Monthly Archives: April 2014

Circling the Yucatan Peninsula

We decided to revisit Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, this time a little off the usual tourist trail with the Mayan ruins of Uxmal (oosh-mall) and Calakmul (kal-ack-mool) a high priority. It was July, rainy season, but the rains come in the form of afternoon thundershowers, not days long monsoons. Since our route would be a giant circle around the Yucatan Peninsula we rented a car, unusual for us as we usually travel by bus in Mexico. Continue reading

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Into the Outback of Chihuahua, Mexico

After days of partying at our niece’s Quinceañera (keen-seen-YER-ah) in Chihuahua, Mexico we decided to take a day exploring the towns and high desert outside of town (see post, A Girl’s Coming of Age – La Quinceañera). I borrowed my brother-in-law’s Chevy Suburban, loaded it up with aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, mother-in-law, . . . thirteen people in all, and trundled off towards the Mennonite city of Cuahtemoc (Kwah-TAY-muk), 100 kilometers away (63 miles). But before we reach Cuahtemoc, we have a couple stops to make.

Expedition Crew

Expedition Crew

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A Girl’s Coming of Age in Mexico – La Quinceañera

Prepare for heavy partying. We’ve been invited to our niece’s quinceañera (keen-seen-YER-ah) in Chihuahua Mexico with friends and family arriving from around northern Mexico and the United Sates for it. So what exactly is a quinceañera anyway?

La Quinceañera

La Quinceañera

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Into the Wilderness in Washington State

When our friends from France arrived we had to go backpacking into the wilderness, no way around it. Like many Europeans, they love the vast wildernesses and parks of the U.S. Fine with me since I’m a wilderness nut myself, so I planned two trips into some of the most iconic wilderness areas of Washington State; Robin Lakes and Sahale Glacier.

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April 2014 – Tulip Time in the Cascades

When April arrives, and the incessant winter rains start to taper off, it’s Tulip Time in the Skagit (SKAH-jit) Valley 60-miles north of Seattle.  In fact, the entire month of April is the Tulip Festival in the Skagit Valley.

Tulip Fields - Skagit Valley

Tulip Fields – Skagit Valley

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Paris, Condensed

After a spending a week in Provence, our friends Brice and Aline were determined to show us the city they know so well – Paris. So we boarded the train in Marseille and arrived in Paris two and a half hours later. Continue reading

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April 2014 – English as a Second Language

Siphon from Cambodia rubs my belly while saying, “You good teacher.” That’s what I like to hear.

It’s April, 2014 and the spring quarter of English as a Second Language (ESL) has started at the local community college. For the past two years I’ve been volunteering as a tutor in the ESL program. I’ve tutored students from Africa, the Middle East, Russia, Latin America, Southeast Asia, China and the Kingdom of Bhutan. Continue reading

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Exploring Western Washington State

The French are coming! That was our slogan as our friends Brice and Aline arrived from Paris for a three-week visit at our home in Mukilteo north of Seattle. As soon as they arrived we unpacked the French goodies they brought us (olive tapenade, French cookies, a bottle of champagne) and prepared for the first event on our list; a road trip through the northern Olympic Peninsula and San Juan Islands. Continue reading

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Finding the Wild Side of the Pacific Northwest (Beyond the National Parks)

Writer and historian Wallace Stegner called America’s national parks, “the best idea we ever had.” I’d have to agree and most travellers are familiar with names like Yellowstone, Yosemite or the Grand Canyon. America’s national parks are magnificent, all fifty-nine of them, but some of the wildest areas in America are outside of its national parks. Continue reading

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Sunny Southern France; Provence

Our friends Brice and Aline picked us up at the airport in Marseille. We would stay with them at their home in Avignon, in the center of the Provence region of southern France, through early July. And, we’d be there during the annual Avignon festival, a celebration of art, theatre and music that lasts over a week and draws visitors from all over Europe and America. Continue reading

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