Rangiroa 2016 Part I

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Two flights later and a gazillion hours, or so it seemed, we landed in Papeete! I was surprised at how hot and humid it was..and  even more surprised was I that I didn’t mind it…at all.

Completely dark at 0430, the airport was small and sleepy yet we were still greeted to the customs entry with live musical and dance entertainment ..Sidetrack moment as I remember back to the flight..the flight attendant brought round customs forms and asked that we complete these before we land. I asked, “Do you have a pen or little pencil”? She replied, “No” and kept walking. Now I know I should be a responsible adult and carry a pen with me at all times but…I am not and apparently nor is the husband because he didn’t have a writing utensil either. Am I wrong to think Air Tahiti Nui should supply us with tiny little lottery pencils to complete our customs documents?

Ok, my opinion over on that topic. 🙂

When I was on the phone booking our travel arrangements with Costco Travel, the agent and I both thought it would be a great idea to book our flights so that we would have a great amount of time to explore the island of Papeete before flying off to our final destination, Rangiroa.

I regret that decision, well ok maybe not so much regret the decision but lesson learned.

As I mentioned, we arrived at 0430..our flight out of Papeete was to leave a 1030. We had SIX hours to wait.  The Costco travel greeter met us, gave us pretty flower necklaces and walked us around the tiny little airport to show us where to go for our next departure. Not necessary but a little comforting. Three hours left before we can even check into our next flight, we sat down and people watched.

Many locals just hanging out at the airport, barefoot. Outside there were roosters cock -a – doodle dooing, I spotted a random homeless dog trotting through airport traffic, pretty sure we witnessed a drug deal as well (not judging..just observing and reporting). Pretty fascinating,  the airport of Papeete.

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The currency exchange booth opened not so promptly at 0815, we had some coffee and finally it was time to board the plane to paradise!
Papeete to Rangiroa, the flight was only about an hour. When the captain announced our plan to descend, I looked out the window and saw our destination from above…So gorgeous.

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Arrived to the Rangiroa Airport, we were greeted with more flower necklaces and smiles from the staff of the Hotel Kia Ora. They grabbed our bags, loaded them up and we were on our way. The island is only six kilometers long so it was a matter of a five-minute drive to the hotel. We were greeted with fresh juice and more smiles at the hotel entrance, more forms to complete and then we loaded up on the golf cart as they took us to our room…bags already at the front door. It’s a little thing but it sure was nice not having to tote our luggage around. 🙂

Home sweet home for 5 nights!

Here we enjoyed a celebratory whiskey drink 🙂 We brought two 750mL bottles from home…smart tip from some friends who had been to the French Polynesian Islands, to them I say… thank you! Too bad for Jason, the ice machine was broken..Me? I don’t care for ice so I was content! We splashed in the water for a bit and was glad to find the temperature was PERFECT.

We didn’t know what time it was and we didn’t care but we were hungry..sadly, the staff keeps time and the kitchen was closed for lunch so we sat at the bar and ordered a couple of Jambon Buerre’s (just a ham and cheese sandwich really) and beer, we chatted with the staff about their stories of life on the island.  Soon thereafter, it was nap time!  By the time nap was over it was time for dinner..swim, sleep, eat, drink..repeat? I just knew this was going to be a great week.

I had it in mind to make sure to only eat fish for dinner the entire stay. First night, I had seared tuna with a mixed vegetable salad. I only wish I had made not of what was in the salad because it was truly delicious..I remember there were red peppers and cucumber, absolutely no fluff (by fluff I mean lettuce..not lettuce of any type..strictly vegetables). To wash it down I had to try a glass of the local wine (Rose Nacarat from Vin De Tahiti), this quickly became my favorite.

The ambience of the restaurant in the evening for dinner was so cozy. Calm and quiet but you could hear the water lapping onto the shore from your table which only intensified the pure chillness. No pictures, I didn’t want to be rude or take away from being in the moment. I hope I will always be able to remember.

Needless to say day one was a day of much-needed relaxation. Forewarning, you will see this word…relaxation..quite a bit in this post. 🙂

Day two: The sun woke us up at 0530, the only reason I looked at the clock was because we had plans for an excursion on this day. We woke up with three and a half hours to spare. On the patio, we could hear the waves from the Pacific Ocean side of the island so of course we had to check that scene out!

