In my last post I talked bot the loss of Zoey. I really missed her and I worried that Zack would be lonely so I decided to see about rescuing another small dog for our family. I had my eyes on a tiny, 1lb dog that was at the Humane Society. I went to check her out but for some reason she wasn’t available. The lady asked me if I would be interested in seeing another small dog that had just come available for adoption. I agreed even though I really wanted to wait to meet the other dog. They bring me this tiny little all black dog with a small hint of gray on her face. She was 1.5 lbs and about 9 years old, they guestimated, based on her teeth and had been on the street for a while. Her ears were crunchy, I’m guessing from the sun and were bare with no hair on them. She was bald on her chest as well. As I held her she shook like crazy. Probably a combo of recovering from being fixed as well as just being plane scared. Having just been through the skin cancer with Zoey, I was reluctant to take on a dog with skin issues….so I left without her and told them that if she was still there when I came back later that week, I would reconsider.
Well…..Friday soon came and she was still there. So…………Meet Chloe!
It took her a little while to feel safe and secure but she won over my heart right away. She’s my girl and stays close to me always. I can’t tell if she likes Arvin or hates him but she definitely reacts differently to him. Zack tolerates her I think, but I do think he appreciates the company. He doesn’t mind sharing me but he’s not happy sharing Arvin and this results in some growling now and then. We are working on that. They sleep in a crate and she took to that very quickly. Lately with Mr. Zack getting a bit grumpier I was worried about them getting in a tiff in the crate so we just purchased Chloe her own apartment. She’s now about 2.5 lbs and has regrown most of her hair. Her ears are even all better and are now covered with fur and not crunchy.
You can see how small she is compared to him! He’s about 12.5 lbs. I had to make her a sweater because the house was too cold for her with the AC on. When I first brought her home, she was so small I had to get a kitten harness for her because the smallest dog harness was too big!
She’s my little shadow for sure. She’s next to me on the couch and if I get up and go to another room she has to go with me. I miss Zoey more than anything, but Chloe has filled that empty space.
Not sure who rescued who!
Well, last time I wrote about the dogs, Zoey was struggling with her cancer. I’m sad to say that we finally had to make the decision to send her over the rainbow bridge. This was the first time in my life I’ve ever had to so something like this and it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.
When we returned from our vacation to Europe, it was obvious that she wasn’t doing well. The chemo wasn’t getting her to remission and it was just tearing up her little body. She gave it a good fight for a few more months, but it was just too much. I stopped the chemo and she lasted another 5 months before really deteriorating. Not wanting her to pass in a clinical situation, I had Dr. Scott come to the house. One nice thing about having a vet that comes to you, it’s less traumatic for the dogs in general and much less traumatic for us when the time came.
February 13th, 2017
The day was set. Arvin, to my surprise, asked the Chaplain from his job to come by and he sweetly obliged. He sat with us and said a prayer while we waited for Dr. Scott to arrive. Zoey at this time wasn’t doing much but laying around and sleeping. I held her as we sat there and as if to let me know it was ok and it was time, she began to vomit blood. If I had any doubt, it was removed at that time.
Dr. Scott arrived and when we were ready gave her a very heavy sedative so that she would be asleep when he gave her the final shot. She fell asleep in my arms, with Arvin sitting next to us. It was so quick. Probably not more than a couple minutes. She just looked like she was sleeping. It wasn’t until I stood up to hand her to Dr. Scott so he could take her away, that it was obvious that she was gone. I lost it at this point.
We had her cremated and Dr. Scott had them make a clay impression of her little paw. I made a memorial box for her with a drawer for her ashes and a photo album that celebrated her life. I also sent in some of her ashes to have a beautiful memorial flame statue made for the mantle.
