Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Arriving in Dubai at Al Qasr Madinat

 Our arrival in Dubai was not marred by the usual horrible cab driver negotiation tango.  No sir.  We were scooped up in this navigator and brought to our hotel - The Al Qasr Madinat.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The iconic Burj Al Arab - the height of luxury

 Exterior of the Burj on the beach

Boo's corner - Kristin's blog

 Well I am back by popular demand. I am writing this in the Qatar airport at 7:00 am on a Sunday morning. We arrived at the airport 3 hours before our boarding time because we confused our flight time with another. So we have plenty of time to kill in a not so interesting airport. We just dined on roast beef sandwich's and orange juice from A&W and for dessert we had a Oreo shiver from TCBY. There is no dieting on travel days. It is kinda hard to find stuff edible in most of these airports. Our last travel day lunch consisted of Justin and I splitting a can of Pringles that we bought for $7 and a Snickers bar. 
Anyways, here are the rest of the photos from Nepal and a few from Dubai. We are having a great time but it is quite tiring. We are on our one-a-days stretch of the trip. Basically, this means we have stayed in 9 different hotels in 9 days. Which is all fine if you have a small suitcase, which both Justin and I do not have. Every time I have to shut my suitcase I have to sit, sometimes jump, on my suitcase for it to close, EVERYDAY, it is getting annoying. Justin's suitcase does not even stand anymore on its own. He has to prop it up against a wall or my bag for it to stand. I nicknamed his bag BDB-bid dumb bag because it is. Big and dumb.

The largest grooming project of my adult life

I grew my beard long for the Arab world.  The last time I shaved, St. Croix, feels more like a childhood sitcom than a real time and place.  My how the beard grew.  It could sand wood.  It could make polished brass appear antique.  It could make me appear like a disheveled Specter floating from one country to the next.  It was at its worst a costume and at its best a shining badge of my disinterest in the enterprise of grooming.

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Bugatti Veyron in Dubai - the world's most expensive car

Exchanging Nepal's world of rickshaws and oxcarts for Dubai's land of super-cars and 5 star hotels was a rush to the dome.  Upon arriving at our hotel, The Jumeriah Al Qasr Madinat, a string of flashy cars were parked out of front, including this blue Bugatti Veyron - a mid-engined demon with four turbos, ten radiators, and a top speed of over 250mph.  With a price tag of $1.9 million, the car is right at home in the excessive car culture of desert Dubai.  While I will do a proper story about it later, one interesting this about the car culture here involves the license plates.  Lower is better, 7's are important, repeating numbers are important, and 5 digit plates are for commoners and pleabs.  Here on this Bugatti is a 7700 plate number.  The 7's mean it is likely owned by someone in the Jumeriah group.  Frequently the plates are auctioned by current owners with "1" selling for over $14 million back in 2008.  Just driving around Dubai, we saw "3" and "5," both on blacked out Mercedes G-wagons.

The breakfast of champions

I do not know that butter will ever be enough again.  After many years on this planet, and still more as a semi-functioning adult, I have crossed over into the land of jams.

I may never again be the same. 

At they very minimum, I do not intend to look back on an existence free of preserves.  Whether they be black currant, strawberry, apricot, or orange honey blossom, my time in luxurious Dubai has been rife with jam eating, smelling, and smuggling.

I am kind of kidding.  Seriously though, our breakfasts have been epic and jam has figured prominently into the equation.  For the traveler, no time is better for carb loading than a breakfast buffet.  Above is a typical plate for me.  It is believed that if not for my intense workout regimen, I would weigh over 300 lbs from bread intake.

Self-realization in Dubai

In my wildest dreams, I never thought that it would play out this way.  On that first night when I set the proverbial pen to paper in Hong Kong, almost a full 3 years ago, I wanted a reason to justify traveling, a link to the world back home, and most of all, I wanted to write.  Some of my friends had done fantastic travel blogs: The Reiersons, Eric Rems, and Mark & Cathy Jackson. I wanted to follow in their footsteps.  Share my experience, allow you to travel with me.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Pokhara - escaping from it all, eating bad chicken, fighting the good fight on a glimmering commode

Pokhara is a small city about five hours west of Kathmandu - an adventurer's Shangri-la.  People come here to para-glide, start treks around the Annapurna range, hunt spiders, get food poisoning, climb mountains, go rowing in the lake, and other stuff. 

