Archive for February, 2009

It’s 5PM Somewhere Right Now…

February 27, 2009

The perfect happy hour (whilst traveling, or anywhere really): Champagne and air-popped popcorn. Served up at the Sirenis Resort & Spa in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.

Balancing out the calories.

Balancing out the calories.

Just Add Tequila

February 26, 2009

This restaurant in Puerto Vallarta, Si Senor, put a unique spin on the margarita: DO IT YOURSELF. You get margarita mix in a flavor of your choosing and a little nip of tequila.

A little or a lot....up to you!

A little or a lot....up to you!

And yes, of course I put the entire thing in my margarita…did you even have to ask??

Downside of Dining Al Fresco

February 25, 2009

One of my favorite parts about vacation & travel is tasting international cuisine and enjoying dinners at local restaurants, especially al fresco (fancy pants word for “outside”). However, in South America, we noticed that we had some company almost every time we ate out…

How can you say no to a begging dog this cute?

How can you say no to a begging dog this cute?

And…

I almost smuggled this one back on the plane home with me...

I almost smuggled this one back on the plane home with me...

These guys took the cake…triplets all in it together…

dog3

Don’t feel bad for these homeless dogs…I think they eat better than most house pets do, especially with the leftover steak everyone leaves on their plates in Argentina!

Loooooow Tide

February 24, 2009

Bring your really long ladder. Seriously. If you happen to be tooling around Nova Scotia and get to the Bay of Fundy, and want to get in a boat during low tide, you’ll need a ladder. See below.

Extreme Low Tide in Bay of Fundy

Extreme Low Tide in Bay of Fundy

The Bay of Fundy is known for having the highest vertical tide range in the world, and that’s something awesome about “Canadia.” Spread the news!

The Koala Incident

February 23, 2009

Australia is famous, of course, for its unique animals – koalas being one of the most recognizable. But unless you visit a zoo or koala sanctuary, you probably won’t get to see one. Sarah and I were lucky that an excursion along Great Ocean Road (a scenic route within driving distance from Melbourne) included a stop to see some “wild” koalas in their natural habitat. Koalas were hunted to near extinction in the early 20th century, and today are most commonly found in Southeastern Australia.

We had driven through massive forests on our excursion to Great Ocean Road/Twelve Apostles, and everyone tried to spot the koalas perched high in the eucalyptus trees (like a hundred+ feet up!). They have a super slow metabolism so they are motionless/sleep about 75 percent of the day. They spend most of their active hours, if you can call it that, eating eucalyptus leaves. They can also be a extremely violent with their super sharp claws and teeth. Keep that in mind, yeah?

So to get a close-up look at koalas, our tour group (which consisted of me, Sarah, and 18 students from South Korea that spoke no English) to a small farm that had some low eucalyptus trees where there happen to be some “wild” koalas. The first thing I noticed was that these trees had thick, clear plastic wrapped around the trunks, making them impossible to climb (up? down? not sure). Our only instructions were to gaze from afar and under no circumstances were we to touch the koalas. Sharp claws and all, and likely, exotic diseases, etc.

The koalas, about five of them each perched in a different tree, were a bit freaked out to have a busload of tourists oohing and aahing at them, and understandably retrenched from the attention. One particular koala was so disturbed that he fled from his fairly safe spot in one tree and ended up on the ground, which seemed really unnatural (see this random video for example of unnaturalness). He sprinted to the nearest tree to escape the throngs of camera-wielding tourists but soon realized that his target was covered in a hard coating of plastic and thus, his attempts at climbing became desperate and well, sad. He couldn’t move fast enough, so one of the tourists (um, it wasn’t me or Sarah) GRABBED THE KOALA FROM BEHIND WITH BOTH HANDS LIKE A TEDDY BEAR / BABY to “help” him get up and over the obstacle. Well, those claws, wow, he really had them sunk into some of the tree trunk and he was not letting go. Said tourist continued to YANK the koala repeatedly away from the tree (stretching his poor little koala arms) until it was finally pried loose and then perched the traumatized koala above the clear plastic portion of the tree. A sweet gesture in principle, but, the koala was so freaked out I thought he was going to eat the 10 people closest to him, which would have included Sarah (below).

Traumatized koala trying to escape people / tourists.

Traumatized koala trying to escape people / tourists.

Half of the group (ok, just me and Sarah) became concerned for the koala’s safety so we were yelling, “Leave him alone!” but didn’t realize no one understood us until about 2 hours later into the day. Ultimately, though, the koala was able to climb high into the tree, and I mean the highest point possible away from any human beings.

I would really love to know what this koala is thinking right now...he is probably wishing this tree were a lot taller.

I would really love to know what this koala is thinking right now...he is probably wishing this tree were a lot taller.

So cute....but watch out for those claws!

So cute....but watch out for those claws!

Here is a super up-close pic of a…happier koala.  They really are cute.  From afar.

Do.Not.Touch.

Do.Not.Touch.

In short – if you’re lucky enough to see koalas in the “wild” where you can get pretty close, just let them do their thing and stick to a camera’s length away…the above incident could have been really ugly, and I’m pretty sure some animal protection laws of some sort were violated at one point. Given my (sometimes unhealthy) obsession with animals, especially cute ones, this was almost as traumatizing for me as it was for Mr. Koala.

Koala peacefully sleeping in a tree...as it should be!

Koala peacefully sleeping in a tree...as it should be!