Every now and then I swear that she’s still here with me. Once in a while I would feel a nose on the side of my leg, right at the height that she would have been. I would look down expecting to see a dog there, but nothing. I really brushed it off until Mother’s day this year. I was standing in the kitchen, which is where it usually happens and I felt it again. Arvin happened to be in the kitchen so I told him what had happened, thinking he would tell me I was nuts. Turns out….he’s felt the same thing a few times, standing in the same spot in the kitchen. It brought tears to my eyes. I really believe, she’s letting me know she’s still with me.
There’s a hole in my heart but it really helps to know she’s still around keeping track of us.
Well….I’m back in the planning phase for our next great adventure. We had a bit of a false start with the first trip booked but we are back on track. Initially we had planned to cruise the Irrawaddy River through Myanmar but unfortunately Avalon Waterways decided that they were going to cancel all of their 2019 Myanmar cruises. I think, after having done some research on that area, it’s probably for the best. I had never heard of the Rohingya and their plight but now I have and it makes me sad. Sad for them and sad for the country. If you want to learn more, click on the photo below to a great article by BBC that will tell you more.
So where to next. Well, wanting to stick with that region, we decided on Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand. This is a part of the world that really interests me so I am quiet excited. I’ve always been curious about Vietnam because the Vietnam war was coming to and end when I was a child. No one in my family was the right age to go at the time so I really had no one to talk to about it. I had a wonderful teacher in high school that went but he would never talk about it. As I became an adult and learned more, I better understand why.
Our trip will begin with a flight from Oahu to Hanoi, Vietnam. This will be our first time flying on Japan Airlines so I’m excited to try out their SkySuites. There are two legs of our flight going and two coming back stopping in Narita, Japan to change planes for Hanoi. Not much of a layover going but when we return we will get a couple hours to check out the Business class lounge there. We will be traveling on three different types of aircraft so we will get to try out a couple different types of their business class suites which should be fun.
The vacation will be 23 days total with two days to fly there, 20 days in country and a day to fly back from Thailand which is where our trip ends. I added an extra day in Hanoi just to give us a day to recover from the flights before we join up with our tour group to start exploring all that Hanoi has to offer. We will be in Hanoi for two full days before we head off to Ha Long Bay for the night. Ha Long Bay is an amazing place that I can’t wait to see and I’m sad that we won’t be there longer.
We will spend the night there and then take a boat ride through these beautiful islands and caves. This is a UNESCO world heritage site and a place not to be missed. There are 1,960–2,000 limestone islets that jut out of the water. Historical research surveys have shown the presence of prehistoric human beings in this area tens of thousands years ago. So exciting. I can’t get over how green the water is there. Not sure if it’s safe to dip in…but I sure hope so.
The next morning we will drive back to Hanoi and board a flight to Ho Chi Minh city. We will spend two days in a hotel there exploring the city and taking a day trip to the Chu Chi Tunnels. I’m looking forward to checking out the history of this area, I can tell you
with 100% certainty that I will not be going in the tunnels. The tour does enter them but my claustrophobic self will NOT be going with. I’ll find a nice shady spot or take some wonderful photos on the surface. I have read that they have actually expanded the tunnels to allow tourists to enter them but … ya, not this girl. Going in the Catacombs in Paris was adventurous enough for me !! If you would like to see inside…click on the picture and it will take you to a YouTube video by the History Channel that gives you a brief glimpse. That’s good enough for me!
Now it’s time to board the Avalon Siem Reap which will be our home for next 9 days. This boat is specially designed to travel the shallower waters of the Mekong River and is much smaller than Avalon’s boats in Europe. So small in fact that it only has 18 cabins which means even if the cruise is sold out…only 36 passengers total. All of the cabins are the same size and are split between two decks. Also unlike the European river cruises there is no observation deck on the top of the boat and for this reason I chose stateroom 202 of the Tonle Deck. The free WIFI is supposed to be better in that cabin due to its proximity to the lounge. Only time will tell on that one!
