Colombia 2018

Posted: November 9, 2018 in 2018, Travel
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Having heard such great things about Colombia, we decided to head South on a relatively quick flight to the capital, Bogota. Zhenya couldn’t get away from school, but the little ones joined Mommy and Daddy.

Bogota offers a lot to see and do, but the first stop was ice cream!

We enjoyed a view of the busy city life from our apartment.

Inna was able to perform her signature jumps, even in the rain!

We were amazed at the quantity and quality of the street art.

Princeton kept cozy in his tiger jammies and treats.

We next flew to Medellín, once the murder capital of the world, but after the Pablo Escobar era, now a much safer destination. Daddy had to figure out how to get a ride from the airport.

Again we lucked out on our apartment, a high rise penthouse for about $32 a night.

The view of the city was a highlight.

We even found a wonderful nanny who helped with the kids and adventures.

One of our highlights of Medellin was a fruit tour in the marketplace.

Princeton found some new flavors!

Infinity also partook in the samples.

There are definitely fruits that you cannot get in the USA.

Of course we took some back to the pad…

Besides fresh fruit, they also combine and blend them into excellent juices and smoothies.

The city of Medellín has a lot of walking and biking trails, it seems that on sunny days a good portion of the city is out enjoying the outdoors.

Daddy had a tough time staying away from fresh arepas de chocolo!

A cable car trip above the city provided a bird’s eye view.

The park at the top was a breath of fresh air.

This time Infinity gets the glamor shot.

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Mexico City 2018

Posted: October 19, 2018 in 2018, Travel
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I love Mexico City! With over 20 million people, it is considered one of the largest cities in the world, and is home to 20% of Mexico’s entire population. It is vibrant, engaging, and sometimes chaotic, all at the same time.

I visited before with our oldest daughter, and this time I took my son. Princeton actually hiked to the top of this pyramid, Teotihuacan, one of the world’s largest.

He was so eager to get to the top, I found myself chasing him all the way up.

When we finally made it to the top, we were rewarded by this view, just outside Mexico City.

Besides indulging in the delicious cuisine, I always try to get a cut from the artisan barbers. This time it was Princeton’s turn.

You can see Princeton chasing pigeons in his Superman cape in the lower right. This is the Zócalo, (The Plaza of the Constitution) and has been the central gathering space of Mexico City since Aztec times

Speaking of Aztecs, some still hang out here!

Mommy didn’t make this trip, but she had me put a leash on Princeton to keep him near. He didn’t get lost – but somehow the leash did…

In addition to epic sightseeing, we spent quality time in some of the city’s parks. It was in this park Princeton learned how to pump himself on a swing.

Not only did I bring Princeton, but I persuaded my parents to accompany us on this trip. Here they stand outside the Monument of the Revolution. Pancho Villa, and other Mexican historical greats, are entombed inside.

The view from atop the monument is a sight to behold, and caps off another memorable stay in the DF.

(Click to enlarge images.)

 

Introducing Infinity Skye Nommesen and her first trip abroad!

She was less than 5 months old during this trip, but she did great! Here we enjoy Koh Phi Phi, where they filmed Leo DiCaprio’s The Beach.

Infinity was a big hit with the locals! We were constantly being asked if they could take selfies with our little girl. She took it like a champ most of the time, but I’m sure all the attention was a bit confusing for her.

We took this luggage and stroller on lots of little boats, buses, and planes. Definitely a far cry from my last visit with just a small backpack.

My beautiful wife, Inna, jumps for joy at our island paradise. Our local transportation stars in the background.

Getting there was half the fun!

Accommodation at Bay View Resort on Phi Phi Island was excellent! Oceanfront bungalows for less than the cost of a Motel 6 in America.

And you can’t beat the sunsets from the room… Some people say the island pictured in the middle looks like Homer Simpson lying on his back.

It’s hard to imagine the surreal landscapes one may encounter in this part of the world.

What is a trip to Thailand without sampling the freshest, tastiest, Thai food you’ve every had?

Daddy asked for his food spicy – and it definitely was!

In addition to spending time in the Andaman Sea, we also had some pool time. This baby loves water!

Inna made use of our private beach for an epic photo shoot.

Here’s our adventure featuring “Monkey Island” in less than 30 seconds:

 

Time passed quickly, and it sometimes felt like we didn’t want to return to reality.

ขอขอบคุณประเทศไทย!

 

Philippines 2018

Posted: May 2, 2018 in 2018, Travel

Before joining my beautiful wife for baby Infinity’s first overseas trip, daddy made a little stop in the South Asian Sea to do some scuba diving. Because access to the Bacuit Archipelago is by small propeller plane and boat, and accommodation was bare bones, it wasn’t ideal for mommy and baby.

The was my first site of Palawan island from the window of said propeller plane.

