Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's Eve in Ecuador

Ecuador...New Year's Eve...Most Americans would not think of combining the two. But to whet your appetite, I'm including a short entry written by a writer at International Living.

Cuenca, New Year’s Eve
By Kent Zimmerman

If you are a pyromaniac, living in Cuenca anytime is a thrill—but on New Year’s Eve, it’s nirvana. You can buy just about any kind of firework imaginable (Ecuador is just behind China in producing fireworks). You can set them off anywhere to your heart’s delight, and people around you will applaud, not complain.

Happy travels,

To view more from International Living, click on the link below.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

New Year's Eve Safety

My mother always warned not to go out on New Year's Eve, because -- as only she could put it -- that's when "all the drunks are on the road."

She certainly had a point. A little common sense is in order. Here is a quick list of New Year's Eve safety do' s and don't s.

1. Don't drink and drive.
2. Drive defensively.
3. Be careful when handling fireworks.
4. Never, ever fire a gun into the air.
5. Keep your pets indoors.

Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merida, Mexico -- Youtube video rocks!

Check out this rockin' YouTube video! Just scroll down a bit and you will find it. Click and enjoy!

Nos vemos, Joyce

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Mexico -- Part Four: Does a yucca tan in the Yucatan?

As I have mentioned in a previous blog, I love to watch the telenovelas (soap operas) on Spanish-language TV. One that I follow somewhat is called "Sortilegio." (A charm, or spell.) The setting is Merida, in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.

I've never visited the Yucatan -- no, not even a resort vacation to Cancun -- but the place sure looks beautiful. I imagine the climate and landscape to be similar to Florida's. Flat land. Lots of heat and humidity. A place where hurricane forecasts are taken seriously.

Merida is the peninsula's largest city with a population of about 735,000. It was founded in 1542 on the site of a former Mayan city. The Yucatan Peninsula and the bordering country of Guatemala are considered the homeland of the Mayan Indians.

Merida may well be the oldest continuously occupied city in the Americas. The historic center of the city boasts Spanish-colonial architecture, such as the Cathedral Mayor on the Plaza on the right.(credit, wikimedia commons.)

Happy travels,

Friday, December 11, 2009

Fairbanks, Alaska: The Ice-fog Cometh

After several posts on Mexico, I've decided to give you all a quick look at Fairbanks, Alaska in the dead of winter.

I lived in Fairbanks from 1970 until June of 1977 when my son, Adrian Paul, was born. The summers were magnificent, but the winters? When something called an inversion layer kicked in, you found yourself stuck in ice-fog. Meaning? The exhaust from cars would freeze, forming a noxious cloud of near-zero visibility. I can't believe I spent seven  winters walking through and breathing in the stuff. Of course, if you were fortunate to live "up in the hills," -- above the inversion layer -- the air was clear and winter snow-scape beautiful. And living in Fairbanks in the winter meant you could collect quite a few tales to share later in life.

Over the years, one of the lines I most like to share at parties is this: You haven't lived until you've chopped wood at sixty-below!

For the most part, I found winter in Fairbanks to be a beautiful experience. Quiet, star-studded nights. And the northern lights were an unbelievable experience.

Back to the ice-fog. To better understand it and to see some amazing photos, click on the link below. It will take you to the blog of my friend Dermot Cole, a writer for the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.

Happy travels,
Joyce &id=5090287-Going+with

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Guest Post on Mexico: Or How Harrison Got Lost In Translation

 My good friend Harrison Shaffer was inspired to send me the following after reading my post "Colombia: Gem of the Caribbean." Enjoy!

Your mention of Colombian Spanish brought to mind a humorous experience I had in Guadalajara many years ago. I was staying in an older hotel on the edge of the city where the desk clerk was from Colombia, so both his English and Spanish came out with a sort of Castilian flavor. I wanted to go to the pottery village of Tonola and asked him which public bus I should take, to which he responded with something that sounded like "jello." He said "Ju take dee jello bus," and so I went out to the main boulevard and looked for a bus with a sign on the front for anything that sounded like "jello." I figured it was the Spanish name of another town or region, maybe like "Chielo" or "Che Lo." After about a half hour, though, I realized I could have taken any number of buses that had been passing by--the ones that were painted yellow!

I don't know about what you're thinking right now, but I'm getting hungry for some lemon Jello with a dollop of whipped cream!

Happy travels,

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Mexico -- Part Three: Riding the Rails

Pardon me boys, is that the Guadalajara Choo-choo?

In years gone by it was possible to take the train from the Arizona-Mexico border in Nogales, Sonora all the way to Guadalajara, the capital city of Jalisco.

It was a 24-hour trip. Kurt and I took the train at least once by ourselves and once when our son was a toddler. One memory is of the kind you see in movies -- an overstuffed rail car with some chickens on the loose.

But the most emotional moment? We were a few miles short of the border heading home. It was around 9 pm on the 4th of July. Kurt, our son and I were standing outside the train, when, in the distance, we saw the welcoming display of fireworks just north of the border in Arizona.  

Nos vemos pronto,