This early in the morning the tide was quite low. We were the only two on the beach at this time, most likely the only two awake on the island. There was a random dog sitting on the beach watching the waves. He spotted me and started barking so as to say, “get off my beach” and then he ran away.

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We spent the next hour here, enjoying the sounds and views until it was time to eat! Breakfast buffet is served from 0700-0900 ~ quite a spread actually. Every hotel I have ever stayed in that states “buffet” I think of cold cereal, boiled eggs, nasty pastries from a cellophane wrapper and sub par coffee. Not here, There was bacon, sausage, has browns, all sorts of meats and cheese and croissants and fruits, fresh milk, juices and fresh breads.

The buffet is served in the same space as dinner so you have a gorgeous view of the lagoon area and the negative edge pool. Sadly, I never did make the time to take a dip. I wanted to, just for the novelty but really….salt water ocean and lagoon swimming or a swimming pool..natural water is my preference!

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We met our guides and two other couples at he dock at 0900 to board and head out to the Blue Lagoon for the day! We only took video and a few pictures on this day. Apologies but WordPress won’t let me upload video without upgrading ..pshht.

First thing that made me giggle was this fish! This was to be part of our lunch..just out there in the open trying thaw out before it was cooked.

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The boat ride was an hour-long but it didn’t feel so because the ride was so much fun and we soaked up, in amazement at how very far we were from anything else in the world. Surrounded only by mass amounts of water. When we arrived to the spot to drop anchor I realized we were going to have to walk about a 3/4 of a mile to the island through shark infested waters. Ok, Ok..they are docile black tip reef sharks but still..wild sharks none the less..you never know when a shark is going to back shit crazy and bite your legs off…right?

Luckily…the sharks were very well-behaved and only followed us to our little island.

The island had a covered picnic area complete with picnic tables and a make-shift barbecue grill. Side note..I just recalled, walking to the island, Jason insisted on helping the tour guide with the coolers filled with food and water and the guy actually seemed a little put off but allowed Jason to help anyway.

Once settled, we were told to go have fun and meet back in an hour and a half for lunch.

Off we went to snorkel and swim, the hotel had provided us (at no additional cost) with snorkel gear we could keep for the duration of our stay! They came in handy and I was glad we opted not to bring our own which would have taken up a bunch of space in our already booze packed luggage!

In our island walk about, I came across this angry little crab..he wanted to pinch my face off but he was too little so I just laughed at him. 🙂

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I learned, I suck at swimming and I can’t keep water out of my mask. I learned, Jason is a water bug and is amazing at swimming and snorkeling. He pushed me past my limit and made me less afraid of getting eaten by the unknown.

We built up a great appetite and ventured back to the hut. The delicious smell  that is all things barbecue  hit us immediately. Our guides used dried coconut, prawn leaves and pineapple skin to fuel the fire. More sharks were lurking around the shore close to the picnic area..I am certain the sharks are trained pretty well, like any animal, they know..when the humans come and start the fire…they’re getting some treats!  Sure enough, we caught the guides tossing fish and chicken bits to the sharks, they were happy little fishes! We all sat down to a table of surgeon fish, chicken, couscous and fresh pineapple. There were two other super friendly couples there, young newly weds on their honeymoon from LA, a couple from France celebrating their 45th wedding anniversary and  us, celebrating life together for twenty-eight years. I am glad we were able to show the newly weds..adventures could and should continue throughout the years.

Another hour went by for exploring and then we were called to start heading back to the boat. Time to swim with the sharks! All of the sharks that were parked near the shoreline followed us back into the deeper waters to meet their many many many friends. I was surprised at myself at how calm I was, I was totally OK with swimming with these guys.

Nearer the boat, in deeper waters, just snorkeling around in amazement..Jason pointed in a direction alerting me to LOOK! There was a lemon shark, this guy was huge! Those black tip reef sharks had nothing on this guy..this guy was probably ten feet long and THAT..made me a little nervous. He was all by himself in a sea of us and the black tips. I (kind of frantically) swam backwards to get to the boat..I was out 😉 Not long after so was everyone else. Safe inside the boat the guide took the remaining fish bits and started slapping the sharks with it trying to rile them up, he was also trying to get the big lemon shark up and out of the water for the big prize. Then he says, “ready to go back and swim with them, hahahahaha” obviously he was kidding and obviously..we all said, “NO”.