Kristin and I came here to see the sunrise over the Annapurna range of the Himalayas, among other things.  After a butt clenching 6 hour drive from Kathmandu on a two lane road filled with garishly adorned trucks and buses, we arrived in Pokhara, thankful for cheating death on the dangerous mountain bends.  The traffic went both ways, many a head-on collision was narrowly diverted, and at one point, we got stuck in a traffic jam behind a guy trying to shove a newly purchased coat rack into his small car.  It didn't work.  He drove off in what I imagine to be a fury of disappointment. We were also starving.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Durbar Square in Patan

We took a ride over to Patan with our homeboy Monaj. Since it was the birthday of Buddha, we witnessed some sort of processional.  Taking it in like great travelers, we watched and talked about Nepal.  It is such a beautiful place.  With the mountains looming and Everest champions coming back with tales of the most extreme place on the planet, it is easy to fall in love with the lore of the rooftop of our world.  The pace of life in Kathmandu is frantic, but just a few miles in any direction are small Tibetan villages, soaring peaks, and lush rolling hills.  It has been days since I have passed a solid stool, but Nepal makes this sort of sacrifice worth it.  At times I regretted it, at times my heart soared, but in the end, Nepal added up way past the sum of its parts.  For every poisonous chicken mushroom dish, a snow capped monster soars.  For every traffic jam that seems inescapable, a quaint mountain village filled with tea-houses begs to be explored.  Patan seems to be the place where this truth materialized for me.  That, for every malady or setback, Nepal would reward me with the epic grandeur of an old magical kingdom. 

Rhinos I have known and loved

In Chitwan, an area in southern Nepal, we went on safari on the back of a lumbering elephant and saw these solitary beasts lurking in ponds and green glades.  Rhinos.  One even charged at us as we approached on foot - not for the faint of heart.  Exhilarating though. Luckily, we outran the strange wrinkled goons.

Boo's corner - Kristin's blog

Irma Returns
Last year in Lao we stayed in the jungle and had an encounter with a huge spider that the hotel named Irma. We all noticed it after dinner hanging out above our door. Ryan and I packed up shop and were ready to get the hell outta there. Justin and Megan did not think it would be good to leave during the night in search for another hotel in the jungles of Lao. So we stayed. It was pretty much the worst night ever.

We spent the last 2 nights in the jungle of Nepal.It was pretty awesome. I got to bathe an elephant AND touch its nose ( I will post more pics later) it was seriously the best day of my life.

So yesterday when I heard the words "uh oh, Irma returns" from Boo, I freaked. I grabbed Tweet and jumped on the bed with my camera.  This is a pretty funny video of Justin trying to kick Irma #2 out of our room. He did not know I was filming.

I am actually kinda glad Irma returned. I pulled the "I did not picture us having to escort a huge spider out of our room during our honeymoon" act, and squeezed out a trip to the Maldives! We were suppose to spend 8 days in Sri Lanka, 4 days in the jungle and 4 days on the beach. Instead of us going to the jungle we are going to the Maldives. This was my dream honeymoon location but it was a bit pricey and not adventurous enough for Justin. But he agreed this was not the ideal honeymoon setting he had in mind and so we booked a last minute deal to Male, Maldives....

Monday, May 23, 2011

A ton of pictures of Kathmandu with little to no explanation

Okay, its time for me to open up the floodgates on my photos.  I have been pretty stingy with them, but no more, you have earned it fair reader, behold a flood of Kathmandu... 

The flaming ghats of Pashupatinath - where the dead turn to ash

In Kathmandu, in an area called Pashupatinath, the Nepalese cremate the dead on raised platforms along the Bagmati river.  Running down from the Himalayas, the Bagmati river meets up with the Ganges and flows down to the holy city of Varnassi. 

The air is thick with the smoke of the dead; mourners shuffle about in silence.  Monkeys pick through the offerings like oblivious goons. A ghost like presence haunts just above your shoulder at this Hindu burial site.  The bodies burn slowly and the ashes join the river. 

Sunday, May 22, 2011

King Tibs the Bold - Furmonster royalty at Hotel Courtyard in Kathmandu

Upon our arrival at the Hotel Courtyard in Kathmandu, the hotel gates swung open and a dog with the bouncy gait of an Arabian horse came racing towards our car.  It was Tibby, ruler of the Hotel Courtyard kingdom.  Sometimes racist (it is said that Coca Cola was not delivered for a month because the Nepalese delivery man would not come near Tibby and thus the hotel), always sauntering about like royalty, Tibby is one of the finest furmonsters ever encountered by the goboogo staff.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Going medieval in Bhaktapur

Bhaktapur is a medieval town where little has changed in the last thousand years.  While the year in Nepal may be 2068, this hamlet of brick and chaos makes that collection of digits seem arbitrary at best.  The city's narrow lanes are flanked by leaning brick towers and the savageness of its back alleys is told in goat slaughter and starving dogs.  Truth be told, it is not a place for a first date.  You bring her here AFTER you marry her. 

