Saturday, August 16, 2014

A Travel Story



Everyone who travels has travel stories.  Even if you just take a walk, you may encounter something interesting!  For us, as we are now preparing for our upcoming vacation, we are remembering some of our travel stores and I will take the time to tell you some of them--if you're interested.  If not, it's OK!  Travel stories are like home movies.  Some people like them and some people don't!  (Smile)

 (photo credit:  our CBS DVD series!--Yes, that's our TV,
and it's the episode when Lucy falls asleep during Ricky's movies!)

Anyway, here is one of our travel stories!  When we used to live on the island of Curacao,
    (Yes, that's me swimming on the right--not a bad way to spend your day off!), as now actually, we had to go to Maryland and Ohio to visit my family ("Ohio?" people would ask Ramon.  "Why are you going to Ohio for your vacation?"  Smile!  It's actually a fun place, but I'll have to reserve another post for it!) and to Paraguay to visit Ramon's family. 

On one trip to visit Paraguay, our itinerary was Curacao to Bogota, Columbia (where we stayed the night for a mini-vacation) and on to Asuncion.  Then on our way home to Curacao, we flew into Buenos Aires for a couple of days, before flying on to Bogota and then to Curacao. 

OK, so we had a nice flight to Bogota.  All of us disembarked, went through customs, and then to pick up our luggage, following the sign indicating which baggage carousel we should wait at.  We waited and waited.  Finally a young man came up to all of us from the plane.  "Are you the folks from the plane from Curacao?"  "Yes," we all replied.  "Well, there's no luggage.  You'll all have to come back tomorrow at this time to pick up your luggage."  Uproar!  "WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?  No luggage?  NO LUGGAGE?  What do you mean?"  "Yes, there's no luggage.  Please come back tomorrow."  "Explain to us how there could be NO LUGGAGE AT ALL."  "Well, remember when you left Curacao and it looked like it was going to rain?  The crew decided not to load the plane because they didn't want to get wet."  (Yes, this is a true story!)  "WHAT?!?!?!  Is this some kind of joke?"  "No.  Please come back tomorrow.  If you have a connection before this time tomorrow, go to that desk over there and make arrangements for your luggage to follow you on the next flight."  And he was gone!  (Yes, this is a true story!)

Now, that is not the end of the story!  We went to the desk indicated, and Ramon gave the girl our itineray so she could write down the information about transferring our luggage, since we actually WERE leaving the next day before the flight from Curacao would come in.  We were also using a different airline to fly into Asuncion.  She looked at our itinerary and said, "Oh, we don't fly to Asuncion."  She looked over Ramon's shoulder and said, "Next!"

"Excuse me!  You're not done with us.  What did you just say?"  "Oh, we don't fly to Asuncion.  Let me help the next person."  "Excuse me.  You're going to help us.  It's not our fault that YOUR ground crew in Curacao was afraid they'd get wet!  Now you will find a way to get our luggage to Asuncion!"  "Yes, Sir.  I'll find a way."

 Well, she found a way for our luggage to get to Asuncion, but it did take ten, yes TEN, days to arrive!  Ramon had to threaten that he'd hire a lawyer.  We found out the problem was that the first airline would not take the luggage to the second one and the second one would not go and pick it up.  We never found out exactly which airline caved, but at least we got it!  (By the way, our travel insurance covered our expenses.  It does pay to have it.)


Here is the view of Bogota from the window of our room at the Marriott, where we stayed that night.  It was lovely!  Bogota is a very nice city!


Well, now to the flight back home to Curacao after a couple of days of a lovely vacation in Buenos Aires.  By the way, we really recommend going there if you ever have a chance!  Anyway, we got to the airport and had something happen to us that reminded us of a Seinfeld episode!  We went early, as is our habit, but still couldn't avoid long lines.
 (photo credit:  on the photo)

Well, FINALLY it was our turn!  When we showed our itinerary, the girl behind the counter studied it, and typed away on her computer.  She was very silent.  Then she said, "There is a problem with your ticket."  Just the words you DON'T want to hear...and just like Seinfeld!
 