The ride back was faster than the ride in and we thought we were done but the driver brought us to an area known as the aquarium. screen-shot-2016-12-15-at-6-20-24-pm

THOUSANDS of fish. I did NOT want to jump in, I am completely OK with swimming with the sharks but not schools of fish. They nibble, I don’t like their scales and there was just so..many..of.. them.

The French couple dove right in, the new groom and Jason dove right in. The new bride and me? Sat there for a few saying, “I’m not going in there”. I was happy she was going to stay on the boat with me. Until she didn’t. :/

It’s worth mentioning…. the guides thought it to be hilarious to throw chunks of bread into the water near a person so the ALL of the gazillion fish would charge at the person. Bride and I were not thrilled about that. The French folks didn’t seem to even notice. Jason and the groom…LOVED it, thought it was so cool.

I jumped in. It was beautiful and I’m glad I did. No foul..no harm. Not saying I wasn’t freaked out but I floated and snorkeled and I loved it.

Our guides were having so much fun with us they decided to give us yet another treat. We boated off to the Tiputa Pass. This is a passageway where the ocean meets and mingles with the open ocean. The waves were fantastic in the late afternoon watched dolphins have such a blast playing in the rough waters!

Screen shots from video. ^^

We said our goodbyes and thanked our hosts for such a great day and headed back to our room.

This is what we came back to 🙂 From the good people of Hotel Kia Ora.

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Such an unexpected kind gesture! The next couple hours or so were spent enjoying this bottle and recapping our amazing adventures from the day.

It’s a Girls Day Out…

Crap, I was supposed to wake up, at the latest, 0700. The plan was to hit the 0915 Power Yoga class at Sutra Midtown ~ the drive is a little over 15 miles.

Yea, well Kiah didn’t wake me up until after 0800..no way were we going to make it.. Instead we figured we could make it to the Basic Yoga class at 1045, be done in time for lunch! Perfecto!

We left in a timely manner but stupid construction put us a little bit behind schedule..that and the weirdos on the road doing like five miles UNDER the speed limit..Honestly..I really don’t understand..

I wanted to take some pictures of the place for the you all but we got there just in time to toss our belongings into a cubby and head to class!

From the spacious front room – decorated with super cute yoga apparel along with walls clad with amazing local art – the front desk attendant walked us through the clean hall and into the “dungeoneaque” practice space. The entry door was really neat..it was made of iron and had welding marks.. like it was a bunch of little iron piece welded together..and it was a sliding door.

The room was dimly lit and was full of aspiring yogis in savasana setting all intentions. Kiah and I followed suit.

Just like myself..my yoga practice has been random and inconsistent. With that said..My skill level is somewhere between a beginner and the intermediate level. These past few months have set me back so my STRENGTH is totally at a beginner level.. This class actually worked out pretty well.

The instructor reminded me of Seth Meyers a little (1st impression) as the class (slowly) progressed..I was beginning to work deeper into going back to the basics. Damn…that was tough. I forgot how much hard work it is to build strength. I was surprised my legs were so weak, my wrists had a hard time holding on and that I actually broke a sweat. 😉 Mr instructor did such a great job at reminding us to root ourselves and to keep breathing. Those who don’t yoga..yes…we doing yoga…must sometimes be reminded to BREATHE 😉

Although I would have much preferred an intermediate class (they flow faster and require less strength..in my opinion) it was great to get back to the basics and the instructor did a wonderful job at reeling me back in. I will definitely be back to see what else Midtown Sutra has to offer!

And…next time I go back…I will take pictures..the vibe of the place is excellent..you have to see it..

After class, we jumped into the ridiculously HOT car (thank you to the brilliant man who invented window coverings for cars!!!) and drove downtown for a little lunch.

Again..traffic was HORRIBLE..guess who forgot this weekend was Phoenix COMICON.?? Yep..me..bad decision but we stuck it out. I am pretty sure we drove around for like 25 minutes trying to fight traffic and figure out how to get to the restaurant before finding the parking garage adjacent to out destination.

