Daily Travel Journal

Upcoming Trips:
Cannon Beach, Oregon
Longview, Texas
Whistler, British Columbia
Maui, USA

Monday, February 17th, 2014
Packing up, once again. Hard to leave such a peaceful spot. (Forgot to sign the guest book! Story of my life.) A shared meal in Sisters at our friends’ kitchen table. (Nothing better.) Lucie slept her way back across the snowy pass. Ted grinned like a kid when we crossed the ODOT Test Strips on the highway outside of Salem. Home now; dead camera batteries, photos to sort, memories to record. Gratefulness to hold close.

Sunday, February 16th, 2014
Attempted the nearby Steelhead Falls trail with Lucie in the Ergo. The canyon views and beautiful day made it even more disappointing to turn back about seven minutes in to the half mile hike. The leftover snow and ice rendered the otherwise not too terrible trail too precarious to navigate with 15lbs. of baby. Ted and I both wore our same hiking boots from the 2012 trip. They’d seen us through the mountains of Patagonia, up the shores of the Mekong, across the concrete jungle of Skopje…and back to the pickup at the trailhead. Driving for naps. Real estate prices on both sides of the Cascades. A quick trip out to Smith Rock (bumping into Greg and Karen!). Return to the Tower to prep dinner and wait for our good friends Sam and Amber and their son Owen to join us for a meal. Swinging from the bosun’s chair. Watching tiny playmates. Unwrapping children’s books. Sunset from the deck. Slipping into the hot tub under the stars, before it got too late. Family of three.

Saturday, February 15th, 2014
Woke to a foggy world. Feasted on breakfast. Walked to the Deschutes Canyon overlook on the property. Ventured into Bend for the afternoon: Townshend’s Tea, a visit to the spots where we had our engagement pictures taken in 2005, lunch at Drake (since 10 Barrel Brewing was a 2-hour wait). Gathered more groceries (and Girl Scout Cookies) then returned to the Lookout. Dinner. More books. More fires in the fireplace. More gazing out at the 360 degree horizon.

Friday, February 14th, 2014
First trip as a family of three. Ted loaded the car, commenting on the difference between packing for two for a year and packing for two adults and a baby for one weekend: generally something like ten times the amount of stuff for the latter. Drove south to the family farm, swapped our Corolla for a Toyota Pickup, and made our way out and over the Cascades by way of the Santiam Pass. Lucie slept from Salem to Sisters, and a pit stop at the Sisters Coffee Company for a hot drink and a bit to eat tided us all over until Terrebonne. Red lava rock roads. Sagebrush and juniper every direction. The Lookout Tower peeked over the tops of the scrubby trees and we knew we were close. Pulled in, parked, and headed up. Unpacked. Read books by the later afternoon sun. Made dinner and tapioca for my true love. Tucked Lucie in “bed” (of course we forgot the pack-n-play; a pile of wool blankets for a mattress and her favorite blankie did the trick). Listened for coyotes from the third story deck. Drank hot tea. Curled up. Called it a night.


Tuesday, September 17th, 2013
This is the day the world began. Not with a bang but a baby’s whimper. Lucie Anne Rydmark joined us at 9:47am, and life will never be the same.


Daily Tales and Tidbits from our one-year journey to 25 countries and territories around the world:

Day 367: Saturday, January 5th, 2013
The year is finished, and the future calls.

Day 366: Friday, January 4th, 2013
Fighting a little bug. Calling retreat. A year ago tonight was the end of the world as we knew it and the beginning of something completely different…

Day 365: Thursday, January 3rd, 2013
Woke to more Oregon sunshine. (Miracles exist!) Pine State Biscuits for breakfast with Heather, Micah, and Ramona. Peppermint tea with Jodi this time in Portland, rather than Beirut (Day 157). Watched the Oregon Ducks win their bowl game (better than Day 316). Sorting feelings of normalcy and life-upside-down.

Day 364: Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013
Errands and re-entry runarounds. Ted replaced all four tires (or should I say “tyres”?) on my car. After a year of paying for bus and plane and ferry tickets, it shouldn’t surprise me to pay for this form of transportation…but it certainly stings a little. Spent the night in Portland with Heather and Micah, enjoying downtown views from the highrise condo. We’re spoiled to have such beautiful farmland and wilderness and a classy, comfortable city. Steak dinner. Voodoo donuts. Happy grins about Stumptown coffee. Sweet little Ramona, just a baby when we left, toddled around squawking like a grown-up little miss.

Day 363: Tuesday, January 1st, 2013
Oregon’s turning on the charm: morning sun blazing bright through the cold winter air. Spa soak and Coffee Cottage coffee with Heather, Micah, and Kaylea. First day of the year spent quietly.

Day 362: Monday, December 31st, 2012
Rang in the New Year with the best of friends and the best of Pacific Northwest wine, beer, cheese, and decadent desserts…with a little stab at authentic Thai food thrown in for good measure. I put down my camera and switched from travel mode to hang-with-friends mode, cooking up a storm and then staying up ’till wee hours with some of my favorite people in the whole wide world. House show by The Bows & Ties. Photography by Heather España. (With the exception of a quick little shot or two, I have zero pictures of the night. So great to shirk that responsibility and have someone wonderful capture memories for me!) Panang Curry. Acoustic guitars. Cascadian Dark Ale and midnight champagne. A fancy black dress for me. New jeans for Ted. Moustachioed men, clean shaven after the clock struck. Stories from 2012.
People to Remember: The classics.

Day 361: Sunday, December 30th, 2012
Reunion with the Clear Creek crew. So happy to see dear friends who have loved and encouraged us all year long, even from thousands of miles away… They changed buildings since we left town, but the heart is still the same. A happy taste of Portland at Screen Door with brothers and friends. Shopping at Fubonn Market (and not feeling so terribly out of place in the Asian grocery store) in preparation for New Years Eve. Skype date with our awesome friends in Chicago – hooray for zippy internet. (Finally!) Dad’s making spaghetti carbonara tonight… No shortage of delicious food, wonderful people, or reasons to be grateful to call Oregon home.
People to Remember: Shelia, Danny, and Amelia; Milan, Tara, Ariana, and little Isaiah (where was Brooklyn?); Gary, and Linda and Jay and so many other smiling faces… Noah’s friends Kim and Nick. Paul and Emily, Elaia and Emmaus…

Day 360: Saturday, December 29th, 2012
City skylines + Stumptown Coffee with Heather, Micah, Penny, and Ramona. From South African and Thai elephants to white elephants: afternoon Christmas festivities with extended family. Major energy fade. Perhaps the thousands of miles and handful of timezones are finally snatching their victory over this tired body. Escaped for a nap at 5pm…
People to Remember: The Wieses, the Breshears, the Lahrs, the McCormicks… 

Day 359: Friday, December 28th, 2012
Wheeling and dealing. Return to technology: iPhones with…wifi? Text messages?? Phone calls??? Oh, happy day. What a shocker to walk into Coffee Cottage in Newberg and walk back out, mid-message, and not worry about losing an internet connection. Afternoon family photos with our dear friend and photographer extraordinaire, Heather España. Birthday dinner for Ted’s mom with the entire Rydmark clan. Great to be able to celebrate in the same city. Ted went for guys’ night with Tom, Dad, and the boys: The Highland Stillhouse. I sorted photos on the laptop… More stories coming soon. Highlight of my evening? An honest to goodness Burgerville milkshake.
People to Remember: Heather…

Day 358: Thursday, December 27th, 2012
An epic day of reunions with friends. Coffee and champagne with Jenna, swapping stories from our years of adventure at home and abroad. Ted went for his first cup of Portland coffee since returning (Coava beans served at Barista in the Pearl) and an REI man-date with Darian. A Powell’s Bookstore catch up with Melanie (just-missed in Tokyo!). A walk past Pistils and The Meadow for a haircut on the even-more-built-up-than-when-I-left-it Mississippi Avenue… A grand finale evening: reunion with the brew masters and their wives and daughters… Darian and Bekah, Ryan and Sara, and the three munchkins: Ashlynn, Genevieve, and Madeleine. Hugs and cheese and wine and beer. Laughs and pipe smoke. Giggles and tears and knitting projects. Touching gifts, and reminders of the best gift of all, near or far, home or away: friendship. Lives shared in a community of respect and admiration, trust and care, and general good-natured-tomfoolery.
People to Remember: Jenna, Mels, and the above mentioned clan.

Day 357: Wednesday, December 26th, 2012
I’ve decided to round out the full year. I’ll add Daily Travel Journal updates through January 5th, the anniversary of our departure. Life at home: accidentally sleeping until 10:30am since the clock was still set to New Zealand time (7:30am). A brother-delivered coffee from the Banker’s Cup (thanks, Seth!). Mom and I went for pedicures, and my grubby little travel-weary toes looked cute as could be after an hour of pampering. Returned home to find Ted and my dad and brothers dressed to the hilt for an evening out. In collared shirts and classy shoes, we filled two cars and went for a matinee of Les Miserables before a surprise dinner at Morton’s Steak House in downtown Portland, complete with Oregon wine and steaks to top anything we might’ve had in Buenos Aires. Such fun to be all together again.
People to Remember: Sam and Marissa, Becca and Rachel, all at the movie theater, too.

Day 356: Tuesday, December 25th, 2012
Officially the longest day of the trip: a 45 hour Christmas. Up first thing for a shuttle ride to Auckland airport, Air New Zealand departure at 9:30am. Great food, nice wine. A Cadbury caramel chocolate Santa on the dinner tray and stewards in reindeer antlers and elf hats serving up and down the aisles. Arrival in Tokyo ten hours later, just in time to look out the plane window and watch a peachy-pink sunset over the southern shoulder of Mt. Fuji. Layover bonus points: free wifi in the airport plus Oregon Ducks sweatshirt spotted at the gate. Closing in on the Great Northwest. Departed Tokyo. United Airlines. Distinctly American accents. Distinctly terrible scrambled eggs. Headphones, blanket, eye mask: a nap while we crossed the international date line and ended up back at square one, flying into Seattle on Christmas morning number two. Customs compliments. Luggage delays. Quick-change and fresh clothes at the United lounge, and last flight on a little tiny plane, popping briefly above the clouds into blue sky then descending into familiar Portland gray. A Cary Grant moment as we stepped from the plane to the tarmac. Family paparazzi waving to us from way above, holding signs over parking garage rails. Inside, Ted’s parents, my parents, and all five of my brothers. Afternoon Christmas celebrations with the Rydmark side: met our new eleven month old nephew and our new sister in law. Hugged grandparents and siblings. Ate a Mexican food feast (an honorary welcome-home alternative to turkey dinner). Authentic tamales, enchiladas, sour cream and salsa…so delicious. And not one, not three, but five pies: Boysenberry, Cherry, Peach, Pecan, and Lemon Meringue. Laughs and gifts and sleepy, sleepy eyes. Made the drive to Saint Paul at nineish at night (it felt like 2am). Gifts and the lunchbox game. Hot tub, and our very own mattress. Home: sweet on all fronts and even more comforting than we’d remembered.
People to Remember: The blonde woman who missed her earlier connecting flight to Portland and ended up on our plane. Debbi, our stewardess on the final leg home: chipper and cheery on a cold and crazy morning, working hard to make the journey smooth. 
People We Never Forgot (and a few new additions, too): Dave, Barb, Josiah, Gabby (and Carson!), James (and Jessica!), Seth, Micah, Kaila, Allan and Mary. Cam, Susan, Noah, Joel, Drew, Seth, and Jesse.

Day 355: Monday, December 24th, 2012
Flight from Christchurch to Auckland. Coffee, coffee, and more coffee with CJ. She’d arrived from Cananda a few hours before our flight landed, and our Christmas Eve reunion came together perfectly. Already plotting a way to make it to her Calgary wedding reception in May… We’re holed up at a hotel near the airport, ready for one more sleep on a foreign mattress and then a return to home and friends and our very own bed. Merry, merry Christmas, indeed!

Day 354: Sunday, December 23rd, 2012
Morning at Every Nation, lunch at the Cambodian noodle house… Laughs galore with the Weweges and co. Afternoon sunshine and oceanside reunion at Sumner Beach with my kind friend Lesley who mentored me when I was living in Christchurch in 2004. Seeing her and her husband and three boys was such a joy… Dinner and fun at the Weweges: boerewors sausages (South Africa flashback!), party games, and good natured jabs. Helped Bradley sort his airfare to the States for January. We’ll be seeing his smiling face at Portland airport in just a few weeks! Packed bags, finally went to bed at 2:30am. Whoops.
People to Remember: Les, Paul, Nathan, Jared, and Cameron; John and Helen and their girls.

Day 353: Saturday, December 22nd, 2012
Met up with two special Lincoln University friends at the newly re-opened downtown coffee shop C1 then later went on a solo walk around town. Not ashamed to say I shed a few tears when I got new glimpses of the tumbled-down Christchurch Cathedral. But there is hope in the city, too… Ambled through the Christchurch Botanic Gardens. Flashbacks to strolling as a solo twenty-year-old. All so fitting, this giant full circle.
People to Remember: Shonagh and Margo, friends from Lincoln Uni days, and Margo’s terrific husband Jonathan.

Day 352: Friday, December 21st, 2012
Downtown Christchurch with Dad, Mom, and the Weweges. Re:BUILD (“The Container City”) and the Westfield Mall. Christmas crowds, street performers, earthquake rubble and rebuilding plans. Dropped Dad and Mom at the airport mid afternoon, conclusion of one adventure, beginnings of a new one right around the corner… They flew tonight to Auckland and will tomorrow fly to Tokyo, Seattle, and then to Portland. Nice to have someone blazing the trail back to PDX. Ted and I went shopping for a few little things. We have family pictures next week in Oregon, when all my brothers and I will be in one place at the same time, and after a year of the same clothes, it seemed like a nice chance to pick out something new. Christmas carols in the evening at Every Nation, then rest, rest, rest.

Day 351: Thursday, December 20th, 2012
Morning pies and coffee. Shoreline visits to mini and maxi Lake Te Anaus. Wishing for more time… A long day’s drive from Te Anau back to Christchurch. We calculated a 1,500 Kilometer road trip since crossing to the South Island on the ferry a week ago yesterday. Not shabby. A Cadbury chocolate factory visit in Dunedin. Moeraki boulders. Subway spottings. More real fruit ice cream. Back by evening to the Promised Land for a family style feast and laugh-around-the-table with the Wewege family.
People to Remember: The Southland roadside worker in his short shorts, wool socks and boots, orange vest (longer than his shorts!), and a jaunty little Santa hat. Oh, New Zealand.

Day 350: Wednesday, December 19th, 2012
Great news: the highway to Milford Sound = open! Rockfalls and closures kept us guessing until the last minute, but favor smiled on us for our one-day visit. The sad news, Ted felt ill and stayed back in town to rest, but Dad, Mom, Erin and I drove north past Lake Te Anau and into Fiordland National Park for a beautiful day. Mirror Lake was graced with a rainbow. Mitre Peak lived up to its reputation. All 480′ of Stirling Falls fell perfectly into the Sound as we took the two hour cruise through the scenery of mountains, waterfalls, seals, and quartz deposits. Ted’s gherkin + salami sandwiches (packed the night before), plus salt and vinegar chips, New Zealand Gala apples, and Whittaker’s creamy milk chocolate made for a hearty Sound-side lunch. When we returned to Te Anau, Ted felt better and I swapped with him for a little rest while he and Dad and Mom went with Erin to see her family’s farm. Lovely dinner with Erin’s parents at The Fat Duck. A farmer and a teacher from Oregon + a farmer and a teacher from NZ = great fun to listen to at the dinner table. Sometimes the world feels so small.
People to Remember: Erin’s parents Lynn and Phil: primary school teacher and sheep farmer, based for 30 years in beautiful and rugged Te Anau.

Day 349: Tuesday, December 18th, 2012
One of those days that goes different to plans, but turns out quite alright in the end. Morning in Arrrowtown, alongside the river (bursting with lupines). We were meant to pick up my good friend Erin at Queenstown airport, but her flight from Wellington was cancelled. A re-routing scheme found us headed southeast to the city of Gore, where we spent a few more hours of downtime waiting for her plane/bus connection to reach us. No trouble at all, really, since the pitstop yielded an enormous slice of chocolate cake slathered in chocolate buttercream frosting (craving from the past several weeks finally fulfilled). Mom, Dad, Ted and I shared the piece (practicing travelers’ cooperation) and shared the cafe wifi signal, all four of us huddled around the table for the better part of an hour, Apple gadgets of choice in hand (watching Dad’s Fabio Viviani pancetta video). Gore was cuter than last time I passed through. Why hadn’t I remembered the oat factory? Erin arrived safe and sound, we carried on back east to Te Anau, and by evening’s end, after eons of planning a reunion in NZ, Erin and I and my family had shared a meal, caught up on a few stories, and prepared our game plan for Milford Sound.

Day 348: Monday, December 17th, 2012
Onward to Queenstown via Cromwell. Fruit smoothies + ice cream. Fish&chips. Mountfort Gallery views: Jonathan White, Rozi Demant and more. Pre-homecoming haircut and beard trim for the goodlooking lumberjack Oregonian. Arrived at our beautiful accommodations in charming Arrowtown and enjoyed the welcome wine and conversation with our host before strolling into town through lupines and cottonwoods and enjoying a December dinner outside on the patio.
People to Remember: Tim and Colette, our hosts at The Arrow; hospitable and good natured. Love that Colette has a one-year stash of Marmite squirreled away since the quake took out the Christchurch factory. It’s the little things that keep you sane.

Day 347: Sunday, December 16th, 2012
A great morning at Every Nation, complete with Ps B’s Eagle tales. There will have to be a golfing re-match on Oregon soil. “Moroccan lamb like never before” to fuel the drive toward Wanaka. Stunning lupines all along the way. Lake Tekapo. Dinner at Capriccio: Central Otago rabbit braised with bacon, tomatoes, and mushrooms and a bottle of Rabbit Ranch pinot noir “with hints of briar patch and a whiff of gunsmoke.” Hot tubbing in a garden courtyard wooden barrel at the lovely Te Wanaka Lodge to ease the roadtrip fatigue. Ted says the views through today’s drive through Central Otago rival his favorite spots in Bolivia. High praises. Dad loves the driving vacation (no surprise; how many thousands and thousands and thousands of road miles did we rack up during childhood trips??); everyone sees bits of Oregon in the views out the window. My work is complete. My family loves New Zealand.
People to Remember: The hospitable crew at Te Wanaka: fly fishing expert Wayne and his endearing mom, Cheryl.

Day 346: Saturday, December 15th, 2012
Golf for the guys and a Sumner Beach walk and morning coffee for the girls. The Eagle story that will always fly. Pizza lunch and Hobbit afternoon. Dinner at Five Star with good friends of the Wewege Family. Flat whites one, two, and three. Holy Smoke Emerson Pilsner for a scapegoat.
People to Remember: Brent and Robyn; Kiwi smiles and a kind welcome to Christchurch.

Day 345: Friday, December 14th, 2012
Drove the windy roads to Punakaiki for a view of Pancake Rocks. I admit, after dragging my feet about taking the Arthur’s Pass route to Christchurch (for what would be my sixth crossing), we were treated to views I never saw when I was in NZ in autumn and winter: springtime lupine patches – no, not patches – lupine rivers flowing down the mountain pass. Arrived in Christchurch and skirted the city to make our way to Sumner. Dinner and laughs at Ps B and Colleen’s home. After all these years, it feels great to have re-arrived in “the Promised Land.”
People to Remember: Bernhard, Colleen, and Brad Wewege. (But how could we forget?) Also, I’d say Sian, too, but she’s already in Day 186… Another round-the-world meet-up!

Day 344: Thursday, December 13th, 2012
Fly fishing 101. Fish stalking, NZ style. Split two and two, dad and me for the Leathem and mom and Ted for the Branch tributaries of the Wairau River. Rainbow, rainbow and a brown. Pouring rain at the tail end of a blue-sky-gorgeous day.
People to Remember: Our patient fishing guides John Gendall and Aaron.

Day 343: Wednesday, December 12th, 2012
French bakery again to re-fuel before the drive to Wellington and the three hour (ish) ferry crossing to the South Island. Fish & chips & ginger beer. Hearts on the ship. Dad shot the moon. Made it almost to Blenheim before stopping for fudge. St Arnaud for the night. Mussels and meat pies at Alpine Lodge. Saracen 2010 Sauvignon Blanc for me: a pint of Sprig & Fern local brew for Ted. I think mom appreciated the historic one-room-schoolhouse-turned-holiday-cabin at our fly fishing accommodations.

Day 342: Tuesday, December 11th, 2012
Drive north to Greytown, wine tasting at Haythornthwaite & Poppies. Wyett House Annex. Stonehenge laugh. Dad drove on the left. French Bakery loaf & flat whites. Swan Cafe dinner: raw steaks served on a sizzling hot stone: DIY gourmet.

Day 341: Monday, December 10th, 2012
Watched Dad and Mom’s Air New Zealand All Blacks plane touch down on the runway in Wellington. Picked them up and off we went to the cafe at Maranui Surf Life Saving Club for brunch. Dropped our bags at the Museum Art Hotel, then to Fidel’s for coffee & chai. Te Papa Museum wanderings, tapas dinner at Havana Bar. They say there’s not much jet-lag. I say, excellent.

Day 340: Sunday, December 9th, 2012
Packed up, headed out. Stopped for one last flat white at Ohau Cafe where Mark shared tales of his father telling Peter Jackson to “get a real job” back in the day… Snatched a meat pie from Oz’s Hot Bread and drove our return to Wellington. Afternoon drinks at The Embassy. Waterfront-people-watching in the sunshine… Mom and Dad get here tomorrow!

Day 339: Saturday, December 8th, 2012
Battled off a migraine headache. Last full day at the apartment; so glad we found a spot to rest for this past week and a half. Catching up on posts, prepping for our return home, getting excited for Mom and Dad to arrive in New Zealand on Monday.
People to Remember: Cathe and Steve, our hosts at Brown Cow B&B/apartment rental, who sweetened the stay with plates of carrot cake and vases full of roses from the garden.

Day 338: Friday, December 7th, 2012
A return to the cafe for more espresso and delicious eggs bennie (because once we find a good spot, we become major creatures of habit). Ted’s killer sandwiches. Crazy chickies.

Day 337: Thursday, December 6th, 2012
Ventured to Ohau Cafe for the first time; why hadn’t we dropped in sooner? Blueberry pancakes, lamb and brie burgers, and nice flat whites. More Top Gear and Downton Abbey for evening entertainment.
People to Remember: Mark and his tales from seven years abroad…

Day 336: Wednesday, December 5th, 2012
Ted took the car for a spin in search of beach front spots. Post writing for me. Slow and quiet days at the apartment in Ohau. Peace and quiet.

Day 335: Tuesday, December 4th, 2012
Work day. Writing and researching. Finalizing plans for dad and mom’s soon-coming visit. Ted’s dire prediction about the dull knives in the apartment came true: a nice slice through the finger. I whipped out my first-aid-skills and impressed his socks off. (Ha.) All is well now…I think.

Day 334: Monday, December 3rd, 2012
Into fair Wellington to spend the day with Sheree. Rental-car-return out of the way, we rode along with Sheree to a handful of her favorite spots in the city. Carmel rhubarb scones fresh out of the oven at the Gypsy Cafe. Eggs Benedict and fruit smoothies and honest to goodness guacamole at Maranui Cafe on Lyall Bay. Weta Cave creatures. Treasure hunting through thrift shops and curio cupboards and, yes, the city dump (where artists like Sheree find diamonds in the rough). More beverages and sunshine at Fidel’s on Cuba Street, and the cutest little coat that I didn’t buy. Traffic circles. Surf boards. Peninsula drive. Grateful at the end of the day for a view of W through the eyes of friends.

Day 333: Sunday, December 2nd, 2012
A day with exactly one expense in the expense book: coffee. Ted’s been frequenting the little coffee cart down the road, and today’s punch card bonus yielded a bar of dark chocolate. I like this place. Ted likes this place. Ted likes coffee. I like chocolate. This works out well. Watched New Zealand’s Got Talent award Clara the crown. Laughed at the goat out the back window.

Day 332: Saturday, December 1st, 2012
Otaki Small Producers Market. Venison salami, fresh-made cheese, home brew. Ted was quite happy with his Das Bier Ruby find. Feels great to have a home and a kitchen again – even if just for a week and a half.
People to Remember: Jeremy, brewmaster, food-swapper, and fellow locavore.

Day 331: Friday, November 30th, 2012
Went to check the outlet stores in Otaki, lured by Icebreaker and the promise of other fine merino products. Admittedly, made us homesick for the Portland Warehouse Sale… Found ourselves with the opportunity to pop in to the Levin Classic at the Otaki Maori Racing Club. Divvied $15 between three bets on Stella Bella, Sins of the Father, and Queen of the Castle. Lost. Felt quite under-dressed without a feathered hat (and now I have a severe hankering to re-watch My Fair Lady). Retreated back to home base to make mustachioed New Years Eve plans…

Day 330: Thursday, November 29th, 2012
It’s the last stretch of quiet before the final itinerary push and the grand return home. Poked around Wellington for the morning then drove to our cozy rental spot about 90k north of the city. Glad for the comforts of grocery shopping (so much easier to fork out NZ$116 for a colorful haul of groceries than NZ$50 for an average dinner bill). Working, plentiful wifi. Sunshine. Flowers. Farmland. Downton Abbey on TV. Ted’s stellar homemade pizzas. It’s a good spot to unwind, write, sort photos and plans, and focus on the next steps for 2013…
People to Remember: Cath, our landlady here in Ohau.

Day 329: Wednesday, November 28th, 2012
Red Carpet for the Hobbit. Wellington renamed “Middle of Middle Earth.” Lunch at Havana Bar. Watched Peter and Katie Jackson, Elijah Wood, Martin Freeman and more walk the grand entrance to the Embassy Theater. Bought our cinema tickets for December 15th when we can watch the film with mom and dad and the Wewege family in Christchurch. Popped in to see Sheree and Chet at their sweet home on the outskirts of the city and walked down the hill for an easygoing dinner.
People to Remember: Airbnb hosts Kikki and David…

Day 328: Tuesday, November 27th, 2012
Reunion time! My Lincoln University friend and fellow Landscape Architect Kelly Jean hosted me for a beautiful breakfast and catch-up in her cute little house then zipped off to work while Ted and I continued exploring Wanganui for the day. Gorgeous sky and dunes off the Tasman Sea. A climb up Durie Hill Tower. Art and history at Sarjeant Gallery. Favorites exhibitions: Paul Knight’s Two Small Places on Opposite Coasts, a Photographic Recollection of 1960s Japan, and Day to Day by Edith Collier. Near tumble down the grassy hill. Waterfront walk. The Intouchables. Blue cheese pizzas. Small world meet-up when Sheree and her fiance Chet walked into the restaurant.
People to Remember: Kelly Jean + Sheree (who could forget these fine Lincoln ladies?), and Chet, Weta-Water-Artist-Extraordinaire (Ted was all grins when he verified Peter Jackson’s nickname).

Day 327: Monday, November 26th, 2012
Road trip coffee: “The barista gave it her best shot…but it was still terrible.” -Ted (Sigh. He can’t wait for Oregon coffee. T-minus five weeks!) Stopped at the bubbling mud pools then picnicked along Lake Taupo, drove through the volcanic region at the center of the North Island. Spotted Ruapehu doing its steam and gas thing. Pulled into Wanganui mid-afternoon and felt like we’d crossed into Newberg, Oregon. Old buildings. Old cinema. Blooming sidewalk planters. Cute shops. Could really enjoy staying here longer…

Day 326: Sunday, November 25th, 2012
Day of rest. Much needed. Ted explored in the car on his own: golfing, mud-pool hunting, National Geographic reading. I headed with Rex, Diane, and Margy to their piece of property overlooking Lake Rotorua. Watered the cattle, saw the “twin springs” setup, enjoyed a peach iced tea ice-block afterward… Both of us nursed our allergies. Springtime grasses going nuts all over the island…

Day 325: Saturday, November 24th, 2012
Pulled oxeye daisies in the paddock; a sneeze and itchy-eye fest to keep the weeds from re-seeding. Planted ferns and flax by the creek bank, drank tea (and coffee!) and ate biscuits, and said farewells to Peter and Bridget. Drove to Rotorua. Sprung for a spendy soak in the hot pools to combat the ache and allergies. A nice break. Lovely dinner of homegrown sausage, steaks, and salad at our Servas hosts’ farm outside of town. Dinner table chats about faith and life and stories of goodness.
People to Remember: Rex and Diane, met and married in seven weeks’ time, four years ago. She’d been single and farming and spent 27 years in youth ministry; his wife died of cancer. Fiona, Bruce, and Margy – flatmates. Horses, camp, and youth work. Farm hand, Hobbit film crew member, almost-giant. Cook at a program for kids with social troubles; kind spirit. G. + family: Peter Jackson’s lawyer, soaking in Rotorua and headed toward Red Carpet fun in Wellington.

Day 324: Friday, November 23nd, 2012
Auckland Botanical Gardens. Coffee and a walk. Thoroughly impressive children’s garden. Afternoon in Hamilton. Chocolates, National Geographic magazine, and a sophomore Amy MacDonald album. Tea and tales of family connections to Downton Abbey and legends of immigrants and adventurers. Home-raised Galloway beef sausages. Baby white calf. Foal on the way.
People to Remember: Graeme and Katrine in Manurewa. Peter and Bridget, my friend CJ’s parents, raising cattle and horses and sharing entertaining stories in Cambridge, New Zealand.

Day 323: Thursday, November 22nd, 2012
Auckland again. Downtown shopping; Icebreaker drooling. (They have an Oregon Ducks green and yellow dress that I fell in love with. That six-month season difference between NZ and Portland may be just enough time for me to save the money and justify the purchase… And the Ducks could kick it back into high gear for this weekend’s Civil War.) Dropped Sam at the airport to head off to an American east coast Thanksgiving. We found our B&B in the Auckland suburbs then ducked out for a movie night. Watched Argo. Interesting, especially after reading Master of Disguise last year and spending this year on foreign soil all around the world. Puts a whole new perspective on that feeling of liftoff at the end of the runway…
People to Remember: All the family and friends we’re so thankful for on this Thanksgiving abroad… Love you all!

Day 322: Wednesday, November 21st, 2012
Blown away by Hamilton Gardens. Raglan for takeaway lunch and a near-nap on the beach. Returned to Nikau Cave & Cafe with Sam to introduce him to our favorite spot of the New Zealand north. Delicious summer BBQ with the whole Nikau crew (minus Pauline, who did, thankfully, manage to arrive in time for a game of Settlers). After-dark caving; the glowworms shined brighter and the eels swam freakier and the jokes echoed just the same through the caverns.
People to Remember: Pip, the polo playing farmer from across the way.

Day 321: Tuesday, November 20th, 2012
Drove south through the land of Hobbiton signs and North Island adventure gigs. Sam tried Zorbing. Burgerfuel dinner…nice, but didn’t stack up very high against Burgerville. They were proud of their brand new milkshake “with 200 grams of ice cream.” Thick for NZ, maybe, but still tasted like whipped cream. Looking forward to that chocolate hazelnut shake I forgot to drink before leaving the country in January. Overnight in Hamilton. Junk food of every sort: Cadbury bars and Johnny English.
People to Remember: Maree, who wondered what side of the sky the sun rose on in our part of the world.

