Small Things, Great Love:


Don’t mind if I Didgeridoo
October 13, 2008, 1:44 pm
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That’s right, I’ve purchased a Didgeridoo. We’re in Sydney right now about to sleep and MC is forcing me, rightly so, to post something on our dusty blog. I am going to give you the fastest recap ever…

Thailand:

Koh Lanta– we rode an elephant, rented a motor bike, and visited their annual night market. Massages were dime a dozen too.

 

Bangkok– visited the largest outdoor market in the world, Chatuchak; went to a Thai cooking class, saw a Muay Thai fight, witnessed Thailand’s history via hundreds of costumes and dance, rode a tuk-tuk and saw some great temples. Massages were also plentiful and cheap.

 

Indonesia:

Bali– amazing. We will have a separate post coming soon on this trip…it was too good to pass up. We met some amazing people, saw tons of awe inspiring things, and got Bali Belly.

 

We also just snorkeled in the Great Barrier Reef, but we will also have a separate post on that as well. 

 

Here are some photos from Thailand for now

 

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Chick Flicks
September 21, 2008, 2:35 pm
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MC:  Throughout our travels Daniel and I have found ourselves every now and then in the hotel rooms late at night, ordering room service and surfing through the movie channels.  It all started on the island of the Maldives where there was very little to do at night except go to the bar and spend 20 dollars on a 3 oz cocktail.  After one night of that, we resorted to room service and movies. 

Our first film, Music and Lyrics. I had to talk Daniel into it at first and out of some horror movie but once the convincing was done and the movie was on it was clear: Daniel was enjoying this movie as much (if not far more) than I was. When it was over, we continued to sing the theme song, hug, laugh for no reason, and jump on the beds.

Why do “Chick Flicks” do this to you? They unleash all sorts of euphoric feelings within. If this is the case, then they should no longer be shameful for any man to watch and should therefore lose the title of “chick flick”. Men need not be ashamed. I have never seen my man so gleeful as when the world was set right by a car chase and a kiss at the end of each film.

But we did not stop there.  Next was 101 Dalmatians where Pongo and Perdy stoll our hearts once again.
Then it was onto Maid in Manhattan. I thought FOR SURE Daniel would call it quits after this one, throw in the towel, lay down the law. But I was wrong, for this movie too was followed by all the gleeful activity.

The last one we saw together was Because I Said So with Mandy Moore and Diane Keaton. This oneblew all of the other ones out of the water for Daniel!  It’s a story of a mom’s (Diane Keaton) desire for her daughter (Mandy Moore) to find love. And the story goes that in the mom’s search for the daughters happiness, the mom finds love herself, Mandy Moore snags a cutie as well. Everyone is happy. The story ends, however at Diane Keaton’s wedding and does not allude in any way to Mandy Moore’s nuptial bliss.

The credits roll.

Daniel is visibly distraught and with puppy dog eyes turns to me in bed and asks “But did they get married  too???”

It was truly the most hilarious thing that has happened this entire trip (my attempt on the slopes running a very close second).  Daniel realizing the absurdity of his concern quickly burst into belly roll laughter and we laid there and laughed and laughed repeating the golden phrase “But did they get married too???”

Are there any males out there who have experienced the same uninhibited blissful emotions as a result of these movies?

Or are there any girlfriends out there who have men just like mine?

We think it is all very hilarious and will continue to enjoy all kinds of movies. However, we were both relieved to find that the next night HBO was showing The Bourne Identity. 



Paradise
September 20, 2008, 3:22 am
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MC: So there’s not much to say about our week in The Maldives except for the fact that it was truly paradise. The pictures below show it. It was the best week ever!!!!!  All we did was eat, sleep, eat, drink, eat, sleep.  Two major events did happen however:

Daniel discovered snorkeling and is now obsessed. Am I surprised?  I love him, he is passionate about EVERYTHING and soaks up life to the fullest.  So needless to say, he has mapped out the remainder of our days according to snorkel stops.  