Once on the beach, the friendly Philippine locals were a joy to be around. This guy politely talked me into buying his shark vertebrae bracelet.

Because a typhoon was passing through the area, the water visibility wasn’t suitable for diving. But I did manage to do some exploring between downpours.

The main form of transportation on land were these “tricycles”. It was awesome to see the creativity involved in decorating them.

The main form of transportation on the water were these cool outriggers.

The seafood was amazing!

I ate some scrumptious lemongrass ceviche on the beach as the sun set.

My accommodation was a bit ramshackle, but if I came back with the family, perhaps we’d spring for one of these treehouses!

When the weather cleared up a bit, I was able to tour the archipelago off the coast of El Nido, my base of operation.  (My video of the boat trip and underwater life.)

Amazingly, these little limestone islands hosted a lot of tiny beaches and some even contained secret lagoons inside them.

Here’s a video of a little kayak paddle I made through one of these hidden lagoons.

When I made it back to the civilization of Manila, I had the opportunity to stay with my friend’s father-in-Law. Sam and his wife graciously took me on a tour of Manila that included a meal overlooking the bay.

The Philippines is one of God’s wonders. 5000 islands populated by very friendly people. You can’t go wrong. I hope to return!

Daddy and daughter had to get one more adventure in before school started!

We rented a small apartment in the heart of the old town, overlooking The Malecón – a cool paved walkway that weaves along the seashore.

Puerto Vallarta sits on the beach and is a pretty quick jump from San Diego.

First of all – the FOOD. Some of the best we’ve had!

Fresh ceviche on the coast is hard to beat.

Tacos Revolution delivered the goods, and the political commentary…

Second – the weather. We came during the off season, which meant torrential downpours almost every evening, and warm humid days.

We had to explore during the day before the storms hit. In this video daddy almost gets electrocuted when a lightning bolt sends overhead lighting down.

Daddy crosses the bridge to La Isla Cuale, famous for its wild cat population.

This angel seems most happy when there is shopping nearby!

Although we spent the first days of our trip close to the local culture, we splurged on a resort room the last couple of days using hotel points.

I never met a sunset I didn’t like…

Our mission was to see the beauty of The Majestic Redwood Forest in Northern California and explore Southern Oregon.

The Avenue of the Giants set the tone for this adventure. “This world-famous scenic drive is by far the most outstanding display of giant trees in the California redwood belt.”

These two weren’t sure driving over a thousand miles with a 2 year old, 10 year old, and a pregnant mommy was the best idea, but we don’t regret it a bit!

We picked up a faster than average rental car, and kept driving until we reached the Giants.

We drove through the famous “drive through tree”. There are actually several of them in the area, and one of them was toppled during a recent storm.

It was great to get off the road and wander through the splendor of creation.

During exploration, we found evidence of previous road trips…

Inna climbs a giant!

It was great to see the children so stoked on being out walking in the beauty of nature.

When we made it to the coast, the scenery didn’t get any worse.

Cuba 2017

Posted: August 18, 2017 in 2017, Travel
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We wanted to visit Cuba as soon as we heard visitation restrictions for Americans were loosened by the US government.

We actually started this trip in 2016, spending Christmas and New Year’s in Cuba, and coming back in 2017.

Of course we had to visit the capital, Havana…

But first we stayed in the less known Boca de Camarioca.

Princeton woke up on his first day in Cuba, looked outside, and thought to himself, “Where am I?”

When eating out, chicken, beef, or lobster cost exactly the same amount. Guess which one we often chose?

Princeton had no problem making friends…

He even met a new friend in the park!

You can’t think of Cuba without thinking of these classic American cars that are still very much a part of the culture.

“Che Guevara was a prominent communist figure in the Cuban Revolution (1956–59) who went on to become a guerrilla leader in South America. Guevara’s image remains a prevalent icon of leftist radicalism and anti-imperialism.” – The History Channel

After the revolution, the US imposed an import blockade, so no new American cars have been imported since the 1950s. Those that exist have been painstakingly maintained using Cuba ingenuity, including parts from household appliances and Russian tanks.

The National Capitol Building in Havana was the seat of government until after the Cuban Revolution in 1959. It is Havana’s most ambitious and grandiose building, and is now home to the Cuban Academy of Sciences. Some say the design is similar to the United States Capitol. What do you think?

Not every building in Havana is as grand, although these are probably even more functional.

Cuba isn’t the easiest tourist destination, but a day at the beach in Varadero makes it all worth it.

We found out Inna was pregnant with our baby girl just before leaving for Cuba! Momma and baby jump for joy!

Aside from visiting Havana and Varadero, we made it to the other side of the island and spent time in Trinidad, a Spanish colonial settlement.

The streets of Trinidad are packed with character.

We will always cherish our memories of this beautiful island nation!