Day 320: Monday, November 19th, 2012
Awoke to streaming sunlight coming in through the windows at our cute little spot in Hahei, New Zealand. Decaf flat white then a walk on the beach. Hike to Cathedral Cove; extra sharp cheddar, sea salt and vinegar, Mac’s Gold. Purangi Winery: feijoa liqueur. Ferry to Whitianga. Hike to Shakespeare Cliff. Inherited a nicely dug beach-sand-hot-tub at Hot Water Beach from a family of Kiwi-Oregonians. Great to have Sam along to share the pizza, beer, great views, and family jokes. Wishing we could have Marissa here, too!
People to Remember: Danny at Purangi Winery: mr. million jokes and hour. More feijoa and “wh” puns than you could shake a stick at. (Still never got the stick joke.) The family from Oregon: wife from the states, husband from NZ, two teenage daughters. Pediatrician and a cherry farmer…both kindly offering a bit of Ducks commiseration.

Day 319: Sunday, November 18th, 2012
Picked my cousin Sam up the Auckland airport! He came strutting out in his no-shave-November mustache. He and Ted and their facial hair have me entirely outnumbered, so I claim rights to wear any outrageous shade of lipstick I want. Met up again with Nessa for a visit to Gateway, then to Garrison Public House for the Ducks game. The football’s still in progress as I type…not sure I want to know the outcome yet. The possibility of losing is too awful. Driving out of town tonight toward the Coromandel…

Day 318: Saturday, November 17th, 2012
Hooray for a bit of wifi! Skype session with Heather and Penny and Ramona. Our young little friends are growing up fast… It’ll be so fun to see them at Christmastime. Packed our bags again and headed for Cape Reinga. Rural, winding roads. Laptop as stereo system. Mussel chowder, driving rain, no-room-for-them-in-the-inn, and last-minute accommodations near the airport.
People to Remember: Keith the former footballer turned B&B proprietor; he looked a bit like a living claymation character, if that makes sense?

Day 317: Friday, November 16th, 2012
Timing is everything. Grateful that Ted could head out in a kayak on the estuary during the 2.9 spring “super-tide” while I stayed in and joined Ros and her ladies’ group for morning tea, coffee, carrot cake, scripture, and real-life conversation. Explored Ros and Hugh’s boardwalk through the mangroves, watched the ducks in the garden, and drove off to the Whangarei Heads before venturing farther north to Paihia and Kerikeri. A walk down the way and a scamper over the rocky bridge to dinner and drinks overlooking beautiful boats and waterways up in the Bay of Islands.
People to Remember: Lovely red-headed Sarah from England and her baby daughter Florie; Cathy, Laura, and Francis, fellow landscape architect who studied at Lincoln University.

Day 316: Thursday, November 15th, 2012
Cleaned and mopped our way out the door, leaving the upstairs apartment sparkling for the next guest fortunate enough to find a temporary home at Nikau Cave and Cafe. Seriously. Ted’s finally as head over heals for New Zealand as I am; this place is paradise. We’re so grateful for the kindness of the whole Woodward family/clan and for the week and half we’ve spent in the Waikaretu Valley. Just amazing… Drove North, dropped a few deliveries of the Cafe’s signature roast along the way, stopped at Acto Shearing Supply for Ted to try on a pair of the pants he’s been eyeing for a bit now…made it through Auckland traffic before it got bad, and drove up to Whangarei…via Portland! Evening dessert, Top Gear, and Season Three of Downtown Abbey shared with Anne’s sister and brother in law at their lovely B&B.
People to Remember: Ros and Hugh, gracious hosts at Tide Song B&B, friendly folk who’ve paid a visit to our homeland and proudly sport a Green Heart in Oregon sticker on the back of their car.

Day 315: Wednesday, November 14th, 2012
Garden paths again. Pauline’s birthday: Moroccan dinner and perfect apple cake thanks to Margaux’s kitchen skills. Catan. Take Two. Hugs goodbye… Hard to say farewell to this land flowing with milk and espresso…and good shepherds!

Day 314: Tuesday, November 13th, 2012
Somebody thought we were ready to work in the wool shed. (Ha!) Kay and I started the day, and Ted joined a bit later as we worked at pulling the wool down from the shearing platform, snatching out the worst spots of dirt and crud, then loading it up in the compressor to form the big bales. Just like grass seed harvest, only totally different. Afternoon: hand-saw, gloves, and clippers. Clearing overgrown paths, snatching rosemary for floral arrangements, and generally having too much fun among the New Zealand plants. Back to the black sand beach for sunset…

Day 313: Monday, November 12th, 2012
You know when everything just works out? Like when we’re supposed to pick up a car at the Auckland airport and Emily and Sam are headed from the neighborhood to the airport that exact time? As the two world record holders, they were headed to pick up another shearer and then off to demonstrate mad sheep shearing skills for Prince Charles. NBD. Stopped in for tea and Tim Tams with Nessa, Jade, and Rogan, happy to report Ted’s growing love of the country. Ran errands for the remainder of our day in the city: allergy medicine, wifi, hair cut, etc. Drove back to Nikau that evening and spotted Shanna and Harrison then Brian a little farther down the way… Momentary flashback to drives down Butteville Road in Oregon, waving hello to familiar farmers.

Day 312: Sunday, November 11th, 2012
Another bustling day at Nikau Cave and Cafe. Hiked to the nearby waterfalls. Chatted farmlands, trading, commerce, and industry in Slovenia. Watched a video clip about Emily’s sheep shearing record while her dad Philip beamed. Worked in the garden. Chased the chickens. (That was Ted.) More Catan.
People to Remember: Prada Americas Cup team member and coach Franck and his girlfriend Perrin from France, and their friend Andi from Slovenia. David, the cycling Dutchman!

Day 311: Saturday, November 10th, 2012
Full house at the Cafe. Forty bikers in and out for morning tea and then again for lunch. Serving French press and filter brew with creamed-and-jammed fresh baked scones. Birthday gatherings and perfect chocolate cakes. Ted and I helping run coffees from bar to tables and empty dishes from tables to kitchen. Caught a pretty sweet break when Philip invited us to leave our posts and join a group of cavers on their trip through the stone and water and glowworms buried beneath the rolling hills. Splashed around, crawling on hands and knees through the tightest passages, illuminating the caverns with handheld torches, and avoiding the eels… Evening delivery: Settlers of Catan!
People to Remember: Sue and the friendly bikers; the Turkish rider and his accounts of changing tides in his homeland’s government.

Day 310: Friday, November 9th, 2012
Cleaning frenzy: washed those cafe windows till they were spotless! Evening concert. Neighbors and visitors and guests from afar filling the room, vocals and acoustic guitar filling the air… Just incredible, this spot of culture and class and sincerity, bursting with joy and life and beauty, out in the green, green middle of nowhere.

Day 309: Thursday, November 8th, 2012
Frode, Ted, and I finished the bamboo roof, cutting through cheesy humor and biting sarcasm and steep bets to place the last piece on the frame with one final length to spare. We doubted all along, but Ted’s optimistic projections won out. Piled in the car with Pauline, Margaux, and Jess to drive down to the private black sand beach overlooking the Tasman Sea. Two coats of sunscreen, one major sunburn nevertheless. Maps of the world made from sunbaked sand. Avocado, cheese, chutney sandwiches on homemade bread, ripe apples… Naps. Books. Fresh from the sea Mussel harvest and a feast for dinner.

Day 308: Wednesday, November 7th, 2012
Kate dropped us off down the road to watch a bit of sheep shearing at the neighbors’ place. “Local shearing legend” Philip would pull a sheep out of the pen, wrangle it into position, give the animal its seasonal crew cut, then stand up and grin like a kid before moving on to the next wooly beast. Meanwhile, outside the wool shed, we spotted the adorable two-day old twins headed for the petting zoo. We said goodbye at the morning break and went back to the farm to cut more bamboo for the roof. Dinner outdoors in the glowing evening sunshine, U.S. election commentary, bonfire down the road…
People to Remember: Brian, Judy, and Jeremy working with Philip at the wool shed; Shanna and baby Harrison, serving up tea and sandwiches. Pauline, fresh from Canada for her sixth season on the farm.

Day 307: Tuesday, November 6th, 2012
First morning waking above the Cafe. A walk across the road and up the hill to Anne and Philip’s house for breakfast and tea. Anne’s garden is popping with foxgloves and glowing with roses, and little blue forget-me-not types are spreading in all corners. Out the back, beyond the laundry line: a bamboo jungle. Ted and I were tasked with cutting the thick green canes, stripping the stalks, and trimming them to “2350 millimeters lengths” in preparation for roofing the new garden covered structure at the cafe. Cut with a handsaw. Drag out of the jungle, over the fence, down the driveway, trim, repeat. Meat pie for dinner at the cafe: family style, around the enormous wooden table.

Day 306: Monday, November 5th, 2012
Adventure! (That word means so many things, doesn’t it?) Today was a giant flashback to Coastal Farms and Carhartt-wearing life in the country. My sweet friend CJ (met her while living in NZ in 2004 – though she now lives in Canada) put us in touch with her aunt and uncle, Anne and Philip, who have a farm and cafe and caving operation about 90 minutes outside of Auckland. We strung together plans and instructions and were dropped outside the Farmlands supply store in Pukekohe this morning (thanks to thirty-year-old-Peter) with the hope of a pick-up soon to follow. An hour later, Kate wheeled into the carpark, rolled down the window, and greeted us with a, “Hey, you look like two outta place Americans!” With that, we were off for a whirlwind introduction to farm life in NZ. Today is the one day of the year when CJ’s aunt and uncle and her cousins and Kate wait with baited breath (I made the baited breath part up – they all seemed cool as cucumbers) for the auctioneer at the lot to gather – in two hours’ time – the year’s worth of income for their sheep farming operation. We watched and learned and joined them for a celebration lunch in the auction yard cafe at the conclusion. (First cheese and pineapple toasty in nearly nine years!) Rode the rest of the way out to Nikau Cafe and Caves and let our jaws drop at the beautiful piece of paradise they’re tending out in the countryside. They have their own coffee roastery, local microbrew on tap, and a big, beautiful veggie garden to supply the cafe. Ted peeled potatoes while I hauled and stacked firewood, a token effort toward afternoon chores, before sitting down to a hearty dinner shared with the family and our fellow volunteers. Slow roasted pork, perfect potatoes and pumpkin, and delicious greens. This bodes very well for a lovely week. Tomorrow, something about cutting and hauling bamboo to built the shade covering for a new outdoor structure… For now: journal update via spendy wifi and then a deep night’s sleep.
People to Remember: Members of CJ’s lovely family: Philip and Anne, their daughters Emily and Kathleen and sons in law Sam and Frode. Margeaux from Germany, Jessica and Natalie from the U.K. Clive, the Nikau Coopworth fellow there for his 35th auction, and Jim Peacock, auctioneer extraordinaire. ; )

Day 305: Sunday, November 4th, 2012
Morning at Gateway church with Nessa and Jade, afternoon fish and chips and fork rings and NZ ball caps in Devonport (or is is spelled with another “e”?). Climbed the lookout hill at North Head and took in full views of Auckland harbor and the gorgeous greens and blues of a springtime day in Aoteoroa.
Pets to Remember: Rogan, Nessa’s assistant hearing dog. A good-natured charmer.

Day 304: Saturday, November 3rd, 2012
Worked on wifi at the coffee shop down the road from Nessa’s place, then joined in on the children’s themed birthday celebration for her flatmate Peter. Fairy-bread, pin the tail on the donkey, lollies galore, the chocolate game, pass the parcel, and a giant banana cake…good old fashioned fun.
People to Remember: So many. Shane. Peter’s parents and sister, Anna, and brother in law Duncan. Maria and her husband and their little boys: three-year-old Matthew and two-month-old Connor. (Matthew as sole candy-eating-age child at the party was in heaven. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a wee one on that much of a sugar high!) Patricia and her husband, who’d just been to Corvallis, Oregon, not too long ago. So many others, too many names to recall, but friendly folks, all of them. No surprise: welcome to New Zealand.

Day 303: Friday, November 2nd, 2012
Ventured into downtown Auckland on the MAXX train. Choked on food prices but enjoyed a tasty lamb burger at Bun just off Queen Street. Big night: Mumford & Sons! Their Portland show a while back blew us both out of the water – it’s up there among the top three concert experiences of our lives. The NZ show didn’t disappoint. Stood twenty feet from the stage, loved the music. Loved that we have our one band that somehow combines my love of banjo and mandolin with Ted’s penchant for rock. Laughable: how young the teenagers in the audience seem (are they getting younger, or are we getting older?). Also laughable: Auckland’s new mass transit ticket machines (introduced to the city this week). We managed to get our passes before the train left the station, but long lines of concert goers were stuck with faulty machines and long lines. Ears were ringing as we fell into bed…

Day 302: Thursday, November 1st, 2012
Day about town and out to the west coast beaches. Visited Elevate Christian Disability Trust, the organization where Nessa volunteers, and learned about the great work they’re doing in Auckland and around the country (and the world), “empowering people with disabilities to live to their full potential – physically, mentally, socially, and spiritually.” Reminded of my Grandma’s work with the disabled in Oregon, and of my job during my studies at the University of Oregon, working for the local community college’s Disability Services Department. Great meeting the founder of the organization and hearing about one kiwi woman’s recent two month internship with Joni and Friends back in California. Inspiring, and a solid reminder for our future lives of service and ministry. Jade and Nessa drove us out to Piha on the West Coast for a walk on the black sand beach an lunch at the cafe. We hiked a short segment of the newish Hillary Trail to see the nearby falls and made it back to home in time for a delicious homemade pizza dinner courtesy their flatmate Julie.
People to Remember: Di, founder of Elevate, and the cheery crew of staff, volunteers, and drop-in center participants.

Day 301: Wednesday, October 31st, 2012
Awoke to the pilot’s announcement that arrival in Auckland was only an hour and a half away. Amazing! Crossed Malaysia and all of Australia without even noticing. Caught my first glimpse of New Zealand bush below the clouds on our descent; tried not to get too sentimental, but I so love this country. Customs fun: watched someone potentially busted for drugs then got routed into the queue for further questioning. Spent 40 minutes convincing the fellow who reviewed our itinerary, our jobs, our travel funds, our plans, and our odd stories that we weren’t a hazard. Moved on for boot inspection ($400 fine if you don’t declare your hiking boots upon arrival! They’re serious about conservation and managing incoming disease and pathogens). After bag x-rays, we eventually tumbled out the other side of immigration to meet with Nessa. Always a pleasure to meet a familiar face upon arrival at the airport. Car fun: overheated engine, roadside assistance, conversation and laughs while waiting for a truck to haul the three of us the short distance home. Rest. Coffee. One Tree Hill. Mt. Eden Summit. The Warehouse (“where everyone gets a bargain!”). Thirtieth birthday dinner for Nessa’s flatmate, Peter. French fries and ketchup after all these weeks of Asian food. Ice cream and cheesecake. And eventually, sleep…knowing that I’ll be waking to a dream come true: back in New Zealand after almost nine years!
People to Remember: Nessa and her cheery flatmates, Jade, Julie, and Peter.
Animals to Remember: Rogan, Nessa’s canine assistant, and Mr. Sheep on One Tree Hill – Ted’s first and favorite of the fabled wooly creatures…

Day 300: Tuesday, October 30th, 2012
Three hundred days away from home. Made it from downtown Bangkok to the airport and through security in 59 minutes. Not bad. Watched Anna and the King on the laptop and headphones, waiting several hours for our boarding time. Interesting to watch it this time around, familiar now with a few more nuances of architecture, culture, history, and drama (i.e., something about Thailand not allowing them to film in the country since the plot was so twisted from reality?). Terrific Thai Airways flight. (Minus them not bothering with safety announcements.) Dinner, a movie or two, and sleep…

Day 299: Monday, October 29th, 2012
Back to Bangkok for one last night in Asia. Tomorrow: the long-awaited flight to New Zealand! Side note: we’re officially the old couple staying at Lub D Silom, listening to the teens and twenty-somethings make a racket way past quiet hours. Hoping for a little sleep before the 11+ hour non-stop Bangkok to Auckland.

Day 298: Sunday, October 28th, 2012
Exciting times. Scenes of Brokedown Palace flashing before my eyes as the Thai cops escorted Ted away…. Okay, no, it wasn’t that bad. But when the handsome Honda driver turned into busted rebel thanks to not carrying his international license on his person, I wasn’t sure what would happen. Thankfully, the 400 baht ($12) ticket was essentially waved after some sweet talking, and the guard who liked to sing “Hotel California” gave me a smile and an ice cold water bottle before letting us go… Rode 20k north to Mrigadayavan, King Rama VI’s Summer Palace. Cinema. Last dinner at Nern Chalet; torch flames, nearly-full moon, soothing ocean waves… Funny to think of being back in the big city in just a day’s time.

Day 297: Saturday, October 27th, 2012
Motorbiked south for iced teas at Hua Hin Country Club, a hilltop hike at Khao Tao Temple, and a ride through Pranburi Mangrove Forest Park. Hiked another hilltop back in Hua Hin to take in the views from the monastery, then returned to the base for a terrific local market. Only one or two visitors in sight; everyone else seemed to be coming from nearby neighborhood homes, eager to gather groceries and a bite of something hot and delicious from the friendly vendors. Seriously, the best grilled pork skewers and fried coconut balls ever. Hopped on the motorbike again and rode a few kilometers down to the ritzy Cicada Market: beautiful things for sale. Earring fiasco. Memorable, anyway.

Day 296: Friday, October 26th, 2012
Caught up on plans and post photos and edits in our air conditioned room during the hot hours of the day, then broke for fun in the evening. Nak at Nern Chalet set up a full interactive Thai cooking experience – appetizers, soups, noodles, curries – and tonight was Ted’s turn to take the lead. He donned the apron and turned up the cheese factor (metaphorical, of course…truth of the matter is that we’ve been missing real cheese for a while…), cracking eggs and jokes and professing love of oyster sauce. So much fun. And so delicious.
People to Remember: Fellow guests from Scandinavia, chatting about their homeland, adding to our desire to visit someday…

Day 295: Thursday, October 25th, 2012
Woke to watch the live-streaming Portland mayoral debate. Explored the cozy end of the beach at Hua Hin. Walked the beach to the nearby point to see the golden Buddha and hike to the hilltop overlook. Fresh seafood dinner at the market.
People to Remember: Nok, our kind and helpful hostess at Nern Chalet.

Day 294: Wednesday, October 24th, 2012
Gave Lub_D Siam a try last night. Hoping that Lub_D Silom will be better if we decided to stay there for our last night in Bangkok. Thankfully, we have one last lovely excursion in Asia before we make our way to New Zealand: a beachfront stay at Nern Chalet in Hua Hin, Thailand. We caught a nicer mini-bus from Bangkok down about three hours south and carried our bags through the beginnings of a rainstorm and into the covered reception area overlooking the Gulf of Thailand. After unpacking, we ordered dinner and drinks and settled in to watch lighting strikes light up the sky out over the ocean… My friend Torre shared her gorgeous photos of the storm’s earlier appearance on her island of Koh Tao… Grateful to be here.

Day 293: Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012
Mini-bus ride to Cambodia/Thailand border then a shuffle, a new (old) mini-bus, and a second ride to Bangkok. Lucky us, we were picked up at the hotel at 7:45am and eventually pulled out of Siem Reap around 8:45am; more than a few fellow riders had been promised a seven hour trip to Bangkok only to circle the city with a dazed and confused driver since 6:20am. Needless to say, they weren’t happy campers… Not sure what happened at the border: we made it through faster than the others and ended up waiting on the Thailand side for half an hour before being ushered off alone by shuttle to a connecting bus. Next thing we knew, we were dumped in a different vehicle with a load of passengers grumpy from their three hour wait at the border. Two others had been so unhappy with the bus company that they’d ditched and decided to make it to Bangkok on their own, and the bus driver refused to leave until he picked up two more people. Lucky us. (??) Hot, hot, humid, humid. Long ride. Holiday traffic. Made the best of it and stepped out onto the streets of Bangkok around…6:30pm? So much for seven hours, but I we’ve learned the trick to predicting bus times in Asia: quoted time x 2.3 / number of hours sleep last night x 5.2. Sadness of the day: lost my trusty iPod. The little silver one that got me through years of long workdays in the office (Jane would laugh at me laughing while I sat at my desk…), runs on the treadmill with Emily at MU (watching Epicurious episodes and collecting recipes while working out was an odd combination, I admit), bus rides in Argentina, climbs in Peru, tent-nights in Chile, poolside lounges on a ship in the Atlantic, flights to the tip of Africa, and trains to northern Thailand. We made a good run of it, that little mini and me. I guess this makes it an iPod(mini-)bus day to remember.

Day 292: Monday, October 22nd, 2012
Wipe the sleep out of our eyes. Head downstairs at 5am to find “Mr. 1!” tuk-tuk driver already waiting. Off to visit the Angkor Temple Complex. Full, hot, humid, beautiful day. So cool to see the structures and ruins after sitting through images from Ron Lovinger lectures at UO (intro to landscape architecture 101!) and Angelina Jolie action scenes (Lara Croft: Tomb Raider). Sunrise. Explore Angkor Wat. Come back out for a post-sunrise iPhone snap. Visit neighboring temples and grounds at Angkor Thom, Bayon and Preah Khan, Ta Prohm, and more. Return to Siem Reap for Blue Pumpkin refreshments, bus-to-Bangkok ticket purchases, and then to the hotel for air conditioning. Sights today matched by only a few moments on the trip. Machu Picchu (Day #12). Las Torres (Day #36). The Alhambra (Day #100). Table Mountain (Day #182)… What a gift to see the world in person.

Day 291: Sunday, October 21st, 2012
We made the most of our first full day in Siem Reap with a really lovely tour with Urban Adventures out to the lesser-seen floating villages of the Tonle Sap Lake. Colorful scenes, age-old ways of life. Curious questions about the future of these people groups as development and foreign visitors continue to pour into the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The small tour also included a visit to a remote village marketplace and a Buddhist monastery and library in the countryside… Back to the hotel (more drinks and snacks served as soon as we stepped foot in the door!) for rest and a little catch-up work before Monday’s sunrise visit to Angkor Wat.
People to Remember: Our terrific Urban Adventures guide , Ly. Sok Khgang, and our fellow traveler Narelle from Australia.

Day 290: Saturday, October 20th, 2012
Morning breakfast at F.C.C. overlooking the Phnom Penh waterfront with Jenny and Rachael, another longtime Oregon friend now working with an NGO in Cambodia. I think it’s been forever since we’ve had blueberry pancakes! A nice treat to start another long-haul transportation day. Six hour bus ride to Siem Reap. Turned out to be the most efficient, clearly communicated, nicely staffed ride in all of Asia. Thank you, Mekong Express! World’s friendliest tuk-tuk driver (“Mr. 1!”) snatched us from the station and took us back to our reserved spot at the Gloria Angkor Hotel. Another surprise! They sat us down in the lobby for welcome drinks and snacks, a helpful introduction to the area and to the temple visit plans, and then made arrangements for free tuk-tuk shuttle into the city for dinner followed by a one hour massage thrown in for free with our booking. All this from a $22/night place that knows how to pull off great customer service. (No comp, either – standard fare for any traveler who visits Siem Reap!) Final surprise: the most delicious fish soup dinner made of tomatoes, garlic, galangal, pineapple…and watermelon!

Day 289: Friday, October 19th, 2012
Killing Fields visit. Difficult, but somehow easier than Security Prison 21 (Day #283). Hard to reconcile green grass and peaceful waters with bone fragments and old clothes emerging from the ground… History’s scars continue to appear. Hired a tuk-tuk driver to shuttle us around for various errands. Bought our bus tickets to Siem Reap. We leave tomorrow at 12:30pm. Sad to think of of leaving here already! We’ve been completely enjoying our time with Jenny and the opportunity to see the city of Phnom Penh and the country of Cambodia through her eyes. Strange the food we’ve eaten lately: Mexican food for lunch in honor of Chris’ birthday (and nice spicy Mexican food at that), Hawaiian pizza for dinner in honor of…our last night in the city? We even made a pitstop at F.C.C. on the waterfront for a cool view and hot fries and ketchup. My tastebuds are so confused. Spent a bit of the evening with Jenny at F.C.O.P.’s Friday night service. Said goodbyes to new friends from the week, and returned to the apartment to pack our bags, sync our external harddrives, charge our phone and camera batteries, and sleep before tomorrow’s trip northwest toward the fabled Angkor Wat.
People to Remember: B. our tuk-tuk driver. Former history teacher who couldn’t continue to support his family on the $30/month salary. He now works at a restaurant near the Killing Fields and borrows his boss’ tuk-tuk to make a few extra dollars. He apologized for his weak English and then proceeded to share his sorrow about how many important sites of Cambodian historical significance are not presently tended by the post-communist government. History teachers driving tuk-tuks and mourning for their country’s forgotten memories. Food for thought…

Day 288: Thursday, October 18th, 2012
Accompanied Jenny to morning staff devotions and spent the afternoon working with Jenny, Crystal and a few cute helpers who showed up for the fun. Between arriving in the midst of a big Cambodian holiday break then encountering the King’s passing and memorials, we’ve had limited opportunity to volunteer, but we’ve enjoyed learning about Jenny’s work and, at least for one afternoon, contributing some muscle power to a few tasks. We were tasked with opening a bazillion mystery paint cans (donated by the container-load from big paint companies in the states) in search of bright whites. Managed to find a few dozen. Plus a rusty can of green that exploded everywhere. The paint goes to facilities upkeep at over a hundred small-scale, responsibly managed orphanages around the country. Dug a few post-holes, cracked a few jokes, drank a few iced teas. By evening, we were quite happy to hole up at home with a repeat order of street food fried rice (try two was better than try one, but we still ended up with mystery shrimp after ordering beef). The accompanying seaweed soup? Less than lovely, but worth a try. Invictus movie-night-in at Jenny’s place. Photo editing. Working to catch up on online-life without missing real-life.
People to Remember: Jenny’s co-worker Chris and his shared love of travel and far-off places. Na – the cutest kiddo ever. Nine years old and all fun and games. More than happy to help with the work, be covered in paint, then dive in the cistern for a quick lap-swim and rinse at the end of the job.

Day 287: Wednesday, October 17th, 2012
The former King of Cambodia passed away Sunday in China, and his body was returned to Phnom Penh this afternoon. Ted, Jenny, and I visited the Russian Market in the morning, shared lunch in the early afternoon, then joined up with the crowd of a million people lining the streets to pay their respects to King Sihanouk and his family. Several hours in muggy heat and strong sun. Plenty of people watching. Black ribbons pinned to our shirts. Conversations. Grateful for a cloud. Photos from the day. Street food fried rice (a.k.a. not fried rice? another odd story.) plus homemade veggie stir-fry and cold drinks. An evening of good stories in good company with Jenny and her neighbors.
People to Remember: Yvonne, Ruby, Derrick, YS* (said the varsity jacket! Really need to check on that Cambodian spelling…), and little Christopher Robin. *Name update: Vishna!

Day 286: Tuesday, October 16th, 2012
Brunch at a super cute cafe employing young women diverted from the sex-trade industry. There are many, many similar places with similar missions, but it’s great to get our introduction to places from Jenny since she lives in the city, works for an NGO, and has a better pulse on the current state of projects and initiatives than we two short-term visitors. Somber introduction to Cambodia’s history: visited the Genocide Museum – “Security Prison 21.” Imagining every awful thing while seeing photos and walking through actual torture locations and prisoners’ cells? More disturbing than any other sight or museum I’ve personally visited. For the remainder of the day, we visited one of Jenny’s NGO’s main sites here in the city, met her wonderful friends, and enjoyed a classic around-the-dinner-table evenings with fellow Americans. (Two notes: Tangdrivers and celery sticks dipped in peanut butter.)
People to Remember: Sam, Bob, Crystal, Sou, and a few others* – I’d write the names, but I need Cambodian spellcheck! Must remember to check and add later. *Name updates: Som Aut and Srey Yinn.

Day 285: Monday, October 15th, 2012
Snacks packed for another full-on bus day. Pick-up at 7:45am, border crossing midday, bumpy/slam-on-the-accelerator/slam-on-the-brakes/barely-swerve-for-tiny-children ride all afternoon…and evening. The bus driver and his three assistants were the most talkative kids ever. He’d alternate between yelling back at his friends in the seats behind him and then dialing up others on his phone. At one point, he was sucking a cup of soda (we hope?) through a straw in one hand, jabbering on his phone in the other, and steering the bus with his elbow. Scheduled arrival: 7:30-8:00pm. Actual arrival: 9:40pm. At a completely different bus stop than ticketed. Oh well. So glad to get to the end and see a familiar, smiling face. Our good friend Jenny R. and her roommate Jen picked us up and drove us and our dusty, beat-up bags to their apartment in Phnom Penh.

Day 284: Sunday, October 14th, 2012
Tea and coffee plantations on Laos’ Bolaven Plateau. Smoky oolong tea leaves and freshly picked coffee beans. The French brought coffee production to this land nearly a hundred years ago, and the harvesting and processing remains mostly unchanged. Stopped for peeks at waterfalls, including double-the-fun Tad Fane and suspension-bridge-accessed Tad Pha Suam. Hardest part of the day: visiting a traditional village and witnessing effects of complete poverty and generational hopelessness. Memories: beaded silks, terrible food, bright flowers in roadside veggie patches, The Outsiders, peanut-butter/slug-guts and white-glue/Franz-bread facial (not really, but kind of really).

Day 283: Saturday, October 13th, 2012
Last night’s bus left late. (Surprised?) First sleeper bus of its kind for us: no seats, just little cubbies complete with thin mattresses, sheets, blankets, and pillows for squeezing two-to-a-bed. We were in bed 7 & 8 on the upper floor, and the bus swayed and felt on the brink of toppling all night long. Note: bus drivers in Laos incessantly beep their horns. I mean incessantly. From 9pm until 7:45am the next day… Tried dozing with earbuds and Ira Glass. Glad to emerge in Pakse in the morning. Well, kind of glad. This place is a transportation hub and a rat-race of tuk-tuk drivers and “tour guides.” Avoided most of the racket, spent the day catching up on rest and plans, went for a supposed-to-be-relaxing spa visit (note to self: can’t complain when services are way less than $10!), and turning in now before an early start to the day and a visit to the coffee plantations on the Bolaven Plateu.

Day 282: Friday, October 12th, 2012
Waiting game: overnight bus leaves at 8pm (or 8:30pm, depending on who you ask). Spent the day in Vientiane, Laos avoiding the humidity and less-than-lovely streetscapes. So glad our first impressions of the country were further north. Our Mekong-travel-companion Chris (Day #276) bumped into us again at the cafe – great having small world moments when we’re lost in a sea of strangers. Repeat joy of familiar faces later in the evening when we ran into Robin and Olga (Day #279) for the third time since Chiang Mai…

Day 281: Thursday, October 11th, 2012
Early morning pick-up: 5:30am drive to the bus station. Half-hour late departure at 7am. Three hour late arrival at 7pm. Oh well, made it to Vientiane. Redeeming experience of the day: dinner at Makphet training restaurant, where former street kids are given the opportunity to make a new life for themselves through culinary arts and food service. Best wifi of Southeast Asia at our little spot in the Intercity Hotel.

Day 280: Wednesday, October 10th, 2012
Breakfast in Utopia. Street-wandering. French baguettes and croissants and local Laotian Mak Toum tea. Kip burning a hole in the pocket (went for a cookbook rather than jewelry…). Lao BBQ dinner: sizzling meats and tasty broths all cooked in the center of the table over blazing orange coals. iPhone 3GS: sold.
People to Remember: Vanh and John, a couple from Laos and Australia working with the U.N. to help with local tourism initiatives. Also: they make terrific Lao BBQ instructors! (Thanks to the Kiwi crew for introductions.)