Walking to the Pizzaria Bianco was like walking in an oven..People..it’s friggin HOT here.

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I have been obsessing about this place for months having heard it was one of the best pizzas in the nation..naturally I was curious!  Surprisingly, the wait was not too long and we were seated within two minutes of arriving. The inside is super small, the tables too close together and the acoustics are not that great..it was loud. We opted to dine outside. Thankfully, there was a little bit of a breeze, some shading and we had cold cold drinks..I prefer dining outdoors so I was completely OK with it.

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The staff was wonderful. So attentive but not annoyingly so…and the lady who brought us our AH MA ZING pizza margarita even entertained us and took a picture of me and my lovely when I asked her to. 😉 Thanks lady!!

Now..check out the goods:

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Thin crust with just the right amount of crunch with every bite. The freshness of the tomatoes and sauce is well worth the 15.00 we paid for this little pizza. The mozzarella cheese was perfect and the basil…mon amie…I am not a pizza expert and have no idea what constitutes the best pizza in the nation but I would imagine this place deserves big props for what they create.

Here’s a tip thoug…if you are dining with a male…you’ll need to order  two pizzas…Kiah and I could have probably eaten one per.. we are thanking ourselves for not because that would have been glutenous of us but..we totally could have..

We tossed around the idea of checking the menu again for maybe some dessert or a salad..luckily we just paid the check and left.

Half way home Kiah spotted a little cupcake shop she’s been wanting to try out so I swung around and we went in.

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The Treehouse Bakery is a vegan bakery..

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The selection was not big but they did have the vanilla, chocolate and an interesting combo of strawberry basil..I am curious about that one so I just might have to go back for that one.

The lady behind the counter amused me when I asked her to find the biggest one because Kiah and wanted to share one 🙂 and then she offered to us this  cappuccino hazelnut delight!

I am not sure how, without butter, she made the frosting taste so buttery but it was super good!! Glad we stopped. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grand Canyon Trip? Don’t Mind if I Do :)

Sometimes.. you just have to say “eff it…I’m outta here”! Thursday was one of those days.  I had three VERY..good “excuses” to pack up and get out of dodge!

Side bar… Anyone know where Dodge is? And why do so many people want to get out of it?..please share..inquiring minds want to know..Thanks 😉

Anyway…three excuses:

1. I had never been to the Grand Canyon

2. The Jason and I had friends from Switzerland headed to the GC so we would meet there

3. Holy crap..we just REALLY needed to get into some nature…

The drive was great ~ but I couldn’t help but think ~ how sad is it that one of the seven natural wonders of the world…yes..the WORLD..is only a three and a half hour drive away from where I live and I had never been there??

Ah well..what’s done is done and I can now say..I have been to the Grand Canyon 🙂

You really have to be in the mindset to appreciate the goodness. I mean, if you just look at it..sure you will be impressed but you will also kind of think..hmm, big hole in the ground..NEXT.

Now, if you really stop and think about exactly how this gigantic structure was carved into the earth..you can’t help but be amazed. Click on the word carved (if you’re interested) and it will take you to a little write up as to how it was done..like I said..amazing..

First stop..Meet up with the friends at the campsite. GREAT..campsite by the way so don’t ruin it people..it’s quiet, 1st come 1st serve and cheap.

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This was our sleeping quarters for the night. Thankfully it did not snow because the tarp that covers the tent, was not in the tent bag :/

I set up 3 sleeping bags and our comforter in hopes we would be warm for the night.

Then it was time to relax, catch up with our friends and decide what to do until dark.

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We decided to head on down to the Grand Canyon Village so we loaded up into the car and sped off. Well, not really sped off, the speed limit is an almost impossible 30 miles per hour.

We made a couple of pit stops along the way for pictures and ooo’s and ahhh’s

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The next pit stop we made put a bit of a damper on the day. I was not paying attention (I know…shocking right?) and then I realized at the last minute that everyone wanted to stop at a particular spot. Once I realized, I turned around and headed back to the parking spaces, there was one available immediately so I snagged it.

Walking to the lookout point, Carmen and I noticed a couple of silly tourists, late teens maybe early twenties, happily jogging in the other direction. A little curious but we maintained our route to take some pictures. After a few minutes we all heard a horrifying sound.