(photo credit:  buildingfuturesinmanitoba.com)

   "The problem is Sir, that you are in first class, 
 
  (photo credit:  hwdyk.com)

but your wife is in coach." 
  (photo credit:  thebargainjunkie.com)

 Just the very words I DIDN'T want to hear!  (Smile)  She asked for our receipt, which thankfully I always carry--just in case.  This was the "just in case!"  Apparently she thought we had bought the tickets that way hoping to pull a "fast one" and pretend ignorance and then get a free upgrade for me!  She saw the receipt and said, "Excuse me, I have to go and talk to my manager."  Then she went to the back and we could see her talking to her manager and both of them waving their hands and sometimes pointing to us!  It was just like this:  (Smile)

 (photo credit:  Youtube)

Yes, it was EXACTLY like that!  It was so funny. 
 When she came back, she was smiling.  "My manager said that both of you can fly first class!"

 (photo credit:  dailyseinfeld.com)

Now we didn't get ice cream, but we did get great service, comfy seats, excellent food, etc., etc., etc.!  I keep waiting for this to happen again, but so far, no luck!  (Smile)  Well, I can always hope! 

To finish I'll tell about one more thing.  As we started the descent into Bogota, we got to see great views of the Colombian jungle.  It's quite beautiful.  Then, in the middle of NOWHERE, I saw a clearing with some houses and nothing but jungle all around it as far as I could see.  "Look!" I said to Ramon.  "That looks like one of those drug factory farms you see in the movies.  What if a raid is preparing to happen right this very moment!"  "Don't be silly," he said.  "It's just a village.  You've seen too many movies."

Later, while sitting in our gate area, Ramon was watching CNN and I was reading and not paying attention to the TV since my Spanish isn't the best.  Ramon said to me, "Look!"  I looked up and could see images of a drug raid on one of those drug farms in the middle of the jungle!  It looked just like those raids look in the movies, but it was on CNN!  Ramon said, "They're saying that it just happened about an hour ago or so, and was southeast of Bogota, right about where we were flying about an hour ago!  Maybe we did just about see a drug raid!  You never know!"  (Smile)

Now we're packing for our next trip, and looking forward to home and family--and praying for an uneventful trip!  We've had a busy year of work, but are thankful for the opportunities we've had to serve.

Whatever your travel plans are, even if the plans are to stay home, enjoy and have fun!  Have a nice day, take care and until next time, God bless! 
   





Saturday, July 26, 2014

Shopping!

Hello!  Let's go shopping!  Those who know me, know that I like to shop!  I learned it from my mom, (yes, Mom, you taught me well!) and even though I can "shop till I drop," my mom can still usually out shop me!  Anyway, here in Nepal, I was happy to note when we got here, there are many shopping options available for everyone, no matter what your preferences are!

You may recognize this store's name!
It's in the tourist part of Kathmandu called Thamel, 
if you're ever in town and want to check it out!

Our favorite store in Thamel is this one:

W love it because it's big and you can wander around without the owners following you around.
They not only sell books, but also nice gifts.  
The prices are fixed too, which is nice.  I haven't been able to get used to bargaining.
I know it's fun for some people, but I haven't become one of them yet.
(That's just my personal choice.) 

A very sad thing happened to the other Pilgrim's House store.
Yes, there used to be two of them.  The other was the original one.
Oh so sadly, it burned to the ground a little over a year ago, and several other stores around it too.
Everyone who knew this store is still sad, including us.

Here is the nice restaurant that they had.
Now it's just a memory.  Yes, still so sad.

Of course, as in every city of the world, as you drive around,
you pass shop after shop after shop.


Some, like this one, which is so cute, I'd like to stop and look at,

but when you're in heavy traffic,

and there are very few parking lots,
it's hard to find a place to park!

Of course, since we're in the Himalayas, as we drive around,
we also get glimpses like this!  Majestic!

Once when we were driving around, we went past this little group of shops.

Just past this, we stopped at a light.
I looked around, and was so enchanted to see this beautiful child--
I gave her the Namaste sign, and she gave it back!
Isn't she super precious?!

As we started to drive off, she waved to me!
Oh my word!  How adorable!  Bless her heart!  

Of course when my mom was here (yes, she's been able to come twice!), we went shopping!
I was able to snap her taking a picture of a shopping area in the tourist town of Pokhara.

