December 17, 2007

Chatuchak Weekend Market in Bangkok, Thailand

We enjoyed the Chatuchak Weekend Market in Bangkok with our travel partners, Mike and Malani

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November 27, 2007

Cultural Immersion

After almost a year of traveling Latin American countries, I can proudly say that we have achieved our goal of integrating a new culture into our daily thoughts and experiences.

Having had the opportunity to dive into Latin America we learned firsthand of the cultures likeness to ours and it's contrasting and colorful ways that differ from our North American upbringings. Often these differences challenged the foundation in which our thoughts and actions were born from and opened our eyes to a new reality. A new reality that will undoubtedly help shape us during the continuum of growth throughout our lives.

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The greatest gift that I have been given from our extended travels so far, is that of a bigger picture in life. I can best describe it as a feeling of centeredness that offers a solid platform for which my perspective may shape and re-shape itself from moment to moment without the limitations set forth by expectations. I am more receptive to new experiences and appreciate them in the now for what they really are rather than what I think they should be.

This, which has forever changed us, was largely in part to learning Spanish. It was abundantly clear to us that over time, the shrinking language barrier gave way to a cultural exchange and in turn deeper self exploration.

It figures, just as we have wrapped our hands around the language with enough proficiency to share and learn about any topic that may present itself, we go ahead and decide to change continents!

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So we now find ourselves in Asia, eager to jump into another culture, we immediately place ourselves off the beaten path eating among the locals. I'm not sure if it was the blank look on our faces as we stared at the Mandarin characters on the menu or simply that we were the only non-Asian in the restaurant, but after a few minutes an English speaking Singaporean came to our rescue and helped us order a typical Taiwanese breakfast.

When no such help presents itself we begin an impromptu game of charades. We are also attempting to memorize some characters so that we can recognize a place or know if we are going into the right bathroom (now that would make a great story, wouldn't it?)

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Based on our previous experience in Latin America, in order to get the full cultural experience in Asia, it may hinge on our ability to communicate.

It's never easy starting over, but it's also never as exciting.

We found our way once and we shall do it again, even if it feels like the blind leading the blind at times, we are up for the challenge and welcome the unknowns that lay ahead.

Thanksgiving in San Diego

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We celebrated American Thanksgiving at our friends Bill and Nancy's in San Diego. Picture if you will - 5 kids, 2 dogs, and 12 adults all under the same roof. The kids running around in and out of the kitchen which was buzzing with people fixing themselves drinks, helping with the chopping, dicing, stirring or baking. The two dogs that were brought by friends moved underfoot, sniffing around their new environment (probably hoping for some food to fall). All the while everyone was catching up or getting to know each other.

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Dinner prep was absolutely chaotic in the most pleasant of ways, and somehow it worked! Hours and hours later, a huge feast was ready to be devoured by all.

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The festivities included us all dancing around in the living room, doing some limbo stick acrobatics, playing ping pong in the garage and eventually sitting outside around a fire. We felt thankful to enjoy the warmth of a great group during our three days in San Diego.

April 13, 2007

Buenos Aires Apartment

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After living mostly in a tent for the last month and a half, we've swung entirely in the other direction and settled into an amazing place at:

J. A. Carranza 1569 U6
Capital Federal, Buenos Aires

in the Palermo neighborhood of Buenos Aires. The three story place has a living area and kitchen on the first floor, a spiral staircase that leads to the second, open floor with bedroom and bath and a third, open air terrace floor up top, complete with parilla (BBQ) and hammock. Completely over the top... We're in heaven. We've signed for 45 days, so there will be lots of time to feel the lifestyle of a Porteño.  In case you want to give us a buzz: +54 (11) 47749373.

We've already taken our first tango lesson, and let me tell you - this dance fits the passion of this great city perfectly. Looking forward to enjoying some of the fantastic Argentine wines (especially our new favorite grape - Malbec, which if you haven't tried - well, let's just say you must try any Malbec from Argentina, they're all good!

Excuse me while I go sit up on the terrace and start dreaming of some goodies for iTools.

Continue reading "Buenos Aires Apartment" »

March 22, 2007

Photos: Fitz Roy

We head back in to Chile to hike around the Cerro Fitz Roy in Los Glacieres National Park

Amazing sunrise hike

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Sights from around the park

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Yoga under the sun

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Bearded, sort of...

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I've wanted to do this for a while now... Wilderness called and, well, the razor didn't make the cut. What do you think? Send a comment with the link below.

March 9, 2007

Photos: Torres del Paine National Park, Chile

Here are a few of our favorite photos from the trek. We took over 650 photos, so picking these was tough... If you'd like more, see the 50 best on our Torres del Paine National Park photo set on flickr or see them as a slideshow

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January 22, 2007

Old Center of Quito

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January 6, 2007

Photos Bartolome Island, Galapagos

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Want more photos? See the whole Bartolome photo set on flickr or see it as a slideshow

Photos from Mindo, Ecuador

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Want more photos? See the whole Mindo photo set on flickr or see it as a slideshow

Photos from Quito December 2006

Photos from our return to Quito after the jungle in early December, including hike up Pinchincha Mountain at 4700 meters, some typical Quito street scenes and a relaxing glass of mulled wine overlooking the city.
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Need more? See the whole Quito December 2006 set on flickr or see the slideshow

Photos from Quito November 2006

Long overdue photos from our arrival in Quito in November:

Our language school, and the view out the window:
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Our host family's house and the preparation of Joanne's favorite, chiflets (fried plantain):
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Need more? See the whole Quito November 2006 set on flickr or see the slideshow