Each cabin is 245 sf with Avalon’s signature king size bed facing the wall of windows that open up to the outside essentially converting your room into a large balcony. This is what drew me to Avalon in the first place. Arvin and I love having a quiet place to relax after sightseeing all day and the design of this cabin makes it extra enjoyable. There is also a small sitting area, lots of storage both under the bed and in the ample closets. The bathroom features a nicely sized vanity mirror and a walk in shower.
More details can be found on this ship on Avalon’s site.
While on board the Siem Reap we will stop in:
VINH LONG–CU LAO GIENG
CHAU DOC–LONG KHANH A–BORDER CROSSING, CAMBODIA
WAT HANCHEY–ANGKOR BAN
KONPONG LOUANG–KAMPONG TRALACH
When we arrive in Phnom Penh we will disembark and spend several days in a hotel here, sightseeing before we move on to Bangkok, Thailand where we will stay three days before returning to Hawaii. I’m quiet excited to see the temples of Angkor and Siem Reap. For you Tomb Raider fans….these Pinterest photos may look familiar:
For the final three days, we will be in Bangkok checking out the beauty of this city and then jetting back to Oahu. Day one begins with a boat ride on the klongs, Bangkok’s famous canals. Stop at the stunning Grand Palace featuring the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. Also, Visit the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, the oldest and largest Buddhist temple in Bangkok. It houses more than 1,000 Buddha images, including the 49-foot-high and 151-foot-long massive Reclining Buddha.
Sooooo, if you are interested in this cruise or other variations of cruises to Cambodia, Vietnam and Bangkok, please check out Avalon’s site by clicking HERE.
Until we meet again….Remember:
“The gladdest moment in human life, me thinks, is a departure into unknown lands.” – Sir Richard Burton
Our adventure has not started off in the smoothest way. We arrived in great time with zero issues with our flights. All of our flights left on time or if they were a little late, time was made up thanks to good tail winds. The longest flight … SFO to LHR was way better than I imagined it would be. The crew was wonderful, the business class seats were comfortable … well to me they were. Bit of a tight squeeze for Arvin. I was able to get comfy and sleep a good part of the way. That was the fastest LONG flight ever. The food was horrendous but I expected as much.
Now the bad. We arrived in Prague, on the 20th. Our luggage, did NOT. As of today, the 22nd, our luggage is allegedly in country, but we haven’t received it yet. I’ve had a couple days of stress and somewhat regretting this trip. I’m sure once we have our stuff it will be better. It’s certainly put a damper on my enthusiasm. Many recommend cross packing that way if one person’s suitcase doesn’t arrive…you both have something. That works great if one of your suitcases makes it. Not so much if none of them do. Thankfully I had carried some stuff with us so I could freshen up on our long journey but I neglected to pack sightseeing clothing. My mistake. I also brought charging cords with us so we could charge on the plane or in the terminals but neglected to pack an adapter to be able to plug in to the walls in our apartment. Yet another note for future reference. Make sure you have at least one adapter in your carry on.
I am very glad that we got here as early as we did. I can’t imagine stressing about the arrival of luggage when meeting a cruise. Leaving Prague without our luggage would not be a happy occasion.
The apartment is wonderful. If you are ever in Prague, I can’t recommend this place enough. We rented through AirBNB. The view, the location, everything…perfect. It’s a bit noisy outside but with the window’s closed and the AC unit going…you can’t hear all the drunks outside doing their thing. They provided a driver (we paid but cheaper than a taxi) and a local cell phone. The apartment has a small kitchen, a great HOT shower and of course …the view is to die for.
Yesterday we did the Taste of Prague tour. Here’s a breakdown of that event. We met up at a church across from the Hotel Maxamillian (SP). Jan, the owner of TOP gave us a brief welcome and introduction. As I said before we all introduced ourselves. Then we walked over to the first location. Here’s a break down of what we had and where we went:
1. We had the the beet root puree with goat cheese, and the celery root remoulade chlebicek, the open-faced sandwich, at the Sisters bistro.
((My comments: The shop has all sorts of different types of sandwiches. I wasn’t a huge fan of either of these but the concept is great, nice way to get a light lunch and have tastes of many different things.))
