The Mexico Plan

We started in Puerto Vallarta and stayed in “The Old Town” aka “Zona Romantica”. In our opinion this part in the southern end of PV is the best area to stay if you want a more authentic experience of hanging out at the beach with Mexican families, a clean swimable beach, great music surrounding you and a cornucopia of fresh oysters and skewers of freshly barbecued shrimp and marlin with hot sauce and lime on the side being hawked by the local beach vendors. A short walk takes you to to more restaurants and bars than you could ever vist unless you lived here. There is a fantastic music scene and from what we’ve listened to so far the level of talent has been outstanding. 

Next stop is Yelapa where we really lucked out getting a great seaside bungalow booked for 6 nights. Yalapa is a small isolated fishing village accessible only by boat located in a small bay on the southern most coast of the 7th largest bay in the world, Bahia de Banderas, about 1 hour by water taxi from the Playa Muertos pier in Old Vallarta.

We’ll head back to PV on the 20th and spend 4 nights in a little hotel in the heart of old town then head to Bucerius where we’ll meet up with our daughter and granddaughter, Kristina and Lucy for 8 nights in Bucerius and then the 4 of us will head back to PV for 4 nights. After bidding farewell the the gals on April 5th we hope to spend the next 10 nights in Sayulita although we may just fit in a trip to Guadalajara for a few days.

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

It’s beautiful in PV this time of year. Facing west onto the pacific ocean and the Bay of Banderas, next stop Asia, you have a full western sunset and then an amazing western moon set. The moon rises in the east over the Sierra Madre mountains chasing the sun and is then swallowed up into the Pacific 3 1/2 hours after sunset. I’m not sure what the astrophysical term is but they are following an almost exact path from east to west. Very cool as we watch the moon slowly changing over the days from a sliver to a slice. Full moon is March 20th.

 

 

Mexico also beckons!

We’ve had a cold winter in Vancouver with temperatures a fair bit below normal but fortunately no where near as cold and crappy as as the rest of Canada and the mid western US. The crocuses are popping up now, a little delayed from a dusting of snow and like the new pre-spring flowers, we are in need of some warm weather so off we go to Mexico!

We have 6 weeks and will spend the first 10 days at a cheap all inclusive in Puerto Vallarta and then head off to, well, we’re not sure but will keep you updated.

 

Africa beckons!

We debated continuing on with our plan that was in place at the early ending of our last world adventure. This would have taken us to Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia including Borneo as well as Papua and Australia but Africa and the adventure it offers for self driving, camping and immersing yourself in the culture, food and wildlife won out so;

Departing July 15, 2019 Joyce and I are hoping to equal or top the amazing 4 month experience we had in Africa in 2017.

Starting from Johannesburg we’ll spend 6 weeks self driving and camping with a Toyota Hilux 4×4 Bushcamper covering most of the national parks of Zimbabwe and Zambia.

We’ll drop our vehicle back in Joberg and then fly to Madagascar where we have a Nissan double cab 4×4 reserved for 5 weeks. We’ll be mostly staying at lodges and small hotels but will have camping supplies just in case. We’ll self drive through the North East, Central and South West of the country and then fly to the far north west of the country to spend some down time on the beaches of a couple of small islands (noseys).

From Madagascar (Antananarivo) we’ll fly to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where we’ll experience about 2 weeks of the amazing cultures and geography that this country has to offer.  This will be a private tour that we’ve arranged through the great help of Verity Bester, a friend and travel consultant we know in South Africa who has helped us tirelessly in our planning of our previous and now next adventure.

Next stop is West Central Africa. We’ll fly from Addis Ababa to Libreville, Gabon where we are currently working on a plan to see this country that is called the last “Eden” on earth. We’re hoping to explore both Gabon and Cameroon over a period of 3-4 weeks.

Please stay tuned and if anybody who reads this has suggestions, ideas etc. please comment.

Time to move on to more adventures

We’ve now been home for 8 months since our last adventure.

During this time we said farewell to Joyce’s sister Marilyn who passed away peacefully from cancer July 23rd, 2018.

She will be forever loved and we will miss her terribly. Her name is now on a star in the Milky Way galaxy. We will use Marilyn’s star to guide us into the future.

Her star is Sadr in the Cygnus constellation.