The sound of screeching tires and metal upon metal in the midst of a car crash. Shortly after we heard the blood curdling screams of a little girl. The  Jason had already – literally  the instant the impact was heard – ran towards the wreckage. Carmen and I had ran that way as well –  worried the hiss of the parked Honda mini van may blow up and seriously injure Jason AND the two silly teenage tourists who happened to be retrieving something out of that Honda mini van when the tour bus crashed into and completely changed their life courses.

Thankfully, as horrible as this was, the outcome could have been so much worse. The ambulance and park rangers arrived at the scene so promptly. SO much faster than even in the city..I was impressed.

They took the the teens away, the blood curdling screams of the girl were (praise sweet tiny baby Jesus) were only because she was absolutely horrified as to what had just happened.

We were stuck for a little bit..Torn between watching the cleanup an looking at the Grand Canyon. It was a little awkward. Kind of like Ricky Bobby in an interview .. ” I don’t know what to do with my hands ”

If you look at the GC and continue to just carry on with your life..you’re insensitive. If you watch the cleanup..you’re morbid.

So yea, I hope everyone is OK.

We continued on our path to the Village (with a renewed outlook on life)  once the green light was given by the authorities.

The village was not impressive..way too many people,  no place to park so we found a place to eat (with not so great food) and then headed back to camp.

The road wasn’t quit cleared yet from the accident so we went to the Mather Point Lookout to pass some time. We had actually stopped into this place on accident earlier in search of the village but left promptly…we should have stayed. We would have avoided seeing the accident and would have completely enjoyed ourselves.

What we don’t know doesn’t hurt us, right? Eh, well on the other side of the coin..everything happens for a reason soooo maybe we all needed some sort of enlightenment..

ANYWAY….

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Caution near Edge!!!! EEEEEEEKKKKKK.. It is overwhelming looking at the GC..sometimes it made me queasy.

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Here we were able to hike a bit down onto a platform”ish” rock formation.

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We rallied but admittedly were a teensy bit skeptical about the decent…

 

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Don’t mind my afro..

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So, Jason took this picture of our friends and I did not even notice until JUST NOW…LOOK..just LOOK at how close the girl in the background is to the EDGE of the cliff!!!!  Unreal..

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Jason…nor I for that matter..were going anywhere near the edge of that boulder…More power to ya Sir Sandro!!Image

After the rush of living on the edge for a few moments we were ready to get back to camp.

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On the way to the car, we ran into this little guy..from what I remember..I think the guys told me it was an elk.

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Back at camp, the guys started the grill for burgers and dogs…

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A plethora of junk food. 🙂

Soon after it became dark. We enjoyed dinner, conversation, drinks, nature and then a sleep under the stars.

Perfect ending to an ALMOST perfect day.

If you have yet to…DO IT..Experience the natural wonder of the Grand Canyon..Feel it, appreciate it for what it is and be thankful you are here..on Earth to absorb its positive energies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trippin’ in Tucson ~

The worst part of each of my days is trying to get out of bed. Now that it is colder (and I live in Arizona and refuse to turn on my heater until at least January..) getting out of bed in the dark, cold morning is an even more difficult task! This Saturday it was a teeny bit easier..The Jason had brought me a cup of coffee and I was a little bit excited to get on the road.

Jason had plans on recording with a friend, Mike from the band Love Mound ~ listen and buy here: http://lovemound.com/lovemound/?page_id=119, in Tucson and Kiah and I went along for the ride so we could piddle around town. We piled into the Jetta..Poor kid barely had enough room to squish in. Jason had his drums packed in there pretty good!
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BUT..where there is a will..there is a way and she slept like a champ the entire trip. It takes about two hours to get to downtown Tucson from our place.

Mike was waiting for us outside the studio..they quickly unloaded the drums and brought them into the room..Kiah and I said “See ya later!” and we were off to San Xavier Mission ~ one of, if not THE, oldest churches in the state of Arizona. It was founded in 1692! Here is the website if you want to read more.. http://www.patronatosanxavier.org/
In the meantime, this is what we see from the parking lot. Dont let the amazing blue cloudless sunny sky fool you..it was COLD.

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Mike had warned us..the church is SMALL. I don’t think I realized how small until we walked into this room. The next picture was taken from just inside the entrance.