2. We followed with meatloaf on bread, Wiener sausage, headcheese, and smoked pork cracklings at the Nase maso butcher shop. Both the bistro and the butcher shop are at Dlouha 39 street.
((My comments: This is literally right across from the Sister’s bistro. Everything was good. This is a very popular place that I recommend you look into. All of the meats (and they only do beef and pork) are raised by farms selected by the owner and live “happy, cage free” lives. The meat is dry aged or prepared using processes and recipes from 100’s of years ago. I loved it all. Well the headcheese was ok. The cracklings were a heart attack on a plate. The cracklings are made from the skin of the specially prepared ham. It’s smokey, salty and fatty all at once. They do a special dinner there that is only open to I think 7 people a night. They lower a table from the ceiling and they serve a 6 course meat meal. Literally…all just meat. If you want to try it out, you must make a reservation in advance. They are also well known for their hamburgers. So you can go here to pick up steaks, burger, etc to take home to cook or for a small grill fee they will season and cook your steak for you on the spot.))
3. We had the pork schnitzel with potato salad, the Prague ham with horseradish cream, and beef goulash with dumplings at the Lokal pub at the Dlouha 33 street. We also had Pilsner Urquel lager – regular pour and milk style pour.
((Lokal pub is an austere looking place. It’s what you would imagine of a soviet style cafeteria. The food was good. The “spicy” goulash was not spicy at all…but slightly salty. The Prague ham was good and the horseradish cream was not as spicy as I thought it would be. The cream cuts the spice a lot. The schnitzel was my favorite of the night. I don’t drink beer so I had a Czech cola which tasted a bit earthy .. sort of like a mix of coke and rootbeer. Everyone seemed to enjoy the beer. If you don’t know what “milk style pour” is….it’s a glass that is 5/6’s foam and 1/6th beer. The foam is apparently the sweet part and very popular here. The beer is pulled from in house kegs. I can’t remember a lot on that topic because beer isn’t my thing.))
4. We had wines at the Bokovka wine bar at Dlouha 37.
((My comments: we sampled 3 wines…a sour, fizzy, cloudy wine, a white and a red. The red was my favorite. All the wines were locally produced in Moravia.))
5. We had the Scotch eggs and the vanilla custard donut at Maso a kobliha at Petrska 23.
((My comments: I was not feeling really great by the time we got here and thanks to a very restricted diet…I can’t eat much anyway so I was bordering on over full…but my husband said the scotch egg was pretty good. I did taste the donut which was warm and filled with a wonderful custard. Very good.))
6. We finished at the Eska restaurant (Pernerova 49) with fermented celery root soda, burnt potato in ash with potato espuma, fermented red wheat with sous-vide egg and button mushrooms, and zemlovka: bread pudding with apples in an espuma of vanilla and rum.
((My comments: This is a vegetarian place but they do offer some protein options as well. Everything was pretty good…good flavors. The bread pudding was probably the best thing. The soda was … weird. We also had a beet root thing…it was sort of like a mini meringue drop with a dab of goat cheese on top. It looked like it would be soft…but it was a very surprising texture.))
And that was the end. He gave us each a couple parting gifts and a transportation ticket back to our hotels. We took the metro back. Side note…..the escalator down into the metro…not for the faint of heart or anyone that has fear of heights or vertigo. It’s steep, long, high and pretty fast for an escalator.
All in all we had a wonderful time. At the end of the meal we felt like we had all known one another for years. Well, in my case….I literally did know one of them for years…over 30 to be exact.
One of the other people on our tour turned out to be one of my first supervisors in the Navy back in 1986. WOW. I was stationed in Misawa, Japan and she trained me to be her replacement. I was a wet behind the ears E-3 and she was a hard charging, fast moving E-5. When we first met something about her seemed familiar…and then I figured it out. She was quite shocked as well.
