Friday, November 12, 2021


August 29th - 31st

We arrived in Athens on August 29, 2021.  Took a taxi to our apartment which was in the perfect location.  From our balcony we were able to see the Parthenon atop the Acropolis.  We arrived at 5:30, unpacked, took showers, and then set about walking the city.  We approached a blocked area of the sidewalk and was asked to cross the street due to filming.  We obliged and found a restaurant where we decided to sit and have a Greek beer.  Our waiter informed us that the filming was the 3rd season of Jack Ryan with John Krasinski.  No we didn't get to see him, as it turned out that was the last day of filming and they were done.  We spent the evening exploring and found another restaurant to enjoy dolmades and some skewers.  Everything is delicious in Greece!  We knew the next day was going to be an early and long day so we opted to head back and get some sleep.  The next day we walked to the Acropolis and spent most of the day exploring all the ancient sites that came with the package price.  This included the Parthenon, the Temple of Zeus, The Roman Agora, The Ancient Agora, Hadrian's Library, and Keramikos.  It was a wonderful experience.  To think all of these buildings were built without machinery.  We stopped and had lunch next to the Parthenon.  The next day we were catching the ferry to Santorini so we walked back towards our apartment, shopping along the way and stopping for a quick bite.  The ferry ride to Santorini was like a cruise ship.  We purchased the business class tickets and was in the lounge in the front of the boat.  We had access pretty much to the entire boat except the cabin floors.  Yes you can even purchase a cabin for your ride.  We arrived in Santorini at 2:30 AM was transferred to our villa and went to bed.  Our next day we walked to Santorini Brewing Company for a craft brew, then walked up the street to Canava Rousso's Winery which is the oldest winery on Santorini.  We had a wonderful educational experience.  Our waitress told us the history, the process, and that Santorini doesn't irrigate the grape vines.  They are grown dry.  When I saw them, I thought they were all dead because the leaves were all wilted and the vines looked dead.  The wine was delicious and I even brought a few bottles home.  That evening we took the public bus to Fira.  1.60 in Euro and it will get you anywhere on the island.  We enjoyed a sunset and dinner in Fira.  Did some souvenir shopping and took the bus back.  The next day we rented a car and explored the entire island.  We made reservations at this little restaurant to watch the sunset in Oia.  Santorini is a magical place, I loved every minute of our Greece trip.  Here are a few pictures.

Friday, September 10, 2021


September 4th - 8th 2021

I recently returned from a trip that has been on my bucket list since 2003 before I began my travel industry career. This 7 star luxury hotel was featured in a commercial with Tiger Woods hitting a golf ball into the ocean from the top. I fell in love with the United Arab Emirates. The water was beautiful and this hotel was stunning. The hotel was opened in 1999 and is the hotel of choice for the rich and famous. Then the UAE just kept improving on the excitement by creating the Palm Islands in 2001 and indoor skiing and snowboarding resort in 2005. This is a wonderful, clean, and extremely safe country. I would go back in a heartbeat.

Our trip started with an early check in and breakfast after arriving at 4:30 AM.  We then recuperated from our jet lag by taking a nap in our room until 11:00 AM  then napped around the hotel pool until around 1:00 PM.  It was hot, very very hot!  Each day we were there was above 105.  They say the winter is much better.  We took an Uber to Top Golf.  Had to get our Top Golf in!  We played for about an hour and a half then went straight to Dubai Mall which is the largest mall in the world with the amount of stores and activities, however, The Mall of America still holds the largest in the world by land mass.  The Sheik doesn't like that so they are building 800 more stores to make sure this mall is the largest in the world store wise and land mass!  We only saw a very small portion of this mall.  You would need at least 4 days to walk through it and see everything it has to offer.  We did manage to see the aquarium that is in it.  We then had a nice dinner and watched The Dubai Fountains show.    Our tour started at 3:00 on the 5th so we hung out at the pool for a little while again.   
We met in the hotel lobby for an SUV ride to the desert.  We had a stop on the way to ride 4-wheel ATV's first. That was extremely fun, and I would highly recommend it. From there we drove straight into the desert in the driver's vehicle. A Toyota Land Cruiser. We "bashed the dunes" which was like a roller coaster ride in the desert. This was about a 45 minute to an hour ride. We stopped for stunning sunset pictures and then proceeded to the tent city where we would eat dinner, enjoy a show, get a henna tattoo and ride a camel. This was so much fun, and the food was great too. The next day we met in the lobby first thing in the morning for a city tour, with stops at "souks" for shopping, a palace visit, a stop at a museum, and a lunch experience. The souks were wonderful. It is a big flea market where you can bargain your price for wonderful treasures.  There is a Gold Souk, a Spice Souk, a Utensil Souk, and more.  We had the afternoon off and met in the lobby at 7:00 for a drive to Palm Jumeirah to see the Atlantis, then to Dubai Marina for a traditional cruise on a dhow with dinner. Our last full day was another free day so we made a tee time where they play the Dubai Classic and had a very nice, very hot round of golf.  It is a beautiful course right in the middle of the city.  After golf we had lunch then went up to the 125th floor of the Burj Khalifa.  The tallest building in the world.  There are 163 floors but you are not allowed up there.  It was so beautiful, unfortunately when it is as hot as it was, the heat makes for a thick haze so we were not able to see the Palm Islands from up there but we did manage to see the top of the Burj Al Arab.  These are just some of the pictures I took on this trip.  Again, I want to stress that I always felt safe, never in harms way whether with crime, Covid, or anything.  