Day 279: Tuesday, October 9th, 2012
Woke at 5:30 AM to visit the streets and observe the alms ceremony. Still chewing on that one. Breakfast and conversation with Chris. Daytime trip to Kuang Si falls. One of us went for the rope swing. Guess who? Terrible state of circumstances: police officers busily held taxi drivers for bribes while a village woman just up the road lay dead in the ditch after a motorbike accident. A hundred gathered as onlookers. No help in sight. Still absorbing that one, too. Afternoon tales overlooking the river with Robin and Olga (see Day #268 – it’s a small world in Southeast Asia). Dinner and ice cream with Alex, Susan, Brett and a fourth Kiwi – Nestle (or is it Natalie? Oh, the accent!). Purchased bus tickets for the next few legs… Already sad to be so squished for time. We could easily spend months and months (and months) in this part of the world…
People to Remember: The NZ bunch, plus Arvin and Rafi (Toronto) – and our four other bus-ride-to-the-falls companions, two friends from Spain and a couple from England/Australia.

Day 278: Monday, October 8th, 2012
Second day down the river. Mattress deliveries. Bags of goods. Part party boat. Part mass transit. Part profound experience. Catcher in the Rye; The Lexus and the Olive Tree. Podcasts from home. New Years Eve party planning on blue lined notebook paper. Arrived in Luang Prabang before dark: searched for deal and dropped bags on a bet. Bet it’ll be better than the alternative. Jury’s out on that one. Dinner at Tamarind: lemongrass-wrapped pork, more bites of goodness in betel leaf packages, cinnamon-banana-coconut smoothies…and bananas for desert with tamarind sauce and coconut milk yogurt…

Day 277: Sunday, October 7th, 2012

Border crossing. Stamp. March. Boat. Rock and roll through a few waves. Disembark on the other side. Paperwork. Shuffle. Wait. Nod. Smile. Pay up. Laos visa. An extra buck for Sunday fees. The boat’s leaving at 10:30. No, 11:30. No, 11:00. No. Remember: it’s called a Slow Boat for a reason. Banana trees and palms. Jungle vines and waving grasses. Villages facing the Mekong River long before they were faced with tourists boating up and down their back yard. Snapping pictures, stealing souls. Small town bed for an overnight pitstop. What must they think of this never-ceasing tide of travelers washing up on their shores? They catch us in nets. Sustenance for the next day. Entry ticket to the world.
People to Remember: Dinner with Alex, Susan, Brett, Sara, Erasmus, and Chris. Kiwi, Kiwi, Kiwi, Swede, Swede, American. And these two charmers smiling from the head of the table.

Day 276: Saturday, October 6th, 2012
Queue travel day music: headphones in, bags packed, bodies squished in another wheeled mode of transportation. I clicked the stop watch when the bus pulled away from our guest house in Chiang Mai. Forty-nine minutes and thirty six seconds later, we’d finally finished making the rounds to gather the other passengers. Squiggled, zig-zagged streets; I was already a little carsick and we hadn’t even officially left. Ted gave in and listened to the Relevant Podcast with me (this is a minor miracle, FYI). Reason for the compromise? Jesse Carey was interviewing Jungle Bird. I guess you’d have to hear it to believe it. But take my word for it – anything that makes us both giggle at jokes about Bob Costas while zipping around blind corners and passing on narrow highways in Thailand must be a good thing. Stopped for a stretch break slash Disneyland affair at Wat Rong Khun – the White Temple. Carried on through dense forests, limey green fields, and rolling hills until we reached our guest house on the Mekong River, six hours and five minutes (and twenty-eight seconds) after the morning’s departure. I’m not sure what’s wrong with me – by South American standards that was a light-speed bus ride – but I’m grateful for a spot to rest before we cross the river/border into Laos tomorrow morning. Then, queue a two day slow-boat down the river to Luang Prabang…
People to Remember: The woman and her nearly-one-year-old traveling on our bus; made us miss our nephew Carson (the little Mr. Rydmark we haven’t gotten to meet yet!). The crazy driver who didn’t seem to mind copying Bolivian road skills. Fellow passenger Chris and his stories from around the world.

Day 275: Friday, October 5th, 2012
Truly the tastiest day in ages. While Ted was out booking transport and accommodations for our upcoming voyage to Luang Prabang, Laos, I spent time learning from one of Thailand’s loveliest teachers in the kitchen. Yui, to quote myself from Instagram, has “So much joy, so much love of ingredients and flavors and tradition… She has photos with Gordon Ramsay hanging on the wall and passport stamps from trips around the world working as a guest chef in top restaurants, but she’s 100% down to earth. And she wants to visit Portland ; )” Cannot recommend a Lot of Thai highly enough! Delightful time learning knife skills along with the physics and chemistry and tradition of quality Thai food. After class, Yui drove me back to my guest house, and on the way, we chatted secrets of fish sauce chicken wings. I may have died and gone to heaven. Again – so excited to return home to cook next year! For our final night in Chiang Mai, Ted and I were invited to enjoy a dinner in the beautiful Tamarind Village restaurant, tucked away in an oasis inside of the old town. Dreamy setting, delicious dinner, coconut ice cream to finish off the night… Then up until midnight getting my exciting news posted on the blog (please: if you’re a reader who enjoys the Daily Travel Journal, go sign up for the giveaway! I’m such a huge fan of Nakate, and I’m tickled to get to give away one of their pieces…)
People to Remember: Yui and her husband Kwan and my classmates from around the world!

Day 274: Thursday, October 4th, 2012
Ted and I split for the day; he took care of the dead motorbike (drama, drama) and then went for coffee at Ahka Ama, read Capote, and generally unwound; I tried my first of two Thai cooking classes. The fresh produce at the markets never cease to inspire me. I enjoyed learning a few new tricks, and I’m eagerly tucking away ideas for a few delicious homecoming meals at the end of the year…
People to Remember: Peter and Alix from the UK and Thomas from Belgium via Singapore. Cooking classmates for the day, eager to chat flavor, culinary therapy, and Belgian beer.

Day 273: Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012
Rented a motorbike again. It make it too easy to just zip off and explore…and we love it! Sad to miss out on one good coffee recommendation after another, but we finally struck silver at Ristr8to. I’d say it was gold, but that would be bending the truth. The coffee = excellent. The food and music = (insert something polite but a little biting). Nonetheless, a refreshing taste of home. Evening: more fresh-made 20 baht fruit smoothies from Mrs. Pa’s street-side stand. (That’s, like, $0.70. Take that, Jamba Juice!)

Day 272: Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012
Spent the better part of the day out at Seven Fountains Retreat Center.
People to Remember: Karen, Vivian, and all…

Day 271: Monday, October 1st, 2012
S-s-s-tarbucks again. It’s shameful, but it’s the truth. There was much more to the day than that, but I’ll start sounding like a broken record if I keep repeating the street-food, massage, R&R mantra.
People to Remember: Terry and Nancy, who spent thoughtful time offering thoughtful guidance.

Day 270: Sunday, September 30th, 2012
Said farewell to our accommodations in the countryside and made our way to a guest house on a quiet ally just off the bustling street hosting Chiang Mai’s Sunday Night Bazaar. Before an evening of street food and laughing and shopping, we went for Thai massages a a really wonderful place in Chiang Mai helping to rehabilitate and employ former women inmates. With spas and massage centers up and down every street, it’s nice to have found a place with well trained staff and a quality use for their profits… Market: silks and wood, gimmicks and masterpieces, food courts on temple grounds. We started at 5pm, turned in around 9pm, then decided to go out again for more food and fun until 1am… Flashbacks to Voodoo Doughnut runs in Portland. Snapshots from the day.

Day 269: Saturday, September 29th, 2012
You know, I hate the thought that I might’ve accidentally skipped or added a day when typing up the headings for this journal. Maybe this isn’t 266. Maybe it’s 267? Or 265? When we finally get to January 4, 2013, maybe I’ll type “Three Hundred and Sixty-Five” and think, “Wait, what?” (Remember – leap year. This year has 366 days.) Anyway…I digress. Today: rented a motorbike. Shopped for used books. Stopped for Ted’s 11th (I’m exaggerating; it was his fourth) order of Pad Thai. Sucked down a dragonfruit smoothie. Did a little Christmas shopping (see Day 260) at one of the markets. Stopped for a look at Wat Lok Molee and discovered my iPhone screen busted inside my bag (oh, little phone, you’ve been crying out for help since Day 69). More delicious and cheap-as street food for dinner…
People to Remember: “Jimmy” from south of Oaxaca.

Day 268: Friday, September 28th, 2012
Highlight of the day: dinner for under three bucks. Two fresh-as-all-get-out fruit smoothies (chopped and blended streetside), and two heaping plates piled with pork and noodle goodness. Donuts (from giant oil vats) and crepes (from little portable stoves): another few cents. Behind the scenes, pulling together life details. Good talks. Good thoughts. Good bits and pieces and prayers and hopes.
People to Remember: Olga and Robin, our street-food-dinner-table-companions from Portugal and Germany, with their tales of hoodwinked travel in China.

Day 267: Thursday, September 27th, 2012
Woke to lush green jungle making its way past our train window. Bamboo leaves and yellow grasses reminding me of all the hak-mac I’ve planted at home… I still love seeing Oregon’s non-native plants growing in their natural habitat. Should’ve remember Rule Number One. Another dramatic taxi ride from the Chiang Mai train station to our final destination out in the countryside. Glad to be here, though, at the beautiful Fueng Fah Riverside Garden Resort where manicured grounds boast all sorts of indigenous trees and shrubs and blooming flowers and rooms overlook the Ping River at the base of the Dol Suthep hills. Afternoon gushes of rain; lovely sunset.

Day 266: Wednesday, September 26th, 2012
Sometimes having your cake and eating it, too makes the ridiculous efforts to reach the cake worth it. Sometimes. For our destination of the day, we picked a cafe recommended by a British woman who’d lived in Bangkok for a number of years. Rule Number One: when you get in a taxi in Bangkok, you’d better have a telephone number for the place, because the driver will smile and smile and tell you he recognizes the address, then he’ll start pulling over to the side of the street to ask random strangers for directions. We broke rule number one, and ended up forty minutes from home and inside a random print-shop asking for directions (and/or wifi to look up the telephone number). The print shop crew spoke about ten words of English, tops, but were kind and helpful. They called the cafe, gave instructions to the driver, and we left. Five minutes later, the driver was lost again. He called again (we brought the number with us this time), smiled and nodded and said he knew where he was going, then five more minutes later decided he was going to drop us off at some random looking place that said “coffee” in the window. No. Keep going. Finally (finally, finally!), there the oasis of style and green stood along the busy highway: A Cup of Trees. Vintage furniture, wifi, Earl Grey Thai Iced Tea and unbelievable chocolate cake accompanied by decent cappuccinos eventually wore the stress away… And behind the cafe? A dozen charming little nursery stalls full of flowering plants and tropical foliage and gorgeous butterflies. Worth it, I do think. Better taxi ride back. Picked up our packed bags, took the MRT to the train station and loaded up on our sleeper booth in Car 2 and spent the night bumping, banging, lurching, and giggling our way fourteen hours north to Chiang Mai.
People to Remember: Across the aisle from us in Car 2, a few weeks into an extended trip and just married a month ago, Andy and Christina from Switzerland.

Day 265: Tuesday, September 25th, 2012
Flooding! We stayed in for most of the day and listened to the mind-blowing thunder and lightning all afternoon. The streets in our neighborhood looked impassible to us, but people just rolled up their pant legs and revved their engines to muddle through.
People to Remember: Bobbi and Ric, Felicity and Luke. Thanks again to Twitter for making the world just that much smaller…

Day 264: Monday, September 24th, 2012
Back for more soup lunch. We’re loving the MRT (subway). Ted’s eyes lit up the very first night when he saw an employee walking along the handrails with disinfectant wipes. Also: everyone queues politely in lines. The tracks are enclosed with sliding doors that only open when the train arrives; the stations are clean, big, and well-lit. And the cars themselves are air conditioned. It’s like stepping into what Argentina could-have-been-but-wasn’t… Bought our train tickets to Chiang Mai, departing on Wednesday evening. People watched at the park, drank 20 baht servings of fresh squeezed fruit juice, and narrowly avoided falling branches. Tried another massage place: bliss on a budget. More yellow curry for dinner and mango with sticky rice for dessert. (Who am I kidding? We ate it before the curry.)
People to Remember: Simon and Linda, resident international school principle and teacher who affirmed our choice in dinner joints and offered suggestions for our itinerary.

Day 263: Sunday, September 23rd, 2012
Embarrassing, but we went to Starbucks. This trip has warped a good many things about us. First green mermaid in months and months and countries and countries; probably four times as much as dinner cost last night. Tuk tuk ride to Wat Pho to see the 46 meter long Reclining Buddha; drinks across the river from Wat Arun. Walking and wandering, eating at a few different holes in the wall. Tried our first Thai massages. So nice, especially after those squished-up-in-airplane-seat hours.
People to Remember: James and his brother Peter and Peter’s girlfriend Joyce: we swapped taking photos of each other in front of Wat Arun and ended up discovering common roots in Oregon. Love it when the world seems small.

Day 262: Saturday, September 22nd, 2012
Arrived in Bangkok after the overnight flight. Paperwork, health inspections, customs, taxis; we were ready to crash when we arrived at our room at a nice-sounding (not-so-nice-in-reality) place in Ratchada. Oh well. Inaugural street food experience: lip-smacking good. Ted’s pork belly and crab egg-noodle soup stole the show at 50 baht ($1.62). Tried heading to the Ratchada night market to check out their famed vintage goods: no luck. Closed for the month. No worries: headed for more food at Suda.

Day 261: Friday, September 21st, 2012
Morning ferry ride from the Port of Zanzibar back to Dar es Salaam. Oh my word; the film they showed on deck? Absolutely crazy. Airport dramas on the way out. Boarding pass needed to get through security…to get to the counter to print the boarding pass. Oi. Flight to Ethiopia and a layover in Addis Ababa. We’d hoped to pull a repeat of Cyprus and escape the airport for a few hours, but no dice. Customs officers wouldn’t let us out with a layover less than eight hours long. It worked out for the best, though. We met a sweet family in the cafe, recharged our batteries on the airport’s comfy reclining lounges (away from the open-air indoor smoking section!), and bumped into Step (Day 255) again.
People to Remember: The couple from Indiana and their three newly adopted kiddos, headed, at long last, home.

Day 260: Thursday, September 20th, 2012
Rooftop breakfast at the Zanzibar Coffee House: lounging on colorful cushions strewn around the open air perch, drinking more top notch coffee, waving to Sandy, Mike and Laurie seated on their tower across the skyline. Broke the big news to my little brothers: we’re flying home to Oregon for Christmas Day! Reunion schemes commencing now. A watching of Swiss Family Robinson will be in the works. I’ll be the one on a zebra singing “O, Christmas Tree.”

Day 259: Wednesday, September 19th, 2012
How can a day like Tuesday possibly be followed? More amazing sights an delicious food and beautiful people, if you can believe it. We packed our bags and said goodbye to our temporary seafront home. I forgot to mention earlier, our spot at the White Beach Hotel came with an incredible perk: five 6-week old puppies cuter than any little creatures you’ve ever seen. Saying goodbye was heartache, especially for Ted. (I’ll admit, I developed a pretty huge soft spot for them, too.) The owners offered to give Ted two, but I don’t think they’d do as well as Milo and Otis on our grand adventure. Goodbye as well to little Sahim. I’ll miss his little smiles and “Jambo!”s. The daladala ride back to Stone Town was painless; an hour and we were back surrounded by the cacophonous city market. Ten minutes later: a sanctuary again, this time at the Zanzibar Coffee House. I’d been giddy to surprise Ted with a stay at this beautiful oasis. Welcome drinks included: too hot for coffee so we went for coconut lime smoothies. Ten minutes after that, Ted was ordering a cappuccino: the smells of Tanzanian roasts and the skills of trained baristas were too much to resist. Just before sunset, we walked two minutes down the street and climbed story after story of stairs to pop out to a 360 degree view of Stone Town from the most romantic dinner spot in Stone Town: Emerson Spice. A set menu full of flavor combinations and Zanzibarian highlights to put a smile on any foodie’s face: passion fruit ceviche, turmeric calamari, the best beetroot salad of our lives, kolekole coconut fish, tuna timbale, and passion-mango givre to name a few.
People to Remember: Penny and her husband from Auckland, NZ: perhaps we’ll get to say hello again in a few months? Emerson Skeens, Emerson Spice owner and man-about-town. New friends who invited us to join their table on our night above the Stone Town rooftops: Sandy, Mike, and Laurie, fresh from life changing experiences on mainland Tanzania. Dinner conversation was charged with insights and challenges, reminders and blessings, perspective and passion. Perfect crossing of paths on another perfect night.

Day 258: Tuesday, September 18th, 2012
One of the most memorable days of the trip: learning to cook octopus curry. My new friend Salama met us on the beach at 10am and led us on an hour and a half long walk through various village fruit and veggie stalls and dry goods counters. We gathered our ingredients, dropped the stash at the house, went to a friend’s home to pick up fresh octopus from the friend’s brother-in-law, then headed for the beach with a knife and bucket and a combined total of sixteen tentacles. I faced my squeamish fears and sat alongside Salama, gutting the octopus, removing the ink, rinsing the body in seawater, and kneading the flesh into beach sand until we were left with tenderized meat ready for cooking. A final rinse in the sea then back to the kerosene and charcoal stoves in the open-air courtyard kitchen. Ted took plenty of photos: I haven’t downloaded them yet to see, but I’m excited to pull a few favorites together for a post. Salama led Ted and me in a four hour process of preparing, cooking, and feasting on a mixed vegetable salad, octopus curry, and rice pilau with cinnamon, turmeric, black peppercorns, cumin, garlic, red onions, and the juice of lemons – all grown and gathered from around the island. After parting ways and cleaning up, we reunite at Salama’s beachside stand, and she gifted me with a henna design – a blessing, for our friendship. Nothing unites lives faster than a shared meal.
People to Remember: Salama, how could she be forgotten? Ilsa from Namibia, Salama’s beachside neighbor, working on her Dive Master Certification and sharing stories of life and travel and new paths…

Day 257: Monday, September 17th, 2012
While Ted slept, I crept out of bed early and walked the shoreline. Rare to see people from beyond the village during this time of year. Met a woman named Salama who runs a little boutique and beachside massage/henna/hairbraiding stand. Struck up conversation and found myself making a date for tomorrow: she didn’t know of any cooking classes in the area (not surprising; it’s a small place), but she was willing to take me shopping and back to her kitchen to prepare some traditional dishes. I came back to her shop later in the day and brought Ted, too. Salama and her friend gave us lovely massages and sent us on our merry way, feeling a little lighter and smelling a little more like lemongrass. Happy discovery of the Bellevue Guesthouse: wifi and fruit lassies for sale. Dinner too, a few hours later.
People to Remember: Niccolina from Holland and her boyfriend (never got his name! friendly guy, though); living and working at Bellevue for the season.

Day 256: Sunday, September 16th, 2012
Took a daladala (the local taxi/bus – no chickens, but everything else under the sun) to the tiny east coast village of Bwejuu. The ride took us out from Stone Town and into the heart of the island, passing concrete homes and roaming cows and ever swaying palm trees. Blasting music, wind blowing (thankfully) into the jammed van. Somehow managed seats near the open window. Dropped off roadside and met by two ambassadors from our seaside hotel. A traipse through the sand and brush, then turquoise water on the horizon. Humble little room and a passable mosquito net (complete with blue fabric trimming covered in pink and green hearts) and a shower that occasionally spit hot water. The outdoor views and tranquil setting more than make up for the interior design. A walk down to a neighboring spot for catch-of-the-day flavors, avocado salad, and Kilimanjaro Beer. A return to dinner by candlelight thanks to daily power outages. Remote. Ready to unwind.
People to Remember: Andre, the Australian headed for Paje, S. the teenage gardener, and Sahim the littlest prince of the beach.

Day 255: Saturday, September 15th, 2012
Big news on the travel planning front. Keeping it under wraps for a little longer… Highlight of the day: a trip out to the Amaan Stadium to watch two of the Zanzibar club teams duke it out on the soccer field. Ted wants the computer, so I’m signing off for now. ; )
People to Remember: Ahmed, our kind Zanzibarian friend who took us with him to the game. Step, an American from D.C. who joined in for the soccer fun as well.

Day 254: Friday, September 14th, 2012
Ted’s haggling skills took us to a(nother) tropical island. The tourist price for a package trip out and back was $55/per person. We skipped the canned tour with its boxed lunch and hired a private boat. The first guy wanted $40 total to take the two of us…then came down to 40,000Tsh ($25.61). Ted talked him all the way to 35,000Tsh (and then ended up throwing the extra 5,000Tsh back in at the end of the trip because the boat crew was chill and helpful). Half an hour out to the island in splashing, rolling waves. Ginormous tortoises. Ted, swimming in the ocean for the second time on the trip. Both of us laughing our heads off in the turquoise water. A very beautiful afternoon… Dinner at the Two Tables restaurant, at the recommendation of our friend Emma in Bolivia (see Day 16) who ate here 16 years ago…
People to Remember: Saif and his nephew Nassir, the chillest boat crew on Zanzibar. Daphne and Guillanme from France, visiting Zanzibar on their honeymoon adventure after hiking Kilimanjaro and spending time on safari in mainland Tanzania.

Day 253: Thursday, September 13th, 2012
Happy birthday to my brother Joel! And cheers to Fiji someday.
Ted led the way on an adventure through Stone Town. We wandered crooked streets and sat people watching for a while. Market stalls and smelly fish and perfectly stacked vegetables. “No thanks, just looking.” It works most of the time. They smile at us, trying to sell. It’s their way of living; it’s our passing visit. Who’s to judge the zealous? Ted’s love of old buildings led us into a mysterious building with a for-lease sign posted. We toured with the young woman managing her father’s property; she smiled, too, wrapped in a beautiful headscarf, displaying brains and business savvy. We had fun toying with “What if?”s. What if we fixed up the building? Provided a coffee shop and internet cafe below, a roof-top cafe above with views to the beach and the towers of Stone Town, fixed up rooms for renters and holiday guests alike? Crazy. We wouldn’t really. But it’s fun to dream. Best deal ever on dinner: bowls of coconut, potato curry with fried bread for 1,000Tsh apiece ($0.63).
People to Remember: Alya, showing two Oregonians around while taking offers from businessmen and investors in England and Lebanon. Eddie, the genius farmer starting fruit plants in the soil underneath the dripping air conditioners.

Day 252: Wednesday, September 12th, 2012
Already feeling that what-day-of-the-week-is-it syndrome on this sunny island. Cinnamon, ginger, clove, cardamom spiced tea and coffee for breakfast. More fruit smoothies for lunch. Street food for dinner. Mosquito net for bed.

Day 251: Tuesday, September 11th, 2012
Crazy-difficult internet access once again: just now uploading a backlog of Daily Travel Journal entries. I have plenty twoOregonians Tour the Cape blog posts nearly ready, but without wifi to finish edits, they’ll have to wait. (Sad!) On the bright side: I’m typing from a beach-front deck in Zanzibar. (Happy!) Today: The long-awaited spice tour. I fear the island’s solo internet connection will black out again before I have a chance to save this entry, so details will remain in the notebook for now… The main gist: it’s lovely to be here.
People to Remember: Claudia (German from Turkey); Justin (San Francisonian!?), and the whole gaggle of payees jammed into our two touring vans.

Day 250: Monday, September 10th, 2012
Awoke to a slightly quieter soundscape than we fell asleep to; I think someone killed the downstairs music around 4am. Pale yellow light bled slowly through the smoggy eastern skyline of skyscrapers and palm trees of Dar Es Salaam. We’d spent the night a bit outside the downtown area, and morning revealed the sea of tin roofed sheds and makeshift houses around our concrete tower. We did our best with the pasta noodle and boiled egg breakfast then packed into a taxi to head for the ferry port. Laughable ATM hunt. Paid for economy class tickets; ushered to the perfect spot on the ferry, second floor, outdoors, overlooking the aqua waters and fishing boats. Mainland Tanzanian shoreline eventually faded (smokestacks and all) off the horizon, and we landed in Stone Town, Zanzibar about 11:45am (that’s 1:45am back in Oregon). Our guest house owner’s friend met us at port and escorted us to our room – a plain hideaway just off one of the many jagged, narrow streets. Double bed, mosquito net, cold-water shower, locking doors – 25,000Tsh/night. Lunch at Lazuli: coconut fish curry, date and banana smoothie and ginger lime cooler (welcome to the land of fruit & spice!). Rejoicing at our return to the land of freshly hacked open coconuts – nothing like coconut milk to give Red Bull or any other nasty artificial energy drink a legitimate (and healthy) run for the money. Internet hunting: bought a data sim card – it worked fine at the store, but the signal’s not coming in now that I’m back at the room. Will have to upload blog info later on. Ted booked an a sunset sailing on a lovely old boat; we joined another eight visitors for drinks and cheese, cassava chips, coconut slices, deep fried little fish (harkening back to #shrimpface – see Day #115), and all sorts of other goodies. Sat barefoot on colorful cushions high above the bow of the ship, giggling a bit over the crew’s antics (singing, guitars, smiles, and terrible Obama jokes), and so happy to have made it here in one piece. After returning to shore in darkness, we strolled through the night market and tried fresh grilled crab and octopus before returning home, tired from the journey but excited for the stay. It feels like it must be 11:30 at night. It’s dark. It’s breezy. It’s time to hit the sack. It’s 7:19pm.
People to Remember: Kevin, our dazed and confused taxi driver: cheerful and willing, but woefully lacking basic navigation and maneuvering skills. James, our greeter at the dock. Jamal, our cheerful host on board the M.S. Babu (“Grandpa”). German-American Kristin, and John from Switzerland. The three (not-really-nameless, but nameless-to-us) Australians who chilled for a sidewalk chat in the shade and fueled Ted’s desire to drive coast-to-coast across their island continent.

Day 249: Sunday, September 9th, 2012
Up early. Out from Cape Town. Landed in Joburg for a several hour layover. Afternoon flight to Dar Es Salaam. Touchdown shortly after sunset. As we descended to the airport, the streets and suburbs below were nearly pitch back. The only illumination came from headlights and bonfires that were sending smoke plumes out over the tree canopies. Visas on arrival: a.k.a., how to turn $100 and a stack of paper into a Visa sheet in your passport. Stood in line with businessmen, joking to keep our spirits up as we were collectively subjected to apparently yet another (unsuccessful) iteration of controlled Tanzanian chaos. Haggled for a lower taxi ride. We were offered a $25 pickup from our budget accommodations across town; Ted haggled his way down to 20,000 Tanzanian shillings (+/-$15). Arrived. Mosquito net. Dead mosquitoes from an apparent pre-arrival chemical bomb. Cold shower. Friendly, helpful owner. Chicken, rice, beer, and cider for a pre-bedtime snack. We’ll see how tomorrow’s ferry adventure shapes up. Tales have trickled down about Zanzibar immigration trying to insist on another round of visa payments. I’m not excited to hand over another stash of cash.
People to Remember: Abdul, our friendly host, who quickly whipped out a smart phone to demonstrate his technologically advanced booking system. Third world meets 21st century in Tanzania.

Day 248: Saturday, September 8th, 2012
Flower safari: Western Cape wild blossoms with Alister and Janine. Farewell walk along the waterfront. Goodbye dinner with Servas crew at a small Italian place.
People to Remember: Clive, Antoinette, and Fezonah, who joined Susan, Aneen, Ted and me for dinner.

Day 247: Friday, September 7th, 2012
Final conference day. Returned to Tokara Winery, this time for a behind the scenes tour with Anthony Wain, lead project landscape architect. Afternoon visit to the Rustenberg estate: garden gawking, wine drinking on the green lawn, chatting it up with landscape architects from South Africa, Argentina, Brazil, Korea, Australia, Canada, and more. Ted picked me up at the end of the conference for an evening date: a perfect taste of hipster Portland in Cape Town.

Day 246: Thursday, September 6th, 2012
Airline dramas. Ted spent much of his day on the phone and on the computer, sorting additional RTW ticket details. I attended morning conference sessions then toured a commercial shade tree nursery in Paarl (not quite Cascade Trees, but they try!), and listened to one of the most fascinating scientific presentations in ages explaining the principles and advances of biomimicry and relevant implications for designers. Evening: Ted met me at the tour drop point with an enormous armful of proteas and other gorgeous flowers. I was happy to imagine they were for me, but truthfully, we were on our way to meet our Cape Town Servas host, Susan. We choked down Nandos chicken burritos in the parking lot then scooted off in the rental car toward Sea Point. Susan met us with a smile at the front gate and ushered us into her sixth story flat in time admire the last red band of sunset and a glass of wine. After an hour of easy conversation, we discovered that Nandos had been unnecessary; Susan served up a filling meal around her comfy dining room table.
People to Remember: Maria: Ugandan landscape architect trained in the U.K. and returning now to work in her home country, serving on the local council to help enact policy and management to govern new projects and development. Susan, our Servas host and the newly appointed Servas South Africa president, and her sister Aneen and daughter Christine. Susan and Aneen are both educators teaching Xhosa language studies in Cape Town, and we received a mini-tutorial in “clicking.” John: a 1981 University of Oregon landscape architecture alumni now practicing in his home country of South Africa. Ducks around the world.

Day 245: Wednesday, September 5th, 2012
First day of the IFLA (International Federation of Landscape Architects) 49th Annual World Conference held in Cape Town hosting 450 delegates from 46 countries (all continents except Antarctica represented). Big joy to hear Kathryn Gustafson present. Entertaining to hear British Expan/South African transplant Anthony Wain share about work in the far communities of the world: his presentation featured an impressive, functional, beautiful, restorative community park for a remote city in Tajikistan, accompanied by dry humor and telling travel photos. Meanwhile, Ted began the second half of his research project on Cape Town coffee culture. Walked Long Street in search of dinner; returned for the third time to our adopted burger and milkshake spot: Royale Eatery. Second night at the Grand Daddy Hotel; the rooftop Airstream was a tough act to follow, but the deluxe suite gave us plenty of room to stretch out, unpack our belongings, and comb through packs in search of any and everything that could be sent back to the U.S. to lighten the load before our soon-coming travel chapters in Zanzibar, Southeast Asia, and New Zealand. Good phone call fortune: connected with grandparents in Oregon, Heather in Colorado, and a few voice mail recordings, too. (Love and miss everyone at home!)

Day 244: Tuesday, September 4th, 2012
Checkout was at 11am, and we pushed it to literally the last minute. (I’m going to say that my clock was fast, but I looked down and saw 11:02 on my phone as we stepped into the elevator.) I took a few incriminating photos of our bags and belongings (prior to re-packing): I don’t think they’ll ever be published. Suffice it to say, it looked like a volcano of travel gear erupted all over the swank interiors. It’s just so nice to unpack… Our two night apartment stay left me wishing for another 30 day stay…and then there was that twinge of longing for long-term accommodations (a.k.a., a home). What’s that saying about greener grass? But a different sort of greener grass was waiting for us: a trailer park high above the downtown city skyline. Tonight, I am typing up a storm from inside an adorably refurbished Airstream on the rooftop of the Grand Daddy Hotel. This place is a dream. Can’t wait to post photos. (For a peak: see here.) Ted accompanied me to tonight’s kick-off for the International Federation of Landscape Architects World Congress. Tomorrow morning bright and early, I’ll be headed back to Cape Town City Hall for a full day of landscape architecture events, and Ted will be out to mail postcards and continue the hunt for high-class coffee. Divide and conquer!