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I have no idea who the lady on the right is..I did not get a disclaimer and I hope she doesn’t find my blog and sue me 🙂 OR…maybe it’s a GHOST???

Look how close the benches are to each other…people must have been A LOT smaller back in the late 1600’s ~ I could hardly walk between them and I am a small person..
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The top of the door, on this shot, to give you an idea..is maybe four inches above her head. She is 5’1

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Little nook for some holy water.

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Amazing wood work..

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All of the pictures taken above were just from the entrance. I started walking toward the front of the church and felt a little uncomfortable..I took one more picture and nudged Kiah, “Let’s get out of here”. She completely agreed..San Xavier is a functioning church. No, there was not a church service going on at the time but there were a handful of people paying respects, lighting candles, leaving flowers and sitting in the pews (I think that’s what the benches are called?) with sullen expressions and full of emotions. I was there for the history, the art, the architecture and felt like I was intruding on these peoples and their special moments.

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While walking from the main place of worship to another side alter building Kiah and I both noticed an elderly Native American woman following us, pretty quickly..it kinda freaked us out so we turned around, headed straight at her, smiled and walked the other way. Turns out..she was only headed to the bathroom. :/  We watch way too many scary movies..as I may have mentioned in the past..

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To the east of the missionary is a hill with a cross on the very top. Before take the little walk up the hill…someone has to stop and be silly..

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Better her than me..after all..I am the mom 😉

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While walking up the hill..I spotted something really strange..

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 Obviously, it had been a muddy day..who is out walking up hills in the rain or mud barefoot?

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While we were walking up this way..a nun was following us. Or for a few minutes anyway, we ditched her pretty quickly. It was a nice little walk around the hill and it didn’t take us too long to get to where we started.

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This kid was waiting for us on the other side. Sorry for the instagram photo but it was much faster to “shoot” him with my phone 🙂 He was patiently waiting for all of the tourists to get out of his way so he could ride his bike down the hill.

He was kind enough to wait for everyone to clear the path and sped on by never to be seen by us again. Once we were at the base of the hill, Kiah spotted a cute, dusty black mutt dog. She looked like a black lab mixed with another breed, cute pup! Roaming the Missions grounds with a dirty nose and a collar. Kiah was trying to take a picture of the tag to call the owners but the spunky mutt ran down the path and into the little store selling candles before she could get the picture.

We hurried into the store and asked if the dog that ran in here belonged to the church or did we need to find her and call the owners. To which the shop worker replied, ” I didn’t see no dog come in here but if it did..she belongs to the community and might be taking a nap”.

Kiah and I both looked at each other like…”what?” but instead said, “O.K,” turned around and walked back to the car laughing the entire time. It was the statement combined with the accent that made us laugh so hard…you may have had to have been there…but I’m still laughing.

The ride back to downtown was quick. We managed to get a parking space right in front of the studio, parked and walked around downtown.

It was around 11:30 in the morning, on a Saturday and there was only one place open to grab a coffee..Brueggers Bagels. I don’t think I have ever been to a cities downtown area where nothing was open on a Saturday…have you? Hot coffee in hand we set back out to the cold streets of DT Tucson. Kiah spotted a big church down the way so we walked thataway…

 

 

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Inside, we have a Jesus

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And Kiah gives Jesus a LOW FIVE 😉

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and a HIGH FIVE to the baby jesus in his golden fleece diapers!

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That was the extent of our fun here so..we left and continued to walk the sleepy streets of downtown Tucson.

We met up with Jason and Mike and walked to a local eatery called The Hub Restaurant and Creamery : http://www.hubdowntown.com/

The website is not that great but you can download the menu and see for yourself..good selection!

Mikes wife Karen and their youngest daughter met us there, cheeseburgers all around (with the exception of the one who ordered the veggie burger), we ate, talked and had a nice visit. 🙂

So many missed opportunities at the Hub for the blog. I should have taken pictures of the restaurant, the ice cream bin display, the ginormous mug of coffee, the burgers and our friends. On the upside of that notion..I was fully enjoying myself in the moment and not thinking of my camera or phone or internet..weird 😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whisked away…

If you read my last post, you know that my husband is getting ready to embark on a pretty extensive European tour with his band mates. His departure date is fast approaching..he flies out this coming Tuesday..September 3rd.