And we learned to play gin rummy. We went to cocktail hour everyday at 5 and played. We had the best time doing that, we love playing cards now.  Never travel without a deck!



Dubailand
September 17, 2008, 4:51 pm
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D:

Dubai, everything I imagined: Hot, humid, sandy, rich, and buildings. All of those things were not only evident, they were prominent. There is more building going on here than anyplace I’ve ever seen, and the amount of money funding it all is astronomical. I think it’s the hottest place I’ve ever been too. Egypt was hot, but dry. Alabama is hot, but it never really gets above mid 90s. This place was hot. 106 with 99ish% humidity. In the “summer” it can get up to 140. I don’t see how they do it. The second you walk outside you have a film covering your entire body and your lungs are dripping wet. They say it gets better in the winter; we’ll have to go back. 

Our stay in Dubai was interesting to say the least. It was, and still is until October 1, Ramadan. It’s a nice time to visit unless you’re hungry of course. Not many food places were open, outside of the hotel and malls, until after 6 pm. If you get caught drinking or eating in public, expect to move and put your food away. Get caught kissing or holding too many hands…you don’t want to know.

Ramadan has its perks though. Everywhere you go, places have “Ramadan specials” where there is a supposed 5-15% discount on all goods. This discount is most likely in place to sucker tourists into buying their junk, but some places i.e. the snow skiing place, actually had deals for Ramadan. Either way everyone we came into contact with was extremely nice and accommodating…it might have been because they wanted us to slip them a granola…

Our hotel was plush to say the least. It was in the Jumeriah Beach area of the city, a bustling district with a new high rise being built on every square block of land. It’s absolutely unreal how many buildings are being built. I had such a field day just looking up. Riding in cabs and buses gave me a crick and a drool spot was usually on my shirt. The area around Jumeriah Beach boasts the only inhabited palm shaped island in the world, the only 7 star hotel in the world (which we had dinner atop of), and only a few miles away will have the tallest building in the world, the Burj Dubai. It was just the right place for a couple of un-employed, ex-student, homeless, newlyweds. 

One of the best things I’ve ever done was the indoor snow-skiing. The slope is a giant structure attached to one of the richest shopping malls in the Middle East. It’s kind of like the skating rink that is in that old mall in Montgomery, only different and exponentially better. You walk in from the desert and your sweat turns to icicles. It was so cold in there. 

MC and I grabbed some skis and hit the slopes…literally for MC. She had never been skiing, but to save a few Dirham on ski school we told them she was good. I gave her a few instructions on the “snow plow” position, and I pushed her down the bunny slope so she could get a feel for the snow. Bad idea. Instead of doing the snow plow to stop, she snow plowed into a group of little Dubaians who were barely 10. They were all scared, MC was in shock, and I was speechless atop the hill. I can only imagine the horror of the little desert children as they calmly stood at the bottom of the slight grade, learning the basics of this new found sport, as, all of a sudden, a white girl, sans-poles (as she dropped them as soon as she lost control), comes flying at them screaming. We ended up buying her a lesson. She learned very quickly, I’m so proud of her for trying…seems that there is more to teaching skiing than the snow plow

I had a fantastic time skiing. I forgot how much I love it. There was a literal ski lift that took you up to the top of the slope (just like in the days of the ball hooter and grab hammer).  The slope proved to be really fast, and pretty scary too. It was a true experience and one of the most fun things I’ve done.

We had an amazing time in Dubai. I was so thrilled to have visited the construction Mecca of the world. MC really liked it too, and it deserves a return in about 10 years. By that time they’ll have more islands, taller buildings and ANOTHER ski slope.

In the mean time click the link to get a good look at our ski trip and also a quick look into MC’s copy hand bag extravaganza.

 

Dubais.

 

http://www.youtube.com/profile_videos?user=DanielandMC

 



We are living in a material world, and am I a material girl?
September 10, 2008, 3:54 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

 

This blog is for all the women out there (and the men as well if you’re into ladies fashion hand bags).  I need your comments, your thoughts, and hopefully your affirmation which I am becoming more and more concerned may not come.

