Praying for Israel

Back in February, I had the pleasure of visiting Israel for the first time.  I saw firsthand the beauty of the scenery and the people.  I saw Jews, Muslims, and Christians living together… Eating in the same restaurants, shopping in the same stores, and being friends with each other.  I saw and experienced some of the finest hospitality I have ever witnessed.  Met some of the nicest people I have ever met.  Ate some of the most delicious food I have ever eaten.  Viewed some of the most beautiful scenery my eyes have ever seen.  I saw a modern country with modern people coexisting together.  I never felt unsafe.  Never heard an air raid siren. 

It pains me to see and hear about the current situation going on there this week. I don’t care what religion you are or where you live… When you visit Israel you develop a connection to it.  Maybe people who only see what the 24 hour news channels show dont understand because they have never been there… They think its always the way it is this week… But once you have been there, especially in a time of relative calm like when I was there in February… You want to keep going back.  You see that it isn’t always rockets and kidnappings and bombs.  I want things to get better there because I want to return.  Its an amazing place with amazing things and amazing people that are capable of living together peacefully while freely practicing the religions they practice, be it Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Baha’i, etc…

I’m praying for peace to return.  I love Israel. 

If you haven’t been there. Go there. 

If you have been there. Go again.

19 Idiotic but REAL travel complaints

These are actual complaints received from dissatisfied customers by Thomas Cook Vacations (based on a Thomas Cook/ABTA survey):

1. “I think it should be explained in the brochure that the local convenience store does not sell proper biscuits like custard creams or ginger nuts.”

2. “It’s lazy of the local shopkeepers in Puerto Vallarta to close in the afternoons. I often needed to buy things during ‘siesta’ time — this should be banned.”

3. “On my holiday to Goa in India , I was disgusted to find that almost every restaurant served curry. I don’t like spicy food.”

4. “We booked an excursion to a water park but no-one told us we had to bring our own swimsuits and towels. We assumed it would be included in the price.”

5. “The beach was too sandy. We had to clean everything when we returned to our room.”

6. “We found the sand was not like the sand in the brochure. Your brochure shows the sand as white but it was more yellow.”

7. “They should not allow topless sunbathing on the beach. It was very distracting for my husband who just wanted to relax.”

8. “No one told us there would be fish in the water. The children were scared.”

9. “Although the brochure said that there was a fully equipped kitchen, there was no egg-slicer in the drawers.”

10. “We went on holiday to Spain and had a problem with the taxi drivers as they were all Spanish.”

11. “The roads were uneven and bumpy, so we could not read the local guide book during the bus ride to the resort. Because of this, we were unaware of many things that would have made our holiday more fun.”

12. “It took us nine hours to fly home from Jamaica to England. It took the Americans only three hours to get home. This seems unfair.”

13. “I compared the size of our one-bedroom suite to our friends’ three-bedroom and ours was significantly smaller.”

14. “The brochure stated: ‘No hairdressers at the resort’. We’re trainee hairdressers and we think they knew and made us wait longer for service.”

15. “There were too many Spanish people there. The receptionist spoke Spanish, the food was Spanish. No one told us that there would be so many foreigners.”

16. “We had to line up outside to catch the boat and there was no air-conditioning.”

17. “It is your duty as a tour operator to advise us of noisy or unruly guests before we travel.”

18. “I was bitten by a mosquito. The brochure did not mention mosquitoes.”

19. “My fiance and I requested twin-beds when we booked, but instead we were placed in a room with a king bed. We now hold you responsible and want to be re-reimbursed for the fact that I became pregnant. This would not have happened if you had put us in the room that we booked.”

I want to marry you in Minneapolis

This. Is. Awesome.  Go Minneapolis!  I was sitting on my lunch break today reading this week’s issue of the Isthmus and I saw this full page ad regarding LGBT wedding opportunities in Minneapolis.  Minneapolis is rolling out the red carpet to all the same sex couples that are looking to get married.  It is great to see them getting the word out to other like-minded cities in the region that don’t currently have the same opportunities available for the loving, committed couples looking to get married. 

Mayor Rybak is a great guy for getting this tourism/wedding campaign going.  It will be awesome to see the great economic impact all these “destination weddings” to Minnesota will have on the state.

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By the way, The Hotel Minneapolis is an excellent hotel.  I have stayed there.  Exceptional service, convenient to the light rail, and in the middle of the walk friendly downtown.

Featured on Lonely Planet’s FB Page: Me

Lonely Planet, the travel guide company, lets their fans send a picture of them in the “wild” with their Lonely Planet guides.  I posed with my Costa Rica guidebook last week while in Costa Rica and emailed the picture to community@lonelyplanet.com and they posted the picture to their Facebook page this week!

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Costa Rica 2013: El Viejo part 2

Part of El Viejo experience included a ride on a boat in the Rio Tempisque. The Rio Tempisque is a river that is brackish, meaning it has a mix of salt and freshwater. It is inhabited by many creatures, including crocodiles.

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The birds were so awesome. So many different birds.

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I had never seen a crocodile outside of a zoo (besides on Discovery or Animal Planet). There were a lot in the Rio Tempisque.

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After the 1hr 15min boat ride we headed back to La Casona to indulge in a delicious, traditional Costa Rican lunch.

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El Viejo was worth the trip. I highly recommend it to anyone that wants to experience more than just the coastal, beach towns of Costa Rica. The beaches are not the only beautiful thing about the amazing country of Costa Rica.

Costa Rica 2013: Love The Lizards

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We were greeted by iguana friends upon our arrival in Tamarindo last week.

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The one here in the tree at the hotel is referred to as “Godzilla” by the employees at the Best Western Tamarindo Vista Villas.  He must be a regular.  🙂

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We headed out last Sunday on a tour to the Rio Tempisque for a boat ride and saw these guys in the parking lot of the hotel before we departed.

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This big iguana was in a tree along the banks of the Rio Tempisque.

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This little guy (little?) was climbing through a fence along the main road in Tamarindo near the Witches Rock Surf Camp.

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This lizard in this pic stopped by to sun himself by the patio of our hotel suite and wish us farewell before we departed from our room to head back to the US.

So many lizards were also seen that are not pictured here, of course…