all afternoon. P1060487

Gardens at Machan Che, Izamal, Mexico

Gardens at Machan Che, Izamal, Mexico

We had a delicious meal (Conchinita pibil chicken and fish with mango salsa) at the restaurant, ending with strawberry and coconut ice cream for dessert.

Machan Che palapa, Izamal, Mexico

Machan che palapa, Izamal, Mexico

After breakfast at Machan che, we took off to explore the town.  We eventually found the town square and church – and cobblestone streets and yellow buildings, through the one-way streets were a bit frustrating, to say the least!

Izamal, Mexico

Izamal, Mexico

Izamal, Mexico

Izamal, Mexico

Izamal, Mexico

Izamal, Mexico

Trying to find a gas station was another challenge altogether.  After asking for directions at least four times and driving in circles, we finally found the gas station.  We headed north out of Izamal to the coast.  The road was a single lane for two-way traffic through the jungle.  Not too many other vehicles; however, we did encounter one spot where two trucks met – one had to pull over off the road to let the other pass.

Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico

Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico

The Yucatan Peninsula is very flat – no rivers or mountains – all the rivers flow underground through limestone, coming above ground in cenotes.  The road to the coast was lined with miles and miles of stone walls, a remnant of the haciendas (most are abandoned).  The haciendas were large, extensive ranches that produced sisal, used to make rope.

Rock walls, Yucatan, Mexico

Rock walls, Yucatan, Mexico

We reached the gulf coast at Dizilam de Bravo and took the highway (27) going west along the coast.  This area was hit in 2002 by a hurricane – we could see the damage in the small villages that we passed through –  many destroyed buildings and homes.

Hurrican damage, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico

Hurrican damage, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico

The view was great – alternating between lagoon and ocean.

Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico

Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico

Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico

selling toys – Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico

Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico

Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico

We saw the most amazing sight… WILD PINK FLAMINGOS! Sooooo many of them!

Flamingos, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico

Flamingos, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico

Flamingos, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico

Flamingos, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico

They are really very interesting to watch.  As they stand in the shallow water, they stretch their long necks down under the water to eat brine shrimp and algae.  The more brine shrimp they eat, the pinker they become.  The saying, “You are what you eat,” is really true of these guys.  The more I thought about this, isn’t that a good picture of how God works in us?  The more we seek Him and desire Him…the more we digest His Word and are obedient to Him… these things will result in us becoming more and more of a reflection of Him.  I want to be really, really “pink”- ha ha! Don’t you?!

Flamingos, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico

Flamingos, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico

Flamingos, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico

Flamingos, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico

We turned south at the town of Progreso and reached Merida, a city with a population of over 970,000.  Our hotel is on a beautiful street of historic buildings called Paseo de Montejo.

Paseo d

Paseo de Montejo, Merida, Mexico

Monumento al la Bandera, Merida, Mexico

Monumento al la Bandera, Merida, Mexico – in the center of a traffic circle by our hotel

We found the main square and watched a group of Mexican couples performing a dance.  The ladies wore beautiful embroidered lace dresses and had colorful flowers in their hair.

Merida, Mexico

Dancers, Merida, Mexico

Merida, Mexico

Merida, Mexico

Merida, Mexico

Merida, Mexico

Merida, Mexico

Merida, Mexico

We had sorbet and sat on a bench in the square watching the people.  On Sundays, the streets around the square are closed to vehicles; many vendors and food stands everywhere.  There were clowns making balloon animals for kids and horse carriages for rides around the city.  Scott bought me a beautiful red rose…. 🙂  Riding around the city with one-way streets was again enough to do us in – but we eventually found a restaurant, had dinner, and got back to our hotel room!

Merida, Mexico

Clown, Merida, Mexico.