(By the way, if you missed the two posts about the trip I took there with her,
you can read the first one here and the second one here--if you are interested.
I must say that I'm proud of some of the pictures!)

Here she is shopping in one of the several Bhat Bhatini stores in Kathmandu.
Now Bhat Bhatini is my favorite store here--again, fixed prices and
no one follows you around as you shop.  It's like Super Walmart because
you can buy everything there!  If they don't have it, you probably don't need it!



If you'll notice, Mom is smiling!  See what's in her hands?
Yes, she's so happy to have found M&Ms!  Yeah!
I must say that you can usually find M&Ms here, and also Lay's Potato Chips,
which you can see are there in our cart.  Yes, the cart gets pretty full, since we
can only go once a week, and we never know when we may have to miss a week,
so we have to plan ahead--just in case.

Bhat Bhatini is going to have it's own post one of these upcoming days.
I've been working on it for some time.  Soon, soon!

Now, soon after we got here, back in 2010, I did write about one shopping experience I had at
Bhat Bhatini!  If you missed it, you can read about it here.
If I say so myself, it's funny!

Another one of the stores that we love in Kathmandu is Ekta Bookstore.
It's filled from top to bottom with books, several floors worth,
and this is most wonderful!

Obviously, we never leave without buying something!

Here's the beautiful children's section.  Yes, I bought something there the other day!

Another bookstore we love is in this building near the area called New Road.

Yes, this small building not only has an amazing bookstore, but as you can see it also
has a motorbike workshop, a restaurant,

and a key shop.

It's one stop shopping!

Plus, the parking lot is next to the large field where the army does maneuvers
and offers a great view!

Well, that's all for now!  I hope everyone reading this is having a lovely day!
Take care and God bless!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Hospital Happenings

Hello Friends!  Hope all is well with everyone reading this!  We are fine, and trying not to melt with the hot and very, very humid weather!  There's not enough rain, which is worrisome, but there's enough humidity to make you feel like you just stepped out of a swimming pool!  Oh well, at least we're not freezing, which we will be before we know it--right?!

If only we had time, we could cool off here, at Kathmandu Fun Park, which is just down the road a bit:
When we drive by, I'm happy to see everyone having fun there!

Well, for today's post, I'm going to link you over to the hospital's blog so you can read about the summer happenings in that news blog.  Through a generous donation, the hospital is able to offer a great blessing to many children!  Ramon is happy to be involved as the anesthesiologist.  He says the little ones are so beautiful and such good patients!  To read about it, click here:  http://scheermemorialhospital.blogspot.com/

And for a brief look at the school, here's a cute picture of the cuteness I get to see every day.  These are some of the Nursery class students, who escape from their room and run to the door to greet me every day when they see me walking to the school.  Isn't it wonderful!  They are jumping up and down, waving and clapping their hands, and shouting, "Kathy Ma'am!  Kathy Ma'am!"  It's awesome!

More pictures soon!
Have a nice day, week, month, and year!  
Take care and God bless!
Later!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Eating Out in Kathmandu--Part 2

Hello!  Hope this finds everyone having a lovely day!  We're fine, but my computer is acting up (boo hoo!!!) so I'm using Ramon's computer.  You know how you get used to your own computer and when you can't use it you just feel funny.  Well, I hope I can get it working again, or I'll have to wait until we are home and get a new one!  I feel like an old friend is sick!

We're happy though that the spring rains cool things down a little!  However, the humidity can be brutal!

The spring rains don't stop the field workers!  This man is wearing the covering they use to work in the fields when it starts raining.  It's like a tarp.

He and his family had worked in a light rain for some hours, right behind the hospital.  You can't tell it's raining, but it was--I was using my umbrella when I took this picture as I walked to school.

A few days later, after more rain, here is what that field has been looking like,
in these time lapsed photos...taken each about two days after the other.





Interesting, eh?
However this post is going to be Part 2 about the restaurants we eat at in Kathmandu.  Yes, a fun part of our day off is eating out!  Like every city in the world, there are many options to choose from!  There are probably close to a thousand (I'm guessing) little restaurants like this...

...and this.

We tend to mainly stick to the restaurants in the tourist areas or the hotel restaurants.