Friday, August 6, 2021

Kicheche Camps - A Wilderness gift that keeps on giving

This trip to Kenya was the best!  


The trip was in the beginning of November.  We landed in Nairobi, was picked up and taken to our hotel for an overnight stay.  We had enough time to explore the neighborhood and pick up some souvenirs.  We had breakfast the next morning and was taken to Wilson Airport where we boarded a small 12 seater plane and landed at Nanyuki.  We checked in to Kicheche Laikipia camp in time for lunch.  After lunch we took an afternoon safari.  It was the best 8 nights of my life!  These are some pictures from this wonderful experience.  If you ever dreamed of Africa, do just dream it, GO!

Monday, March 8, 2021


Caribbean Travel Restrictions: 

Jamaica Narrows COVID-19 Travel Test Window

Effective March 4, Jamaica government officials will narrow the window under which travelers must present proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR or Antigen test result to check in for a flight to the country.

Under the new protocol, all travelers to Jamaica age 12 and over will be required to present proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days of travel, according to updated information on the Jamaica Tourist Board website confirmed by JTB officials Monday.

JTB has established an online Test Date Calculator to aid travelers with the timing of pre-departure tests.

Prior to March 4, residents of the U.S., Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Mexico and Panama age 12 or older have been required to present a test result taken within 10 days of travel to Jamaica. The new policy applies to all travelers, and tests must be performed by a medical laboratory with a Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) registration and an ISO 15189 certification.

Thursday, April 30, 2020

After 67 Years, Like Like Drive Inn to Close Permanently on April 30

It’s lights out for Like Like Drive Inn, an iconic Hawaiʻi diner that has been slinging out ʻono (delicious) local comfort foods on the corner of Keʻeamoku and Kanunu streets for the past 67 years. 
Owner Julie Tateyama, who inherited the business from her grandparents James and Alice Nako, said that after closing its dining room in mid-March due to COVID-19, the financial strain has become too much for them to reopen. 
“We were hoping to reopen later but with the extension of the closing of dining rooms and because we’re not a takeout order restaurant, it was rough and we had decided that we’re going to officially close on April 30,” says Tateyama in an April 1 announcement, which added the restaurant would discontinue doing takeout in “consideration to the health and safety of our friends, family and staff.
Known for its late-night hours and Hawaiʻi-style diner food options, like loco moco, wonton min and fried rice, Like Like Drive Inn has found its way into the hearts and stomachs of countless locals, some of which have grown up eating at the historic eatery. Started as an actual drive-in by James and Alice Nako in 1953, Like Like Drive Inn, which predates Ala Moana Center, was converted into an actual restaurant in the '60s before remodeling again in 1994. And many of its employees have stayed with the establishment for decades, adding to the diners already familial vibe.
“It’s still hard because they’ve been working for us for so long,” Tateyama says after telling her 50 employees about the plans for closure. “A lot of them have been here for 40 some years or close to 50 years.”
Through it all, what never changed at Like Like Drive Inn was the quality of the food, its friendly staff and the restaurant's iconic neon sign. Until now. A hui hou Like Like Drive Inn, you will be missed
Article from Hawaii Magazine 

Monday, September 24, 2018

     An example of what the kegs will look like on board

Celebrate the annual beer festival at 30,000 feet this year.