Merida, Mexico

Clown, Merida, Mexico

Merida, Mexico

Merida, Mexico

Merida, Mexico

Merida, Mexico

Monday, April 22, 2013

Scott spent the morning finding a new tire for the bike – after 4 hours of sweating in the heat, he was successful! He got a very good deal on exactly what he wanted.  We got on the road after getting pizza….

Pizza Hut essential Mexican condiments

Pizza Hut essential Mexican condiments

The ride from Merida to Campeche is about 100 miles – but very hot – 101!  We reached Campeche, a nice town on the Gulf coast…

Campeche, Mexico

Malecon, Campeche, Mexico – Great place to run!!!

Campeche, Mexico

They have a diving board!!!! Campeche, Mexico

Campeche, Mexico

Hotel del Mar, Campeche, Mexico

The historic section of town is a walled city – the walls were built in the late 1680’s to protect the town from pirates and buccaneers.  The colonial architecture is beautiful!  We had dinner in the older section and enjoyed walking around the town square afterwards.  We felt completely safe the entire time.

I got my wings! :)

Look! I got my wings! 🙂

My handsome man - Campeche, Mexico

My handsome man – Campeche, Mexico

Romantic dinner in Campeche, Mexico

Romantic dinner in Campeche, Mexico

Church in Campeche, Mexico

Church in Campeche, Mexico

Town Square - Campeche, Mexico

Town Square – Campeche, Mexico

City walls at night

City walls in the moonlight – Campeche, Mexico

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The circus is in town!  We spent an entertaining evening at a small circus in that is in town – clowns, jugglers, animal acts, acrobats, magician, archery sharpshooter….

Circus, Campeche, Mexico

Circus, Campeche, Mexico

Circus, Campeche, Mexico

Circus, Campeche, Mexico

Circus, Campeche, Mexico

Circus, Campeche, Mexico

The best act overall was the knife-throwing dwarf.  He picked Scott out of the audience to give him a hand…

Circus, Campeche, Mexico

Circus, Campeche, Mexico

Each time the dwarf was going to throw a knife, Scott would step aside.  He made sure Scott couldn’t move by chaining him in place!

Circus, Campeche, Mexico

Circus, Campeche, Mexico

Circus, Campeche, Mexico

Circus, Campeche, Mexico

It was all quite entertaining!  He survived and enjoyed every minute.  🙂

Wednesday, April 24, 2013~

We left early this morning to avoid the heat.  The first part of the ride was amazing – the road followed the Gulf coast with an spectacular view of the water.

Gulf Coast between Campeche and Cuidad del Carmen, Mexico

Gulf Coast between Campeche and Cuidad del Carmen, Mexico

P1060696

We stopped at one point to stretch our legs and admire the shell-strewn beach.P1060702

Our initial plan was to ride to Villahermosa – about 4-1/2 hours from Campeche…. When we got to Villahermosa, we found the hotels overpriced and the temperature way too warm – and nothing that we were too interested in seeing.  We made the decision to ride up to Veracruz….

The temperature began to rise…. 104 F….I could feel the sweat dripping into my eyes…the wind began to blow against us in hard gusts….the sugar cane fields were burning, filling the sky with a smoky haze….lots of truck traffic on the toll road….not a very good ride… 😦  Oh well – you have to take the good with the bad, right?!  Most days are spectacular, but then there are those like today when you are so glad when the ride is done and you get to a decent hotel!

Hot afternoon - 104F - between Villahermosa and Veracruz, Mexico

Hot afternoon – 104F – between Villahermosa and Veracruz, Mexico

Hot and smoky - between Villahermosa and Veracruz, Mexico

Hot and smoky – between Villahermosa and Veracruz, Mexico

We arrived in Veracruz just as the sun was setting….10 hours on the bike….tired?!! Yep!!!!

Thursday, April 25, 2013~

We woke up this morning at 5 am by reveille!   Across the street from the hotel is the Mexican Naval Academy…  At noon, and again at 5 pm it was repeated – from our room we can see the parade ground.  We have come to the conclusion that trumpet lessons would be beneficial….