So…there you have it. Check it out at:
http://www.tasteofprague.com/ and don’t wait too long to try to book a date with them. They run about 10 tours a week and they fill up fast.
Let me know if you have any questions.
When everyone and their brother didn’t have a cell phone. Do you remember when? I really miss it. I miss not having to listen to everyone’s one-sided conversations. It’s not like you WANT to listen. But when you are in a relatively quiet space and the guy across the room doesn’t realize that it’s 2016 and you don’t have to scream….
I wish that there were special rooms in lounges where people had to go to make calls. Then they could all yell over one another and the rest of us could enjoy some peace!
So we have checked in and are now sitting in the Admiral’s Lounge at the Honolulu Airport for the first leg of our Journey. The lounge is pretty much empty so we are enjoying the peace and quiet…oh and AC. It’s a hot, humid mess out in the terminal.
Check in was easy peasy. They checked us and our bags all the way to Prague so we won’t have to mess with them again until we arrive at our destination. I’m all set with all my goodies for this trip. Lots of entertainment, blanket, pillow, fuzzy socks, etc.
The lounge itself is pretty basic. There was a small assortment of alcohol to mix drinks, a beer, couple juices, soda machine, coffee, soup, cookies, a ramen bar where you could make your own ramen soup. Not a LOT but enough for the short time we are here.
We are taking the red eye to LAX. We’ll be at LAX for a LONG time so we hope to get into the lounge and grab a shower to freshen up before heading to SFO and then off to LHR.
Heading out to board soon….
Until we meet again!
It’s almost time to depart on our journey. Things have been pretty busy around the homestead so I’ve not been blogging much but hope to have more time while on this journey.
Please keep us in your thoughts. Our world is such a crazy place and you never know what can happen. We will be as safe as possible but some prayers for our journey are always welcome.
See you soon
Great blog! Can’t wait to share my own experience with everyone.
So many ask me if I’m not afraid to travel to Europe during these times of upheaval in our world. After the recent attacks in Paris many were sure that I would cancel my trip. I’ve read on many travel sites about the fear of others not wanting to go where the terrorists are. So what is my answer? Of course I’m a little nervous to take multiple flights, spend extended time in any airport, use public transportation in foreign countries and on and on. But am I afraid? Maybe a little. I think some fear is good. Fear keeps you vigilant,fear helps keep you safe. But will I let fear keep me from traveling? One answer to that.
Let’s face facts….we don’t live in the safest place in the world. We are not exempt from terrorist acts on our own soil. We have deaths caused by many unnatural actions in the United States day after day. Not one of those people went to that club in Florida expecting to die that day. They went and were engaging in LIFE. No one wants to die before their time, I certainly don’t but the fact of life is, when it’s your time, it’s your time. My life in general isn’t a low key, living in the middle of no where with not threat existence. But I tell you this, when I do come to the end of my life, I pray that it will be doing what I love to do with the man I love to share it with. If that happens, don’t mourn for me, celebrate the fact that I went out living life to the fullest. That’s what matters.
Terrorists, be they organized groups around the world or the home grown radicalized individuals that pop up in our country, have a common goal, even if they don’t share the same ideologies…strike fear in all of us. If we let that fear run our lives then they really win. I may not be able to stop terrorism, but I will not let them put the sort of debilitating fear in me that will keep me from exploring all that this world has to offer.
The key is to be smart, be aware and be safe. Check out this handy safety sheet. It might give you food for thought.
Last night I downloaded an e-Book with 365 prompts for blog posts and the prompt for today was the title of today’s blog. As everyone reading this blog knows we are getting ready to take off on a trip so I found this rather fortuitous.
I love to travel. If I could I would make a living traveling and sharing my experiences with the world. Since that is not likely to happen I will enjoy doing so for my pleasure and amusement.
