Puerto Vallarta 2019

Posted: May 24, 2019 in 2019, Travel
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We had to use some travel vouchers before they expired, so we made a quick trip down to Puerto Vallarta!

Tourists from all over Mexico and the world swarm to Puerto Vallarta so they can walk the seaside boardwalk, or Malecón.

Infinity enjoyed her first Mexican vacation while Princeton and Zhenya stayed with grandma and grandpa.

Puerto Vallarta is in the tropics, so unless it is stormy, it is beach weather year-round.

There is no shortage of guacamole in Mexico. In fact if you order some, they will make it fresh right then and there.

What could be better than having a cold treat after consuming grilled fish tacos near the beach?

Our Airbnb turned out to be in one of the largest gay resorts in Puerto Vallarta which was clean and stylish, yet surprising at times.

Our neighbors weren’t used to having breeders and children as neighbors.

Evening strolls on the boardwalk while enjoying the warm ocean breezes is a local pastime for tourists and local alike.

The street photographer that took this picture finally made his sale with a tactic that bordered on harassment, but it was all good in the end.

Keeping cool!

We found that local maracas could sometimes help keep the baby occupied while we dined.

The parish Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe is a city icon, dominates Vallarta’s downtown skyline, and is one of the favorite symbols and landmarks of the city

We had the joy of attending a beach-side jazz festival, where daddy talked shop with a local bass player and enjoyed the sweet sounds of creativity.

Birds of a feather bid us farewell from this all-too-quick getaway.

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Maui 2019

Posted: May 3, 2019 in 2019, Travel
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Maui!  Our first vacation with all five of us.

I love the Hawaiian islands, and lived on the Big Island for almost 10 years. Maui has the distinction of having more beaches than any of the other islands.

This year we went during whale watching season, and we spied some great breaches!

Infinity really enjoyed her first time in the islands.

Winter in Maui is around 80 degrees…

Maui 2019 Lightroom-22

Although it was Princeton’s third trip, he still loved every minute.

It was great to see the kids getting along so well.

Mommy and Daddy were happy.

This vacation was all about the beach.

…and chilling.

Or maybe climbing the world’s largest Banyan tree in downtown Lahaina.

Good times in our rental car! The kids think their parents are crazy.

Aloha!

We ended the year with a dream trip to the Caucasus region. These countries sit just north of Iran and Turkey, and south of Russian Chechnya and are nestled between the Black and Caspian Seas.

Many people aren’t too familiar with this area, so here’s a map to give you a better idea:

We heard great things about these countries; the area is an up-and-coming tourist region. Once we secured our visas and air travel, we were on our way!

The Caucasus region is known for their pomegranates. This delicious fruit is deeply loved and engrained in the local cultures.

Our first stop was Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, or The Republic of Georgia. (Not to be confused with the US state…)

Like much of this part of the world, the cityscapes reflect an ancient/modern hybrid.

Pursuing one of our favorite accommodation routes, we booked a flat overlooking the entire city, shelling out about $50 per night.

The food in Georgia was incredible!

Georgia is one of the oldest wine regions in the world. They say the have been cultivating wine well over 5000 years.

The river and the “Friendship Bridge” separates the city into the old and newer section.

Someone was keeping an eagle eye on us as we strolled…

We found quality babysitters for little Infinity in all three countries. We paid an average of about $3 an hour for highly personal care.

Inna was born in Ukraine, so she was able to speak with the locals quite well. Although each country speaks their own language, most people still speak Russian as they were once part of the Soviet Union.

Our next stop was Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan. Baku supplied the world with half of it’s oil during the early 1900s.

Azerbaijan is the only one of these three countries with a majority Musilim population. It borders Iran.

This country, buoyed by the oil industry, had a plethora of interesting modern buildings, and was under constant construction.

The architect’s vision of the finished buildings pictured above.

My favorite building in Baku is actually a trio of skyscrapers called The Flame Towers. Here you can see them rising up in the background.

They are massive and unique.

The Flame Towers can be viewed from almost any part of the city.

Although I thought The Flame Towers were super cool, this building also takes a top spot.

This is The Heydar Aliyev Center and was designed by the late Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid. It houses museums, conference space, and far out architecture.

Everywhere you turn something new is popping up.

Our final stop was Armenia.

A highlight of visiting Armenia, one of the oldest Christian countries, was experiencing the mountaintop monasteries built by kings of ages past.

It was starting to snow as we explored the monasteries, and we had each of them entirely to ourselves.

Besides seeing all the beautiful countries, enjoying the amazing food, and meeting incredible people, being able to spend time with our youngest daughter was definitely a blessing. (Princeton and Zhenya couldn’t make it on this trip.)

The Nommesens purchased their first new vehicle ever, and wanted to put it through its paces. A trip to visit Utah’s “Mighty Five” national parks was in order! Over two thousand miles would take us to see Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands, and Arches national parks as well as a few other places of interest.

Take a good look at these two beautiful ladies. This is that last you’ll see of them in this post. Mommy and nursing Infinity wisely decided that this epic journey would be a little too much for the whole family crammed together, so they accompanied us to Las Vegas for a few blissful days at the Hard Rock Hotel.

Daddy, Zhenya, and Princeton headed North from Vegas where they enjoyed exploring the Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park near Kanab, Utah.

Princeton insisted on hiking to the top of the highest dune. Optimus Prime didn’t quite make it.

We next headed to Zion National Park and enjoyed the beauty of God’s creation.

Princeton even took a dip in the Virgin River running through Zion.

Early the next day we made it to Bryce Canyon, another wonder for the eyes.

It proved difficult to get all three of us smiling in a photo.

The Land Rover Discovery Sport proved itself to be awesomely capable off road.

Princeton hadn’t done any real hiking previously, and this was a good introduction.

Next stop was Capitol Reef National Park.

We were then off to Arches and Canyonlands National Parks where we saw some of our first arches.

There are actually 1000s of arches amongst the parks, and each is beautifully unique in size and appearance.

Whenever we had the chance, and especially around Moab, we took the Land Rover off the beaten path.

We stayed in a town called “Mexican Hat” near the Utah/AZ border. This is the rock formation from which the town gets its name. Zhenya said, “Why don’t they call it Sombrero?”

After our visit to the Mighty Five national parks, we stopped by Horseshoe Bend.

We then experienced an excellent tour from native Navaho guides through Monument Valley.

Last stop before heading back to San Diego was Antelope Canyon. Absolutely breathtaking!

This was a lot of driving while staying in little hotels and Airbnbs, but we all really had a great time, built some quality memories, and kept it together for the most part.

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 less than $50 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.

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 ever 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!