For the first time in 50 years, Lufthansa is serving draft beer from kegs on board certain flights to celebrate Oktoberfest.
Back in the 1960s, passengers on “Lufthansa Senator Service” flights were treated to draft beer, as seen in the picture above. Limited to just three flights during Oktoberfest this year, the special beer service returns September 19 on the Munich to Newark route and continues September 25 on the Munich to Singapore flight. Just before the annual festival ends, anyone flying the Munich to Shanghai route on October 6 will enjoy the last in-flight keg of the year on Lufthansa.
To serve the beer at 32,808 feet, Lufthansa selected a special keg designed with a valve to regulate the carbon dioxide pressure so it doesn’t explode.
Munich’s traditional clothing specialist, Angermaier, designed the custom dirndls and lederhosen for the flight attendants.
But that’s not all. To get everyone in a celebratory mood,  the cabin crew on these flights will swap out their regular navy and yellow uniforms for traditional Bavarian outfits in dark blue and silver gray. Lufthansa tapped Munich-based clothing specialist, Angermaier, to design the custom dirndls for the women and lederhosen for the men.
If you don’t happen to be flying on one of these three flights, you can still celebrate Oktoberfest on Lufthansa flights over the next few weeks. Business-class passengers on intercontinental flights in September and October will be treated to an Oktoberfest menu including ox tartare with truffle and char with riesling sauce, while anyone passing through a Lufthansa Lounge at Munich’s airport can enjoy pretzels, white sausage, and Leberkäse, a type of German meatloaf during the annual festival.

If you’re heading to Munich for the first weekend of Oktoberfest, any passenger who lands at Terminal 2 in Munich between September 22 and 23 will receive a free box of goodies, including beer-mug-shaped gummies, pretzels, a vitamin drink (to fight off the hangover), and a special ribbon to decorate your beer mug. Prost!

Friday, July 13, 2018


Tips to remember when packing a carry-on bag.

Have you ever struggled to manage multiple suitcases while enviously eyeing a traveler with one simple carry-on zip past you toward security? If you answered yes, you might be a chronic over packer. And though over packing isn’t a crime, it definitely has its consequences.

Extra baggage costs differ per airline, but most charge $50+ a pop. Not only will you add unnecessary costs to your travel expenses, you’ll have to bring all of that luggage with you throughout your trip, schlepping it from train station to taxi to hotel.

Other reasons you might want to avoid over packing? In European countries, cars are smaller, so if you plan on renting a car, all those bags might not fit in the trunk. In places like France or Italy, many boutique hotels and older apartment buildings don’t have elevators. And who wants to carry several suitcases up five flights of stairs to get to the Airbnb?

When it comes to easy and enjoyable traveling, less is more. Here’s how to save space when packing.

Invest in a New Carry-On

Suitcase technology has come a long way, with more manufacturers using lightweight fabrics and incorporating high-tech details, so if you can’t remember the last time you bought luggage, why not find a new perfect piece? Gliding wheels that can move in any direction, USB chargers, digital scales and location-tracking are a few must-have amenities for the modern-day suitcase.

Although luggage is not cheap, brands like Away are using top-notch materials to make thoughtful travel bags that won’t break the bank. Outlet stores like Off Saks Fifth Avenue and TJ Maxx are other great places to shop for affordable suitcases.

Bring along a tape measure when shopping to ensure that the carry-on is compact enough. There isn’t a universal size standard for carry-ons, but many domestic airlines (like American and Delta) allow bags that are no bigger than 22 inches tall, 14 inches wide and 9 inches deep.

Make Time to Pack

Don’t wait until it’s almost time to leave for the airport to pack your bag; set aside an ample amount of time, about an hour, to get it right. This way you can be mindful of your clothing decisions and fold items precisely. (More advice on this later.)

After placing the open carry-on flat on the floor, check the pockets and discard any remnants or receipts from previous trips, so there’s nothing in the way of fitting everything in. You'll want to lay the carry-on flat, so that you can easily organize your items inside and fill every inch of the space.

Select Items that Spark Joy

Marie Kondo, the organization guru and best-selling author of “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” believes that you should surround yourself with items that spark joy. Apply this thought process to packing, too. Choose clothing that you love and will want to wear. Arrange everything on a flat open surface, like your bed, by category, placing all the pants in one pile, all the shirts in another, and so on and so forth. Streamline your wardrobe and pick items that are mix and matchable.

If you’re going on a five day trip, follow the “5, 4, 3, 2, 1” rule and pack five pairs of underwear and socks, four tops, three bottoms, two pairs of shoes and one purse. Kondo recommends never packing more than a week’s worth of clothes, no matter how long your trip. If you’re staying for more than a week, she suggests making time to do laundry. Throw in a versatile dress and jacket and you should have plenty of clothing. If you love a piece, but it’s valuable and you would be upset if it got lost, leave it at home.