Day 243: Monday, September 3rd, 2012
No alarm clock. Absolutely restful day. Most indulgent part of the twoOregonians Tour the Cape road trip thus far: couples’ massage at Urban Beauty spa down on the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront. We were delighted guests, grateful for the chance to have knots worked out and bodies rejuvenated (between Ted’s heroic left-handed stick-shift no-cruise-control driving and my hunching over the laptop for a-few-too-many-hours, we were so ready for it!). The spa was in easy walking distance from our apartments at Lawhill, and creamy cappuccinos at Vovo Telo lured us in on our way back home. The cafe has the cutest little resident sparrow that hops around among the tables and flies in the rafters… It was the sort of spot that made me miss Portland; it could’ve easily been up on NE Alberta (and if it was, I’d be making coffee dates left and right with all my girlfriends). Second night of working phone access, round two of calls: more family, more friends. Pity to be on our final night at the apartment: in just 48 hours we’ve managed to spread the contents of our bags in all directions and claim the fourth floor perch as home…

Day 242: Sunday, September 2nd, 2012
Last push of the road trip: farewell to Mossel Bay and our incredibly refreshing time at African Oceans (I’ll admit: it was hard to leave that wifi connection!), then about a 500 kilometer drive to Cape Town via Hermanus for more whale watching, more sunshine, and more delicious coffee at Just Pure. We were about 40 minutes from Cape Town at a quarter to two in the afternoon and decided to peel off the highway for a Sunday afternoon detour drive around part of the Cape Peninsula. An hour and a half later, we’d only gotten a few dozen kilometers. Didn’t factor in traffic jams on narrow roads, weekend braai festivities spilling out into the intersections, or confusing road signs flummoxing the both of us. Um, it took us a few more minutes than forty. But we made it! Late afternoon sunlight hitting Chapman’s Peak and Houts Bay as we drove the windy road along the waterfront: gorgeous. Checked in at our beautiful Lawhill Luxury Apartment rental down on the waterfront and began a perfect night in: home cooked meal, Walk the Line from the DVD library, tiramisu delivered to the doorstep(!), and the first phone call to the states in two months. So good to hear familiar voices on the line. So good to be back in the beautiful city of Cape Town.

Day 241: Saturday, September 1st, 2012
Day of rest. Normally I’d be bashful about saying we didn’t leave the B&B all day long – but it was so easy and comfy to stay in. Perfectly filling breakfast, floor to ceiling windows looking out on the ocean, tea and coffee setup right in the room, plush carpets and fluffy down comforters, plus, the elusive fifth-star of accommodation excellence: free, fast, unlimited wifi at African Oceans Guest House. First time since arriving in the country (two months ago!) that I’ve been able to sync my Carbonite backup, download new iTunes updates, and watch frivolous video clips (Flight of the Conchords and Brooke Fraser!?). Also: busted through a major backlog of photo uploads for upcoming blog posts. So exciting to have images of so many beautiful places ready to share soon. Tomorrow, the road trip continues and we drive back to Cape Town. Tonight: rest.

Day 240: Friday, August 31st, 2012
Mossel Bay discoveries: spent the day with the Oyster Bay Reserve Conservation Trust learning about their fantastic ecological conservation and community development programs. Visited Pinnacle Point Caves and learned about evidence of ancient, ancient life on these southern shores. Stopped in at Jukani and met the owners; spent more time researching and learning about ethical wildlife tourism in South Africa. Retreated to African Oceans Guest House for a blissfully restful night.
People to Remember: Aiden the South African landscape architect (who’d -unfortunately- been an Ohio State Buckeye!) who now oversees work at Oyster Bay Reserve. Henry, Christopher, Themba, and Graham, local rangers working at the reserve: friendly and full of smiles and passion for conservation and tourism. Doctor Peter Nilssen, head archaeologist overseeing work at Pinnacle Point Caves; another passionate professional bringing discoveries and education to the local community and the world.

Day 239: Thursday, August 30th, 2012
Divide and conquer: Ted went north to Outdshoorn for Cango Cave exploring. Found a brand new brewery. Sampled the first soon-to-be-bottled batch. I stayed back and caught up on projects, enjoying the calm and beautiful surroundings of our B&B. Evening reunion and dinner in Wilderness, then one last return to Carmel by the Sea to return a book and spend one last living room hangout session with Gary and Susan… South Africa’s grown on us. It’s going to be tough to leave.

Day 238: Wednesday, August 29th, 2012
A day for the animals! Spent a lovely morning and afternoon at Monkeyland and Birds of Eden chatting with the managers, learning about their projects, and spotting monkeys, lemurs, and winged creatures of all sorts. Fascinating to learn the back story and get a better perspective on the range of programs operating under “conservation” labels. The weight of questionable practices hangs heavy in my heart. The transparency at Monkeyland and Birds of Eden is terrific, but the hundreds upon hundreds of shiny brochures for other wildlife and game operations around the country can become such a mental maze, especially for visitors like us who have such a newly formed frame of reference. Ted and I have been having really interesting conversations these days… Still sorting it all out in our minds. After Plettenberg Bay, westward to Wilderness and a check-in at the seriously, seriously perfect Palms-Wilderness Retreat. Like stepping into a picture-book. Little brick walkways and towering palm trees, Cape Dutch architecture and dark thatched roofs, tea pot waiting and generous windows looking out to the gardens… Dinner at the Veg Table: a hidden spot in the woods. A contact in Sedgefield gave us a phone number for a fellow and said to give him a call. He does two dinners a week in his private in-home dining room. Absolutely wonderful: everything cooked on an old fashioned wood-fired oven in generations-old cast iron. Seasonal, local produce. Cook’s menu. Lively music. Candles and a wood stove. When Pink Martini came across the speakers, I felt right at home…
People to Remember: Brett, cooking food and serving it to guests for the sheer love of it.

Day 237: Tuesday, August 28th, 2012
Decided to return westward a day earlier than planned to make up for sick-day time. Enjoyed breakfast in sunny Jeffreys Bay with Kobus and Marietjie, then stopped by the mall for a fill-up on internet. Oh, the woes. The MTN store (like a vile AT&T?) in the past two months has gone from the sale price of R189 ($22 +/-) to R389 ($45 +/-) for 2GB of wifi data. Then this past week they informed us that they no longer accept card payments at the store: cash only for the data packages. But you can go to the grocery store next door, buy data vouchers with a card, then return to MTN and apply the vouchers to add to the balance on the SIM. I just want to jump up and down and squint my eyes and say, “Nooooooo!” Such are the ways of internet access in South Africa. On the much brighter side, we were invited to be guests at the beautiful Trogon House and Forest Spa, and upon arrival at the woodland hideaway outside Plettenberg Bay, (almost-)all of the tension slipped away. The afternoon sunshine held out for a few more hours and we chilled at the main lodge, Ted relaxing and making his way through a few more chapters of The Lexus and the Olive Tree, me chipping away at a few emails while sipping cider on the pool deck. Then sweet slumber.
People to Remember: Shannon who opened Trogon House one month ago and is well on her way to building a lovely B&B business in the serene forests of the Western Cape.

Day 236: Monday, August 27, 2012
Morning wildlife adventures! Our Servas host Kobus and his sister Lene took us out to visit their friends’ game farm. Ted and I shared a four-wheeler and spent the next few hours zipping through the vast expanse of grasslands and bush spotting “knee-less, odd-toed ugulates” and more. Afternoon: Ted was back on the sick-bed. The nasty stomach bug really put up a fight. Big thanks to our hosts for keeping us well taken care of. Meds plus an easy going boiled egg and toast diet (and an afternoon of watching the old favorite “Long Way Around” DVD) put Ted on the mend…
People to Remember: The manager at Lombardini game farm. He’s busy constructing an entire Alice and Wonderland setting for the owners’ daughter’s wedding. Giant stone mushrooms. A glass-house-conservatory. Enormous beds of rosebushes… He regaled with stories of shipping microchipped South African plants off to developments in Dubai. He’s worked in Belgium and Germany and the middle east…and he loves calling South Africa home.

Day 235: Sunday, August 26th, 2012
Good thing it was already a planned down-day. Ted canned his golfing hopes and stayed home in bed with a nasty case of something. Our host happens to be a pharmacist (providence?); turns out there’s a bug in the water here in Jeffreys Bay that’s been taking out tourists who drink the water for the past few years. The locals are fine. I must have been drinking enough cappuccinos and wine and ginger beer to accidentally avoid the water (oops!/thanks?). Long story short: catching up on rest and blog posts, re-hydrating with filtered water, and hoping to be on the mend by tomorrow’s take-off to Port Elizabeth.
People to Remember: Kobus and Marietjie, our Servas hosts, and their friends Lydia and Hank, Johann and Susan. We sat round the table, listening to the six of them plan a grand road trip to Namibia! They’ve been friends for decades and still have endless fun together.

Day 234: Saturday, August 25th, 2012
Happy wedding day to Ted’s brother James and our new sister-in-law Jessica! Wish we could be in Oregon to celebrate with the whole family. It’s hard to Facebook stalk two people who don’t have Facebook accounts, but we’ll be keeping our eyes peeled and watching everyone else’s pages for pictures.
Spent our Saturday exploring Jeffreys Bay, one of the top five surfing spots in the world. An odd mix of poverty and disrepair meshed with things like Billabong Outlet stores and the ever-bright-and-shiny KFC franchise. It’s been eye opening to see the differences between Western and Eastern Cape, for certain. Enjoyed finding a promising little spot, the aptly named “I Love Food Cafe.” Berry sponge cake and delicious cappuccinos; soaking up sunshine on the wooden deck. Ted’s identified a new business venture for some ambitious soul. Explored the beaches, watched the surfers, read Kitchen Confidential while lounging in the sand. Staying in a peaceful home just out of town, thanks to kind-hearted Servas hosts.

Day 233: Friday, August 24th, 2012
Drove eastward from Plettenberg Bay and came close to bungee jumping. By that we mean literally close – standing at the viewing deck watching daredevils take the “world’s tallest bungee” plunge. Quitting our jobs to travel the world might well be the craziest daredevil plunge we’ve personally taken. Visited the Tsitsikamma National Park and hiked down to the suspension bridge over Storms River. Passed through one of the oddest named cities in the world. Drove 20 kilometers of gravel road to reach Oyster Bay…and found no Oysters. Carried on to neighboring Saint Francis Bay for a seafood lunch. Spending the weekend in Jeffreys Bay. Settled in for the night and ready to catch up on sleep…
People to Remember: Lene, a South African clinical psychologist who’s just returned to live in Jeffreys Bay after thirteen years in the U.K.

Day 232: Thursday, August 23rd, 2012
Spent the morning walking and feeding orphaned elephants at the Elephant Sanctuary. Wine tasting and lunch at Brahman. Afternoon rest in sight of the ocean.
People to Remember: Caroline, the gorgeously, graciously, genuinely hospitable host at Brahman Wine Estate. Plus, her husband’s been to Oregon – so she’s one degree of separation from our favorite place on earth.

Day 231: Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012
Guided indigenous forest tour with Dennis of Bhejane; stories and tidbits, history and new angles, orange fungi and every shade of green. Tree ferns and yellowwoods. Fynbos islands. Hot tea and woodcutters’ favorites. Onward to Plettenberg Bay and a hike in the Robberg Nature Reserve that felt more like playing a game of Myst on a severe time-deadline. Seals. Ted practicing his seal bark (hilarious!). Sand, sand, and more sand. Back just in time for dressing up and scooting out the door to a dream world dinner at Emily Moon.

Day 230: Tuesday, August 21st, 2012
Woke to the sunshine and the sound of little “Alexander the Pretty Good,” our tiny feathered friend who pops his way into the treehouse from time to time. Last night, I reviewed pictures of indigenous spiders (fuzzy and “harmless”) that frequent the woods where we’re staying. So grateful to have not yet found them in corners or crannies. Much prefer the cute birds. Ted and I took our canoe-sore muscles out for another adventure: a river-walk (well, more of a woodland-scramble) down the steep forested hillside and to the dark as cola water pools at the bottom of the canyon. Enjoyed sitting on the top-deck of the treehouse in long-johns and sweatshirts, drinking Ted’s French press coffee. Hot bath of solar-heated river water; composting toilet ten thousand times better than those Inca Trail terrors (wow, was that really Day *9*?). Fired up the laptop and watched borrowed DVDs from the clubhouse (queue World Cup Highlights 2006 – a little honeymoon flashback) and a recently shared, well-timed copy of “The Big Year” – Jack Black and Steve Martin in Coos Bay, Oregon? Birding?? (Sadly no Malachite Kingfisher or “Alexander the Pretty Good” for them.) Thought of our bird-loving friends Milan and Tara. You two would love this place!
People to Remember: Robyn and Vivian at Teniqua Treetops: ex-technology-industry-professionals now conservationists and friendly hosts in the woods outside of Sedgefield.

Day 229: Monday, August 20th, 2012
Official kick-off of our #twoOtourthecape extravaganza! We’re spending the next few weeks road-tripping throughout the Western and Eastern Cape, sharing as we go and collecting stories of unique and environmentally aware projects, accommodations, activities, and more. Today’s fun: canoeing on the waterways of Wilderness, South Africa, with Eden Adventures – paddling the lake and serpentine river to begin, and then branching off for a trip up another river and a hike to the waterful higher up the valley. The tandem-rowing went better than the bicycle-built-for-two fiasco in Vancouver, British Columbia, that’s for certain! Come dusk, we found ourselves on a gravel road in the hills about Sedgefield and within a few hours fell sound asleep in an eco-friendly treehouse at Teniqua Treetops.
People to Remember: Our guide, Steve; Dorothy (not from Oz) filling in for her granddaughter, and Chris – the crew at Eden helping make our visit welcoming and fun.
Bird to Remember: the Malachite Kingfisher.

Day 228: Sunday, August 19th, 2012
Last farewell to Laurie and Dean. Rental-car pick up (cheers for independent wheels!). Lunch date and goodbyes with Barbara and Peter at Beejuice Cafe in Wilderness. Goodbyes to Andrew and Beryl. Last dinner at Carmel by the Sea. (Too many lasts and farewells and goodbyes. It’s been a very, very good month volunteering at Carmel.) Stayed up until ridiculous hours finishing the epic 961 post (from day #159). Slept well, dreaming of next chapters.

Day 227: Saturday, August 18th, 2012
Gorgeous day out enjoying a stretch of the Garden Route with Carmel friends, Gary and Susan. Morning at the Wild Oats Market in Sedgefield (not at all like Wild Oats in the states): imagine farmers market meets country fair meets classy camping in the woods. Protea bouquets, fresh cheeses, steak wraps spiced up with chiles and pickled ginger…banjos and suspenders and stump stools in the forest. Then on to Knysna for a walk on Leisure Island’s shoreline and an afternoon nature cruise across the inlet and a ride to the top of the western peninsula for a view of the majestic heads where the Indian Ocean enters the lagoon. Walked along the shoreline, barely avoided drenching. Returned to Carmel in time for a farewell braai complete with the best eggplant and rosemary potatoes we’ve eaten in ages…
People to Remember: Gavan and Ally and their three young boys: Adam, James, and Michael. Gavan’s a renaissance man: running operations at Carmel while holding a black belt in cooking (not really, but kind of); Ally’s a Lego instructor (um, how awesome is that? Mother of three boys certified in Lego robotics, etc., etc. and teaching in the schools?); and the boys are shy and adorable. Ally was trying to explain where we came from – I heard it boiled down to the “land of Barney and Spiderman.”

Day 226: Friday, August 17th, 2012
Wrap up and research. Ted headed for coffee with Gary. I worked on our upcoming “twoOregonians tour the cape” plans, organizing schedules and details. Final walk-through of the Carmel grounds with Barbara: passing on vision for the grounds maintenance and development.
People to Remember: Rhona and her lovely smile; she’d been traveling slowly from Port Elizabeth to Cape Town and serendipitously stopped in at Carmel and ended up staying for their week-long Celtic Retreat and then some…

Day 225: Thursday, August 16th, 2012
Paid a visit to the terrific YFC social services work being led and directed in George by new friends Dean and Laurie (day 207). Visited Options Care Center: HIV/Pregnancy testing, counseling, and resourcing; work opportunities for local families – jewelry and card making projects. Stopped in at Kidstop: outreach program for at-risk youth in the township. Played for a bit with the kids, shared the camera, swapped names and smiles. Heard stories of change; of former drug addicts and dealers standing up in front of their community, asking forgiveness for the pain they’ve played a part in bringing to their neighbors; of children growing up to become adults helping children; of the right people at the right time. Of zebras come to life: leaping from stationary cards to real-life encounters. Also: so exciting – registered for the International Federation of Landscape Architects World Conference being held in Cape Town September 4-7th. Amazing timing; so eager to learn from and alongside landscape architects from around the planet.
People to Remember: So many names and lovely hearts. Katie, Phulama, Nadia, Leisle, Betty, Judy, Cornelius, Greg, Jacqueline… Jacqueline in particular: tall and thin, bright eyes, a ninth grader. Seventeen years old. Pink leggings, pink shirt, pink headscarf. Returned to school and working hard. Two siblings in tow; I wonder what she carries on her shoulders…

Day 224: Wednesday, August 15th, 2012
Second pedicure in seven months! (Purple toes = such a treat. It’s all about the little comforts of life.) Shared a bottle of Groot Constantia 2009 Constantia Rood with friends. Received word that we have secret admirers out there in the world: nominated Best Newcomer blog 2012. Working on finalizing plans for our upcoming three-week #twoOtourthecape itinerary. So far: eco-friendly treehouses, guided forest walks, canoeing adventures, unique guest houses, respectful wildlife programs, and more; spending the last three weeks in South Africa soaking up the highlights! Bittersweet, though, to be soon saying farewell to Carmel.
People to Remember: Marlene, who just launched her new salon business in the city of George. (Pictures + stories of her blue-eyed sweetie, 11-1/2 month old Earnest = too, too cute.)

Day 223: Tuesday, August 14th, 2012
Midday presentation of Master Plan Proposal to the Board of Trustees. Great feedback, flying colors, plenty of vision for the next sixty years.
People to Remember: David’s story about his wife Sarah giving Hellen Keller flowers on her visit to Port Elisabeth in the 1950s…

Day 222: Monday, August 13th, 2012
Last push, prepping for Trustee Meeting presentation. Drawings, documents, power point…

Day 221: Sunday, August 12th, 2012
Church and chocolate peanut butter cups, courtesy Dean and Laurie. More master plan work back at Carmel. Trustee meeting coming up on Tuesday.

Day 220: Saturday, August 11th, 2012
Olympics. Emails. Camping out on the couch while the world went to Knysna.
People to Remember: David and his wife Sarah: YWAM Germany, printing press work, married at 49. Sarah’s deaf and can read accents while reading lips! Esther and Richard from Port Elizabeth.

Day 219: Friday, August 10th, 2012
Carmel volunteer work in the morning. Braai with Peter and Barbara in the afternoon. Boerwors, lamb loin chops, and chicken with pap and gravy. More of
Barbara’s sweets: bananas with ice cream. Flooded back yard: sinking fruit trees, bonsais galore, music and prayer, conversation, flavors of life.

Day 218: Thursday, August 9th, 2012
It’s Women’s Day in South Africa. A holiday and the beginning of a four day weekend for many. Ted headed out with Peter and caught a few fish off the cliffs. Tonight, we watched the Olympics with a group of maybe 40 South Africans. When the S.A. runner won the 800 meter women’s semi-final, the whole room burst into cheers and song, and Ted and I smiled at each other, so glad to be here.

Day 217: Wednesday, August 8th, 2012
It never gets better than home cooked meals around a family table. Our friend Barbara from Carmel invited us to her place for dinner, and she and her husband Peter and friend Carol (from day 198!) prepared the most delicious feast. We’ve decided it was a South African Thanksgiving meal. Roasted chicken, feta and spinach, orange carrots, the best (and I’m not exaggerating) potatoes and onions, and so much more…finished with homemade berry cheesecake and coffee, cocoa, and warm space heaters. Conversation until 11pm and then a return to Carmel with a hope for fishing if tomorrow’s weather is good.
People to Remember: Barbara’s husband Peter and stories of Pepsi Pools.

Day 216: Tuesday, August 7th, 2012
Howling winds and rain all night long. Our little concrete apartment shuddered and the bathroom door creaked in the draft. Thank goodness for hot water bottles. Woke to mushy, flooded ground. Suited up with our worst-case wear: Ted in rain gear and me, again, in socks. ; ) Presented the draft Master Plan to the Carmel Property Committee; great to be pulling ideas and solutions together in one place for their use in future years. More Olympics cheering tonight: the T.V. is up in the cafe/hall, a few minutes’ walk from our apartment. Ted builds a roaring fire, and we’ve got comfy couches, the remote control, and commercial-less coverage. Memories: French and Spanish crews, the Mexican diver losing his mark at the end, the American fellow looking like Dick Tracy in a speedo. Men’s vaulting, a.k.a. masses of muscle punching through forces of gravity. Still a little irritated to have missed synchronized swimming…

Day 215: Monday, August 6th, 2012
The weather’s turned. Cold. Suited up at my makeshift office desk bundled in socks (that tells you something! I almost always hate wearing socks), jackets, hood, scarf, and wool blanket. Sitting three inches from a space heater and blasting Christmas tunes in August, managed to keep warm(ish). Meanwhile, everyone at home is Tweeting and Facebooking about 100 degree days in Portland.

Day 214: Sunday, August 5th, 2012
“When you want it the most, there’s no easy waaay out…don’t give up on your faith, luuuuv comes to those who belieeeeeve it, and that’s the way it is….” Oh, wow. Rocking out to Celine Dion courtesy of the City-to-City bus driver. Not complaining, though. Before that it was Kenny G. And let’s not forget the first bus ride to George a few weeks ago (day #196) involved young-stomachs-turning Kirsten Stewart and Robert Pattinson having a frightful love fest across the bus TV screens. I can handle Celine. Morning: enjoyed the room and breakfast at Upper East Side, then called a taxi to drop me at Every Nation’s Cape Town location. Great morning service, beautiful mix of people, and sunshine streaming through the windows. Walked the city with my bag and camera, went for a burger and milkshake at Fire & Ice (thank you, Matthew for the recommendation!), and went on a mission to pick up another stash of Honest Chocolate to surprise Ted with when I returned to George. As I feared, Honest Chocolate and well over half the city were closed on Sundays, so artisan cacao products must wait until our September return… Finished reading Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers on the long bus ride back, then used laptop juice to work on a post for Meet, Plan, Go about Career Break preparations. I’m still thankful everyday for the truly profound opportunities and blessings and influence of people in my life that have guided me to where I am today. Just for kicks: if we hadn’t met the Lodge family when I was a kid, I wouldn’t have gone backpacking in the Cascades with the whole troupe; I wouldn’t have later learned about the Onyx House from Geoff and taken it seriously enough to apply; I wouldn’t have marked my Onyx House volunteer work down on my NZ University student housing papers and Erin S. wouldn’t have seen it and approached me about Every Nation; I wouldn’t have attended classes and Sunday services and wouldn’t have met Pastor B., he’d never have flown to Oregon to officiate at our wedding or ended up making referrals to wonderful contacts in South Africa; I’d never have ended up visiting an Every Nation church this morning or returning by bus to a month-long volunteer position at gorgeous Carmel by the Sea. You never know just which relationships will lead to life’s kindest moments in the future. I hope that in just the same way, my friendship and influence are blessings to the people around me…
People to Remember: Patrick, the friendly taxi driver. (Note: when I originally arrived at Cape Town Station after dark on Friday, I headed to the ticket window to buy my return seat and to ask for recommendations on a taxi to my hotel, since it was a ways away and on the outskirts of town. The desk agent was very kind and called a trustworthy driver; Patrick drove to the station to pick me up, took great care of me, and charged a more than fair price, and came again to give me a ride on Sunday morning. Lesson from the road: when you find someone trustworthy and helpful, keep in touch!)

Day 213: Saturday, August 4th, 2012
Full day. Full, full day. Enjoyable, too. Lovely mix of folk from backgrounds of tourism, PR, and travel writing. A bit too hard to rattle off all the names and Twitter handles tonight. Perhaps I’ll need to return and make an addendum… In the meantime, post-conference, I’m using as much of the wifi as I can access at the hotel to upload photos for coming Lebanon posts. So many memories, so many stories; going to be a challenge to choose what and how to share… Missing my second Oregonian. Cape Town for a bit tomorrow morning, then a return bus ride to George.

Day 212: Friday, August 3rd, 2012
After 24/7 travel-buddy status, we split ways for the first time in seven months! All on good terms. I headed to Cape Town for the Getaway Magazine travel blog conference; Ted stayed back for a weekend of golfing (hopefully?). Just two nights…just two nights… Blazing yellow canola fields and ostrich farms out the windows during my six and a half hour bus ride from George to Cape Town. I grinned like a silly fool when the bus slowed to a crawl behind a giant combine taking its sweet time and taking up the entire lane on the highway. A few minutes, and many zipping-cars-in-a-mad-rush later, the bus crossed the dashed median and made its pass, leaving the yellow machine to chug along behind… (Who does that, anyway?* Drive a combine down the middle of the road and block traffic… Psh.)
People to Remember: the two women in pink (pink purse, pink hat, pink scarf, pink Blackberry cover) sitting next to me on the bus. Animated and talkative and oblivious, but having so much fun…
(*F.Y.I. “Who does that” is farm-girl-me. And my dad. And my brothers and cousins and fellow field hands… I drove combine for ten summers and blocked many a hurried driver. Everybody: practice patience. Slow down. Don’t worry so much about the roadblocks. You’ll get there eventually.)

Day 211: Thursday, August 2nd, 2012
Work and a schedule = a stabilizing routine. Return of morning sunshine popping over the mountains. Big group coming in for the weekend; Carmel is buzzing with people. More Olympic-watching. A bit more post-writing. Tired and ready for sleep by 8:30pm.

Day 210: Wednesday, August 1st, 2012
Cold, cold weather this week in George. Unlike home, buildings here don’t typically have central heating. When it’s chilly, you bundle up. If you’re lucky, you have a little space heater available or a hot water bottle for the bed. I drank tea and coffee all day to try staying warm (shh…don’t tell Ted it was instant decaf coffee from a packet; he might disown me). Spent time at the end of the afternoon getting to know Dean and Laurie, two Americans who’ve been living and working with Youth for Christ in South Africa for 20+ years. Shared stories of social work and lives changed by hope. Returned to Carmel for the evening meal and new rounds of dinnertime conversation: tonight managed to discuss grass fed beef, raw milk, pet chickens, multiplying gerbils, snakes, mice, and so much more… Never, ever a dull day. Loving it; can’t believe we’ve been here at Carmel two weeks already.
People to Remember: Brian and Mariana and their smiles and scarves and stories of work and life and Emmaus Walks. Dean and Laurie and life in S.A.

Day 209: Tuesday, July 31st, 2012
Oops. Tuesdays start at 7:30am; we arrived at 8am. A day for forgetting things. Gary and Susan invited us for dinner and Olympics; we brought the blue cheese, they provided gherkins. Match made in heaven. Watched USA women’s gymnastics team take the top prize, then watched South Africa’s Le Clos beat out USA’s Michael Phelps! Green swim caps and biker-wing-sequins on red spandex win gold. Amazing to watch Olympics coverage without commercials every twenty seconds; three straight hours of live feed here and maybe three tiny advertisements for Samsung flashed across the screen. That was it. No McDonalds. No Nike. No Procter & Gamble. No action or pertinent commentary? They’d simply go silent and show footage of the arena. Just lovely…

Day 208: Monday, July 30, 2012
Workday. Jamming to tunes and drafting up base plans; it felt a bit like those cozy, rainy days in Portland, working with Gav on gorgeous plans. Ted continues installing insulation sleeving on the hot-water pipes, helping the camp save money on future energy bills. The hot water here: fabulous. As in, some of the nicest showers in the whole world. After those electrical-wire-laden-showerheads in Peru, cold trickles in Bolivia, and tiny water tanks in Macedonia, we’re loving hot, hot, generous water supplies here at Carmel. (Oh, the little things…) Evening Olympics drama: the hour and a half long 00:01 and Shin’s tearful loss.

Day 207: Sunday, July 29th, 2012
I sang just enough on today’s mini-road-trip to cause Ted concern for his ears on our long journey next month. Spent a sunny day at Mossel Bay. Fish & chips. Post office tree. Oddities and curios. Very sweet of them, but my cheeks turned awfully red when the flea market manager announced over the loudspeaker, “Attention, we’d just like to welcome the two Americans who are here with us today. Welcome, and enjoy your time!” Friendly bunch. Spiral cut fried potatoes and mini donuts from the funny fellow with the food cart. Ted climbed to the lighthouse, I snapped more pictures. Someday they’ll be on the blog. (The blog that’s still featuring photos from Greece! Oi. Travel happens faster than the speed of blogging, that’s for sure.) Picked up new/used books at the flea market tea shop and plugged in the TV to see if we could get any Olympic coverage… No go on the latter, but thank goodness for the former. Thinking of family at home and saying special prayers for Grandpa Jim. Hugs to all. B&T

Day 206: Saturday, July 28th, 2012
Weekend trip to the George Cheese Festival: over 70 cheeses to be tasted…wineries sharing their wares…whisky & cheese pairing lessons…a raw milk producer selling her farm-made blue cheese! (Her farm’s five hours away, but we’re genuinely considering a drive out during our road trip in August. So. Thirsty. For. Raw. Milk.)

Day 205: Friday, July 27th, 2012
After a full day of work, we joined Gary and Susan (more new friends! They both work on staff here at Carmel) for a night of fun. First: South Africa’s opening night for Batman. Tickets for two: R60 ($7.34). Medium popcorn: R20 ($2.44). Opening night at a blockbuster film for less than $10? Take that, Regal Cinemas. Afterward, we came back to Carmel and enjoyed dinner and tea at Gary and Susan’s while waiting for the Olympic Opening Ceremonies to start live at 9:45pm. We didn’t leave until nearly 2am; I’m honestly not sure how the Queen stayed away during all of that (well, yes, it was only midnight in London…but still). Really fun to watch the ceremonies this year with so much new context when countries we’ve visited and/or learned so much more about appeared on the screen during the Parade of Nations. Syria. Montenegro. Cape Verde. Also, bittersweet to think of so many puns and jokes and comments to share with friends at home. For example, Paul P. – did you see the villain from Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang dancing on stage!?!! Loved watching Olympic coverage from the South African network, too. Great change of perspective.

Day 204: Thursday, July 26th, 2012
Said farewell to our new friends Piers and Ellen from Norway and their daughter Camilla who now works with Wycliff in Tanzania. They’re heading back to Cape Town for a few days before returning to their respective homes; we’re here at Carmel by the Sea for another three weeks or so… Ted and I took a trip into town this afternoon to pick up a few supplies for the master plan I’m working on, and we managed to get post card stamps, too. (Yay! Finally sending out a little batch that’s been sitting in the travel bag for far too long… And we bought extra stamps, so feel free to drop a hint and confirm your address is you’d like a note from abroad.)