For me, planning is almost as fun as the destination. I am a planner. I try not to script the entire trip but I do like to set up certain activities and then leave open time to explore and wander. A few years back we went off to Barbados, we spent 10 days down there after long flights and while I had some amazing activities planned including snorkeling, a private tour and a helicopter ride, I left a lot of time free to just explore. We saw and did a lot, but it didn’t feel quite so structured.
This upcoming trip is the same. I have certain activities planned, which I’ve already talked about but I’ve left plenty of free time to just wander the area. One advantage to pre-planning is pre-payment. I find having everything paid for in advance helps me to just relax and enjoy the trip. Once there I need only pay for food and miscellaneous travel costs.
Our upcoming trip will involve all three modes of transport and one not mentioned in the heading…a boat. Long flights. This will be the fist time that I’m not only checking a bag but taking a roll-a-board bag and a personal item. Trying to plan what to take on the flights has been half the fun. The sofa in my office is covered with stuff I’ve been collecting over the last 6 months for the trip. Once I get everything narrowed down, I’ll share pictures of what I pack and how. Since this is such a long trip, I plan to bring a change of clothes for the trip and a change for Prague in case our luggage is delayed. Something I’ve never thought of before was “cross packing” and I will do that as well. For those who don’t know .. cross packing is simply putting some of your clothing in your traveling partner’s suitcase and vice versa so if one case is delayed you both have clothes for a few days to get by.
Do you take a carry on when you travel? If so, what are your must packs? How do you pack? Have you gotten into the travel cube craze? Do you fold or roll? Do you plan out your outfits or do you just throw some stuff in and wing it?
Please comment and share your packing do’s and skip’s and great ideas. I do look forward to it.
Until we meet again….
It’s been almost two years since we stayed in Sedona on what was a long and extremely fun adventure that took us from Disneyland to San Diego to the Grand Canyon, Sedona, Lake Havasue and then back to LA to return to Hawaii. What a trip. By far one of the most memorable parts of our trip, aside from Disneyland OF COURSE…was our 4 nights in Sedona at L’Auberge de Sedona. I was floored by the beautiful red rock formations. It was a truly breath taking place.
First this town is gorgeous with plenty of things to keep you busy without feeling exhausted. We enjoyed relaxing at our hotel, pampered ourselves at the spa, took a Pink Jeep Tour and just explored the area on our own.
The resort….This place has something for everyone. Private creek side cabins, spa cabins complete with an outdoor shower, as well as a lodge. We went with a spa cabin and it did not disappoint. You entered into the main room which had a king size four poster bed, two chairs, a fire place, flat panel tv, a private deck, and a bathroom with a huge jetted tub, an indoor shower and a separate outdoor shower (enclosed for privacy but open at the top).
Our room included a spa credit so we went and enjoyed a nice facial for two. It also included our breakfast allowing us to order off the menu each day. The service was impeccable and the food was perfect. The banana walnut pancakes were my favorite…I actually had them twice. When the weather was cooperative we also enjoyed dinner creek side.
You could actually dine out here all day but we were usually out checking out other places during the day!
Candle light dinner by the creek was very romantic. We got dressed up and really made a wonderful evening of it.
Here’s a nice video from YouTube that shows the location live….
Like I said before, we took a Pink Jeep tour which I highly recommend. We were the only two in the jeep and there were some moments when I was less than thrilled at my choice but we got out to areas that we would not have seen otherwise and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I will say that if you have a bad back…this is not an adventure for you. We took a major beating from the rough roads. But you can see from my photos above…the view made me quickly forget the pain.
Unbelievable views. On another day we decided to hit the road to check out Montezuma’s Castle. I was not prepared to see this:
What an amazing sight! You leave the visitor center and walk along this beautiful path. As you come around a bit of a bend there it is. We walked around and enjoyed the view for a while. We also stopped off at Montezuma’s Well. I found a great video on YouTube by Davidegg22 that I had to share. Please show him some love when you visit:
So, that’s it for Sedona. I can’t recommend a stop here enough. This is one of those places that I will return to one day.
That’s it for now….
Until we meet again…..