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Marilyn was 63 years old.

 

More warm sunny weather on the Pacific coast

Warm Spring weather arrived again a few days ago so yesterday we decided to walk across the Burrard bridge and head into the West End and stroll the sea wall to English Bay Beach and then make our way up Deman Street to intersect the sea wall in Coal Harbour.  The sea wall is a paved pathway generally seperated into pedestrian and bicycle lanes that stretches 28 km (17.5 miles) around the city’s waterfront. We only walked a small section but we have cycled the whole route several times and it is a great way to spend a day in Vancouver.

Tomorrow is supposed to be another 30+ C day so probably some beach time.

Beach time in Vancouver

We’ve had a good stretch of nice weather this past several days in Vancouver with warm sunny skies and slightly cooler but comfortable evenings. The temperature varies considerably in Vancouver and then inland from the coast to the interior of the province. Temperatures on the many Vancouver beaches have been hovering around 20 degrees C with a very high UV index while the rest of the areas just slightly inland are in the mid 20’s and the southern interior hitting 30 C and hotter in some areas. These aren’t normal average temperatures for this time of year but it isn’t unheard of either so having several beaches to choose from to take advantage of this weather and the warm summer months to come is a real bonus so we today we headed to Lacarno Beach on the south shores of English Bay to soak up a few rays.

Through our travels around the world this past year we were a little surprised to learn that many people believe it is always cold in Canada. They only associate Canada with cold. We of course explained that oh no, it hits 40+ degrees in some areas in the summer but would sense that they didn’t really believe us. A sad fact is the weather is getting warmer in Canada and unfortunately the Canadian North/Arctic is warming up much quicker than the lower latitudes and this is definitely a bad news story for the flora and fauna that exists nowhere else on our fragile planet.

Yes it is cold in most of Canada during the winter months and Canadians freeze their butts off but we fortunately have a few warm months in the summer to thaw out and sun tan before planning our winter getaways to Mexico or Hawaii or the Caribbean and I’ve always believed it is much easier to warm up than it is to cool down.

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

What a beautiful city! Cherry blossoms blooming everywhere and when a strong wind blows you have a cherry blossom snow storm. A sight to behold.

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We are now back home. A family matter has brought us home earlier than planned so we will be in Vancouver for the next while. Summer time in British Columbia is incredible and the fall is spectacular. We are blessed to be living in this province and this country we call home. Canada. Believe me!

We have been away just 3 weeks shy of one year and every moment of our travels was an eye-opening experience of adventure, culture and food that we will forever hold in our hearts. We will continue our travels with many more adventures to come and we’ll continue to use our blog site to log our journey’s and hopefully inspire others to go out and explore this amazing planet we call home.

We started this blog April 29, 2017 and since then have had 19,768 visitors as of today and the views came from 61 countries. Who would have thunk? We visited 19 countries so the power of the word of mouth extended into many countries we didn’t visit but highlights the 6 degrees of separation that exists between all of us.

We have never done a blog before this trip so I’m sure it could have been presented in a little more of a professional format but we hope you enjoyed following us anyway. It made our day whenever we had a “like” or a comment. It connected us to either people back home or to people we met along our way.

To everyone that followed us on our blog we say a big “Thank you”! Thank you for taking the time to follow us. It meant a lot to us and gave us inspiration to keep going on and continue writing about our travels. We plan on exploring this amazing province over the next months so the blog will continue and will allow us to show off our Province and our corner of this amazing country we call home. We hope you continue to enjoy.

 

Lamai Beach, Koh Samui, Thailand

Time sure flies, it seemed liked yesterday we met Kristina and Lucy at the airport in Bangkok and so much has transpired since then. The jungle house was a definite highlight but the remaining 12 days we spent together were just as fun and exciting.