One nice hotel with a nice restaurant is the Shangri-la.  Unfortunately Ramon has not been able to eat there, but I was able to go when he was too busy for a day off.  Once I went with another missionary wife and another time I met a school friend there who lives and works in India.  She came to Nepal for work meetings.  How fun it was to meet after MANY years and meet in such an interesting place as Nepal!  Back in our school days if someone had told us we would meet for lunch in Kathmandu, we would never have believed it!  Here is a picture from Tripadvisor of the luncheon patio.  (Since my pictures are not on Ramon's computer, I used this lovely picture.  Thank you Tripadvisor!)  You can see that there is a lovely place to sit and it's like a little oasis in the middle of Kathmandu.  Plus the food is good too!

Maybe soon I'll get Ramon to go there!

Another oasis in Kathmandu is the Yak and Yeti Hotel, which has a very lovely restaurant.  (Back to my pictures which I put on Ramon's computer.)  We love to go there because we can really relax, enjoy the peace and quiet and also the views, plus have a great meal from the buffet, which reminds of our home!  Here is the outside.
(This is actually the casino, and no, we haven't visited there!)

Here is the front entrance.  The windows are around a very nice circular seating area,
 
seen here.  (Sorry it's such a bad picture!  Because so many people were there, I just casually did a quick point and shoot!)

Inside there's a nice lobby,

 with a pretty phone area.

The last time we were there, this was a very lovely gift shop.  The prices were awfully steep, so I never bought anything.  It looks like they chose to go out of business rather than lower their prices so you could actually buy something!

Now here you have the buffet.  There are different items each time, so you always have a nice selection.

Didn't I tell you the view was relaxing?

I think you can see why we enjoy our lunch break when we eat there.  We really recommend it.
After eating, you can walk off your lunch by strolling around.  You can enjoy the architecture,

shops,



and this beautiful room, with a banquet hall up the stairs,

and lots of old and interesting pictures, such as this one of Lord and Lady Mountbatten's trip to Nepal in 1945.  I love it!

Here is the Annapurna Hotel...

and its quite nice Chinese restaurant.

It seems to often have a fairly full house, so I think it must be popular.
I enjoyed eating there when I went with some volunteers on a day Ramon had to work.

Right across the hallway is the bar.
I did go in once, to buy some water to take some medicine, and they wouldn't let me pay!
It's really cute inside and looks out over the pool area.

Just in front of this bar is another restaurant that we haven't tried yet.  It looks really cute too.  This picture is blurry as I snapped it while briskly walking, but you can get a little bit of an idea.

Hmmm, we'll have to try it soon!

Now when we feel like having a really good, and I mean really super good samosa, we go to
Rameshwaram in the area of Kathmandu called New Road.
How do we find it?  We look for the motorcycle parking lot and there it is.
Of course, my pictures of that are on my computer, so you'll have to wait to see them.
Why are their samosas so good?
The crust is exactly like one of the best flaky pie crusts you've ever eaten, that's why!

Of course, the inside is just a BIT spicy for me, so I have to dab mine in ketchup.  (Shhh!)

As you can see, you can't go wrong with the price--Rupees 25 is US 26 cents.

Another hotel with a nice restaurant is the Hyatt Regency.
For lunch you have to eat off the menu, but if you can get there for breakfast or supper,
you can enjoy a very nice buffet too.
It's a lovely place.




The last time we ate there, (see Ramon's elbow?) we almost had the place to ourselves!
However, you can see how nice it is.

Here is part of the buffet area.

Looking at this makes me remember the good breakfasts we have eaten here.
Ramon, shall we go again soon?  :)

Well, now, here is another less well-known restaurant, not in Kathmandu,
but appears to be very popular!  Obviously this picture was taken during a recent monsoon rain,
and if there were any customers they must have been inside.

Yes, it's our hospital's canteen right here at Scheer Memorial Hospital!
If you find yourself in Banepa, Nepal, at a meal time, or yes, even a snack time,
come on over and check it out!  You might be surprised!

Well, that's all for now!  Have a lovely summer day!
May the Lord bless you and your loved ones and may you enjoy a nice meal
in your favorite restaurant very soon!