With all of the preparations entailed in putting this tour together, it’s been a tough couple of months for us both.

Making sure all the travel arrangements have been made, hotels overseas booked, merchandise..designed, printed, purchased and shipped, venues booked (of course venues and hotels being setup by their booking agent overseas), videos produced, interviews completed…you get the picture. On top of that..Jason and his electrical contracting partner had to complete jobs, hire an apprentice and make sure all is good on that front.

Amidst all of this..my sweet..thoughtful guy..took the time to book a romantical night for just him and me.

He had told me, a week or so ago, to make sure I kept my night open for Saturday the 31st. I tried to get the secret out of my daughter but she stood her ground and wouldn’t give in to the pressures of my prying.

Around 1600 hours on Saturday, Jason says, “O.K., let’s go..pack a bag. Throw in a swimsuit, maybe a long sleeve shirt and what you’re wearing is perfect.”

I followed instructions and soon enough we were en-route on our secret field trip!

A few miles from home Jason says, “It’s nothing too extravagant but I booked a room for us at The Pointe Hilton at Tapatio Cliffs. I wanted to spend time with you before I leave. We could have done so at home but this takes us out of our element and I thought this would be nice.”

How sad is it that my second thought ~ of which I voiced aloud ~ was, “OH!! The room will have air conditioning!”

We have a leak in the refrigerant line of our central air conditioning unit at the house and have been having to turn it off and on periodically because it keeps freezing up. :/ It’s a bit miserable, especially..in the middle of summer in Arizona.

Someone was set to come look at it on Sunday, finally!

Notice I said “second thought”..my first thought was, “How awesomely sweet is he”!

The drive was quick ~ the hotel is only about a fifteen minute drive from home, bonus! An escape from reality so close to home!

Surprisingly…I did not take but three pictures and those three pictures are on my cell  phone and I don’t feel like connecting the phone to the laptop to export them and post.

Yes, I am that lazy today. 😀

You will have to make do with the photos I snagged off the internet.

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Even such a short distance from home, you can see how this getaway spot is nestled all snug like in the mountains of the Phoenician desert.

Driving through the resort to get to the registration office was a little challenging. The hills are pretty steep and there were so many people walking and so many cars parked off to the side of the narrow roads. We managed, we checked in and were off to our quiet spot higher up on the hill.

I cannot even imagine driving a stick shift through this hotel road set up! Being the hotel was packed ~ most likely booked to capacity ~ there were not many spaces left for parking but we lucked out and found a spot right below our third floor room!

As soon as we opened the door a burst of ice cold air was the first thing we noticed. The thermostat read 69 degrees! Coming in from the 30% humidity of 110 degree temps outside we were more than happy to be greeted this way. 😀

After getting settled we changed and took a super short walk to the secluded Sunset Pool area.

This was a tiny little pool area equipped with a tiny little pool and a tiny little hot tub.

Perfect! We had the place to ourselves! I am not sure how many pools this establishment has but I am certain it is more than six. The main pool, after our many stays here, I have never been to. I hear the pools are huge, surrounded by man made waterfalls and packed with people.

A lot of locals make a day trip to the pool, I think you can pay at hotel registration for day passes. I bet it makes for a perfect family funday on the weekends. For us? Not so much, we like to stay in the rooms close to the smaller less crowded pool areas.

The water was luke warm..not very refreshing..but after a few minutes..it was better than nothing and when I stood up there was just enough of a breeze to genuinely cool me off. We floated around and talked for about an hour or so then decided it was time to go to dinner.

The draw back of this was..we both wanted sushi which meant we would have to go back into the car and drive about two miles and yes…lose are prime parking space.

It was so worth it though, we found a little hole in the wall sushi restaurant called “Wild Tuna”. The place is a small, family owned business with deep blue walls decorated appropriately with fish paintings and accented in my favorite shade of green.

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We ordered green mussels, a philly roll, tuna rolls, yellowtail sashimi and unagi. The prices were totally reasonable but the rolls could have been bigger 🙂

I will admit, it was all so good but the yellowtail stole the show. It was abolutely amazing!

Bellies full, we set off to the store to grab some Perrier, a bottle of wine and some chocolate.