The scene:  Dubai gold souk (AKA a really amazing market in Dubai with miles of streets lined with shops…all selling gold). This gold is unbelievable and sold at a fraction of the price we would pay in the States.

The situation:  Daniel and I drooling in each window, men approaching from behind whispering in our greedy American ears “copy watches copy handbags, come see…”.  Ignoring the first 7 or 8, we continued to window shop.  But then I heard these words and something inside of me could ignore no more, “Louis Vuitton”.  I turned my head making direct eye contact with a man who unfortunately could not return the gesture (it appeared as if he had been kicked in the head by a camel). I said “where?” and we were off.

Next scene: A few twists, turns, stairs, head nods and a secret door-knock later Daniel and I found ourselves sharing a five by ten room with three nice Arab men, Fendi, Dior, Channel, Gucci, and Louis. 

Fast Forward: After inspecting the goods I began to get a little squeamish asking myself questions like “Who am i?” “Why would I want a knock off bag”  “How did I end up here” and “I wonder how much I can talk him down on this one?”

I decided on a large black leather bag (who am I kidding? More like plastic)

I asked him how much, he replied 750 dirham.  Thats the equivalent to 204 USD. 

“NO way” I said, putting the poser purse back on it shelf.

“Okay okay, with you I make a deal. You first customer, for you 650”.

This went on and on and finally with Daniel’s mad bartering skills (he truly is like none other) we were able to talk this man into letting us walk away with this luster losing purse for 250 dirham = about 65 USD.

At this point we agreed, exchanged necessary currency and were on our way.

The walk back was filled with mixed emotions; excited about being bartering partners with my husband and yet disgusted with the idea of my purchase and what it stood for. I got in the bus to head back to the hotel and noticed loose thread and a scuff in the “leather”.

My question to you women is, have I lost my soul?  Have I given into everything I do not believe in?  Fake bags-Who am I?  Fashion labels-When did I start caring?  Trusty ol’  Banana Repubilc is too rich for my blood and now I’m posing with Louis?

Or would you have done the same thing? And is my experience just a innocent picture of being a girl in a material world?



Paris
September 9, 2008, 5:53 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Paris

MC: What a wonderfully romantic city!  The rumors are true…paris is indeed for lovers.

 

We arrived in Paris around 2pm.  At 4 we climbed 4 flights of spiral stairs and rang the door bell to Catherine’s apartment.  She greeted us excitedly with her broken english and we think she may have said “welcome to hotel de Catherine” but we can’t be sure.  Either way, there was nothing hotel about this place…we were literally staying in a spare bedroom in her flat and sharing a bathroom with her.  At first it was surprising because it was not at all what we had expected but just as soon as those thoughts came they went because this place was perfect.  Also we would only be there for 2 nights, we could handle the limited privacy for that long.  

 

We were exhausted!  I know, I know “You went to Paris and you took a nap??” We went out for a Doner Kebap (Daniel’s recent European obsession) followed by a bottle of wine and a tasty chocolate treat at a corner cafe down the street.   Then came the nap!  We slept with the windows open overlooking the street and town for 3 hours. It was a much needed rest.  From there we decided to take the Metro down to the Latin Quarter and see what all the people were doing.  The city is just so romantic at night.  The bridges and the lights and the canals!!! Just the buildings with all of their age and character was such a refreshing contrast to the modern lines and industrial decor of Iceland.   We did the best thing we could have ever done, we grabbed two crepes at a vendor and two colas and plopped right on top of a bridge and overlooked the city as we ate and talked. I (MC) will truly never forget that moment.  From there we decided to go check out the Eiffel tower late at night and what a great choice that was! It was the day of good choices (which can come and go when traveling we’re learning).  The tower did not seem cliche this time and instead it was just a fun place to be.  We ate ice cream (some magnum treat Daniel lovessssss) and we took tons of pictures.  A late night Metro got us home and we tip toed in so as not to wake our roommates.  Night night Paris night one.