Veracruz, Mexico

Veracruz, Mexico

Friday, April 26, 2013~

We had a fun day exploring Veracruz – walked around the town square and then visited the aquarium….saw some incredible fish, mantees, sharks and watched a dolphin show.   I took some great pictures…  When we got back to the hotel, I attempted to download them…. only to find they are gone…. I will post them here if I can recover them.  I think my camera is getting tired!!

Saturday, April 27, 2013~

Today’s ride was very interesting!  267 miles in 7 hours….We started from Veracruz on the Gulf Coast, rode south for about an hour to Route 175 to Tuxtepec and then to Oaxaco.

More sugarcane trucks!  Mexico

More sugarcane trucks! Mexico

Sugarcane fields - climbing in altitude -

Sugarcane fields – climbing in altitude –

The ride from Tuxtepec from Oaxaco climbed into amazing jungle…

P1060808

Road from Tuxtepic to Oaxaca, Mexico

Road from Tuxtepic to Oaxaca, Mexico

Road from Tuxtepic to Oaxaca, Mexico

Road from Tuxtepic to Oaxaca, Mexico

Road from Tuxtepic to Oaxaca, Mexico

Road from Tuxtepic to Oaxaca, Mexico

Road from Tuxtepic to Oaxaca, Mexico

Road from Tuxtepic to Oaxaca, Mexico

P1060813

…then to pine forest at 10,000 ft altitude at 62 F…

Road from Tuxtepic to Oaxaca, Mexico

Road from Tuxtepic to Oaxaca, Mexico

Road from Tuxtepic to Oaxaca, Mexico

Road from Tuxtepic to Oaxaca, Mexico

Road from Tuxtepic to Oaxaca, Mexico

Road from Tuxtepic to Oaxaca, Mexico

then dropped to desert with several types of cactus at 95F…

Road from Tuxtepic to Oaxaca, Mexico

Road from Tuxtepic to Oaxaca, Mexico

…then back up to pine forest.  The road was very curvy – this route is supposed to be one of the best motorcycle routes in the world.  It was an amazing ride!  The road was not very well maintained in some areas – potholes, jungle growth and in a few sections the road was completely gone – which made for some challenging moments!

Road from Tuxtepic to Oaxaca, Mexico

Road from Tuxtepic to Oaxaca, Mexico

Oaxaco, Mexico

Oaxaco, Mexico

Oaxaca, Mexico

Oaxaca, Mexico

We arrived in Oaxaca in the afternoon and rested before meeting up with Riccardo Baglio and Guadalupe, from Mexico City (we met Riccardo at the border of El Salvador back in January).  We will be traveling with them for the next week, then returning to Veracruz for the BMW ride to Acapulco.

Guadalupe and Ricardo Baglio - our friends from Mexico City

Guadalupe and Riccardo Baglio – our friends from Mexico City

Oaxaca, Mexico

Oaxaca, Mexico

Posted in Central America | 4 Comments

Belize City, Belize – Cozumel, Mexico, April 11-19, 2013

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Good morning in Belize

Good Morning, Belize!

Early start today on our ride to the border of Mexico…  Leaving early when we have a full 5-hour ride, plus a border crossing, is a really good idea.  After riding 2 hours, we reached the border and were on our way in about an hour!  We didn’t have to do anything for the bike since we still had current paperwork. Only one more border crossing left on this trip!

We rode for a couple of hours through jungle with just a few small villages before we finally found a town with gas, an ATM and food – the three things we REALLY needed this morning!  The little kitchen we stopped at was so clean and bright – the couple that run it didn’t speak any English, but we had fun trying to communicate with each other.  The food was delicious!

Breakfast in Mexico

Scott was so happy to have breakfast in Mexico – Fresh OJ, chorizo, eggs, beans, avocado and tortillas (Yes, Doug – it was an event as always!!)