We arrived at our resort, Thai House Beach Resort at around 2:30 pm on the 21st and were treated to a Beach Villa upgrade x 2 for two nights so the resort could get us our Deluxe Family rooms adjoining each other two days later. We were hesitant at first. We didn’t want to unpack and re-pack but it worked out nicely and ultimately our rooms had a nice distant sea view and some breeze. It has been very hot here. 30+ C and 37 C with the humidity so the breeze was a saviour when sitting outside on our balconies. We spent 12 great days together with mostly beach and pool time but a few other extracurricular activities thrown in to breakup the non stop paradise beach and sea that surrounded us. It was such a chore, wandering down to the restaurant for breakfast, lathering on the sunscreen and then lazing on the beach or at the pool loungers watching the waves while we cooked under the tropical sun. So exhausting that after enduring this extreme relaxation we would hit one of the many bars for a few cool ones, alcoholic and non while Lucy kicked our butts at the free pool tables. This became a bit of a ritual and we had a good laugh when we asked Lucy what she wanted to do tonight and her reply was “ let’s go to the bar and play pool”!

Our first foray from our resort was by car. We rented a car, forgot what kind and we headed out to visit Big Buddha, Mae Nam beach and some waterfalls. Big Buddha is/was a revered site and I had the neat perspective of being on this exact spot 30 years ago. My how things have changed. The statue is located about 3 km from shore and is connected by a narrow causeway. When I was last here, at the end of the causeway was the “Big Buddha”, standing alone and looking quite stoic. Now access to this amazing statue is shrouded in small kitsch shops selling everything their neighbour sells and it has turned into a circus of sorts but this is tourism.

Most temple sites have signs telling you to “remove” your shoes before entering the temple areas. The sign we saw said ”Don’t remove your shoes between 9-5:00 pm”. This sign left several people confused including us so we took our shoes/sandals off and climbed the stairs to meet the Big Buddha. In all of our past experiences when visiting a temple, shrine etc., I guess except for a church, you take your shoes off. A simple act of respect.

Next stop was Mae Nam Beach which was not that easy to find. It’s very clear on the tourist map but the roads aren’t exactly easy to follow but we did figure it out and Lucy, Kristina and me (I?) had a dip, dried off and then continued on to, well, we weren’t quite sure what to do next so we drove on with the idea of visiting one of several waterfalls on the Island. We just weren’t quite sure which one would be best and, considering it was the dry season, which one would be worth visiting. I mean, where does the water come from if there isn’t serious rain?  Long story short, we stopped at I think, Tar Nim Waterfall but to be honest, it could have been Wang Sao Thong waterfall but regardless, we were met by a couple of guys and for only 100 Baht each we could get a ride to what might have been a trickle instead of a fall of gushing fresh water and hiking to the falls was about 1 km and it was way too hot to entertain that idea so, we headed back to our resort. It was a great day and the evening was spent loosing pool games to Lucy (sharp-eye) Roberts at the local bar.

The next two or three days were spent basically doing nothing except of course eating, sunning, swimming, eating, playing in the waves with the gals, relaxing, drinking, eating and then sleeping. And repeat.

After a few days it was time to do another little adventure so we booked tickets on a speedboat and headed out with several other people, most of who were really not that friendly and spent the day exploring the islands of the Mu Ko Ang Thong National Park. The boat was great and even heading back to KS in fairly rough seas the ride was smooth although a little wet for some. The marine reserve hosts many idyllic beaches and coves but to explore the actual marine environment we only had about one hour of snorkelling in sub prime conditions. There was some nice coral although I have to say I am alarmed at the changes I’ve seen from my first trip to this part of the world 30 years ago but there were lots of fish and I think Lucy really enjoyed it. We departed on the next leg of our cruise which unfortunately didn’t include any more snorkelling. The island scenery was beautiful, we stopped at a fishing village for a lunch that lasted way too long and then hung out at a couple of very beautiful beaches. The area is truly stunning but I will save my final evaluation of the condition of Thailand’s beaches for a little later. It was a really fun boat trip back to KS through some great waves. Lucy slept most of the time and I can relate. When I fly, if there is turbulence, it lulls me to sleep.

The Big Buddha, Mae Nam Beach and the marine park were our only extracurricular activities. The rest of our time was spent doing the relaxing thing. Breakfast, beach, some beach walking and pool time,  lunch beach side with some great chicken satay, beer in the late afternoon, and then hit the bar so Lucy could kick our butts at pool before finally heading off for dinner. All was not completely slow motion. We explored the Sunday night market, were entertained by a beach side fire show and had our share of long sunny days and cool evening breezes.

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April 2nd arrived in the blink of an eye and we bid the ladies farewell and then spent a couple more days before our departure on the 5th.