Monday, September 27, 2010

Things We've Been Doing Lately

While I've been absent as of late on this site, I've been writing a lot for my travel blog, World Curious Traveler. Check it out!

It seems like the rain which fell for months and months on end has finally gone away. Now, we're enjoying the start of a gorgeous "fall" season on Okinawa.

Here's what we've been doing lately on our tiny island.

We went to another Eisa Festival, and witnessed all the dancing, fashion, and food that characterizes these events. I will miss these carnivals when we leave!

This time of year is special because troops of Eisa dancers travel around the island, stop, and perform in neighborhoods and along the side of the road.
Last Saturday night, we heard the distinctive boom of the drums and walked out the door to our apartment building to watch.
They tried to pull me into the conga line, but I managed to escape!

Okinawa is also home to a stretch of really nice tourist hotels, catering mostly to mainland Japanese. We visited the Manza Beach Resort hotel for lunch (there is a nice buffet with interesting items at times like crocodile fritters!)
After eating, we sat outside and read and relaxed looking out at the gorgeous view. I felt like I was on vacation...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Guilty Party When it Comes to Passports

A few of you have been curious about who actually committed the SIN of leaving the passport at the hotel as described in the last post.

Well, if you must know...

The guilty person was Sean.

I swear, my husband has two modes. Can any of you relate to this?

With him,

1) It's rush rush rush to get somewhere WAY early and then wait wait wait for something to start.


2) It's rush rush rush to get somewhere WAY early, forget something, and then rush rush rush to get it and come back.

He told me that he's going to write a rebuttal/self-defense for himself to be posted soon...

Check back!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Travel Squabbles

We've been married for almost 3 years. We've traveled a lot. We did 3 big trips before we got married, and afterwards, well... a new place about every 4 months.

The thing is... it doesn't matter how much we travel. We have the same tiffs every time.
The arguments usually have something to do with these categories:

Category A: Mary is doing too much souvenir shopping

Category B: Sean has a one-track mind and the only important thing is reaching some destination (a museum, a park, a building, whatever). He cannot deviate from the plan even for something cool on the way.

Category C: Mary is haggling over price and it makes Sean uncomfortable.

Category D: Sean gets obsessed with schedule and rushes Mary when, in fact, there is plenty of time.

The arguments are never terrible. There's no yelling or causing a scene. But usually there's lots of eye rolling and dramatic sighs.
Anyway, this past weekend on our Macau/Hong Kong trip, we faced our first real major travel dilemma. One of us left a passport at the hotel and didn't realize until we reached the airport. One of us had to travel all the way back to the hotel, while the other stayed at the airport and arranged a new plan... luckily it all worked out and there were no penalties. We didn't even get mad at each other.

What do you argue about with friends or family when you travel? So, who do you guess forgot the passport? Mary or Sean?

Macau Adventures

As mentioned last week, we did a little road trip by plane for Labor Day to Macau.

I always love visiting China from Japan. Let me tell you why.

In Japan, I often feel there's a thin veil between me and the Japanese culture. I've certainly learned a great deal about customs and mannerisms over the last two years, but even so, I sense a boundary.
When I go to China, it's like that veil gets ripped off and thrown away. The noises, the smells, the traffic, the people, they're all right there in your face. It's rowdy and gritty. People aren't ultra-polite, and somehow I feel relaxed by it.

Macau was the first and last European colony in China, its history tightly entwined with the Portuguese. The result these days is that you can observe an interesting mix of cultures. Street signs are written in Chinese and Portuguese languages, there are Catholic churches, and city center squares that look like they dropped out of Europe.
More recently, the city has also overtaken Las Vegas as the gambling capitol of the world. Interestingly, though, you can find Vegas casinos there including the Wynn, MGM, the Sands, and the Venetian.

We stayed at the Softel Macau at Pointe 16, and it was a great experience. We only paid about $133 a night (booked through Expedia) and upgraded to "club level" so that we could get breakfast and cocktails.

The hotel is excellently located within walking distance to the main square and casinos. It has its own casino, too, though we didn't recognize some of the games.

On a funny side note, the hotel boasts a collection of celebrity paraphernalia. They have an outfit that Elvis wore, a Batman costume Val Kilmer version, and a dress supposedly worn by Princess Di. Their big claim to fame is the white glove worn by Michael Jackson during the famous first ever moonwalk dance. I told my husband I didn't think it was real... I mean, come on, why would that be at a hotel in Macau?

Getting to Macau: You can take the ferry directly to Macau from the Hong Kong International Airport. There's no need to go through HK customs, just look for signs inside the terminal.

So, what does your critical mind think about the Michael Jackson glove? Is it authentic? I was curious, so I did a little research and wrote about it for my travel writing blog. I also posted more pictures and details. Please click here to check that out.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Oh The Things You Can Buy

On the way back from our weekend excursion to Sesoko Island, we stopped at one of the rest stops between Nago and Naha.

In addition to ice cream, hot dogs, candy, and chips, we found the most interesting things to buy...

US rest stops have nachos topped with velveeta. Okinawan ones have fried gutted fish... can you ever imagine a 10 year American kid asking for this?
How about some dragon fruit?
Now this is what I'm talking about. Hey mom, I want a pet beetle! But you promised...
What interesting things have you seen at rest stops?

Did you ever take cross country road trips with your family? My family had crazy adventures all over the States. Read about my road trip adventures here.

Superhero Powers

Here's a question for you:

Sitting on a crowded plane about to embark, have you ever fantasized about snapping your fingers and instantly arriving at your destination?

What would it be like to have travel superpowers? Check out my latest post on my travel blog...


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