Day 203: Wednesday, July 25th, 2012
Moved accommodations; being volunteers in residence means being willing to be helpful and flexible. We left our little two-room flat and moved a few hundred yards away to a little cabin-ish spot down the hill. One room, plus bath, and we’re all sorted with mini-fridge, hot-water kettle, and a table for my make-shift landscape-architecture-firm-on-the-fly. We undid our bags again tonight and hung clothes in the wardrobe. How simple the act of unpacking and domesticating. Just a quick stack of books on the nightstand feels like settling in for the long haul… Work-wise, I enjoyed a property walk with Andrew and received a Carmel history overview spanning the past 60 years. This slice of earth is simply gorgeous. It’s a pleasure for Ted and I to contribute our time and skills to the property… P.S. Ted’s the king of keys, drill-bits, extension cords, and flipping power breakers.

Day 202: Tuesday, July 24th, 2012
I helped a distraught little bird escape today. He was fluttering about in the lounge, smacking into the picture windows, turquoisey-peacock-green feathers glimmering and hook-beak battling with hard surfaces in every direction. Poor thing. I opened the side windows and tried shooing him out gently with my roll of drawings. It took half a dozen tries, and I’m pretty sure he thought I was trying to kill him. When he finally got free, I saw him dart toward the birdbath in the garden and then scram for the bush. How often do I beat my head against a glass wall, trying to get where I’m looking, when I ought to pay attention to the nudges that move me toward true freedom?
People to Remember: Ric, our table-mate tonight; former CEO of Mercy Ships Southern Africa and current consultant working in the world of finance, aid, and charitable giving. Excellent conversation on the ethics of responsible giving… Mark, former Mercy Ship resident (small world here at Carmel) and YWAM DTS’er; he’s middle-aged now and working to establish an African L’Abri of sorts, a spot for sustainable agriculture training and life-improvements for township families, outreach and ministry for kids, and lodging for guests and visitors.

Note: You Daily Travel Journal readers are a good-natured bunch, tagging along for the random tales. Please don’t be nameless and faceless? I’d love hearing from you in the comments on the blog — just tidbits, even, to know what you enjoy reading most. Life is so full, and I can only share so many stories…but if you drop hints or put in requests, I’ll do my best to fill you in on your favorite angles! -B

Day 201: Monday, July 23rd, 2012
Back to work today. Ted’s handyman skills were hard at work, insulating hot water pipes to help increase energy efficiency on the campus. I enjoyed rummaging through all sorts of old rolls to find helpful site plans and architectural drawings, and I went snap-happy taking site photos for master plan work. Gorgeously sunny day. We wake up every morning to amazing views and well tended gardens full of stellar blooming flowers and African birds. It’s a bit like a hybrid (trybrid?) between Tilikum, Canby Grove, and the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens.
People to Remember: Chris and his mention of friends in Zanzibar… Alan and his Irish humor.

Day 200: Sunday, July 22nd, 2012
Peaceful day. The two of us hiked alone to Victoria Bay and spent a few hours watching waves and surfers. At dinner, our new Norwegian friend Ellen divulged that she’d studied languages, and in addition to Arabic, French, and German, she was quite knowledgeable about Scandinavian languages and could give us the meaning of our Swedish last name; turns out “Rydmark” comes from “ryd” meaning cleared and “mark” meaning field (like a field for crops). twoOregonians: Mr. & Mrs. Cleared Field.

Day 199: Saturday, July 21st, 2012
Morning: finished out our time at the marriage conference hosted at Carmel. Afternoon: Went for a viewing of Spiderman at the local cinema. Our new friend Camilla joined us; she’s been living and working in southern Tanzania and hadn’t been to the movies in over a year. Cheap tickets for a 3D show: 103 rand for two adults: $12.19, total. And we got to keep the glasses! Now to find room in the backpack for those classy shades…

Day 198: Friday, July 20th, 2012
More Carmel by the Sea highlights: homemade bread and muffins every day. Rooibos tea. Our own little fridge and hot water kettle for the flat. Another perk of being part of the staff family for the season: an invitation to this weekend’s marriage conference. We’re already sinking into a very good pace of rest, work, meals in community, and time spent in the beauty of gorgeous views… Feeling very blessed.
People to Remember: Bev and Andre from Johannesburg, here to lead the weekend’s seminar.

Day 197: Thursday, July 19th, 2012
Sent on a walk for morning shift: down through the bush to the railroad tracks then on east toward Victoria Bay and Wilderness. Whale and eclectic hermit spotting.
People to Remember: Carol, Esther, Estelle #2…

Day 196: Saturday, July 18th, 2012
First day “on the job” at Carmel, though we’ve been treated as well as guests. Such a privilege to have tea and coffee (and hot milk!) delivered to the door each morning, three meals a day prepared and served in the dining room, an invitation to evening devotions, and the companionship of Carmel staff and a diversity of guests. I spent a good portion of the morning with Barbara (a cross between Lucy H. and Grandma B.), touring the grounds and making notes for eventual master planning. Ted went to work with Andrew (seems like he could play a congenial colonel in big budget period film), head of maintenance, staining outdoor furniture and helping behind the scenes. Promising beginnings.
People to Remember: Beryle, Andrew, Barbara, Louis, Piers, Ellen, Camilla, and so many more…

Day 195: Tuesday, July 17th, 2012
“Bus leaves town at 7:30am. Arrive by 7:00am.” Check, check. It’s 7:40, we waited in a warm car for the first twenty minutes and then out on the cold sidewalk for the next twenty, watching the sun slowly illuminate the mountains on the horizon. No sign of the bus. Probably just late. Tick. Tick. It’s 8:10. Still no bus. Ted calls the number on the tickets, they say, “Sorry, trouble with the traffic lights. Be there soon.” Tick. Tick. Tick. Freezing still, layered up, watching our breath swirl in the air, waiting for warmth and a seat with a window view. Maybe 8:40, the bus pulls up. Chuck the bags underneath, lumber up the stairs. No heat. Five seats across, a 16″ aisle, and a T.V. that ultimately plays the first 2/3rds of Twilight: Breaking Dawn followed by the initial hour of Paul Blart: Mall Cop. Five+ hours later, arrival in George, South Africa. Another day, another adventure… On the bright, bright side: Our new spot at Carmel by the Sea is positively beautiful. Just gorgeous. We’re so glad to be here and so glad for the opportunity to volunteer for the next month. Ted did a few loads of laundry, and we settled in with an extra blanket, a hot water-bottle for our feet, and a cozy first night’s sleep.
People to Remember: Mavis, a guest at Carmel who smiles like Jane and speaks just like an old friend, and Gavan, Estelle, Gary, and Susan, on staff at Carmel.

Day 194: Monday, July 16th, 2012
Simoné, Nils and Maureen’s daughter back during holiday break from university in Edinburgh, showed us around her backyard in beautiful wine country: breakfast followed by champagne* tastings with meringue and marshmallow pairings at J.C. Le Roux; a wintertime fire and cozy rouge, cabernet sauvignon, and shiraz tastings at Alto; Zambia and Uganda coffee tasting followed by more cellar favorites at Laurensford; and a grand finale at Clos Malvern, just down the street from home. (Home being, of course, our adopted home for the week. So nice to be welcomed into the family for a stretch of days. Makes missing our families at home a little less sad…) We’ve all agreed that should she find herself in the Pacific Northwest, we’ll return the favor with an Oregon Wine Country tour… Now, to figure out who’s offering meringue pairings in the Willamette Valley. (*Method Cap, to be precise.) Farewell pizza dinner and gelato: a little Italian fun to cap off our week in Stellenbosch.
People to Remember: Nils, Maureen, Simoné, Svenja, Daniela, Jonathan, and Evelyn…

Day 193: Sunday, July 15th, 2012
Braai. Trevor Noah.

Day 192: Saturday, July 14th, 2012
Spent a lovely day with Nils and Maureen, our hosts in Stellenbosch. They drove us out to the coast pointing out gorgeous views of False Bay, the back side of Table Mountain, the hidden little beaches around the point, the wild baboons, and the great right whales in Hermanus. (Ted’s first whale sighting!) Hot drinks, cold ocean wind, lunch with the heat of the fire and the broadcast of the Stormers rugby game. Ted and Nils had great fun chatting fast cars and motorcycles, too. It’s a privilege to see the world through others’ eyes, and to experience a place through the favorites and stories and recommendations of a family who knows it so well. Sun set early for Oregonians who normally treasure July as the first real month of summer. Our world this year is turned up on its head, but we curled under down blankets and slept in trust.

Day 191: Friday, July 13th, 2012
Beautiful, wet day adventuring around Franschhoek. Tokara for breakfast, wifi, and homemade-house-chai-with-honey. La Petite Ferme for cappuccinos by the fireplace and an invitation to taste wines with the owner. Cafe Bon Bon for lunch; it rained outside while we ate beef bourguignon and niçoise salad in honor of the little French town’s coming Bastille Day festivities. La Bri winery for another tasting by another fireplace: we’ve decided wine and fire and wool layers are the best solution to winter chills. Dipped for hot chocolate and strawberry marshmallows and another walk around Stellenbosch streets.

Day 190: Thursday, July 12th, 2012
The camera battery died first thing in the morning, and I left the backup behind. An un-recorded, in-the-moment day. And a good one at that. Traipsed the streets of Stellenbosch on foot. A little bit of Dundee, Oregon in the air, as the town is situated in the epicenter of South African wine country. The university is on holiday, and the weather is cool, so the place feels calm and quiet. The sun comes out in bursts, and then the clouds and rain move back in. Thankful for a haircut: found a newly opened shop with a barber who could deal with my mangy curls. We picked up a rental car for a 24 hour period; ready to sight-see and wine taste tomorrow. Ted’s a smart alec: he filled his occupation in as “philanthropist” on the rental agreement. This career break continues taking unexpected turns.
People to Remember: Orange-haired Jan and scissor-friendly Guy.

Day 189: Wednesday, July 11th, 2012
Rested ’til nearly midday then went for a jaunt to Woolworths (Trader Joes meets Fred Meyer?) with our host, Maureen. Coffee and conversation, food for thought. So nice to sit around a family dinner table in the evenings. Quick to pray and eat, slow pace for discussions to unfold long after plates are cleared.

Day 188: Tuesday, July 10th, 2012
Said goodbye to Tia, the kind coffee shop owner who last Monday sent home guava leaf tea when I was sick and today passed me the recipe for cough syrup made with a brown-shelled chicken egg. Pretty much the coolest remedy ever; the process looks like a cross between Easter-egg dying and alchemy. A coffee shop for what ails you: Beanz goes far and above the call of duty. (I don’t even have a cough! Preemptive healthcare?) Packed our bags and bade farewell to Spencer and Chase, our two canine charges for the past week, then rode with Alistair and Janine out to Stellenbosch to meet new kind hosts, Nils and Maureen (also friends of Ps B). We’re situated snugly, wearing our wool long johns in the cool weather, looking out the bedroom window at the rolling hills and the protea farm fields… Eager to see what the coming week brings.

Day 187: Monday, July 9th, 2012
Took the city bus back to downtown and spent the day on foot. Indulged in many good things: Origin Coffee, Cape Town Diamond Museum, Mitchell’s for microbrew, Honest Chocolate, Royale Eatery (second visit! chocolate peanut butter milkshake heaven), and a hair-cut for Ted (let’s just say much better than the trim of day #58).
People to Remember: Martine our Belgian guide at the Diamond Museum.

Day 186: Sunday, July 8th, 2012
Visited View Church and so enjoyed the time spent there and the encouragement received. Also, props to those who share their barista and baking skills with the community: impressive cappuccinos and coconut brownies. Now if that doesn’t warm a worshipper’s heart… But seriously, what a beautiful reminder to be so far from home and still so close to God’s heart.

Day 185: Saturday, July 7th, 2012
Saturday brunch at a little spot at Eden on the Bay serving the best whipped cream in ages. Dinner with the Duminy family and friends: such a nice flashback to life with our families in Oregon. A bunch of twenty-somethings around the table, mom and dad cooking up a delicious meal, a crackling fire in the fireplace, iPads with YouTube videos and smartphones with face-time (to Ps. B in New Zealand!) passed around and around…like a big, warm hug from home.
People to Remember: Alistair and Janine and their sons Matthew and Michael, Sian Wewege, Matthew’s friend Rochelle, and Michael’s friend Dean. A house full of stories and laughter…

Day 184: Friday, July 6th, 2012
Morning visit to View Church and the chance to accompany a few of the regular volunteers from SALT (sharing abundant life today – the social justice branch of View Church’s community outreach) on their weekly visit to the children’s program at Joe Slovo Township. A whirring rush of pink and orange and green and red; sweet little ones from babies to four or five years old receiving food and warmth, teaching and games, playtime and companionship. It’s so simple for someone like Ted or me to pass through for a morning, to sing songs and read stories, to hold kiddos and let them play with our funny hair and trade smiles and secret handshakes. Our presence is so small in the scheme of things; the hard work, the true impact, comes from individual members of local communities engaging with local needs on a sustained level, week in and week out. Observing, learning, watching: we were both grateful to see kindness being shared steadily and to know that this type of compassion and care transcends countries and continents. After all, it’s part of the very greatest commandment: each of us, wherever we are, may give of ourselves to our neighbors.
People to Remember: Pauline, and Bronwhyn and Chelsea, our friends for the morning who led us to meet the children and share joy in the simplest ways.

Day 183: Thursday, July 5th, 2012

Second day in town: paid visits to R Caffe, the South African Jewish Museum, and the Company’s Garden. Stretched our sightseeing route out around the backside of Table Mountain to spend the afternoon admiring Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens and its collection of lovely South African species still stunningly beautiful even in winter. Wine tasting at Groot Constantia, sampling the stuff that met Napoleon’s lips on his deathbed (oh, the lore and tales we hear as tourists!). Sunset ride along the coastline and a bus ride back to Table View.
People to Remember: Wesley, our personal wine steward for the afternoon. Such a funny character, happily slipping us extra samples of this and that and telling stories of his years behind the counter meeting visitors from around the world.

Day 182: Wednesday, July 4th, 2012
Rode the city bus into downtown Cape Town and began day one of sightseeing. Found brilliantly delicious burgers and possibly the first truly thick milkshake of the trip at Royale Eatery on Long Street; only later realized our semi-American meal was us paying inadvertent homage to Independence Day. Missed hanging out with family at the St. Paul parade! We made the most of our own holiday, though: midwinter visit to the top of Table Mountain for gorgeous views out to Robben Island, Cape Town Stadium, the Cape of Good Hope, and lovely land and sea in all directions.

Day 181: Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

Back to nearly-full strength. Accompanied Ted to the beach to take Chase and Spencer out for their fill of exercise. Alistair came along and gave us a tour of Big Bay and Little Bay, pointing out great spots for seaside breakfasts and hotbeds of body boarding activity on the Western Cape. Great to be house sitting in a lovely spot so near to the grocery store and beautiful views of Table Mountain. Even staying close to home feels like a luxury at present: cooking meals, drinking lovely bottles of South African wine, curling up in a bed fitted with a deluxe electric mattress cover (since there’s no central heating and the nighttime air is frrrrreezing cold), reading books, and resting up for whatever lies around the corner.

Day 180: Monday, July 2nd, 2012

Sick as a dog. Sunday night felt longer than Saturday night’s red-eye, if you can believe it. I was up at least half a dozen times in the night with terrible food poisoning. Note to self: next time they’re feeding you roast beef and odd-pickle sandwiches on an airplane, listen to your gut instinct and stick to ginger ale. Ted escaped unscathed (nice work, turning down the plastic-wrapped sandwich!) and took the dogs to the beach then tracked down soup and electrolytes. I stayed home resting and made myself almost equally as sick channel surfing through soul-corroding American TV shows that somehow make their ways to the far corners of the earth. Ted went out again in the afternoon and returned with a complimentary brew of guava leaf tea and instructions to cure stomach ailments from his two new friends running the neighborhood coffee shop.
People to Remember: Tia and Sonia, the two kind and friendly middle aged women running Beanz coffee shop and sharing herbal remedies.

Day 179: Sunday, July 1st, 2012
Safe arrival in South Africa. Spent part of last night on layover at the Cairo airport. Fascinating people watching. Egypt Air flight to Johannesburg. Oops! Forgot to consider the airline wouldn’t be serving wine on board, though they did pass out free in-flight Arabic language newspapers. Sleep came fairly well, anyway; we both dozed in and out all night long, stopped off for one last layover this morning, then flew South African Airlines to Cape Town. Greeted at the airport by Alistair, a smiling red-head in a green sweater who kindly agreed to meet these curious Oregonians upon recommendation from our friend, and original Cape Town native, Ps. B. Janine, Alistair’s wife, kindly situated us with stocked cupboards and dinner waiting in the kitchen at our housesitting gig in Table View (not too far from their own home), and we met Chase and Spencer, our canine charges for the week. We took one mini-venture out in the car: Ted got his first taste of driving left-handed stick shift on the left side of the road. End of the day: sun set early here in the dead cold of African winter (a far cry from Lebanon’s 99 degree days and full-on humidity!). We gratefully collapsed in a tired heap. Happy anniversary to us!
People to Remember: Alistair, Janine, and their son Michael. It’s always a privilege to arrive in a new place and be greeted by warm and friendly people generous with time and welcoming in spirit.

Day 178: Saturday, June 30th, 2012

Tomorrow: South Africa. Today: a trip to the airport. Also tomorrow: six years married, and oh-so-close to six months on the road. What a journey. Lessons and growing pains, wide eyed wonder, and gratefulness for all that’s paved the way to this moment now.

Day 177: Friday, June 29th, 2012

Last full sunrise/sunset in Lebanon. Housecleaning and packing, final laundry loads and grocery consumption. Ending where we began (amphisbaenic, so I’m told), with dinner and 961 at t-marbouta. We are creatures of habit, to be sure. Thankful that Jimmy and Madeleine were game to join us for one last hurrah until a future west-coast reunion: kibbeh and garlic labneh, potatoes with coriander, hummus and fattouch salad, and a last plate of fried haloumi, then back to home for red wine, chocolate, a little over-the-top finale of ice cream from Bliss Street and a good old fashioned slide-show of South America pictures. This is the richness of travel: meals and memories, new friends and kindred spirits. Ties that bind across borders and oceans.

Day 176: Thursday, June 28th, 2012

All day internet effort. No go. Only enough wifi juice at the cafes to upload a single picture. Oh well. Someday when we get to a stronger connection, I’ll have photos ready and waiting. Can’t wait to share images from southern Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Greece, and Cyprus. And Lebanon. Oh, Lebanon. Evening double date with J+M: air conditioned movie theater and Middle Eastern Dictator comedy complete with pop corn and terrible, terrible jokes. Crazy-good falafel sandwiches to cap off the night. Crazy-ridiculous story: a family owned falafel business since 1935 splits two or three years ago when brothers disagree. Their solution? One brother builds his own restaurant directly next door. As in, inches away. Good news: we can all now be doubly sure of a terrific $2.00 meal.

Day 175: Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

Grocery store bliss: scored organic chocolate, Tom’s natural deodorant, and a farewell bottle of Lebanese wine. Eveningtime: I went, for the first time since December, to yoga and sweated it all out. The perfect kind of soreness. The kindest kind of personal treat. Madeleine invited me, then after we sat on the rooftop lounge at Le Grey, overlooking the city and talking about life. Also: pomegranate sage mojito. Must learn to make when we someday return to a home complete with kitchen, glasses, and garden fresh sage.

Day 174: Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

Phone calls and emails with friends from home.

Day 173: Monday, June 25th, 2012

Photo editing and delicious coffee at Cafe Younes, and an evening visit to the Beirut Design Week opening.

Day 172: Sunday, June 24th, 2012

Slow start to the day. Afternoon: Walk Beirut tour. Fascinating history, architecture, and sociology lessons.

Day 171: Saturday, June 23nd, 2012

Delightful brunch of homemade, all-natural, delicious and beautiful foods at Jimmy and Madeleine’s home in the hills outside of Beirut. Then a full afternoon of wine and food in the Bekaa Valley. As Jimmy drove us over the pass, I caught a split second glimpse of four Lebanese men jammed into the front a truck, waving their arms around, smiling, and maybe singing. How ironic that by the end of the night, we’d be doing nearly the same. Tried Queen Elizabeth’s favorite choice at Chateau Khoury and listened to Jean-Paul’s stories of champagne showers and feasts for 40 catered by his mom. “I’m 30 years old, and I’ve already been through four wars,” he said. Sobering, despite the lively drinks. Saw the briefest glimpse of Israel on the far horizon at Mt. Hermon. Perfection in a chicken sandwich for lunch. More tastings and then dessert at Chateau Kefraya. A return home to not soon be forgotten: Madeleine serenading the car with classic musical theme songs, gut-busting laughter, and so many happy memories from a day in the Lebanese countryside.
People to Remember: Hussam and his stories of activism and water resource management. The wine tasting crew: J+M, Samantha, and Lindsay.

Day 170: Friday, June 22nd, 2012

Heat and sweat and humid smoggy air. Pocket ice cream cones. Conversations on Arabic language, script, fear, and fascination with a woman who shares a name with my great-grandmother. Dinner, drinks, basketball, and Cambodia with Phil. An explanation for why Lebanese soccer fans are flying German flags all over town. Rest for the weary.
People to Remember: Zora and her world of food and language, travels and love of home.

Day 169: Thursday, June 21st, 2012

The mistake may have been the trip to Starbucks in the first place, but honestly: no decaf, no iced tea, and no lemonade? Tomorrow, back to the sure-fire guarantee: Dar and its green tendrils on arbors and teal placemats on tables. Snippets from the day: Tending the lavender and lemon tree. Chats. Wendell Berry. Invisible rollercoasters. Perhaps the uphill swing. Garbanzo beans from a can. Up ’til 2am while the West Coast whiles away their afternoon.
People to Remember: The little orange-shirted boy learning how to run the till alongside his shopkeeping father. Intense eyes. Pride and uncertainty both. Aren’t we all just children at the end of the day?

Day 168: Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

Trying to gracefully accept the angst and frustrations that surface when all of life is toppled on its head. Traveling an unconventional path means even less of an obvious route. Grateful for a nice long catch up with my dad; thank heavens for borrowed local sim cards!
People to Remember: Nailah, Christine, Drew, and Cole. Fellow temporary dwellers in the city and companions at the Bread Republic table.

Day 167: Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

Longing for a conversation or twelve with friends at home. Life is life wherever you are.

Day 166: Monday, June 18th, 2012

Boiling heat and humidity. The low for the week is forecast at 73* Fahrenheit. Reminding me of Buenos Aires in February. Simple life, today. Groceries, conversation, wrestling with questions. It’s a pleasure to have a temporary home in which to cocoon.

Day 165: Sunday, June 17th, 2012

Tannourine Reserve. After a lifetime reading about the Cedars of Lebanon, spotting Cedrus libani in plant walks around the University of Oregon, and spec’ing Cedrus deodora ‘Silver Mist’ on job sites, I was awed by the visiting the weathered trunks and sprays of green in situ. So few of the ancient trees remain. (And by ancient, we’re only talking a few hundred years. The truly ancient specimens are erased from the landscape and live in myth and legend alongside Oregon old growth forests.) The reserves are precious, small, tenacious in their ongoing plight to stand against harvest and hauling. Pictures and feeble field-sketched watercolors can’t capture the moment, but the act of sitting in their shade, while ants crawling on my legs and liquid evaporates from my paint palette in afternoon’s heat, locked in the memory. Sitting in the back seat of Jimmy and Madeleine’s car, we perused tasty stories in the book From ‘Akkar to ‘Amel: Lebanon’s Slow Food Trail. Our guest house breakfast in Hasroun would stop any DIY food-swapper in her tracks. Bowl after bowl of preserved and pickled pears, quince, apples, figs, and cherries, apricot butter, walnut and fig spread, cheese, olives, zaatar, labneh, and a steaming pot of strong, strong tea. Stopped high above the valley floor for a delicious lunch of saj (a very thin flat bread cooked on a convex burner, filled with cheeses and spice, folded in half and cut into slices). Reluctantly returned to the city high rises and honking horns. Full hearts to fuel another week…

Day 164: Saturday, June 16th, 2012

On an adventure with hosts Jimmy and Madeleine; brand-new friends, instant kindred spirits. Crawled our way out of Beirut traffic. Met with rewards of kak (a purse-like piece of bread, covered in sesame seeds, filled with cheese, tomato sauce, and a delicious zaatar spice blend) and pistachio covered ice cream. Qadisha Valley: Patriarch’s view, sweltering hillside hike, wildflowers and wild caves, a walk along the river cooling the valley floor. Sunset and wine at high altitudes; an orange sphere sinking into the haze. Hasroun guesthouse dinner, conversation, and deep sleep.

Day 163: Friday, June 15th, 2012

Plugged the MacBook cord into the wall, snapped the magnetic charger to the computer, touched the aluminum case, and received a dryer-socket shock. Electricity to the fingers and toes. Ted checked it out; same thing for him. Ouch. And psychological ouch, too. Skitterish, we packed the whole thing up and dropped it off at the local Apple-affliliated shop. Meanwhile, Beirut’s daily power outages roll on. Long nighttime walk on the Corniche, rubbing shoulders with families and loners, free spirits and traditionalists, wondering where we fit in the mix. Midnight goodbyes to Jodi; bags packed. One of us is headed for the Pacific Northwest, two of us are headed to the Lebanese countryside.
People to Remember: The smiling man behind the pastry counter, rooting for Sweden over England during the Euro Cup match.

Day 162: Thursday, June 14th, 2012

Reading books, writing (and painting) in journals, wrestling with life. Ted successfully navigated his way across the city on foot and by service (local taxi) for an appointment and found his destination (no small feat in a city where conventional addresses are a laughable notion). We accompanied Jodi to her farewell evening with close friends Jimmy, Madeleine, Megan, Wade, and Baby Jane; all splitting for different corners of the world. Dinner at Mayrig for a feast of Armenian/Lebanese food: Zeitoun Salad (olives, herbs, and spice), Vospov Keufteh (lentil kibbeh), Soujok Fekhara (beef sausage in tomato paste), Fishnah Kebab (grilled kebab topped with wild sour cherries), and Mouhammara (hot red pepper and walnut sauce). In one week’s time, we’ve grown so fond of the people and places and stories from this part of the world…

Day 161: Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

Bread Republic, twice in one day. We’re really getting the cheat-sheet guide to Beirut, there’s no doubt about it. Jodi’s done all of the hard work researching best spots on the ground for the past two years, and we reap the benefits. Thoroughly and completely grateful for such a dear friend to host us and share her thoughts and heart over drinks, mezze, and mixed stories. Also: side note – replenished my Moleskine journal supply. More of a mental reassurance than most may realize.
People to Remember: Nick and his stories of Rio and too-trimmed-lawns and hope in light of the ever repeating patterns of civilization.

Day 160: Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

Beaches. Babies. Brew. How does Beirut get any better? Book club. After a day out with Ted, visiting Dar, sipping iced tea, sorting posts, and catching up on emails, we returned home in time for me to accompany Jodi to her expat book club gathering where fine women from all corners gathered to share their latest reads, recommend favorite titles, swap year-end stories, and exchange parting hugs before summer break. A privilege to momentarily enter their world.

Day 159: Monday, June 11th, 2012

Beirut adventure doesn’t get much better. Jodi’s friend Wade (baby daughter Jane strapped to his chest) took us for a history hike across town, past the bullet ridden shell of the Holiday Inn, and onward to the outskirts of the city on a mission to find the the source of Lebanon’s 961 Beer. We walked the stairs to the top of a nondescript building and opened the door to Middle East microbrew headquarters. Visiting with 961 founder, Mazan H., was a trip highlight. Can’t wait to share the stories. Evening-time culinary fun at Tawlet for a Lebanese cooking class with Jodi and Lindsay. Chopping thyme and tomatoes, watching Ted charm the instructor with his cut-up act, and sitting down to a mini-feast at the end of it all…
People to Remember: Mazen at 961, the jovial girls at the lunchtime stop who happily played pass-the-baby with Jane for the better part of an hour, and Georgina, our culinary school teacher and her motherly chastisements and humorous, mischievous eyes.

Day 158: Sunday, June 10th, 2012

Jodi hosted a lovely afternoon gathering at her place. Terrace dining and fine company. Yellow sunflowers in green bottles. Bright salads and homemade pavlova.
People to Remember: Phil and his Monk stories, Fabio with roots in the south of Italy, Madeleine and Jimmy (already scheming adventures with these two!), and Lauren the baker of sweet black cherry goodness…

Day 157: Saturday, June 9th, 2012

Up and out the door, dressed in swimming suits, sporting books and waterbottles. Spent the most idyllic sort of day at the beautiful Lazy B. Shaded cabana lounges, poolside sun spots, and time for reading Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet (B) and The Great Gatsby (T) in between naps and seaside lunch and conversation with new friends. Lindsay and Samantha hosted us for a fooftop BBQ to round out the night; Ted enjoyed standing again at a grill, well at home flipping juicy, honest to goodness burgers. A beautiful day.
People to Remember: Once again, too many to name – Jodi’s surrounded by a fine group of friends! Emily, also from Oregon. Lindsay. Samantha. D. and her second grader, M., with his mastery of Greek and Roman mythology that would keep even my ancient-literature-teaching mother on her toes.

Day 156: Friday, June 8th, 2012

Hopped the Mediterranean from Cyprus to Lebanon: shortest flight of our lives. Arrival at Jodi’s beautiful Beirut home, greeted first thing through the door by a map of Oregon pinned to the wall. Such a treat to breath in and feel instantly at peace. Glimpses of a sun-bathed terrace. Luxurious naptime to recover from last night’s not-quite-sleep session on the airport floor. Friday night out sharing delicious Lebanese dishes and microbrew with Jodi and her friends Meg, Wade, and their sweet baby girl, Jane. (Jane was all cucumbers and water in a sippy-cup; not to worry.) So thankful to be here safe and sound. So eager to see how the story unfolds…
People to Remember: Wade, Megan & Jodi

Day 155: Thursday, June 7th, 2012

A partial day in Thessaloniki turned into a highlight of the week when we met up with Twitter friend and Greek national, Roxanne, an infectiously optimistic “development specialist in conflict & post conflict zones.” Stories of unconventional life choices and the beauty of person-to-person hope and transformation even in the midst of macro-scale chaos: refreshing and inspiring. Plus, she generously shared her insider knowledge of the best two euro souvlaki in the whole of the city. Can’t beat that. Evening flight to Cyprus, quick passport stamp and 10pm bus ride to the city for a kill-some-time visit, then a return to the airport and an uncomfortable night’s sleep on the floor, awaiting our AM connection to Lebanon.
People to Remember: Lucas, the Cypriot airport vacuum operator, and his stories of “making” life in the village versus “buying” life in the city.

Day 154: Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

Six a.m. bus ride to Thessaloniki, Greece. Arrival in one piece. Allergies and afternoon nap. Waterfront walk. Beautiful, familiar Greek alphabet in all directions… Ready for tomorrow’s flight to Beirut, Lebanon.

Day 153: Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

Back to the bus station to purchase tickets. Visited the city park and the waterfront trail where secondhand booksellers were pedaling English classics like “Dr. Atkins New Diet Revolution” alongside cute little mushroom guides. Listened to Pink Martini come over the speakers as we dined at the cafe…
People to Remember: The short little man with a limp who served amazing food at the corner bar and his posse of servers, willing to work with sign language and iPhone photos to decipher our orders.

Day 152: Monday, June 4th, 2012

Bicycled the streets of Skopje, Macedonia. Split up and spilled a few tears. Found a nursery where blooming plants and English speaking locals cheered my spirits. Fought through aggravations with unhelpful Eastern European bus and train station ticket agents. Bought questionable $2.00 Ryan Gosling DVDs from the local “store” (Ted said they just looked at him funny when he asked about renting; super legit, I’m assured). Battled wifi and lost the war. Celebrated an offline evening meal and movie date with mimosas.

