Browsing Category : International Travel

Amazing Borneo


What were we thinking when we were planning the nearly 4 week trip to Malaysia’s Borneo? Borneo is the third largest island in the world. The island is politically divided among three countries: Malaysia and Brunei in the north, and Indonesia to the south. Approximately 73% of the island is Indonesian territory. In the north, the East Malaysian states of…

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Jazmine helps an orangutan baby for a year!


Jazz and Mas, her new orangutan baby, have much in common: they both have a humbling “knowing” in their eyes, they are both very intelligent, they both make you smile, they both like to eat fruit and they both have a big interest in their finger nails. Jazz would help any animal, so when the Orangutan Rehabilitation Center said they…

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Sabah’s longest river


In the morning we wake to birdsong, the moist air from the previous night’s rain covers the misty river, the jungle is in full chorus. Our boat putters along the Kinabatangan River (Sabah’s longest at 560 kilometers), the surface a glistening mocha fondant in the early-morning light under a sky of silvery sateen. The area is only accessible by boat,…

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Jonathan Junior – Turtle ambassador


Because he believes he CAN make a difference. Because he has a huge heart and a soft spot for turtles everywhere. Because he wants to see turtles flourish. Jonathan Junior is a turtle ambassador. While we visited Turtle Island Park, Grandpa and grandma kept saying how much Jonathan would enjoy this experience. One way to share it with you is…

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Turtle Island


Selingan island, part of Turtle Island Park, is the only island in this region that tourists can visit. The tracks of a turtle are unmistakable. As the sea turtle crawls, it pushes back sand with each flipper stroke, creating a 25-inch wide double trail of sculpted sand. The sweeping limbs of the sea turtle, undulating from ocean to the dune…

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Amazing Sandakan


Its black fur is hard to spot from the high walkway, but when you see the shiny, golden, crescent-shaped fur collar around its neck, you realize you’ve spotted the tiniest bear in the world – a Bornean Sun Bear. Every individual bear has a unique fur collar like us humans have our fingerprints, and that’s how their keepers will know…

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Why male orangutans have such weird faces


Today we are in Sarawak in Borneo and finally found a mature male orangutan. WOW! It was easy to notice they have strange flappy face-pads called flanges, which females find attractive – yet males may wait 20 years before developing them. Mature male orangutans have large flappy cheek-pads, known as flanges. As far as females are concerned, they prefer males…

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Proboscis Monkey


The remarkable males sport big dangling noses, reddish flat top hairstyles, white tails and markings and pot bellies. The females on the other hand, are much smaller and have up-turned noses. The male has a bigger nose than the female, and they use their big and long noses as a sex tool to … to… to attract the female. I…

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Borneo Orangutans


As we waited in the sun, the small crowd began to grow antsy, scanning the trees for a sign. Finally, leaves began to rustle, and we collectively held our breath. Then a flash of reddish-gold was spotted between the green jungle leaves. Finally, the ropes giving easy access to the feeding station, began to wobble and our first orangutan appeared.…

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Jungle trekking in Sumatra


We trekked in Gunung Leuser National Park (GLNP). It is one of the most biologically diverse habitats on the planet. The region is located in a remote part of Indonesia’s largest island and straddles the provinces of North Sumatra and Aceh. It is a land where mountains rise sharply from the lowlands with peaks that stretch out and into the…

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Part Deux ends – next up…….


Part Deux of our journey ends as we disembark the dam ship Singapore. It was an amazing journey as we enjoyed western comfort when on the ship and amazing excursions throughout SE Asia as indicated in earlier blog posts. Part Trois of our journey continues for another month: Singapore; Sumatra, Indonesia; and Borneo, Malaysia. Check back often for updates.