 

Paris Day 2:

We had great intentions of waking up early and conquering the city. But somehow our Coldplay alarm serenaded us for 2 hours until 11am when we finally found strength to move our fingers and toes.  Once alive again, we got ready for the day and went right across the street to a really cool and yummy coffee shop. With caffine fueling us we ventured to shop.  Shopping only lasted as long as we weren’t hungry – maybe one shop?  Then as usual we were searching for food.  After grabbing a sandwich and a croissant – did I mention Daniel is losing pounds by the day and I’m finding them all?  Bread is just so good and convenient.  I have GOT to find some fruit, but until then I will have to settle for a life of bread, wine, doner kebaps, and the occasional ice cream.  

 

Okay so shopping didn’t last long. The fact that I cant buy anything because I don’t have any desire to carry anything around the world makes the temptation to do so much easier to resist. It began to rain and we headed back to the apartment to freshen up for our night out. We had plans to dine at an authentic french restaurant recommended to us by Joy and Ed who had spent a month in Paris in October.   1 hour, 1 wrong Metro ride, and 5 wrong turns later we arrived at a true “off the beaten path” type place.

 

 D: MC is tired and she has demanded that I continue writing so that she can continue to be fed grapes on the bed at our resort.

 

 Le Coup Chou was the place. Translation: The cup of cabbage. It truly was authentic French cuisine and ambiance. I have only one other experience to relate it to and that was a cheesely painted french restaurant in Mountain Brook village that 11 of my friends and I went to for junior prom. Le Coup Chou had it all: French men, wine and bread, all the basics. MC had the lamb and I the Duck, of course. Speaking of lambs brain, I will knowingly and gladly devour a portion full of the delicatessen in Dubai. Was it the same lamb? Who’s to know. Great recommendation joy and ed, 

 



Ice-maaaaan land
September 9, 2008, 7:30 am
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MC: I love my husband.  Yes I do.  Now I say this because as I go into describing this next leg of our trip it is good for me to affirm my love for him.  He can do nothing to change this love or take away from this love- not even flying me on a redeye flight to  Iceland (maybe 2 hours of sleep were enjoyed) and informing me when my little bear eyes open that contrary to my belief we are NOT headed to the hotel for the rest I had hoped for and that instead we were catching a public bus from the airport to a little place called Blue Lagoon.  

 

Did I mention it was declared the worst weather Iceland had seen in months?  Rain and wind at ungodly speeds, and contrary to what people tell you about Iceland being green and Greenland being Ice, the place could have fooled me. It felt as if Ice speckles we smashing off the ice ground onto my ice face.

 

This was all pre-7 in the morning.

 

I love my husband.

 

I love him, because he was right, this place was completely worth the visit.  I’m going to let him take over from here because he pays more attention to the details of exactly what these places are…

 

D: Blue Lagoon is a geothermal spa. It has naturally been around for millions of years, but man decided to capitalize on its healing powers and mystic nature. The area now boasts a club house with showers, lockers, a restaurant, spa and gift shop. It’s all very commercial inside, but it in no way takes away from the fact that it is still nature’s hot tub. It was literally 40 degrees outside and raining. I had to force MC out the door and into the elements. We ran like mad along the wooden deck and down some steps into the salty lagoon. It was surprisingly cold. We were expecting instant relief but instead ended up screaming and basically swimming for our lives. We found a hot spot and planted ourselves there with our new friends, Jane and Marsha from Ohio. Hot quickly turned to cold and we had to move on to warmer ground. I made MC swim after me and when I found a hot spot (more like luke warm) I looked back only to see MC dog paddling toward me and cursing me through the Icelandic steam. Her wimpers were faint, but they told me so much. I needed to get my wife warm or things would literally turn deathly cold. We settled in an area that was sufficient to me and also to MC if I would only hold her close and friction her arms. The time came that we needed to run in and get some food, so we dashed back into the food stuffs area. Robes were awaiting us as well as dry towels. The food selection was typical Icleand. Fish sandwich and weird yogurt. I saw about this yogurt on Anthony Bourdain’s program and knew I had to have it. Anything he does I do, he’s my travel hero. Lunch was over and I coerced MC into heading back outside with me. It had actually warmed up. There is an area where natural salt puddy forms in the lagoon and you get a handfull of it and put it all over your face and hair. It has magical innate powers. We waddled over to that area and proceeded to compeltely cover every exposed part of our bodies. Mc’s temples started to hurt from the pelting rain and piercing cold and she decided she could take no more.  I was standing up, chest out of water pretending to be one of those Polar Bear Club guys. I tried to impress my lady, but soon after she was yawning and I was shivering. MC went inside to shower and I did some laps in the lagoon, doing the Michael Phelps dolphin kick in the murky blue salt water. I decided that the day was done…even though it was now 1130 and headed in for a shower. MC and I got on a bus and headed into Reykjavik to begin our stay.