Day 151: Sunday, June 3rd, 2012

Not sure if it’s shameful or not, but we didn’t leave the house. It’s a zero dollar day in Macedonia (well, not counting rent!). Ted cooked a great breakfast, we snacked midday, and I put dinner together and opened a bottle of cheap Macedonian Pinot Noir. (Note: cheap in both senses of the word.) Fighting the air conditioner and internet connections all day long. That aside, it’s been a great rest. Sleep-in, naps, reading, writing, show-watching… We have access to bikes, so hopefully tomorrow we’ll be a little more adventurous and make our way out into the city.

Day 150: Saturday, June 2nd, 2012

Sometime after midnight, I looked out the windows and saw the bright moon over the dark landscape. No knowing where we were, exactly. Ted and I tried hard to get comfortable on the bus. We pulled out all the stops: neck pillows, fuzzy socks, my little eyelash embroidered eye mask (hey, I’ve had it for a decade!). Still, rough night. Passport checks at several borders. Out of Montenegro. Through Kosovo. I’m still not entirely sure if we passed through Albania. I hate not knowing something that basic. Eventually stopped for one last inspection by 5am morning light; welcome to Macedonia. Train station arrival around 6am. Our kind airbnb host Dragan picked us up at 8am and gave us a nice driving tour of the city along with pointers on grocery stores, cafes, and parks. Our apartment is comfortable, aside from trouble with internet access. Crashed on the couch for a three hour nap in effort to make up for the bus ride. It’ll take some time to recuperate… Fun to walk to a neighborhood restaurant for a bite and pay with such beautiful currency. Impressed with grocery store prices: we didn’t hold back from throwing all sorts of extras and indulgences into the cart and still ended up leaving the store for under $20.

Day 149: Friday, June 1st, 2012

Spent another calm day in Kotor. Walked the streets, shared a coffee… I went for my first pedicure since January 4th; scrubbed feet never felt like such a luxury. Ted rocked it once again in the sandwich making department, and we carried our packed bags and packed meals to the bus station. A quick bus ride from Kotor to Budva, and then a 6:30pm departure from Budva on toward Skopje, Macedonia. We climbed up, up, up the mountains for the first hour and were rewarded with gorgeous views of the Adriatic coastline.

Day 148: Thursday, May 31st, 2012

Explored beautiful Kotor. Hiked to the clifftop ruins above Old Town. Took in the view of the Mediterranean’s largest fjords. Met Elmer, a 30 year old olive grower and producer native to Montenegro, while we were shopping for groceries at the market. He and his mother sold us homemade goat cheese and artisan olive blends. We bumped into him a few hours later and ended up sitting down for coffee…which turned into Montenegran (is that a word?) beer…which led to conversations about culture, olives, lost arts, good food, parents and the new generation, Oregon, basketball, and age-old relationship problems that have been around since the beginning of time. Amazing what can be learned about a place when we sit down to share food and a chat with someone who’s willing to share their life.
People to Remember: Elmer. And his mother.

Day 147: Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

Goodbye to Drasnice and our little slice of calm. Morning bus ride: Makarska, Croatia to Dubrovnik, Croatia. Crossed through a tiny bit of Bosnia on the way. Thanks to happenstance (and a prayer for good food in the middle of bustling tourist traps of Old Town Dubrovnik), we ate lunch at Zalogajnica Caffe Bar “Lucin Kantun.” Artisan comfort food like none other; much needed on a travel day. (Much needed on any day, who are we kidding?) Ferry ride out to the island of Lorkum: poking around old ruins and slipping into the an impromptu swimming session in the Adriatic. Return to Dubrovnik, return to Lucin Kantun (when you find a good thing, it’s worth going back). Evening bus ride from Dubrovnik to Kotor, Montenegro. Flashback to Bolivia. Arrival: 10:40pm. Met our landlady, Mira, at the Old Town gate. She’s a kick! Orange hair and an orange sweater to match her orange couch and orange blankets. Love meeting these characters on the road.
People to Remember: Mira, of course. And Ahab, an Egyptian transplant living in and running a beautiful hotel in Old Town Dubrovnik. He and his Ukranian wife immigrated to start a new life in Croatia after last year’s revolution…

Day 146: Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

Thunderstorm in Drasnice, Croatia; raindrops and roses and our last family-style meal with Meg and Tony (until we meet up in Southeast Asia?). All day jam session: editing and uploading pictures, cranking up the playlist tunes, and taking care of computer issues during the last guaranteed wifi hook-up of the next few days… Tomorrow: onward through Eastern Europe.

Day 145: Monday, May 28th, 2012

It’s funny, this sitting in one spot and not traveling father than a couple dozen yards over the course of the day. A nice variation from the pace of trains, buses, and multi-stop tours in Italy. Working away, sorting and editing pictures, getting future posts wrapped up to share stories over the next few weeks once we’re back in transportation mode, crossing Eastern Europe. We enjoyed a flashback to flavors of home comforts: Meg made lettuce wrap tacos chalk full of beans, tomatoes, corn and chicken…and hot sauce.

Day 144: Sunday, May 27th, 2012

Happy birthday, dad!
Church bells in this small town. Chimes and sunshine and hot tea on the pier. A make-shift toenail paint job. (First since that last pedicure in early January. Oh, these feet.) More plans. More conversations. More prayer and care and struggle. More desire to grow through and become, to learn and stretch, to find and make the most of these lessons on the road.

Day 143: Saturday, May 26th, 2012

Took a bus into Makarska for waterfront sunshine and another seafood lunch. Spent more time hashing out life decisions, talking through travel realities, and brainstorming for our soon-coming cross-country trip through Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia, and Northern Greece. The days of calm are flying (have flown?) by.

Day 142: Friday, May 25th, 2012

Another lay-low day in Croatia. Writing, sorting photos, long talks together, and emails sent off to friends at home.

Day 141: Thursday, May 24th, 2012

Left the hundred-step perimeter we’ve stuck to since Sunday and took a bus north with Tony and Meg to sample one of Secret Dalmatia’s wine tasting experiences in Spilt. Stopped for dinner on the way and feasted on freshly caught seafood from the Adriatic.
People to Remember: Alan and Ivana from Secret Dalmatia and Igor, the hospitable and ever-smiling fellow serving up cheese, seafood, wine and stories at his (loosely translated) “Club of Gourmands and Hedonists.”

Day 140: Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

It was a day for the comforts of home. Braved the Croatian grocery store baking aisle and finally made good on the plans to use Bolivian chocolate packed from South America to make delicious brownies. Something comforting about stirring ingredients with a wooden spoon…even in a foreign kitchen.

Day 139: Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

Overdue writing day: catching up on all of the amazing Italian Food pictures and stories. Delicious fish dinner thanks to Meg. Dolphins and sunsets on the Croatian coastline. Made a few new travel decisions for the next chapter…nervous and excited all at once.

Day 138: Monday, May 21st, 2012

Laundry day (thank you, Ted!). Walks in fresh air. Home cooked meals. Maybe Mad Men Season Five. Maybe.

Day 137: Sunday, May 20th, 2012

…(con’t) bus, taxi, collapse into a heap in our new little Croatian apartment. A restful spot a long time in coming. We’re here for the next week and a half in the good company of our friends and now apartment complex neighbors Meg and Tony (see day #113). They’ve been here in Drasnice, Croatia for the past three weeks, scoping out happening spots in the sleepy town of 200.

Day 136: Saturday, May 19th, 2012

Achingly long travel day: taxi, train, train, train, taxi, bus, overnight ferry…

Day 135: Friday, May 18th, 2012

Highlight of the trip: reuniting with our sweet friend Anna in the little picturesque peninsula town of Sirmione, Italy. We were knocked out by our view from Hotel Albergo Grifone overlooking Lake Garda, and strolls along the waterfront.

Day 134: Thursday, May 17th, 2012

Day trip train ride in to Venice where we saw the sights Italian Job style with Walks of Italy. Even had the chance for Ted to sit behind the wheel of our gorgeous private boat making its way down Grand Canal and across the Venice Lagoon.
People to Remember: Jennifer, our sweet-as-Jane-Luthy tour guide. Also a bit of an Australian Audrey Hepburn.

Day 133: Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

Travel day: farewell to Alessandro and Kinzica in Pisa, train ride north for a return to Verona, exhaustion, quick dinner, long nights’ sleep.
People to Remember: Our kind B&B host, a cross between Jerry Lewis and Robert De Niro.

Day 132: Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

The Pisa chronicles continue: Bizarre and beautiful preserved animals at the Natural History Museum housed outside the city at Certosa di Calci. Delightful visits to the “laboratories” of companies dedicated to the art and pleasure of high quality desserts: De’ Coltelli gelato and DeBondt Cioccolato artisan chocolates. Perfectly melded tradition and gastronomic ingenuity at ZenZero Pizza. Ted: “Today in Pisa, among other things, I tasted Lime-Ginger Gelato, local hand-crafted Spelt Beer, and black truffle + bacon + quail egg pizza. Not to mention pistachio-Gelato sandwiches, fine chocolate tasting, granita with cream, and baked garbanzo bean (cecina) w/ roast beef sandwiches. I am one lucky duck.” Speaking of Lucky Ducks: This UO Alumnae was featured today on the Architecture & Allied Arts site. It’s true…after all those dreams, we’re living in grand reality and so thankful for the ride.

Day 131: Monday, May 14th, 2012

A full day that went a little something like this: Train from Bologna > Firenze > Pisa. Check bags in storage. Bus to the Leaning Tower for a two-hour tour with our friendly Walks of Italy guide. Visit the Cathedral and the Cemetery, climb the famous Steps for the view from the top. Bus back to the station. Grab bags. Meet up with local friend, Kinzica. Head home in time for homemade porcini pappardelle then explore the other side of Pisa and surrounds. Hidden staircases and crazy pigeons. Rooftops. Sunsets.Aperitivos, craft beer, and seafood. Old cities. New friends. Lifelong memories.
People to Remember: Kinzica and Alessandro: we met Kinzica at TBU in April and were so glad to connect again on her home soil. She and her boyfriend, Alessandro, have been so warm and welcoming, and we hope to one day return the hospitality in Oregon.

Day 130: Sunday, May 13th, 2012

Rainy in Bologna. It felt almost like Portland, except the buzz online said that Portland was basking in sunshine. Tried for the little French cafe with its reputation reminiscent of Amelie, but no such luck finding the place open on a weekend. (Still haven’t figured that one out. Though Guy Patterson’s dad may be proud.) Instead, packed up life at the Blogville apartment and prepared for the coming week of hopping around. Took Ted on a date to a perfectly charming hole in the wall on a little crooked backstreet; dinner without a written menu, good conversation over local wine, the perfect farewell to our temporary hometown. Also: Mother’s day Skype sessions. Great to talk with our moms and see a few familiar faces on the screen!
People to Remember: The kind restaurant owner: funny glasses hanging around his neck, halting words and thick accent, smiles and pride beaming from the kitchen.

Day 129: Saturday, May 12th, 2012

Day trip to…Verona! (Wanted to say “Day trip two to…Verona!”, but I thought that sounded cheesy, so I left it out.) Honestly, though, the trains here make it so easy to zip around visiting cities and their sights. Less than an hour from Bologna, and there we were. About a year ago, during movie night with the gals at our apartment complex, I watched the super-super-cheesy movie, “Letters to Juliet.” Little did I know that a year later I’d be visiting the very spot. Truly though, Ted and I both spent many happy school years studying Shakespeare with good friends and great teachers; it’s been a treat to see the land of plays come to life.

Day 128: Friday, May 11th, 2012

Day trip to…Milan! Skipped fashion and went straight for architecture and art with Walks of Italy. Made it to visit Saint Ambrose Basilica and San Maurizio al Manastero Maggiore (the gorgeous “Sistine Chapel of Milan”), then walked through the double-sealed corridor to see Da Vinci’s Last Supper. An unexpectedly moving experience.

Day 127: Thursday, May 10th, 2012

Spent the day on food and opera and architecture in Parma, Italy and surrounds. Oh heavens, what a trip. Visited Guiseppe Verdi’s birthplace, lovely historic opera houses, and Verdi’s lovely self-designed landscape at his country home. The Parmesan cheese production here is legendary. Old tools and equipment on display. Centuries of fine-tuned methods. (We thought a lot about our milk farmer, Charlotte, back in Oregon; we must spend more time on cheesemaking when we get home.) And then the pork products: incredible cured, aged Culatello meat and accompanying wines at the Spigaroli family’s 700 year old Antica Corte Pallavicina castle. Dinner to end the night at Al Cavallino Bianco.

Day 126: Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

Signed our confidentiality papers and stepped foot onto the Lamborghini production line out in the countryside of Sant’Agata Bolognese. Eye opening factory tour; really great to see human beings working on fine-tuned details. The craftsmanship = impeccable. Their museum was a kick, too. Beautiful models on the floor and on the walls. Bus ride back through the green fields and into the city of Bologna. We’d be lying if we said that all this fun didn’t take it out of us. Confession: two hour afternoon nap.
People to Remember: Alice and her friend Emiliano: we met up for dinner and drinks and shot the breeze about sports and photography and Patagonia…

Day 125: Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

Incredible. One of those overused words, but today it really does fit the bill. You’d have to see it to believe it, so here it is: twoOregonains at Lamborghini Driving Academy 2012. And here. And here. And here. And more coming, too, on the blog. My best tweet from the day? “The only thing that could possibly be as cool as Ted getting schooled at #lamboacademy would be me at CIA training camp with Sydney Bristow.” And that’s pretty much the truth. Extreme International Adventure. Cutting Edge of Danger. Hero at the End of the Day.

Day 124: Monday, May 7th, 2012

Spent the day amping up for the Lamborghini Driving Academy 2012 welcome evening. What a kick-off, complete with classmates from around the world, cocktails and aperitivos, driving theory lessons, and mouthwatering dinner prepared at a fabulous Trattoria hidden away in the hills at Savigno (Città del Tartufo). Ted signed the paperwork to sit behind the wheel at tomorrow’s on-the-track event… The nerves and excitement might be too much to bear. We’ll see if he gets any sleep!

Day 123: Sunday, May 6th, 2012

Sunday morning off to a good start: our housemate Niccola made lovely coffees for the crew as we spent the day recuperating from a busy week. Said our farewells to a few Blogville housemates Tom from London and Jess from Florence, and welcomed new arrival, Mr. Turtle, world-traveling-Aussie-extraordinaire. Finished out the night with a game of Canasta (see day eighty-seven and following for cruise-ship flashbacks) and another of Ted’s amazing Italian meals… One hyphenated word: fried-Parmesan-cheese.

Day 122: Saturday, May 5th, 2012
Started the day with a wander through Bologna’s weekend market. Note: buying fresh flowers is the best sort of thing to do with Euros. Nick (Blogville mastermind) invited the entire gang of travelers out to the coast to become better acquainted with his proverbial (and near literal) back yard. (It was actually his mother’s front yard, but who’s keeping track?) Two Euro gelatos three times the size of tourist portions made a perfect lunch. Spent a leisurely afternoon in Cesenatico, a town famous for Leonardo da Vinci’s port canal design. Ted found another chance to eat deep fried shrimp after spending a solid hour on the pier watching sailboats and fighter jets put on a candid show.
People to Remember: Nick’s mom Karin, girlfriend Roberta, and hometown friends Davide, Martina, Mattia, and Giulia – all quintessentially Italian and genuinely cheery to meet. Alfredo the slobbery basset hound really stole the show, though, and now Ted’s convinced he wants one as a puppy upon return home.

Day 121: Friday, May 4th, 2012

Quite the foray to Forlimpopoli, Forlì, and Bertinoro. Dipped our hands in egg and flour for pasta making lessons at Casa Artusi’s culinary school. (See slightly embarrassing video of us geeking out over cute little noodles!) Visited the Wildt Exhibit at Musei San Domenico. Drank beautiful Albana white from Celli Winery, and returned to Bologna by the light of a gorgeous sunset. The busy days keep coaxing us into adventure; hard to keep up with sorting photos and stories…

Day 120: Thursday, May 3rd, 2012
Quiet day in Bologna. Ted and I enjoyed roaming the streets together, ducking into shops in search of new jeans. Mine are just about threadbare at this point. (Hey, travelers are hard on their four pieces of clothing.) Success? Ted: one. Bethany: zero. Of course it wouldn’t be that easy…but, it’s a university city, and it seems like there could be more places to look later on this weekend. New housemates Tom and Jess arrived today. Tomorrow: tagliatelle pasta making!

Day 119: Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012
Blogville Press Conference: The Emilia-Romagna Tourism Board hosted 25+ tourism and journalism professionals at our Bologna Blogville Apartment. We were honored to join the panel of travel bloggers involved in partnering with the region to promote lesser known sides of Italy. Last night with one of our new best travel buddies and apartment roomies, Angie. The downside to travel is meeting so many lovely people and then parting ways… Good news, though! Heard word that our friends Jenna and Evan visited our favorite baker in Buenos Aires today (see day #73). The world is big, but the world is so small.

Day 118: Tuesday, May 1st, 2012
Fast cars, ancient history, slow food: Ferrari Museums, Modena, and Traditional Balsamic Vinegar tastings today. Blown away by 300 kilometer an hour vehicles, ancient stone work, and 250+ year old artisan vinegar aging barrels…
People to Remember: Alessio, our guide who is living his dream: working for Ferrari after visiting the museum seventeen times on his own before eventually being hired as an employee. Talk about passion and knowledge!

Day 117: Monday, April 30th, 2012
Unexpected afternoon of relaxation today in Bologna at Terme S. Petronion Atalgik Spa. Something akin to a water aerobics, physiotherapy, and health center complete with steam room, sauna, and – most importantly – kickboards. Physical unwinding and emotional encouragement after spending time in great conversation with Angie (fellow traveler, writer, and Blogville housemate). Plus, Ted is a rockstar and took the MacBook to the Apple store and got a replacement battery. Hello, revived machine! Tonight: feasting on local salami, bread, olives, artichokes, and cheeses with newly arrived housemates Asgeri and Nicola, catching up on chats with my dear friend Jenna who is currently traveling in South America, and marveling at how well God weaves stories and lives together…

Day 116: Sunday, April 29th, 2012
Work today: catching up on emails and posts, battling with wifi troubles and shifting gears on the chronology of blog posts. Glad for parting conversations with Kash and Jodi as they head off to their next adventures; what an unexpected surprise to spend time with such lovely people here in Bologna. Ted whipped up dinner and we feasted on Italian food…in Italy. How picture perfect is that?!

Day 115: Saturday, April 28th, 2012
First day out and about in Emilia-Romagna: visited Castello Estense in Ferrara, rode bikes and broke our no-gelato streak in “little-Venice” (Commachio, Italy), feasted on bowls of deep fried shrimp and anchovies (Ted earned the title “shrimpface“), and spent the afternoon meandering through the Po Delta wetlands. Evening rest-up session. Terrible tourist pizza experience ameliorated by a successful hunt for Jodi’s gluten-free gelato and a nighttime roam of Bolgona’s bustling streets. What a privilege to be at home in this pleasant city.

Day 114: Friday, April 27th, 2012
Wide awake at five in the morning to catch our train to #blogville a.k.a. our new home base in Bologna, Italy. For the next stretch of time, we’ll be living in a downtown apartment in the heart of this Northern Italian region of Emilia-Romagna… We zipped up the tracks for a few hours, snoozing in between station stops. Upon arrival we began the art form of settling in: Ted made the bed and worked on laundry, I straightened the dishes and fiddled with the pantry. (More beautiful meat, cheese, pasta, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, rosemary and basil plants: all provided by our host!) Enjoyed a mellow evening, dining on delicious home cooked food with apartment-mates Kash, Jodi, Angie, Vago, and Jane.

Day 113: Thursday, April 26th, 2012
It’s official. One week in Italy without gelato. (Unbelievable for a girl who not once, but twice, shamelessly bought €10, 10 flavor cones in Rome.) Instead, we’ve been feasting on the most incredible produce, wine, meats, cheeses, pastas, and desserts. No appetite left for gelato, if you can believe it. Today, Walks of Italy sent us on an all day affair at Il Fontanaro Agritourismo in Paciano. Cooking lessons, harvesting fresh herbs and fruits from the garden, Umbrian wine introductions from a master sommelier, olive oil tastings and small scale production tour, history of local honeybees, and an afternoon meal in the garden glasshouse… Norah Jones and near nap time on the ride back to Santa Maria. Dinner and behind the scenes with the chef at San Crispeno / Assisi Wellness Spa & Resort (see day #109).
People to Remember: Lucia and Alina, two beautiful women of Italy devoted to their land, their family, and their life’s work.

Day 112: Wednesday, April 25th, 2012
Morning bus ride to Narni. Full on medieval town shining in costume and color. Impressive Umbrian hospitality and regional pride: over one hundred volunteers from the city prepared and served our conference group lunch following a warm welcome, medieval demonstration, and city tour. Bittersweet to part with our TBU friends at the close of the afternoon. Travelers scattered in all directions: North to Pisa, Milan, Bologna (where we head Friday), South to Rome, and off to far corners beyond Italian soil. We returned to Santa Maria with friends Meg and Tony (see day #50). Dinner meetup in Assisi with Giordano and Laura (day #108). Much laughter and food talk… G&L told the four of us, “We’ve never before met Americans who talk so much about food!” We’ll take that badge and wear it with pride.

Day 111: Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

The skies made good on their threat of rain but didn’t dampen our spirits. We followed our guide down trails at the Alviano WWF Nature Reserve, viewing birds of Europe and Africa and catching snapshots on iPhones. Lunch at renown Sala della Comitissa. Seven courses, six wines, three+ hours of personalized dining. Each ingredient is sourced carefully, locally; every dish handmade. No menus, simply seasonal food at its finest. Afternoon tour through the hilltop Etruscan city of Orvieto. Impressive Duomo and frescoes. Wish we could’ve stayed longer, but whisked away to LaPenisola for regional olive and wine tasting followed by another multi-course meal: first plate served at 10pm. Went to bed too full to imagine eating one more bite.

Day 110: Monday, April 23nd, 2012
First day exploring Umbria, Italy on our post-conference tour. Really, we were both so surprised to discover a countryside that reminded us both of home in Oregon. Rolling green hills, vineyards, John Deere tractors… Morning visit and tasting at Monte Vibiano Winery; Ted loved taking a turn driving an electric farm cart around the property. Unforgettable lunch at one of the region’s fine agritourismos – serving organic foods tended completely from soil to table. Afternoon tour of Città della Pieve and viewing of original Perugino works (!!). Mels Belles would be proud.

Day 109: Sunday, April 22nd, 2012
Helpful sessions, tasty Italian food, and cappuccino/hot tea pick me ups at coffee breaks. Ended the day over red wine and conversation with pleasant company; couldn’t ask for more.
People to Remember: Too many to count. Twitter friends now linked with real life smiles. More new faces to find online. And of course Patricia and Leonello, our B&B hosts…

Day 108: Saturday, April 21st, 2012
Beautiful day: more time with new and old travel friends, an afternoon tour and massages (our backs are crying thank you, thank you!) at Assisi Wellness Li Dimore di San Crispino. Lovely place; no wonder Dolce and Gabbana and Giorgio Armani designers have come here to escape and work through design charrettes. Dinner and an evening with renowned photographer Steve McCurry at Hotel Brufani Palace, in Perugia.
People to Remember: Giordano and Laura and their stories of life and food in Italy and around the world...

Day 107: Friday, April 20th, 2012
TBU Day One: Blogging conference; no time for blogging. Catching up with a few favorite smiling faces, traipsing along the streets of Assisi, feasting on beautiful artisan meats and cheeses, watching a medieval flag twirling performance, dining with new friends, and making our way blinding through a dark field on the way back to the B&B…

Day 106: Thursday, April 19th, 2012
Goodbye, Spain! Such a treat to have spent the past two weeks with familiar friends from home. Packed our bags again, played a farewell round of putt-putt golf with M&T, and hopped a flight from Malaga to Rome. I will say, Vueling provided one of the better in-flight magazines I’ve ever browsed; it almost made up for the 3.5″ of legroom. Our shuttle from Rome to Assisi turned out to be a full-size bus, equating to half a dozen seats per person for the eight of us on board. Made it to our bed and breakfast in the countryside. Tomorrow: Travel Bloggers Unite.
People to Remember: A different sort of remembrance this time. Today we learned that a kind and loving friend from home passed away suddenly, and we’re remembering his family, friends, and faith community in our prayers…

Day 105: Wednesday, April 18th, 2012
We split for the day; Ted stayed back at the resort to rest, and I jumped in the passenger seat as Mike and Tracy and I headed down the highway for Gibraltar, Tarifa, and Cadiz. Squinted our eyes at the road maps, drank coffee to the sounds of Superman in Spanish, polished off the catch of the day, watched ships off the West/Atlantic coast (sounds funny, growing up near the Pacific), squirreled the car down windy streets, and made it back in time to finish season two…

Day 104: Tuesday, April 17th, 2012
It’s ladybug season in the south of Spain. “This one’s five years old,” the little girl said. “It has five spots.” Went for another “Real English Breakfast” this morning; all the places here in Calahonda cater to Brits on holiday. Snagged a hair cut this afternoon. The travel ‘do was getting mangy. I like the ease of the short style, but I keep waking from dreams of it being long again. What’s that silly saying? “You can have everything, just not all at once.” Ted’s still resting. I’m doing my best to keep him sustained with the lemon ginger tea and milk and muesli from the store. His sore throat settled into his chest, and he’s feeling chilled. Chin up, at least we’ve World War I dramas to take our minds off the trouble.

Day 103: Monday, April 16th, 2012
Ted’s feeling under the weather, so M&T went to Rhonda on their own and the two of us stayed back at the resort to rest. I used the cafe wifi long enough to post the latest photo collection from the trip. We’ll only admit to six episodes of Downton Abbey today; mainly because the seventh was started after midnight.

Day 102: Sunday, April 15th, 2012
A day of rest. Naptimes and reading. The guys made dinner for us girls and then pulled out disk one of Downton Abbey from the rental bag. Mike and Tracy were good enough to re-watch the show (since they, along with the rest of the Western World, have already seen every episode), and three hours later Ted and I had made a small dent in catching up on pop culture. It’s probably not safe to start this kind of addiction on the road. (Incidentally, the opening scene was on April 15th, 1912 – one hundred years ago to the day.)

Day 101: Saturday, April 14th, 2012
Day two at the Alhambra. The Rain in Spain is falling mainly on us, and unlike the crowds, we Oregonians are doing fine without umbrellas. Residents are grateful for relief from the drought. We wandered the crooked streets of Granada and snatched wine and sandwiches from the corner store before afternoon coffees, hot chocolates, and bakery specialties. The evening drive to Marbella wound us through olive country: grey leaves and gnarled wood over rolling hills of red. Evening swim and sauna with a group of Finnish folks on holiday at the resort. Ted and Mike spent two hours hunting down dinner in a town that closes on Saturday nights (!?).

Day 100: Friday, April 13th, 2012
Ten times ten days. Woke to a 5am alarm; the four of us piled into the car, set off on the highway, and made it to Granada, Spain by 1pm. My history of landscape architecture classes buzzed to life as we walked the grounds of the Alhambra. Mesmerizing water courses. Intricate craftsmanship. I couldn’t help thinking of my professor, Kenny Helphand, and of my studio-mates Brynn and Jay who visited this beautiful Spanish citadel in previous years. A Moroccan feast for dinner, and a wander home up crooked streets to the sights of illuminated towers and the sounds of joyful troubadours.

Day 99: Thursday, April 12th, 2012
Not sure if that sounds like a lot or a little, but it’s felt like the world. A quiet day on the coast of Spain. Afternoon sangria and a taste of homemade limoncello. We drove to another series of ruins down near the sea and happened to meet a collared-shirt wearing long distance trekker coming up from the south. Ted invited him to join us for dinner, and a few hours later, we found ourselves eating seafood and swapping stories of trekking, picking up hitchhikers, and staying in touch with friends from home.
People to Remember: Jason, who left Michigan for Normandy, France in June of 2011 and trekked the entire Atlantic and Mediterranean coast from there to here with nothing more than a 12lb. sack. He’s on his eleventh pair of cheap tennis shoes, he caries his two walking sticks, a tarp for shelter, and a tablet with solar charger. He trekked the Appalachian Trail and he started north from Mexico on the Pacific Crest Trail and stopped off in the Sierra Nevadas just shy of reaching Oregon. He plans to make it from here to the Pyrenees by May and then cut back across to the Atlantic to see what adventure is around the next corner…

Day 98: Wednesday, April 11th, 2012
Woke up in an architect’s house (we love airbnb.com!); ate a breakfast of champions, then off to Park Guell (this time sans the downpour from day ninety-five) and a long afternoon exploring La Sagrada de Familia. Mom was right; Gaudi’s project is stunning. His creative responses to influences of nature and faith are unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Generally, I don’t care much for his aesthetics, but wow. Those columns! (I think one of his quotes went something like this: “This tree outside my workshop, this is my master.”) At the rest-stop half way through the late afternoon drive from Barcelona to Peñíscola, Mike met a local wine distributor and was given a bottle of red. We shared it with joy over para llevar pizzas and discussed imaginary dinner party roundups. Mike won the most laughs for his table of legends including Antoni Gaudi, the Apostle Paul, Sean Connery, and Michael Landon. Meanwhile, Ted won ridicule for his choice of anchovy toppings. Salty fish aside, what a treat to spend our hundredth day on the road marveling at incredible design and enjoying the company of wise and hilarious friends from Oregon. We are blessed.

Day 97: Tuesday, April 10th, 2012
We returned to Barcelona via a visit to Tarragona, one of the oldest cities in all of Spain. Home to Roman settlers over two centuries before the birth of Christ, the city eventually grew to hold a beautiful cathedral complex (c. 1154) located on the site of an old Roman temple. We wandered the streets and ordered cafe con leche from the coffee house near the university. I ate a bikini for lunch (yes, it’s true) while the rest enjoyed bratwurst and omelets (not together; that would be questionable). The cathedral housed a beautiful art collection. Tracy especially loved this 15th century painted/carved wood piece. As a side note, it’s funny to return to Western art history in such a snap; a strange sensation on the heels of our time in Latin America. Fast forward past our group’s 70 euro parking ticket: with Mike as driver and Ted as navigator, w arrived (for the second time in a week) in Barcelona. Tonight, beelines down the map routes. A visit to Iglesia de Santa Maria del Mar. More coffee in the plaza. Tapas and eighties music (and faux eighties music…you should have seen the silly grins on our face when Electric Youth’s “A Real Hero” came across the speakers). Ted and Mike ventured back out in the midnight rain for beers and cigars. Tomorrow: day one hundred on the road and the much-anticipated visit to La Sagrada de Familia.
People to Remember: the fellow who served us lunch and spoke bashful (but terrific) English…and Catalon, and Spanish, and French that he learned in immersion school and practiced with the local Senegalese immigrants.

Day 96: Monday, April 9th, 2012
A quiet day for one half of twoOregonians: I stayed back to work on playing computer catch-up after nearly three weeks of being off wifi for the ship crossing, etc. Ted had an adventure, joining Mike and Tracy for a day of exploring northward up the Spanish coastline. They found their way to an ancient castle, and rumor has it they hiked the hill and scrambled over ruins in Toms shoes and sandals. Hardcore, this bunch!