Friday, May 20, 2011

Sunrise over the Himalayas

Sunrise over the Annapurna range, snaking up the switchbacks with our hoodies on at 4:30am was a trip in itself 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Boo's corner - Kristin's blog

So I thought this trip I would give blogging a shot. I am in no way a writer like Justin at all. I actually despise writing. But I thought it would be fun to upload the pictures from my camera and give my point of view of the trip. Please do not judge my grammar, I went to Celina High School and we colored signs to put on the lockers of football boys and practiced game day stuff during class. Grammar was the least of my worries then..

Nepalese cucumbers are massive

This woman cannot fathom why her cucumbers are so large

Passing though Changu Narayan

The Kathmandu valley is filled with medieval hamlets, rolling hills, brick factories, and goats.  We had a driver take us up the hillside into Changu Narayan.  

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Bryan Adams is huge in Nepal

A strange undercurrent has taken a turn for the surreal during our adventure through Nepal. On our first day in Nepal, we befriended a 16 year old named Monaj and when we got to talking about music, he was only interested in talking about one man - Bryan Adams.  He even sang the first few lines to summer of 69.  We thought it was odd that a teenager was so fond of the aging rock icon.  The Bryan Adams madness only ballooned from there.

After you become aware of something, it seems to occur everywhere.  After Monaj spoke of his love for the crooner popular for such songs as "I wanna be (your underwear)" and 18 going on 55, we could not escape the stylings of the Nepalese heartthrob.  I could not help but picture him bringing down the house in Kathmandu to a crowd of weeping Nepalese with a heartfelt rendition of "(Everything I do) I do it for you."

And it happened, he performed in Kathmandu a few months ago.

The pods of our life

As usual on a trip across the globe, there were characters during our hops from one destination to the next.  On our flight to Amsterdam, we sat next to a Lithuanian chess master on scholarship at UTD.  Apparently UTD is one of the few schools to hand out scholarships to chess players. He was returning home to Lithuania for the summer months.  Kristin swears his name was Cod, but I would almost gamble a fortune that it was Todd.  It is a point of debate between us.  Among his more difficult adaptations to American life was the appropriate way to navigate through a Subway sandwich shop.  He was amazed at the level of sandwich freedom - all of those toppings, for free.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The mask-maker at work in Changu Narayan

Here, in the Kathmandu valley village of Changu Narayan, the mask-maker cannot possibly make enough masks.  He toils away in a ghost like trance carving and painting, carving and painting.

The longest of journeys

Thursday, May 12  - St. Croix to Miami followed by Miami to Dallas
Friday, May 13 - Dallas to Amsterdam
Saturday, May 14 - Amsterdam to New Delhi
Sunday, May 15 - New Delhi to Kathmandu

We are in Nepal, where roads come to an end.    

St. Croix is for lovers - Part 4

Most of our guests left the Virgin Islands, but Kristin, myself, and Nathan Bellah remained.  We explored the far west of the island.  Fredericksted, St. Croix's westernmost city, was ghost town empty, but extremely interesting nonetheless. We ate the best deli sandwiches in the world (seriously) at Turtle's Deli and wandered the empty streets.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

St. Croix is for lovers - Part 3

The wedding day came. Girls did yoga on the beach with Spencer.  The guys went to go watch pigs drink beer and eat lobster at Cane Bay on the north side of St. Croix.  A day trip to gorgeous Buck Island here, swimming in the neon plankton of Salt Bay there, we had an excellent time.

St. Croix is for lovers - Part 2

After a few days in St. Croix, busloads of friends and family began to arrive for our wedding.  We had a great time.  Between literally commandeering the bar care of Eric Rems and Ali Zandi and taking to the calm surf like an army of Hasselhoffs, it shaped up to be a spectacular weekend.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

St. Croix is for lovers - Part 1

The beach in front of our home for the last week - The Palms at Pelican Cove
We came, we saw, we got married.  St. Croix will always be a special place for the new Delaney family.  After spending the last week with over seventy of our closest friends and family in the Virgin Islands, Kristin and I depart for another adventure.  I will be posting many pictures and detailing our exploratory whims with short vignettes.  Please stay tuned and check back frequently at goboogo.com.  We arrive in Kathmandu on May 15. First things first, I will be sharing a few posts worth of pictures from St. Croix, wedding excluded. Those wedding photos will come much later.