Our host and cook for breakfast

Our host and cook (way in the back!) for breakfast

We rode into Playa del Carmen by noon and found a hotel.  The Mexican Rivera starts just past Tulum and continues up to Cancun.  Playa del Carmen is about an hour south of Cancun.  This is where we will take the ferry over to Cozumel on Saturday.

This was a creative way to find our towel folded in our hotel room!  I think it is a rhinoceros….

hippo towel

rhino towel

We cooled off in the pool, then took a walk through town.  We both are so ready for some GOOD Mexican food.  (In Central America it is chicken, rice and beans…..  rice, chicken and beans… or there is always beans, rice and chicken!)  As we walked along, we came across this woman selling tamales on the sidewalk- we each had one of the most delicious chicken tamales we have ever tasted, served with a bottle of ice-cold coca cola!

Tamale lunch in Playa del Carmen

Tamale sidewalk lunch in Playa del Carmen

The beach at Playa del Carmen

The Caribbean at Playa del Carmen

The crowds at Playa del Carmen

The crowds at Playa del Carmen

Friday, April 12, 2013

The town has one street that is blocked for pedestrians in the evening – lined with restaurants and shops – great place to wander, eat and people-watch.  We are surprised at how few English-speaking tourists there are here; mostly European and Asian.

P1060337This mariachi band serenaded us at dinner.That's a BIG cigar! Playa del Carmen, Mexico

That’s a BIG cigar! Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Tequila player, Playa del Carmen, Mexico

Tequilaphone, Playa del Carmen, Mexico

Friday, April 12, 2013

Today we took the ferry over to the island of Cozumel.  It is amazing how many large  trucks they fit on this ferry!  The ferry takes about an hour to get to Cozumel – very slow moving considering that you can see the lights on the mainland at night from the island.

Ferry to Cozumel, Mexico

Ferry to Cozumel, Mexico

On the ferry to Cozumel

On the ferry to Cozumel

colors of the caribbean

One of the many shades of the sea – ferry to Cozumel

cruise ships at Cozumel

cruise ship parking lot at Cozumel

Cozumel, Mexico

Cozumel, Mexico

ferry dock at Cozumel

ferry dock at Cozumel – trucks waiting to board for return trip

Sunset on Cozumel, Mexico

Sunset on Cozumel, Mexico

April 14-19, 2013

We found a great deal on a condo – the owners had a cancellation and gave us their “hurricane season” price…. 🙂  Our view is amazing – always something to watch from our windows.

View from the bedroom :)

View from the bedroom 🙂

Cozumel condo

Cozumel condo – fun decor

Cozumel condo

Cozumel condo

Cozumel, Mexico

Cozumel, Mexico

Cozumel, Mexico

Cozumel, Mexico – Poolside entertainment!

We went snorkeling together one morning – the water is very clear with great visibility!  Now that he is a “diver” I didn’t think I would be able to get him to go with me.  He is up to 15 dives, including one night dive.

Took a ride around to the “wild” side of the island – the windward side is just that – WINDY and the sea churns constantly; the beach and breakers were beautiful!

Cancun - east side

Cancun -windward side

Cancun - east side

Cancun – windward side

Cancun - east side

Coral beach – Cancun – windward side

Cancun - east side

Cancun – windward side

Another child safety seat

Another child safety seat

walking around Cozumel

walking around Cozumel with the funny man….

Walking around Cozumel

Walking around Cozumel

Walking around Cozumel

Walking around Cozumel

Walking around Cozumel

Walking around Cozumel

Sunset....

Sunset on Cozumel….

Cozumel

Cozumel

Cozumel

Cozumel

“I got my toes in the water, rear in the sand

Not a worry in the world, a cold beer in my hand

Life is good today, life is good today

Adios and vaya con Dios

A long way from CA….

Yes, and all the muchachas, they call me big poppa

When I throw pesos their way…”

cozumel

Cozumel

 

Posted in Central America | 3 Comments