Day 95: Sunday, April 8th, 2012
Easter Sunday! Beautiful sunshine over the Mediterranean waters. Explored the ancient castle on the nearby peninsula. Such a history: 13th century Moorish citadel, inhabited and modified by the Knights Templar then later by want-to-be-pope, “Papa Luna,” and eventually visited by Charlton Heston and Sophia Lauren for the filming of El Cid. Spanish families out in droves. Kiddos and teenagers. Rental bikes and restaurants popping at the seams. The four of us shared a pitcher of Sangria and an hour of people watching. Mike found a hidden bit of rocky shoreline and we sat for another hour in the afternoon sun. Early 10pm dinner at Cabo Wabo complete with lively crowds watching the Madrid/Valencia soccer match.

Day 94: Saturday, April 7rd, 2012
A shorter day in Barcelona before heading south to Peñíscola with Mike and Tracy. Ted and I enjoyed a bit of wandering while M&T went on the walking tour. Popped into bookstores, visited La Catedral and admired the gothic architecture and white geese, and sat in the sunshine on the waterfront. We’ll be back in the city again on Tuesday/Wednesday. Jammed our bags into the rental car and set out south… Ted played navigator, Mike drove, and we made it 95% of the way before resorting to asking the local fire station for directions to a mystery road. Ask and you shall receive…a fireman escort. No flashing lights or red truck, but the kind guy did lead the way in his little car for several kilometers before pointing us to our final turn and driving off into the sunset. Arrived as night fell on the coastal town, dropped our bags, and went in search of paella.
People to Remember: The bow-tied book store owner exclaiming with passion his praises for “incredible!” gardens in India, calling home for his wife to help him remember a name of a hotel, and running to the back of the store to look up the English word for “cabbage.”

Day 93: Friday, April 6th, 2012
Arrival: Barcelona, Spain. One last meal of eggs benedict, pineapple juice, and a morning cappuccino on the ship, and then we carried our bags back to reality on shore and were promptly flagged by customs for a thorough search. Imagine: cinch bags and compression sacks undone and rummaged through in a tiny room…welcome to Europe! At least they didn’t confiscate my Bolivian chocolate… Connected with our apartment host, dropped our bags, hiked the hill to Park Guell in time for a massive rainstorm on a sea of umbrellas, went for a walking tour at the recommendation of Claude and Marie, then joined the crowds in the streets for the Semana Santa/Good Friday procession. What a contrast between snap happy camera bearers and the deeply introspective, mournful women dressed in black and carrying candles down the streets, making way for the statue of a dead Christ in Mary’s arms. The city streets buzzed on. We connected a few hours later with our friends Mike and Tracy who arrived from Oregon, and the four of us set out for an evening of tapas and gelato in the Gothic Quarter.
People to Remember: Keith and Taunesha, travelers from Oregon on the walking tour.

Day 92: Tuesday, April 5rd, 2012
Final full day on the ship. Spa soaks and farewells to new friends. We enjoyed our last on-board dinner upstairs at the Polo Grill overlooking the stars and the still water…
People to Remember: Our waiter, Wilner from the Philippines, who shocked us with his incredible knowledge of the Portland Trailblazers’ players and coaches and news from the nineties until now. He leaves the ship to fly home this weekend; he’s been working out at sea for six months and his wife’s having their second baby girl in just a few days.

Day 91: Wednesday, April 4rd, 2012
Left the Atlantic Ocean and entered the Mediterranean Sea through the Strait of Gibraltar. Surreal to be floating our way between the landmasses of Africa and Europe, both easily visible over both sides of the ship…

Day 90: Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012
Port call: Casablanca, Morocco. Black and White visions melted into colorful real-life in this coastal region of Northeast Africa. The little outpost of covert gambling and prop planes made famous by Humphrey and Ingrid is now the fourth largest city on the entire continent and home of the world’s largest man-made port. Accompanied our friends Claude and Marie on shore – thankfully, they both speak French and Claude speaks a bit of Arabic. Wove our way through the streets and stalls of the Medina and went as far as the door to the Grand Mosque (second-largest in the world after Mecca). Enjoyed Moroccan mint tea. Happened across the cheesy Rick’s Cafe that some enterprising owner opened near the tourist route. Returned to the ship for dinner: Ted ordered three of the five appetizers on the menu (but skipped the soup and salad – so maybe it evened out?). The best by far: my order of escargot smothered in butter and garlic. One shared bite with Ted and he decided to add the fourth appetizer to his order. Movie night back in our room: His Girl Friday. They don’t make Cary Grants like they used to.

Day 89: Monday, April 2nd, 2012
Port call: Canary Islands. (That sounds so much more romantic than “Arrecife, Lanzarote.”) The first steps around the city revealed blue and white drenched in fleeting golden-morning rays of sunshine. Few birds: no canaries, just a pigeon or two and the slim white stork-looking thing poking his way along the rocky shoreline. Hiked to the far end of the pier, watched a few men fishing. Peered out at the baby-blue horizon that faded seamlessly into the sky. (No, stork and baby mean nothing. The words just came out that way.) Walked the city streets for a few hours, found a few nice bottled beverages for a steal (including pink champagne to replicate the drinks from An Affair to Remember), and made our way back to the ship in time for departure and an afternoon nap on deck looking out across the flat blue seascape. More afternoon Canasta. Passing conversations with ship crew about their soon-coming vacations. Wow, have they earned it. They work so incredibly hard and provide outstanding service. It’s like having a ship full of Gaskins. (Beverley Nichols, anyone?) Thinking with wonder about how this long-dreamed-of voyage is only three short days from being over.

Day 88: Sunday, April 1st, 2012
Pulled an all-nighter. Terrible sleep schedules. The NCAA games ended in the wee hours of the morning, and we thought we might as well stay awake until morning coffee. Small price to pay for a sunrise view over the Atlantic. Attended the morning church service led by the on-board magician (though maybe they should advertise that their magic shows are run by the on-board pastor?); watched another culinary demonstration, sat for morning tea with Betty, and then retired for a nice, long nap. Afternoon Canasta with Claude and Marie, dinner on the back deck watching dolphins jump in the calm waters. Tonight, we’re watching An Affair to Remember. Cary Grant, glamorous ship scenes, and room service soon to appear with late night snacks and ice cream.

Day 87: Saturday, March 31st, 2012
Slept till noon. (Though, with all the recent time changes, it still feels a bit like nine or ten…) Lunch in the grand dining room; afternoon post card writing and photo sorting on the tenth floor. Wondering about the differences observing 180+ degree views of vast horizons from the comforts of an elegant sitting room as opposed to a 360 degree view from the deck of a fifteenth century tub of wood tossed in the empty seas. Ted played Canasta with Claude and Marie while I slept in effort to run away from a nasty head and eye ache. Dinner: Ted went for peking duck; I tried the Cape Verdian Wahoo – fish that sounded better on the menu than it tasted in real life…but hey, it’s an experience! Tonight, Ted’s watching NCAA March Madness Final Four games via on board satellite TV, and we’re re-watching Revolutionary Road on DVD. The movie brings sobering flashbacks of trip-planning years and fears…

Day 86: Friday, March 30th, 2012
Port call: Mindelo, Cape Verde, Island of Sao Vincente. Hired a guide and driver to take us on an eye opening three hour drive around the small island. Years of drought and a weak food system have taken their toll: the land is dry, industries seem withered. We took a surprise swim in the teal island waters and made it back to the ship in time for afternoon tea. Watched the islands fade away behind us as our ship continued chugging north through blue waters. Evening hot tub soak under white lights strung above the pool deck and the half moon hanging high in the sky.

Day 85: Thursday, March 29th, 2012
Third straight day at sea; no land in sight. Room service breakfast of freshly baked croissants and pineapple juice perked us up enough to sit through the on-board spiel about future sailings with our cruise line. Fun to daydream about voyages through the Black Sea or the South Pacific, but prices snap us back to reality. We’re in the middle of a two-week daydream, and we’ll soon be roused and back to living on a modest travel budget. Highlights today: the grand afternoon event where we were treated to classical music and requisite cruise line ice sculptures in addition to daily high tea on the high seas. Our hopes for classy card playing are alive again after the fizzled Bridge experience: Claude and Marie taught us Canasta. Tomorrow: Cape Verde. I remember singing the name of the islands during countless Africa Geography Songs repetitions. They sounded so intriguing. Tomorrow, we’ll set foot on land.
People to Remember: Rita and Felix and their stories of life in Ireland, the Philippines, and Delaware.

Day 84: Wednesday, March 28th, 2012
One week on board and not even half way through the sailing. Truly we are in the middle of the ocean. Today: 764 nautical miles off the coast of Natal, Brazil and 712 nautical miles from our next port of call, Porto Grande, Cape Verde. Riding the stationary bike in front of a floor length window, I pedaled for several miles toward the blue horizon, trying in vain to offset the intake of calories. The food on this ship: beyond every expectation. Today’s cooking demonstration by Executive Chef Renald Macouin of France and Toscana Chef Parmaissur Mahapratabsing from Mauritius made me miss my little Portland kitchen once again… Ted spotted a dolphin doing backflips above the ocean. Tried returning to writing this afternoon; relaxation has certainly knocked me off my rhythm. Afternoon tea…an early dinner…another slightly ridiculous evening show…followed by room service cheese plate and tea for two. We’re watching Into the Wild tonight, thinking of Paul Pastor, Darian Pike, and our other brave-hearted adventuring friends. Seeing footage of Oregon fir and pine trees growing on green hillsides made me almost choke up a little bit… Second time change in a row. Lost an hour last night, and we lose another tonight. Still making up our minds about the pros and cons of ship-lag over jet-lag.
People to Forget: The impatient, demanding couple sitting at the neighboring dinner table who could only leer at our plates and eventually bark at the waitstaff: “Wie wuld lyke auer deesirt now and naut for brickfest!”

Day 83: Tuesday, March 27th, 2012
Much too much to eat. This past week added up. Skipped breakfast, rested late, emerged in time to see the beginnings of the equator crossing ceremony and then ducked downstairs in favor of lunch over sea-creature-kissing exercises. (Crossing that invisible red line on the cruise ship is apparently excuse for a very disturbing geriatric hazing practice involving annointings by pink-tinted water and line-ups for the privilege of smooching a fake fish.) Spent the afternoon cleaning up my computer hard drive; photos are eating up space! Delicious dinner, though company was dour for the first time on the trip. It’s challenging to listen to comparisons and complaints when they’re coming from people seemingly blind to their own privilege. Gracious gratitude goes so very far. Back in our stateroom, we completed Master and Commander, watching Russell Crowe sail his way around South America. The rocking of the scenes on TV paired with the rocking of the ship made for a bit of vertigo, but other than that, we’ve escaped sea sickness thus far.

Day 82: Monday, March 26th, 2012
Port stop: Natal. Last day on land in South America. Stepped off the ship, wandered past the line of fifty or so folks waiting for cruise shuttle rides to the shopping center, and ventured toward the nearest busy street to flag down a taxi. Our independent tour covered less ground, but turned up more memorable moments. Visited the 400 year old fort on the coastline, stopped to fish with the locals (Ted proudly caught two eels and one baby fish!), downed three coconuts (such a refreshing drink), and stopped for a few bottles of wine to take back to the ship. Read our books on the top deck. Watched as we left port, ducking underneath the harbor bridge and making our way onto the open seas. We invited Betty and her husband Wells to share afternoon tea. Oh, the stories! Betty’s traveled the world. She started at forty years old and hopped a flight to Nepal. Since then, she’s bicycled her way through Europe, and New Zealand, hiked Kilimanjaro in the 70s (as one of two people on the mountain!), and used her Air New Zealand employee perks to travel to Tahiti back in the days when other travelers complained about how spoiled the atmosphere had become “since the advent of air-traffic to the islands.” Finally did it: nasty sunburn from our position near the equator. Good thing we’ve been carrying the aloe since Bolivia. Fascinating conversation on this ship: a boat full of doctors, lawyers, professors, and other educated professionals. Amazing what we stand to learn by being humble and asking questions.
People to Remember: Vicki from L.A. She has first hand experience at the top of the successful heap (practicing Entertainment Law in L.A….past head lawyer for the Screen Actor’s Guild; I can only imagine!). She met her husband years ago and sings praises of the relationship that saved her from successful loneliness. Ray and Rita from Scottsdale, Arizona: investment funds manager/economics teacher and a retired middle school teacher with lovely stories of children and grandchildren.

Day 81: Sunday, March 25th, 2012
Port stop: Recife. My lovely friend Jenna lived and volunteered in Refice in 2004, and I’ve been anticipating a visit to the city. Difficult to be patient through a day tour galavant around trinket shops and tourist spots, but we enjoyed the people in our group. Dined on sun-dried meat and coconut milk stuffed pumpkins while looking out over the city skyline from Olinda. Our generous Servas host, Tiberio, and his girlfriend Camilla, met us for an evening bite out at a spot popular with local young people; we shared Filet com Fritas – delicious beef and onions with fries, tomato salsa, and manioc flour. Interesting conversations about Tiberio’s work as a lawyer and professor assisting with non-profit work in Brazil. He’s been instrumental in working on changes to Brazilian law to allow for World Vision’s micro-finance development projects in Northeast Brazil.
People to Remember: Eric and Leslie, two dentists from South Carolina who are traveling and enjoying retirement but plan to keep their licenses active and give back to their communities over their coming years of good health and free time.

Day 80: Saturday, March 24th, 2012
Morning breakfast found us seated at a table just across the way from two delightful new friends. I geeked out at the Executive and Executive Soux Chef’s onboard demonstration: good food and celebration of good life. Lunch after a soak in the hot tub. Afternoon sunbathing, reading, and more relaxing. In the spirit of the 1940s telegram, Ted sent off dinner invitations via ship notecards to be delivered to a few fellow cruisers’ staterooms. Enjoyed another multi-course meal in the Grand Dining Room, this time in the company of Ann and Costa, Dennis and Joan. Evening magic show: think GOB Bluth meets Lassie. Such an odd mix of experiences: luxury, fine dining, grand comforts – yet we are the odd ones out, cocking our heads at the sometimes bizarre entertainment, wondering if we should disguise ourselves with grey hair dye, and questioning how much happiness money can and can’t buy.

Day 79: Friday, March 23, 2012
First port call: Salvador, Brazil. Connected with a terrific couple of local young people through Servas. Debora, a journalist, and Icaro, an architect. We made our way off the boat, bypassed the tour group lines and taxi drivers, and headed for the Mercado Modelo (the main market building a few hundred yards down from the docks). A splendid stretch of hours walking the streets with our new friends, learning about the history and architecture, Brazilian poets, musicians, sculptures, artists, and photographers, and the current political unrest and efforts to challenge government to be more on-task. Dinner at a THITW place…authentic manioc root dishes and lively conversation.

Day 78: Thursday, March 22nd, 2012
“Look at all that serenity.” Woke up to the early morning sunlight peeking through the window. Ate breakfast in the breeze. Attended the morning Bridge lesson. (Brothers, remember that quote from The Secret Life of Walter Mitty? “Let’s play some bridge…”) After one lesson, we’re grateful for a history of Hearts and confused by the nuances of this new game…good thing to know we have two and a half weeks to think about getting better. Attended the afternoon meet and greet for the Cruise Critic Roll Call group; put faces with screen names and met some lovely fellow travelers. Enjoyed a full schedule during our day at sea: afternoon tea, the Captain’s cocktail party, and dinner hour in the Grand Dining Room.
People to Remember: Betty, a sweet woman who worked for Air New Zealand many years ago as a ticketing agent in Los Angeles. Her favorite route to fly for free as a perk of the job: L.A. to Honolulu on Friday nights and the easy return on Sunday evenings. Claude and Marie from Montreal sharing stories from their current trip around the world and long history of international escapades.

Day 77b: Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Ted spent hours on the phone with United. Again. Shuffled between helpful agents and maddening phone systems. Finally sorted the ticket details and headed for the docks in Rio, wound so tight we felt about to pop. Such bliss to check in on the ship, receive our key card, and be ushered off toward a free lunch. (No such thing, we know. But it feels pretty close.) Afternoon doze on the sun deck. Ice cream and sparkling water. Arrived for our first night’s dinner after pulling away from port; imagine our surprise when the sommelier appeared with a bottle of wine sent to us by a neighboring table! Tiramisu so decadent we couldn’t finish our portions. Humorous: our presence on the ship seems to have dropped the median age by at least three decades. Oddly enough, Ted’s review of the DVD library seemed to indicate otherwise: Alias Season One, The Mighty Boosh, and Flight of the Conchords. We played the part, though, and checked out Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, letting charming Jimmy Stewart dazzle us in black & white.
People to Remember: Sharon, Hugo, Ken, and Faith who recognized us from the blog. Judy, the on-board history lecturer and Ted’s fast friend on the upper deck. All the Canadians on board! Elaine and Darleen, our coffee companions from Victoria, British Columbia. Josette, a friendly painter from Montreal and our kind wine benefactress.


We’re sailing the ocean until April 6th. Stay tuned for entries once we’re on Mediterranean shores…

April 6 Barcelona, Spain
April 5 Sailing
April 4 Sailing
April 3 Casablanca, Morocco
April 2 Arrecife (Lanzarote), Canary Islands
April 1 Sailing
March 31 Sailing
March 30 Cape Mindelo, Cape Verde
March 29 Sailing
March 28 Sailing
March 27 Sailing
March 26 Natal, Brazil
March 25 Recife, Brazil
March 24 Salvador, Brazil
March 23 Salvador, Brazil
March 22 Sailing


Day 77a: Wednesday, March 21st, 2012
Since it’s 3:17am as I write this, I’ll go ahead and call it the 21st. One last Daily Travel Journal update for the next few weeks. We’re departing later today on our much anticipated voyage across the ocean. Since booking in December 2010, we’ve worked through the patience, patience, patience – now, the payoff! I’ve finished up a selection of pre-scheduled blog posts (here’s to hoping the spam-bots don’t go nuts while we’re away from the computer), and it’s time for R&R. Cannot wait to be sailing toward the sunrise for the next 16 mornings…

Day 76: Tuesday, March 20th, 2012
We might as well call it a holy grail experience for the effort that it took to visit: Sitio Roberto Burle Marx. We spent over three hours working our way toward this outlying country estate via public transportation. The payoff: a small, appointment-only tour of South America’s most influential Landscape Architect’s private garden and residence, now preserved and run as a living collection of incredible native and exotic plants, beautiful hardscape and design, and preserved buildings. Returned to the city for late afternoon in Ipanema and Copacabana, and made our way back to the apartment for an evening of preparation for tomorrow’s big departure.

Day 75: Monday, March 19th, 2012
Spent the morning interviewing a terrific 81 year old fellow who has been working with community programs in Rio for the past 50 years. We also received from him a terrific lesson on the history of Brazil, the Flavelas, and the current situation moving toward the Olympics and World Cup. Connecting with real people in real places doing real work: what a difference between these experiences and others we’ve had where we’re simply passing through as momentary tourists. Afternoon: headed to Sugar Loaf Mountain. Ted keeps slipping up and calling it “Sugar Plum Mountain.” It kills me. Bossa Nova music at a bar down in Ipanema, and a second night at Zaza Bistro…this time for their tasty desserts. Honestly, such a charming restaurant. Amelie meets Rimsky’s meets fine dining.

Day 74: Sunday, March 18th, 2012
Brazil border crossing number two. Up for an early flight to Rio de Janeiro. Beautiful day in the city. Staying in a lovely apartment just a few minutes’ walk from the Corcovado Train Station. Made an afternoon trip up to the Christ the Redeemer Statue and read/skimmed the gift shop copy of a fascinating history book about the construction project. Ate dinner at Zaza Bistro Tropical; back to “one of the top meals of the trip” statuses.

Day 73: Saturday, March 17th, 2012
Put those Brazilian visas to work and crossed the border to see the Brazilian side of Iguazu Falls. Incredible. Absolutely surreal. It’s difficult to take in something that magnificent, difficult to fully appreciate it. Majestic. Truly. Spent the evening at the hostel; watched Ted again enjoy swimming in a pool. If I didn’t know better, I’d think something about waterfalls has cured Ted of his hatred of swimming… Got a kick out of watching the Black Cappuccino Monkeys playing in the trees. Funny to remind ourselves after growing up visiting the zoo that seeing these animals in the wild is actually a new experience. Asado and Samba show at the hostel.
People to Remember: Jeremy from the U.K., and fascinating talks about the Falklands. Jackson and Nicole, two newlyweds from Australia three weeks into their long adventure around the world. Diego, our laid back tour guide and his stories of kayaking the river… Joe, the traveling Californian working at the hostel, sharing Toms Shoes history and selling dinner tickets.

Day 72: Friday, March 16th, 2012
Too amazed for words at Iguazú Falls. Tomorrow we return to see the Brazilian side. Ted says, “Top five days of the trip.”

Day 71: Thursday, March 15th, 2012
Arrived in Puerto Iguazú. A few snafus with the air conditioning on the bus and the transfer to our accommodations, but a bright blue swimming pool and tropical flowers greeted us on arrival at 3pm, and we hopped right in for a swim. Note: first time I’ve seen Ted in a pool since he was 14.

Day 70: Wednesday, March 14th, 2012
Last day in Buenos Aires. Coffee and treats with Kaylea at Zorzal Mane (it had been on the list since day one in the city…good to finally get to it on day thirty!). A long walk down the canals and into the Plaza de Mayo. Lunch and a final walk down Peru street. We said goodbyes, split ways from Kaylea (who flies back to Oregon on the 15th), and took our packed bags to Retiro Station to board our overnight bus to Puerto Iguazú. Seats that recline to 180 degrees and personal TVs in the seatbacks? Yes, please. A midnight watch of “Slumdog Millionare” while driving down the highway? Double yes, please.

Day 69: Tuesday, March 13th, 2012
Oh, the travel and technology dramas. First: after more than a week of calling United Airlines without getting through (Continental systems merger to blame), we finally hunted down a physical address for United in Buenos Aires and taxied (the Subway was down, of course) to the Hotel Panamericano’s ground floor United Office. No bueno. They couldn’t do anything to make adjustments to our mileage RTW tickets. They did supply two telephone numbers: one that went to a car dealership in Mexico City (um, thanks?), and one that went to an English speaking United ticketing agent based out of Argentina. Score. Problem solved. Next: Busted iPhone needed a factory restore last week. No AT&T sim card meant a dead duck. Today, a friend in the city offered a card loan, and iPhone to iPhone resuscitation was successfully performed. Then, the FedEx’d sim card from home needed to be picked up at the FedEx warehouse all the way on the outskirts of the city. A fifty minute taxi ride later, the phone worked, the sim card was in possession, and we were set to make a successful departure from BsA.

Day 68: Monday, March 12th, 2012
Bittersweet to be sorting through departure plans even while we’re still discovering new favorites in the city. Booked our bus tickets onward to Iguazú Falls and booked lodging in Rio. We invited friends to join us at the neighborhood restaurant where evening meals of trout, steak, and rabbit made for a beautiful table, and we returned to the apartment to finish out the wine and share the fabled cake of Buenos Aires (see Days #43, #55, and #66).
People to Remember: My online friend Stephanie and her Buenos Aires expat boyfriend Chance; great company, intelligent conversation about Argentine politics, mail delivery (or not), the soy industry (oh dear…), and living in a city that references “ten o’clock in the afternoon.”

Day 67: Sunday, March 11th, 2012
Accompanied Kaylea on her art-buying errand in San Telmo, dashed downtown for a late afternoon visit to the Recoleta Cemetery and Floralis Genérica, watched the sun sink, drank another bottle of agua con gas at the corner cafe, and made it home on the Subte in time for sushi from buenosairesdelivery.com.

Day 66: Saturday, March 10th, 2012
Amazing how a full day starts after noon. Coffee and a trip to the bakery to place an order for our farewell dessert. (I may go through minor withdrawals once we leave Buenos Aires and cannot lay hands on the most delicious cream, meringue, and dulce de leche cake on the face of the planet. I’d consider importing for birthdays.) An afternoon meal at Gibraltar Pub: dark wood paneling and soccer on TVs to set the mood for the night’s adventure. Ted, Kaylea and I snatched up tickets for the Racing-All Boys match and went along with a group of five other fellows from England and two British expats who now lead soccer tours in the city. Riot police, netting around the away-team fans section, a moat around the field: these communities are passionate about their game. Hours of chanting, cheers, and celebrations for the winning home team: 3-0, Racing. We moved on to our midday activity, an 11pm performance of “Ojos Cerrados, Teatro Sensorial” at Teatro la Comedia. Incredible sensory experience: imagine dreaming in a waking state, blindfolded but acutely aware of sound, taste, touch, and smell. Simply amazing. Evening beer and food at Buller (predictable, we are), and a tumble into bed to finish an Argentine day around 4am…
People to Remember: Our futball fellows: Dan, Sam, Jonathan, Adrian, Alex, (!can’t remember!), and Alex two.

Day 65: Friday, March 9th, 2012
Coffee, bicycles, and beer. A second trip to Tortoni’s, this time to share the experience with Kaylea. We placed our order and people watched. The din of Spanish conversation resonated through the aged building adorned with marble and wood, stained glass and framed art. Touristy, yes, but for the ambiance and the super-speedy coffee services and perfectly sweet medialunas (moon shaped crescent rolls), we couldn’t go wrong. Our field trip for the afternoon took us by a visit to the Rio de la Plata by way of the bike trails criss-crossing the Reserva Ecológica Costanera Sur’s 865 acres of protected (man-made) wetlands. Foreign blooms and wild bird-songs, sparkly purple bike frames with cushy leather seats, and views of city skyscrapers softened for an hour by green and white stretches of pampas grass waving in the wind: a perfect escape after three weeks in the big city. The evening? A return to Buller Brewery near Recoleta Cemetery for a tasty reminder of Portland’s micro brews.
People to Remember: the grinning old man plunging papas fritas in a vat of oil, serving cones of fries and entire rolls of paper towels at the stand outside the Reserva Ecológica.

Day 64: Thursday, March 8th, 2012
Late to bed, late to rise. Our friend and house-guest Kaylea adventured out toward Palermo, putting yesterday’s subway lessons to the test. Meanwhile, Ted and I worked on the less glamorous tasks of travel: tickets, destination arrangements, emergency-iPhone-revivial attempts, wrapping up our taxes… Evening: the ultimate treat. A closed-door-dinner hidden in a nondescript apartment building in our neighborhood. Delicious, homemade, locally sourced vegetarian Indonesian food shared with a table of locals and transplants from around the world… I do drag my husband and friends into pretty random situations. Thankfully, this one was a winner!

Day 63: Wednesday, March 7th, 2012
Full day spent zipping around the city: first, the El Galpón Organic Market in Chacarita to stock up on veggies, yogurt, and handmade ravioli; later, out the train line to the north of town to visit local clothing design shop, Mercado, in Martinez; and finally to a Milonga tucked away in a sports club where we took in the Tango scene until the wee hours…

Day 62: Tuesday, March 6th, 2012
Kaylea’s here! Our spunky friend from Oregon arrived on the doorstep at 9am with a smile and bright-orange carry-on luggage, fresh from overnight flights through LAX and Lima. She and I met in New Zealand in 2004, and memories of adventures over the years in the Kahurangi National Park, the Marble Mountain Wilderness Area, and the Woodburn Outlet Parking Lot are soon to be joined by tales from Argentinian cafes, bakeries, tango halls, and ecological reserves. Watch out, world. We’ve expanded to threeOregonians for the week!

Day 61: Monday, March 5th, 2012
Coffee, bakery, ice cream. These daily budget entries are starting to sound like a broken record. Put on our raincoats and swam through the city to take in the La Bamba drum show. Returned home in a drizzle, walked toward the white twinkle lights, and found ourselves in the sweetest little restaurant. Upholstered easy chairs, chandeliers, and just-right red wine.
People to Remember: Our waiter: frizzled hair pulled back in a pony-tail, scruff on the cheeks, patient eyes, and impeccable timing.

Day 60: Sunday, March 4th, 2012
Computer marathon session. Trip planning, post-writing, photo-sorting. Spent the afternoon with our new friends Leanne and Leah (see Day 53), enjoying sidewalk cafe culture, walking the San Telmo street fair, watching their dachshunds take in the tango.

Day 59: Saturday, March 3rd, 2012
Rise and shine in time to meet the sun at its zenith. Midday visit to another local produce market: this one, an easy walk from our apartment. The collection of stalls didn’t boast organic produce or grass fed meat, but the crowds of locals gave us a genuine sense of the neighborhood’s food culture. We took a number at the cheese counter: “40.” I thought we’d grabbed a ticket from the wrong dispenser when a moment later I heard them call out “82!” Nope. We soon realized we’d be waiting until the numbers cycled up through 100 and back to 1, and all the way back to 40. Good cheese is a popular purchase. Attempted an afternoon call to United Airlines to set dates for later flights. Good news? They’ve formed a new dedicated RTW-ticket call line. Bad news? Today was the first day of the new post-Continental-merge system, and the lines were jammed. Take a number. Try again. Hope the payoff is as satisfying as a good Roquefort.

Day 58: Friday, March 2nd, 2012
Call me a grandma: I do love a good tea house. I can’t remember how I learned of Las Violetas, but on a rainy day in Oregon, the idea of a visit lodged in my mind, and today it finally came to be. Ted ordered caviar and tuna, I ordered tea and croissants. We made dreadful fun of each other and enjoyed the treats while watching waiters in white waistcoats exchange secret handshakes. (True.) After riding a jam-packed, wood-paneled-circa-1950s? Subte car on the way to the cafe, we opted for leisurely stroll and fresh air above ground on the way back. Ted chanced a local barbershop. Let’s just say hair grows. (And now I’m doubly frightened to have someone chop away at my locks.) Evening: tickets to the surreal Hombre Vertiente show featuring aerial dance and performance art. Something like Cirque de Soliel + Honey, I Shrunk the Kids + high powered backyard sprinklers from summer days of old. Oh, and a rave thrown in the mix. Topped off the night with a sampler serving of six local brews: Ted’s betting we’ll be back for another stout before this city stay is over…
People to Remember: The evening’s featured performer, Sabastian Prada, and the kind German couple offering directions at the venue.

Day 57: Thursday, March 1st, 2012
These calmer days are soothing; less about thrilling adventure and more about calm and steady existence. Trips to the laundromat. Walks to find ice cream. Comparison shopping between the green mer-dragon and the local bakery. No rush. No demands. Deadlines and tasks entirely self imposed. Our circadian rhythms are off-beat, but the new song isn’t half bad.

Day 56: Wednesday, February 29th, 2012
Hosted our second #RTWdinnerparty! Love meeting friends online; miss dining with dear friends at home. Spent time toying with travel whimseys, cooking up ideas, scheming about the future, and wandering the halls of Malba: Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires.

Day 55: Tuesday, February 28th, 2012
A day in the life: homemade meals at our sweet little apartment, a jaunt to the coffee shop to read, computer sessions to arrange the next leg of the journey; catching up on postcards, eating another piece of the neighborhood baker’s amazing dulce de leche & meringue cake, finishing books and starting new ones… These are the days we were dreaming of all those years ago.

Day 54: Monday, February 27th, 2012
What do you know? Another holiday in Argentina. Their Flag Day. I never did get to the bottom of the question about the Argentinian version of Betsy Ross. (I’ll admit, though, I didn’t even Google it.) We reigned in all spending, gave ourselves a one hundred peso allowance ($22.97) for the day, then split ways: Ted for the coffee shop to type and me to the city green-spaces to people watch and take photos. My inner landscape nerd had been excited ever since learning that Buenos Aires has a park named after my birthday: Parque Tres de Febrero. Bethany’s spending for the day in pesos: 5 for the Subte + 16 for the Japanese Garden + 18 for fresh squeezed fruit juice + 14 for ice cream (53 total); Ted’s spending: 17 for coffee + 10 at the bakery + 7 for pasta and onions to round out dinner at home (34 total) = 87 pesos ($19.98). Packed lunches, pre-paid apartments, and easily amused travelers make for a pretty affordable Argentinian holiday. The thunderstorm that hit the city by nightfall made for even more free entertainment: electric blue flashes across the entire nighttime sky, a midnight adventure in the rain, and a cheesy picture to show the grandkids.