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Bali – Island of Gods


Bali the “island of the Gods” has plenty of charm: temples, beaches, diving, spa treatments and handicrafts at bargain prices. Even so, the island’s most indispensable attribute is its people; their warmth, generosity and dedication to preserving their culture are what set the place apart. Mostly famous for its landscapes that are both dramatic and exotic, rice paddies in Bali…

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Borobudur – A wonder of the world


Along with Angkor Wat in Cambodia and Bagan in Myanmar, Java’s Borobudur makes the rest of Southeast Asia’s spectacular sites seem almost incidental. Looming out of a patchwork of bottle-green paddies and swaying palms, this colossal Buddhist monument has survived volcanic eruptions, terrorist bombs and an earthquake to remain as enigmatic and as beautiful as it must have been 1200…

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Cruising Indonesia


It is difficult to get our heads around the denominations of their currency. For instance an average lunch for 2 costs 100,000 Indonesian Rupiah. Our first thought is, Whaaaaat??? Then laugh when we realize it is only $8 US Dollars. The Holland America cruise Part II took us through 8 different locations in Indonesia. Two are famous: Borobudur and Bali,…

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UNESCO Heritage Site north of Bangkok


A Buddha face in the tree roots, located at Ayutthaya, is such an interesting and stunning piece of history to see. It is no wonder this is an iconic image, the whole area is beautiful but this particular image is quite moving, to think that despite the tress growing around the head it can still be seen and the tree…

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Cruising Vietnam


Trip Report, Part Deux . . . . . We embarked on another Dam ship (Holland America Volendam) for a 28 day journey, down the coast of Vietnam, quickly in and out of Thailand, and Singapore, then another 2 weeks in Indonesia. Here is what we saw in Vietnam . . . In northern Vietnam, Halong Bay is a collection…

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Momma and Poppa


That is what we were called in Thailand. In Myanmar, our guide asked us to be his parents in his next life. The Thai people always greet you with a smile and “Sà wàtdii ka” from a woman and “Sà wàtdii kap” from a man with their hands together in front of them with a bow. You return the same…

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Inle Lake and ending in Yangon Myanmar


As I entered the wide expanse of Inle Lake at the end of a narrow feeder channel, two fishermen appeared performing what I could best make out as a slow-motion, over-the-water ballet with oars for props—all while balanced on the bows of their boats. It was absolutely enthralling. Life on the shallow, 13.5-mile freshwater lake is utterly captivating: With no…

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Mandalay Myanmar


A sunny morning’s float down the Irrawaddy River is good for many things: letting your face bask in the sunshine, visiting with other guests whilst drinking tea; watching river life; or traveling up river to the town of Mingun. In Mingun, we photographed the local ice cream man on his bicycle and visited an assisted living facility for the elderly.…

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Finding our inner Indiana Jones


Pagodas of Pagan – Established on the eastern bank of the Irrawaddy River, Pagan was a great capital and wealthy trading port while Europe was still in the Dark Ages. It was already a sizable metropolis in the 9th century, when it was inhabited by tribes who had migrated to the area in preceding centuries. In A.D. 1057, King Anawrahta…

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Balloons over Bagan – Myanmar


Few travel experiences compare with flying over Bagan in a hot air balloon. With over 2,200 temples and pagodas, there is no better way to take in the incredible history spread across the plains of Bagan. The layers of wind push us past Buddhist monuments built between the 10th and 14th centuries; the spires of thousands of pagodas spread in…

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Transatlantic Crossing


Our European journey began on August 1, flying from Atlanta to Moscow. On October 30 we embarked on a transatlantic cruise arriving in Tampa on November 13. We boarded the ship with all our luggage and our two kids, our two e-bikes that we purchased in Germany. Today while visiting our final port (Funchal, Maderia, Portugal) in the EU, we…

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Barcelona Spain area highlights


For two weeks we enjoyed the manic of Barcelona. We attended concerts, rode bikes by the beach, ate tapas and drank Sangria. We lived in an apartment in one of the residential neighborhoods and tried to blend in. The Castilian people are vying for a new European country of Catalonia, and you see their patriotism hanging from balconies. The locals…

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