 

Iceland has many wonderful qualities. The topography is amazing, the water is pure, the puffins are cute and the streets of the towns are ski-town-esque. It also has the best hot dogs in the world. Again, Mr. Bourdain showed me this famous hot dog stand shack that has the most delicious pieces of processed meat. The dog had sauce and onions and other things on it, and when bit provided a pleseant cruch. MC and I both agreed that it was THE best hotdog we had ever had. It’s hard to compare to ball park dogs because it is a bit different, but in a blind taste test with un biased judges from around the globe, the Ice-dog would win out hands down.

 

What iceland does not have however are: clean hotel rooms, cheap anythings, gas pumps that don’t make you guess how much money your tank of gas will hold forcing you to over pay without giving you money back, and nice people. Literally the people of this city were cold as the weather. They’re taught at a young age. Numerous little kids pushed and stepped their way past us without saying a word. Teenagers are rambunctious and rude yelling to us “how much for both of you” as we walked down the sidewalk, and adults never say excuse me, thank you, please, nice to meet you, where are you from, what’s your dad like, nothing. If MC and I had to move to Iceland we decided that it would be impossible to find any friends. But looking past the people, which is hard to do since we all know that “It’s about the people”, Iceland is charming and a great place to go explore, and explore we did. 

 

Opel was her name, black was her color and automatic was her transmission. The best way to do anything in Iceland is to rent a car for your time there. Tour buses with middle aged women from various parts of the globe with careless drivers and uneven gravel roads for 200 bucks a person is not our slice of mink whale, which I ate. So, the day was spent driving, and it was a day well spent. We saw waterfalls, rifts, grass, lakes, and geysers. The countryside was unbelievable, a lot like how I think New Zealand looks, I’m not quite sure. That evening we had a drink at Paris, a restaurant in the heart of the city, to wind down after the day of fun. 

 

The Reykjavik Jazz fest was cool. We expected it to be in the streets, but it was in a theatre…great nonetheless. The Ed Thigpin Quartet was playing the final show of the fest and we decided to go check him out. Ed is a little old and has lost some of his chops, but his band was fantastic. Before the show we went to this amazing hole in the harbor restaurant called the Sea Baron. It was juxtaposed with large ships and seagulls in the harbor and had logs for seats and barrels for tables. It was a real get off the ship and eat type of place. It’s famous for the Lobster soup…two bowls please, and equally for the option of Mink Whale. Now this is a tough meat to swallow for some of you, not because of it’s chewy nature because it was quite tender and delicious, but because of the fact that it is a sweet harmless sea animal that filters the ocean. I, being an animal lover would usually have a problem with this as well, but seeing as how this particular species of animal is not endangered and that it is quite common in Iceland to eat, I decided to submerse myself in the culture. It was the most delicious whale I have ever eaten and sadly my last. 

 

In all, Iceland was amazing. We couldn’t stand the people, but we had each other and in these economic times, that’s all that matters; I’m not sure what that means.