Day 53: Sunday, February 26th, 2012
Woke to a broken air conditioner. Earned a sunburn and an excuse for raspberry ice cream after awkward graveyard gawking at La Recoleta Cemetery. Enjoyed Palermo’s finest street eats, people watching, bargain hunting, and wine tasting on a perfectly temperate weekend afternoon. Picked up a dress for the hot weather and the cruise ship. After nearly two weeks in Argentina, we ate our first steak dinner. Spent time with our friend Alale (see day forty-three), and bumped into #teamBA on the streets. It’s lovely to meet familiar faces on foreign city sidewalks. Watched the Oscars dubbed in Spanish, cheered for Bret McKenzie, and felt a little surge of Portland pride as Esperanza Spalding took to the stage to sing “What a Wonderful World…”

Day 52: Saturday, February 25th, 2012
Wandering streets, snapping shots (Ted grabbed the camera and took this favorite of four old men in the park). Correspondence and trip planning catch-up sessions. “The Party That Wouldn’t Happen” with #teamBA…also known as “chasing down a Carnival Celebration that Buenos Aires planned and advertised then cancelled and failed to tell us.” Hat Party! (See Day #47.)
People to Remember: Leah and Leanne, Beatrice and Javier, and the retirees in Parque Lezama.

Day 51: Friday, February 24th, 2012
Day of rest: a.k.a. computers, books, and cold beverages.

Day 50: Thursday, February 23nd, 2012
DIY architectural walking tour complete with photos and tip-toes-through-the-shadows of the crumbling, empty, historic Majestic Hotel, followed by a pleasant evening at home, hosting a dinner party for traveling friends. Pasta, veggies, broiled-figs-with-blue cheese, and the local bakery’s blissfully irresistable dulce de leche/pineapple/peach/meringue dream.
People to Remember: Mike and Stephanie, Tony and Meg: Twitter friends turned #teamBA pals.

Day 49: Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012
Market day. Yes, we purchased raw milk in an Absolut vodka bottle. Considering we have nasty plastic bags coming out our ears despite best efforts at shoving reusable bags toward every vendor who will oblige, it’s nice to see one solid recycling effort succeeding. Three generous slabs of cheese, one huge loaf of bread, aforementioned raw milk, raw butter, and a dozen farm fresh eggs: $18.37. Cheaper than Portland…aaand, their public art museum: free! Free and beautiful. We spent our afternoon at the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes admiring their lovely 19th century collection of Degas, Goya, Gauguin, Manet, Monet, Renior, Van Gogh, and more…including this incredible piece. On a different note: sorrow in the air tonight as 200+ people are in grave condition and 49+ have died after a horrible train wreck at one of the city’s transit stations. Our thoughts and prayers are with the recovering survivors and grieving friends and family…

Day 48: Tuesday, February 21st, 2012
Last day of a four-day holiday weekend in Buenos Aires. Eerily quiet streets. Wandered a bit and rested at home. Ted managed to find an open laundry mat, I managed to sweep the parquet wood floors for the first time in a week… The joy of having a temporary home on the road is so sweet, chores and all! Also: downtime at the computer means more pictures and stories coming soon.

Day 47: Monday, February 20th, 2012
Thanks to the marvels of Twitter, we met up with a new friend to play cards on a rooftop under the open sky. A tweet asking for help with the rules of cribbage turned into me volunteering Ted as teacher. Four new friends counted “fifteen-twos” for the afternoon and sat discussing soccer, street crimes, and house prices in BsA and the US until the sunlight faded. At the end of the evening: an invitation to a 30th birthday party where we’re required to “wear a hat.” Guess my shopping yesterday was fortuitous.
People to Remember: Ande and Arial.

Day 46: Sunday, February 19th, 2012
Living for the month in a little place just blocks from Plaza Dorrego means easy wanderings: Sundays in the square feature the unfolding of street stalls much like you’d find if Portland’s Saturday Market procreated with The Antiques Roadshow. Kitschy jewelry side by side with ancient silver cigarette cases and mismatched teacups. Made-up tango dancers working the crowds. Starbucks on the corner clinching the deal and turning hardcore travelers back into tourists. (Guilty.) One of us bought and wore a hat, and it wasn’t Ted. Found our neighborhood ice cream shop. Listened in on drummers beating a pulse into the streets. Retreated to our little abode and caught up on Skype with family and pictures for blog posts…

Day 45: Saturday, February 18th, 2012
Second Organic Market foray of the week: this time, after books and coffee at the cafe, we took the Subte to Retiro and then the Mitre Train out to the end of the line and lastly hopped the Tren de la Costa to the San Fernando stop, where we came upon Sabe la Tierra. (It all sounded like Greek to us, too, until we made our way through the lines and ticket purchases and seats and train tracks… So it is, daily making the foreign familiar.) Less fresh produce than we’d hoped for, but we lucked out on fabulous gourmet sandwiches, craft beer, and iced ginger-cardamom-kombucha. Hopped back on the train, rode a little farther north to the city of Tigre, spent an hour on the water cooling off and imagining life in a little ramshackle home on the delta, indulged in ice cream, then made the long return trip home in time to rest up before visiting the San Telmo streets for Carnival and reading in the cafe until 2am.
People to Remember: Vilja, our charming Finnish conversationalist at morning cafe. Bright eyes, bright stories. Confirmation on the things that truly matter…

Day 44: Friday, February 17th, 2012
Quiet day on the home-front spent working on the ugly side of travel: unraveling the deeper issues beneath rough patches of interpersonal dynamics on the road. Snappy, defensive statements, and passive aggressive tugs-of-war rendered nearly all decision making efforts a complete bust. Partly blamed on 24/7itis and partly blamed on selfishness bubbling to the surface now that there’s space and time for issues to burn, it’s a painful grief to be so utterly human on the road. It’s also an invaluable invitation into introspection, communication, and growth if we can harness well the learning opportunity. Highlights of the day: splitting ways to cool off (Ted to a cafe with a copy of Borges and me to the air conditioned apartment – P.S., did I mention I don’t do so well in 100% humidity?), then reuniting for conversation, cervezas, and the beginning of a fresh start in Plaza Dorrego.

Day 43: Thursday, February 16th, 2012
Perhaps the city should be renamed Calientes Aires for the summer? It is so flipping hot. The forecast today: “Scattered thunderstorms during the morning becoming more widespread this afternoon. Hot. Heat index near 105F. High 98F. Winds N at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 80%.” Ted’s in heaven; I’m in…? Delicious Argentinian ice cream makes it bearable, though. I’ve fallen head over heals for dulce de leche anything, and after picking up a few more groceries last night, we stopped by the bakery and grabbed a delicious pineapple and dulce de leche cake covered in fluffy cream and meringue bits… It only remained intact for about three minutes following consumption of Ted’s delicious dinner. Other highlights: found an English bookstore!
People to Remember: Our friend Alale (see Day Twenty-Five) is staying in the city, too. We met up for ice cream and books. So pleasant to spend time with a friend.

Day 42: Wednesday, February 15th, 2012
Made our first trip on the Subte (BsA’s notorious, ancient, un-airconditioned subway system): paid a visit to the organic market across the city, and stocked up on fresh veggies, bread, cheese, milk, and eggs for our new home. Setting up shop again feels so great! Minor downsides: no kitchen towels, no proper knives (yes, we’ve been preparing entire meals with a single steak knife), and no air conditioning in the kitchen. Upsides: storing leftovers in a private fridge, keeping fresh basil in a glass vase on the counter, unpacking clothes and hanging shirts from hangers, staying up late, and sleeping in without scheduling worries… It’s good to be in one place for a while.

Day 41: Tuesday, February 14th, 2012
So, those classic plane crash scenes: LOST, Cast Away, etc.? Yes, those. Think that; 12-15 seconds of psychological torture. I’m not usually one to be panicky on airplanes, but when snapped out of a nap by the plane jolting violently, jumping (or was it falling?) through the air, throwing the woman in the aisle to the ground, and then sending sensations of weightlessness through my body, my stomach turned and my mind flashed with memories of the 2010 news story of crazy turbulence and the flight that disappeared en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris… The oxygen masks never dropped, but the crew and passengers were all quite shaken. Rough turbulence about an hour later on the descent into Buenos Aires. Apparently, the crazy hot weather plays games with little paper airplanes in the skies. Fast forward: landed, took a taxi to San Telmo, met our lovely landlord, received the keys to our charming little apartment, visited the first of many cafes we’re sure to love, went to a comedy club with new friends from South American Explorers, and settled into our first night in the big city.

Day 40: Monday, February 13th, 2012
Crisp day at the Perito Moreno Glacier. Thundering cracks and rumblings. Blue, blue ice. Dinner at Pura Vida Resto Bar. Live music, wholesome food made fresh to order…pumpkin stuffed with delicious beef stew, cheese and sweet potatoes, onions and peaches for me and hare stew with Argentinian wine for Ted… Last night in Patagonia.
People to Remember: Our two smelly but kind fifty-something northern-Italian-cyclist hostel dorm roommates who would exclaim, “buon giorno” at all hours. Our park bench neighbor, the retired German who used to work for Lufthansa when they flew direct to Portland…

Day 39: Sunday, February 12th, 2012
Fitz Roy peaked from behind the clouds to say farewell this morning as we boarded our bus. Easy arrival in El Calafate and a leisurely Sunday of rest. Also, $2.98 spent on two empanadas, one buttery crisp chocolate chip cookie, and one pecan pastry beats $24.20 spent on mediocre tourist trap restaurant fare. Can’t wait for that kitchen in Buenos Aires. Also: Happy birthday, mom!

Day 38: Saturday, February 11th, 2012
First and only full day in El Chalten. We’ve made a very quick visit to this little Swiss Village of the Patagonian Alps. We spent the hours hiking to Lago Torres in Parques Nacionales Los Glaciares. Literally – a National Park of Glaciers. The giants of frozen water absolutely cover the landscape, resting on top of mountains, sliding through valleys, feeding blue, blue lakes…. “Amazing” and “Scenery” must soon be struck from the vocabulary. They’re not nearly helpful enough in describing this part of the world. Patagonia is so vast, so empty of humans, and so full of wonder. Ted toughed out the last of his hiking for this part of the trip. His back is still giving him much trouble, and we’ve decided to bag the last night of camping and hiking and return a day earlier to El Calafate, using the time to rest. We switched our bus tickets to 7:30am tomorrow morning… Wifi is still beyond slow, but we’re resting our digital hopes on our Tuesday arrival in Buenos Aires. Our apartment is supposed to have a good connection…fingers crossed.

Day 37: Friday, February 10th, 2012
Another day, another bus or two. This time to cross the border into Argentina, pass through El Calafate, and arrive in El Chalten. Top moments: a decent-coffee pitstop at a cafe named Borges (entirely unrelated to to the author, sadly) and an amazing sunset over Cerro Torre and Fitz Roy.

Day 36: Thursday, February 9th, 2012
Last day on the trail. I woke early at 3:45 to return to Las Torres for sunrise. A cloudy eastern horizon made daybreak a bit anticlimactic, but a silent few hours in the middle of the wilderness are very good for the soul, colored light or not. I returned to camp, we packed up, and a few hours later we were down at the base of the mountains, splitting a massive burger at the posh hotel. What a jump between worlds.
People to Remember: Ian and Rocio, an incredibly kind and friendly Chilean couple we met on the trail. They invited us to join them back in Puerto Natales for beer at a local microbrewery, which turned into beer and food, which turned into terrific hours of conversation about life, family, work, and Chilean slang. Ian is a communications consultant focused on international development and Rocio is an Architect with experience in community resource projects; we were so impressed with their kindness and excitement for life. Connections like this are exactly what makes travel so impactful: in each of these conversations, our lives and our outlooks are changed, forever, for the better.

Day 35: Wednesday, February 8th, 2012
A short, sweet day. Slept in, packed up easily, moved camp just a few hours down the trail to Campamento Torres, left our heavy packs and made an afternoon hike up to Mirador Las Torres. Such cooperative weather with a gorgeous view of the three towers.

Day 34: Tuesday, February 7th, 2012
Ted’s thirtieth birthday. (!!!) A shorter trekking day. A cozy little campsite at Campamento Chileno and a splurge on dinner served at the Refugio. So nice to be served pumpkin soup, meat, veggies, and apple cake, to sit at a table in a warm dining room, and to walk away without once having to light a camp stove or rinse a cooking pot. The staff gave Ted a pisco sour for a birthday treat, and we finished off the previous nights red wine that we’d transported in the good ol’ Klean Kanteen…

Day 33: Monday, February 6th, 2012
It was a Dickens of a day: the best of times and the worst of times. Twenty four kilometers. Amazing scenery. A return from Grey Glacier and an eventual end in Los Cuernos. Ted injured his back, and we were so snappy with each other by the end of the trail that we could barely cooperate enough to make camp and eat dinner. Sigh. Good thing the Refugio sold red wine. We made the best of the crummy evening and vowed to start fresh the next day.

Day 32: Sunday, February 5th, 2012
Arrived midday at Torres del Paine, paid our park entry fee, stepped on the boat to cross Lago Pehoe, and made our way toward the West side of the park. Eleven kilometers of trekking through much of the burned out area that suffered worst after the December 27th forest fire; crazy rain and wind. Arrived at Grey Glacier and set up camp. Bonus: hot showers. Really, really hot showers. Not what we were expecting.
People to Remember: Anna and Alexander from Switzerland, David (from Chile) and Devon (from Colorado), and so many other kind and interesting people on the trail…

Day 31: Saturday, February 4th, 2012
Bussed from Punta Arenas to Puerto Natales, attended the Erratic Rock 3 o’clock Talk (held at 4pm due to the rugby game broadcast) to glean info on visiting Torres del Paine National Park, bustled our way around town to buy groceries and rent supplies to round out our camping gear, and hit the sack to rest up for five days, four nights on the trail.
People to Remember: Erratic Rock staff from…Salem, Oregon. What a small world.

Day 30: Friday, February 3rd, 2012
Twenty-eight. Headed to the airport bright and early to catch our flights to Patagonia. I couldn’t be more grateful for the rich life I’ve lived up until now. What a gift… I used to tell Ted that I’d be happy going on a date to the airport in Portland just to people watch and dream about travel. I got a little taste of that this afternoon: we spent our layover in Santiago drinking coffee, watching travelers, and making plans. Our flight from Santiago to Punta Arenas stopped briefly in Puerto Montt, making it a tally of three takeoffs and landings for the day. (Also, a gift. I love flying.) When we arrived in Punta Arenas, our kind B&B hostess picked us up at the airport and whisked us off to the best birthday surprise: a fabulous stay at a beautiful spot nestled in a beautiful beech forest, complete with dinner of wood-fire grilled lamb, Chilean sea bass, steak, and chicken, a gifted bottle of red wine, and an upgraded room to boot! It will be incredibly difficult to top this February 3rd.
People to Remember: Adolfo, our Chilean Beaver friend. I’ve also dubbed him the Nate Currier of South America. Such a friendly guy; he did his masters studies in fisheries at Oregon State University in the 80s, and we had great fun talking college sports, Hood River, Mt. Saint Hellens, The Country Fair, and the Willamette Valley. He works in the commercial salmon farming industry and was just returning from business in Rome and Denmark. Fascinating conversation about the industry’s future in answering to rightful criticisms, improving, and going forward in a sustainable manner. Also: Pamela and Luis of La Casa Escondida – kind and generous hosts for our first night in Patagonia.

Day 29: Thursday, February 2nd, 2012
An entire day of wifi and Patagonia planning. Took a break to walk the neighborhood and visit the markets. Ted bought too many olives. I bought more donuts. What can we say? Evening = ice cream to kick off the beginning of summertime birthday festivities!

Day 28: Wednesday, February 1st, 2012
Yay! Awoke to news of the arrival of our sweet little nephew, Carson Rydmark. Congratulations to Josiah and Gabby and the whole bundle of new aunts and uncles and grandparents now in the family. Bussed our way as quickly as possible out of San Pedro de Atacama. Blinding desert tourist trap. Arrived less than two hours later in the northern Chilean city of Calama. Ted’s eyes lit up as we ducked off the main square and looked over a cafe menu; just as quickly, hopes were dashed as the two kind old ladies tinkered with the espresso machine, unable to prepare cappuccinos or iced coffees. The smiled and shrugged. We ordered a fruit smoothie. Found a hole in the wall hostel with the best wifi in weeks (i.e., it worked in the room and didn’t cut out every eight minutes). Ted found fresh made donuts around the corner…

Day 27: Tuesday, January 31th, 2012
After four days of salt, sweat, and tears in the Bolivian wilderness: hot showers and recovery in San Pedro de Atacama, Chile. Electrical outlets = happy electronics. Wifi = happy updates from home. (Can’t wait for news from the hospital; Ted’s brother and sister-in-law are welcoming a little guy into the world, and any minute now we’ll get to proudly bear new titles of “Aunt and Uncle”)…

Day 26: Monday, January 30th, 2012
Flamingos. Lots and lots of flamingos. Also, lots of rain. Night two of spare dorm style accommodations (as included in the trip package…) No electricity. No running water. Crying voices in the wee hours of the night; shamefully rough circumstances for the families living on the fringes in the middle of nowhere.
People to remember: our Korean karaoke and Bolivian Idol friends. (Drew, you would be proud.)

Day 25: Sunday, January 29th, 2012
Rubbed the sleep from our eyes, ate breakfast at a Uyuni dive playing Michael Jackson on repeat. Loaded the bags to the top of the Toyota 4×4 to begin a three day drive to Chile, and spent the first stretch of hours exploring the Train Cemetery (my prediction: a soon coming Bus Cemetery for all the clunkers that should be taken off the roads), the Salar de Uyuni, and the long road to San Cristobal and beyond on the way. Lightning storms for added adventure.
People to Remember: Our tour mates – Pablo and Roderigo from Brazil, Saerom from South Korea, Alale from Spain/Iran, and our driver, Edgar.

Day 24: Saturday, January 28th, 2012
A final review of the Campground Master Plan that we worked up for our Workaway hosts followed by a drop in visit to a Bolivian wedding complete with hired band from Peru. One final meal and hot chocolate at the property in Jupapina and then a long, poorly-ventilated, multi-stop overnight bus ride to Uyuni.
People to Remember: Our dear host family, Rolando, Emma, Bell, and David (and Karen, too!).

Day 23: Friday, January 27th, 2012
One final morning of filling holes, planting slope-stabilizing groundcovers, and putting the last touches on the Master Plan. An evening meal with Emma and Rolando and fascinating conversation about their history of community-minded work in La Paz over the past years.

Day 22: Thursday, January 26th, 2012
Work. Wifi in town. An evening with Women Who W{h}ine in La Paz.
People to Remember: Fiona, Karen, Karin, Marcella, Sonia (of Knitting Peace), and so many other fine ladies… Also, our heroic taxi driver who forded raging flooded roads to reach Jupapina.

Day 21: Wednesday, January 25th, 2012
Ted worked all morning in the rain, planting trees and patching up busted irrigation trenches; I finalized the campsite development Master Plan and related sketches. Hot milk + melted chocolate followed by an afternoon of reading by the warmth of the clay wood stove recharged tired batteries. A 34 minute effort to connect to wifi and the half-loaded-page result reminded me that we weren’t in North America anymore…

Day 20: Tuesday, January 24th, 2012
The two of us joined forces for a second day of manual labor, filling a few smaller holes then ending with a three hour session to patch up the 6 foot wide x 30 foot deep cavern that appeared overnight. It would be a lie to say we weren’t a tad bit worried about slipping in: “Many fall down, and few return to the sunlit lands…”

Day 19: Monday, January 23th, 2012
First day of work on the Bolivian property: I worked on site analysis and schematic design options, Ted helped fill massive erosion holes caused by the previous night’s rainstorm. We joined our British flatmate Karen’s holiday BBQ in the afternoon… Never an end of delicious food. An evening meeting with our hosts to review the early phase landscape plans assured us that we were headed in the right direction.
People to remember: Rod Lucas’ Irish expat counterpart.

Day 18: Sunday, January 22th, 2012
Treated to a lovely sleep-in, quiet morning of reading, drinking tea, breakfasting on yogurt, mango, and locally made granola, and an afternoon Bolivian BBQ complete with thunderstorm and guacamole. I may or may not have used the remaining piece of the Cocoa Nibs & Uyuni Salt bar to make hot cocoa. This evening, we’re spending time in town with enough wifi access to begin uploading the backlog of photos. Skyped with friends and family at home; crazy how modern communication works…
People to Remember: The houseful of Bolivians at the BBQ who, in lieu of English, spoke in smiles, handshakes, and kisses on the cheek.

Day 17: Saturday, January 21th, 2012
Spent time with our host family learning the history of their land and discussing the Campground Master Planning project we’ll be working on this coming week. Excellent to be able to put professional skills to use; landscape architecture is truly a universal trade. We made a trip back into the city to visit the grocery store and pick up a few makeshift drafting supplies. Bolivianos are bizarre. The current exchange rate is $1.00 to Bs 6.91; in other words, one Boliviano is 14¢. The easiest way to think about money is to move the decimal point over one to the left, add another 50%, and then sigh at the cheap prices. Highlight of the day: El Ceibo 77% Dark Chocolate with Cocoa Nibs and Uyuni Salt chocolate bars.

Day 16: Friday, January 20th, 2012
Arrived at our Workaway destination: a country residence about thirty minutes outside of La Paz. Clean laundry became the highlight of the afternoon. Toured the property and the back hillside where massive erosion problems are threatening the long term stability of the land. We’ll begin work on Saturday. Homemade dinner with host family Emma, Rolando, David, and Bell, and their other current volunteers, Karen, Maria, Liz, and C–? (Oops! Too many names.)

Day 15: Thursday, January 19th, 2012
Another day in transit. Successful border crossing. Two Peruvian offices for paperwork and exit stamps, one Bolivian Immigration office for visas, a short stopover in Copacabana, Bolivia (just long enough to enjoy a delightful chocolate con leche for $1.73…), and eventual arrival in La Paz. Ted’s happiness spiked when we found a Swedish run coffee shop serving Bolivian beans.
People to Remember: The Swedish polyglot running her newly-opened cafe, and our charming Australian companion on the ferry ride, a.k.a., Anthony Hopkins’ twin.

Day 14: Wednesday, January 18th, 2012
Long day. Claimed our stowed luggage from South American Explorers, sorted out transportation from Cusco to Puno and then from Puno across the border to La Paz, Bolivia. Made the first of the two bus trips today: eight bucks for eight hours. Downsides? Not worth complaining about…but they were there. Upsides? I thought of Dad while the scenery outside the window morphed into hills and mountains and plains that reminded me of Eastern Oregon. Tonight? Sketch hostel in Puno. Redeemed by a delicious wood fired pizza dinner. Tomorrow: border crossing. Bring on the challenge!

Day 13: Tuesday, January 17th, 2012
A little bittersweet to face our first day back on the traveler’s trail without our trekking friends. We made the most of it, though. After a good night’s sleep and a lovely breakfast at a pleasantly-designed hotel and restaurant in Aguas Calientes, we took the bus back up to Machu Picchu and climbed Huayna Picchu for another amazing view of the ruins and the surrounding landscape. A train ride back to Ollantaytambo and a long ride on the local bus to Cusco brought our Inca Trail adventure to a close.
People to Remember: Mary and Jonathan, our train ride conversationalists. Such fun hearing about their visits to Oregon, their life in Hawaii, and their travels to far flung places like Kathmandu…

Day 12: Monday, January 16th, 2012
There, at daybreak, we found ourselves scrambling up steep stone steps and hoisting our weary bodies to the top of the trail to catch our first glimpse of Machu Picchu from the Sun Gate. Words don’t really do the experience justice. Photos may begin to tell the story, though they must wait until consistent computer time and wifi access. What a treat, though…to finally see it with our own eyes! At the end of the day, we recovered with wood fired pizza and a soak in the hot springs at Aguas Calientes with Caz, Kristen, Sjoerd, and Hans. (P.S. Score another point for the wet season! This time of year means less tourists and a high volume of water flushing through the hot springs…what a blissful soak for those tired muscles.)

Day 11: Sunday, January 15th, 2012
Up and down and up and down to cross two shorter passes on the trail: 12,916 ft. and 12,000 ft., respectively. Then, a descent of 2,000 irregular stone steps to take us out of the high country and into the Cloud Forest. The final 45 minutes of hiking seemed excruciatingly long, but we gratefully made it to the campsite at Winay Wayna in perfect position to rise early and make the final charge toward the Sun Gate.

Day 10: Saturday, January 14th, 2012
Day two on the Inca Trail: Dead Woman’s Pass at 13,776 ft. kept us stopping for air and pausing for pictures all the way up and into the mountains. So thankful things weren’t any worse when our trekking companion fell (airborne!) 50 feet from a high point off the trail at the top of the pass; he landed in tussocks and ended up with a gash on his head requiring a trip back down the mountain (on foot and by donkey) complete with a few lovely stitches to cap off the experience.

Day 9: Friday, January 13th, 2012

Bright and early wake up call: Peru Treks appeared at the doorstep at 5:20am to whisk us off to our Inca Trail journey. We went by bus to Ollantaytambo and then on to the dead end of the road at Kilometer 82, where we snatched up our bags, whipped out our passports, smiled at the guards, and stepped foot onto the trail. Many more stories to come once pictures are ready to be posted…
People to Remember: Freddy, Jimmy, and Juan (our guides); and our trekking buddies Sam, Latitia, Felicity, Chenelle, Gabriel, Ryan, Justin, Sjoerd, Sarah, Michelle, Hans, Christina, Caz, and Kristin.

Day 8: Thursday, January 12th, 2012

A scare of a day as we decided to take antibiotics to combat a lovely, lingering case of traveler’s tummy. Thankfully, by late evening we felt well enough to make the call and managed to salvage our Machu Picchu trip in the nick of time.

Day 7: Wednesday, January 11th, 2012
A full day in Cusco, acclimating to the high altitude, drinking mate de coca, and chewing the coca leaves. Checked in with our Inca Trail tour company, paid the final bill, went over details of the route, then sat for lunch on a restaurant terrace overlooking a green square blooming with flowers and bustling with more salespeople than clipboard greeters on SE Hawthorne Blvd. (Portland joke. Sorry.) Ted bartered for his hat (S/32 down to S/21) and managed to set up his laundry station; he’s a very happy camper. I’m toying with the idea of visiting the ChocoMuseum tomorrow to revel in the history of the humble cacao bean. Yes, label me food geek and a tourist. I can take it.
People to Remember: Ingrid, the charming French woman who married a Peruvian and opened a boutique handmade jewelry and vintage clothing store on one of the narrow streets down the hill from our place. Such a lovely lady.

Day 6: Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

Ugh. Twenty-one hour bus trips are not for the faint of heart. On the plus side: gracious seats, plenty of legroom, and decent views when the sun is out. On the down side: hairpin turns and climbing altitude from sea level to 11,203 feet high. Oh, and also Grease playing on all the bus TVs – Spanish dubbing, English subtitles. Arrived at 11:30am after a fitful night; only one barf bag used. Carried our bags the final stretch of road above El Templo do San Blas and arrived at a farmhouse turned guest house perched above the city skyline where we’ve been sucking down mate de coca and recovering from the ride. Ted swears the Mango Gelato is working its magic, too.

Day 5: Monday, January 9th, 2012


Morning wandering. Bank. Starbucks (yes, we did, and no, it wasn’t), and an impromptu tour of the local modern cathedral. Lovely architecture and stained glass windows. Then! We found a nursery nestled in the back of a series of ramshackle shops and spent time picking out two potted plants (one Anthurium and one mystery) for Anna and Eva to add to their balcony collections. Returned home, packed our bags, visited with Ana’s painting teacher and his wife, said our farewells, and set out for the bus station. Departure: 2:00pm. Arrival in Cusco…..on Day Six.

Day 4: Sunday, January 8th, 2012
Breakfast and plants at Eva’s. A walk through El Olivar Grove Park. Three hours mass transit to Dadi’s neighborhood. House tour. Fried chicken and rice, potato beet salad, and mango for dessert. Tours of all the homes in the family. Inca Cola. Homes on rock. Geese, rabbits, cuys (Guinea pigs), raised for subsistence. Broken languages, big smiles, full hearts, humble homes. Shared numbers of siblings and years married and ages…anything we could communicate with humble Spanish language skills.
People To Remember: Too many to count! Dadi, Ramon, Jonathan and Andre, and all sorts of extended family.

Day 3: Saturday, January 7th, 2012

Seth’s Birthday! (H.B.D., Seth.)
Took the city bus into town: walked to Plaza de Armas, tried bussing to El Cerro San Cristóbal but no luck; instead connected with Ferdinand Jr and Sr and drank beers. Wandered, ate cheap lunch, ventured into other neighborhoods and then taxi to Cruz del Sur to buy tickets for Monday. Returned to Anna’s… Napped. Groceries at Wong, dinner after at her home. Rest, computer, photos… Best mango of our lives!
People to Remember: Fernando and Fernando

Day 2: Friday January 6th, 2012
Sleep. Woke to the sounds of birds and traffic, construction and business men and women in the window across the way. Shampooed the travel out of our hair and headed for the breakfast table. Fresh fruit, bread, juice, and eggs. Decided a call to sort our SERVAS was in order: Anna’s home it was. In the meantime, we took our bags and headed for the S.A.E. Clubhouse… Luggage safely stowed, we wandered the markets and streets, enjoyed ceviche, and ventured to the coastline. An evening return to Anna’s for introductions, dinner, and a visit from her sister, Eva.
People to Remember: Jo, Jeff, Anna, Blanca, Eva

Day 1: Thursday, January 5, 2012
Uneventful flights. LAN Airlines surprisingly purple. Little steps like saying “Gracias” instead of “Thank You” to the airline stewards… Evening touchdown in Lima, green arrow at customs, and a sea of signs at arrivals. Our driver explained the word for their version of “Hole in the Wall” restaurants; Drew would be happy. An easy check in at the guest house; bright greens and blues on a bed spread too hot to sleep under, and the first night’s rest on a new continent.
 Random: Seth’s early AM airport drop off included Moves Like Jagger, Dreams, and Your Song. Exit row seats on United. Far too many choices on LAN’s entertainment. Moneyball: Ted’s kind of baseball flick.

And so it begins…

Daily notes from our unfolding life on the road.
Blog posts will grow from stories and memories.
Warning: Haphazard Thoughts Ahead.

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11 thoughts on “Daily Travel Journal

  1. Pingback: Sights from Our Adventures in the City (Lima, Peru) | twoOregonians

  2. Didn’t realize you were documenting each day! What fun to ride along with you on a daily basis! Well, except I’m sort of glad I wasn’t on that 21 hour bus ride with you. Could you imagine doing something like that with kids?!

  3. Love to read and see what your travels bring you….. very connected with the world and reminding me that we are all just people in this Universe and how lucky that is while we are a part of it’s living, breathing energy….. God Bless you (in whatever is your own believing Godly way!)
    Sincerely Jenni in Enumclaw WA.

    **p.s. If you are ever in this corner of the world love to host your visit at my farm.

    • Jenni, you’re very kind. Thank you so much, and thank you for the invitation to visit your farm! We are so humbled and privileged to be experiencing this world in all these ways…

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