Consider Clothing Materials

Every fabric is different. Bulky sweaters, full skirts and maxi dresses can quickly fill up a carry-on. Denim is a heavier material than cotton, so consider its weight when deciding how many pairs of jeans to bring. Thigh-high boots will take up more room than booties, and pumps require more space than flats. 

If the cozy sweater and boots spark joy, incorporate them into your plane outfit. Select your outfit before you pack and wear the heavy items—such as jewelry—on the flight. It’s a good idea to carry expensive jewelry with you in your purse rather than carry-on. When you arrive at your destination, store it in the hotel safe.

Fold Clothing Carefully

Follow Marie Kondo’s folding technique and meticulously fold all of the clothes you plan to bring. Lay each piece on a flat surface like a kitchen table or large dresser. Run your hands over the fabric, like an iron, ensuring that there are no bubbles or creases. Fold into tight rectangles and stack or place side by side until you’re ready to fill the suitcase.

It’s beneficial to have everything neatly folded before placing clothing inside the suitcase. This allows the packer to arrange items like a Tetris game, ensures that you start organized, and makes unpacking a cinch.

Rolling is another method of packing many items of clothing into a carry-on.  An example to follow is John Holloway Pack for Weeks in a Carry-on

Fill Every Inch of Space

It’s essential to fill every nook and cranny of the suitcase. Pack footwear like you would find it in a shoebox, heal to toe. Stuff the soles with socks or a dirty laundry bag. Place heavy items like shoes and hair tools at the bottom of the suitcase. Drape clothing around these items.

Don’t let a single inch of space go unused; maximizing what you have available is key.

Figure Out Your Preferred Packing Method

Packing and organization experts recommend different methods as the best way to pack. Experiment with their suggestions to figure out which works best for you. For example, Kondo prefers to fold clothing, while some swear by rolling clothing into tight cylinders. Others recommend investing in compression bags and vacuum sealing clothing into compressed packets.

The bundling technique involves lying all your clothes flat, with parts hanging out of the suitcase, like the bottom half of a pair of pants, then folding each item on top of the other. The most wrinkle-prone item should be on the outside of the bundle so it’s not folded, but simply draped over the other clothing.

Coordinate with Travel Companions

If you’re traveling with family or friends for a special occasion like a wedding, coordinate your packing with them. For example, if you’re bringing shampoo and conditioner, have your sister pack face wash and body lotion. Only one curling iron, outlet converter and sunscreen needs to be packed.

If you’re staying in a hotel, it should have basic toiletries and a blow dryer, so take that into consideration as well.

Shop the Toiletry Travel Aisle

Never travel with full-sized toiletries. Not only will they be confiscated from your carry-on, but they simply take up too much space. Head to the travel aisle at Target and purchase smaller sizes of your favorite deodorant, mouthwash and body wash.

All liquids carried on to a flight must be 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or smaller. Any items over 3.4 ounces will be discarded by security.

Keep Liquids on Top

Pack the aforementioned liquid toiletries in a clear Ziploc baggie and place it on top of your suitcase. If you have to open the suitcase to get through security, you’ll be able to easily access the toiletries.

I just traveled to the U.K., where makeup items such as lip gloss and mascara are considered liquid, so depending on where you’re traveling, you might want to keep makeup in an easily accessible side pocket.

Leave Behind Unnecessary Gear

From car seats to cribs, traveling with children requires a lot of stuff. Call your hotel or check with your host to see if they have baby gear for rent; it’s often cheaper to rent than it is to travel with it.

Technology can also be heavy and bulky; do you really need your laptop, iPad and Kindle? If you’re going on a vacation, leave the laptop at home, so you won’t be tempted to work. And keep kids entertained on flights with an iPod stocked with movies and games.

Keep Necessities Packed

If you travel frequently, always keep a toiletry bag packed and ready to go. Stock it with any and all essentials, like (travel-size) toothpaste and a toothbrush, contact solution and a small container of sunscreen.

When it comes time to pack, you simply have to grab the pouch and place it on top of your suitcase.

Make a To-Pack List

If you procrastinate on packing and always end up forgetting something, sit down, weeks before your trip, and quickly type up a packing list. Note everything from workout leggings to iPhone chargers.

When it comes time to pack for your next trip, print the list and refer to it to ensure you don’t forget anything.

Master an Outfit Plan
Assess all the events and activities on your travel itinerary, and pre-plan the exact outfit for each — clothes, shoes, accessories, everything. (Though it's best to choose versatile accessories that will go with a bunch of looks.) This is especially important if you’re going on a trip for a special celebration, be it a birthday or wedding.

And don't forget to choose items that you are excited to wear — then all you have to do is throw them on and you’re ready to enjoy the destination. No stress, no hassle, no problem.