Since today is New Year’s Eve, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite travel memories. Not all of them are from 2016 but all of them are important to me.
Getting Lost in Tokyo
While in Japan, I was invited to dinner at the home of a CouchSurfer. Japanese addresses are notoriously difficult so of course I found myself standing on a street corner at 8pm in the pitch black dark confused as to where I should go. An older man came up and gestured to me. Since I wasn’t sure of what he was asking, I showed him the address I was trying to find. He gestured that I should stay put and then took off down the street. *blank stare*
A few minutes later he returned and gestured that I should go with him. I followed him into a building and into the elevator. We walked down a hallway and knocked on the door. The CouchSurfing guy answered. He seemed surprised to see the older gentleman. They chatted for a bit and the gentleman smiled at me, turned, and left.
Chasing in the Churascurria
While visiting Salvador de Bahia in Brazil, we took our toddler to eat at a churascurria. The servers were bored since it was early and the dinner rush hadn’t begun. One of them started playing with our toddler. Soon the toddler wanted to get out of the high chair. He ended up running around the restaurant. Once one server started chasing him, the game was on! Other servers in other areas started playing and soon the whole restaurant was chasing or being chased by our son! Seeing his little face light up and seeing all the servers totally getting into it warmed my heart.
Walking Through Fire in Peru
While in Peru, the news said that the miners were striking. I wasn’t worried about it in Lima or Ollyantaytambo but when we planned to take a bus from Cusco to Puno, I got a little worried. My partner wasn’t worried at all, so we pushed on. Our first clue should have been that the first day we tried to buy a ticket for the bus we were informed that no buses would be heading in that direction. On the second day, we decided that although the most reliable bus company wasn’t running in that direction, we’d take another bus company.
The ride was pretty uneventful … until our bus stopped in the dead of night in the middle of nowhere. I heard people mumbling about having to get off of the bus, but I thought that they had to be joking. There was nothing but inky darkness. Where were we supposed to go?
Apparently, the miners had blocked the road with large stones and set multiple small fires to stop traffic. Thank goodness that we only brought backpacks on our 3 week adventure! We also had flashlights, snacks, and other items that proved useful. We walked for an hour or two. Our bus company had sent a minivan to pick us up and drive us the rest of the way. Some people had multiple pieces of luggage and struggled to cross the range of large rocks and avoid the fires. Though tired, we were able to walk and help others.
When we made it to Puno it was still dark. We curled up on a bench to wait for dawn so we could buy our tickets to visit Uros.
South African Hospitality
While staying in Cape Town, we decided to leave the car and take the shuttle down to the V&A wharf. On the ride back we had a driver that loved, loved, loved babies! He spent the entire drive “talking” to our son. When we arrived at the hotel, he grabbed the baby, pinned his name tag on him, and strode into the hotel beaming. He put the baby on the front desk check-in counter and all the workers came out to laugh and play with him. After that, we got really good service.
Riding ATVs in Siem Reap
I’ve low-key always wanted to ride an ATV. Since we were in Cambodia, I decided that this was an opportunity I wanted to take advantage of. We found a reputable company and made our reservation. At the appointed time, the driver came to pick us up from our AirBnB rental. When we walked in and they saw that I had my baby in a mei tei, they were unsure if I should be allowed to ride. Once they agreed that I could ride, they debated on whether he should go on my chest or my back and if he needed a helmet. It was decided that he would be tied to my chest so dust wouldn’t get in his face. After taking a brief test to make sure I could handle the vehicle, we headed out. At first, I rode slowly and the baby was calm. Pretty soon, I sped up and started getting into it. The baby LOVED it! He started laughing and smiling. My baby is an adventure baby! LOL
Riding ATVs in Mexico
After my adventure in Cambodia, I was ready to go again. For my sister’s birthday we headed to Mexico and I thought that they might enjoy riding ATVs. I was correct! We rented ATVs at a space on a bluff above the beach, took a selfie for good luck, and set off. It was super fun to see everyone getting into it and laughing and enjoying the wind blowing in our hair.
Getting Lost in Andalucia
On our first trip abroad, we were walking through a town in Adulucia, Spain when we realized that we were lost. Being hardheaded, I didn’t want to stop and ask for directions. My partner let me lead him around the whole town, literally ….. we walked in a circle, before arriving at our hotel.