We lucked out, yet again, and scored a parking spot close to our room. Again, I will remind you, the hills are so steep trying to get out the car with the car door smashing me in the face was a chore.

We both decided…we could never live in San Francisco 🙂

Back in the ice cold room, YAY, Jason said, “I’m going to the ice machine so we can put the wine on ice”.

I, having watched way to many scary movies, gave him a sideways glance of fear that he won’t come back simply said, “O.K”.

He came back safely within in two minutes, phew! He did say the area where the ice bin was located was really creepy – it was in a corner and dark and there was a hallway looking structure that went back about ten feet…and it was also dark. :/

Once the wine had chilled, we poured some into an empty can of Perrier (yes…I know..pretty classy, right?) In our defense..we wanted wine to sip while we were relaxing under the stars in the hot tub..so don’t judge. I thought it was pretty clever.

I turned the dial for the hot tub timer as far as it would turn. Fifteen minutes. I thought to myself, “Fifteen minutes? That’s really not very long”

We eased into the HOT tub and began to relax, sip wine and chat. Mid conversation I realize Jasons forehead is beginning to bead up with sweat and started to giggle at him..literally a minute later I started feeling drips of my own sweat coursing down my forehead. It was time to get out.

I told Jason my earlier thought of the fifteen minute timer not being very long and said, “What do you think? We’ve been in here maybe ten minutes?” He laughed and said, ” I think only five”. We got out and jumped into the much cooler pool ~ before I got in though, I checked the timer..sure enough, we were only in there for five minutes!

Fingers and toes all pruned up, we decided to get out and dry off. While we were drying..off in the distance we noticed a gorgeous display of fireworks ~ it was neat to see from high atop the mountainside. I think the event was for a local water park (which is about 13 miles away) ~ I am pretty sure this is the end of the water park season so they are to have fireworks through Labor Day.

The cycle of pool, shower, dinner, pool, hot tub, shower and snack was ideal for stress free evening.

Waking up in the cool, dark room to the smell of coffee brewing at 0830 was the icing on the cake. 🙂

We started packing up around 1030 and headed to a local diner for breakfast. I was actually surprised at the, Mel’s Diner feel of a, restaurants menu. I figured, our options to be eggs and bacon or eggs and bacon. I had a Spinach Feta Omelette and Jason had Eggs Benedict. Not superb but  good enough.

After breakfast, Jason paid the lady and we were on our way…back to reality.

What I took away from this little staycation was that even after twenty-five years of each other ~ this guy is still so thoughtful and I hope I never take that for granted.

I will leave you with this quote,

“Love is the sum of our choices, the strength of our commitments, the ties that bind us together.”
Emily Giffin

Keep on Rockin in the Free World!

Only ten short days left before Jason packs up and flies a mere 5,747.62 miles from Phoenix, AZ to the Zurich International Airport…to start his rockin’ tour of Europe.

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I cannot believe how fast this date has come. Just two weeks ago it felt like we had time to every thing in order. Yet, here we are scrambling to get the last minute details complete.

With the help of our awesome people at the booking agency and friends across the “pond” sure enough…everything is coming together nicely.

The guys, of Hogjaw, will arrive in Zurich on the 4th of September, meet with the tour manager and take an hour and a half jaunt to Berne, CH.

Here they will rest, have fun exploring the city and may even make some time to record a song or two in a local recording studio.

Hopefully, they will take advantage of the days in Bern because on the 6th they embark on their massive tour…and man alive..this is a serious journey of rock n roll!

Check out this schedule:

06/09/13 Steinen – Switzerland @ Aula
07/09/13 Kufstein – Austria @ Eventhalle
08/09/13 Bartenheim – France @ Caf’Conc
10/09/13 Arras – France @ Blue Devils
11/09/13 Verviers – Belgium @ Spirit of 66
12/09/13 Eindhoven – Holland @ The Rambler
14/09/13 Paris – France @ Nogent Country Festival
15/09/13 Paris – France @ Nogent Country Festival
17/09/13 Llodio – Spain @ Keska Taberna
18/09/13 Lierganes – Spain @ Los Picos
19/09/13 A Coruna – Spain @ Mardi Gras
20/09/13 Cangas – Spain @ Salason
21/09/13 Aviles – Spain @ Centro Niemeyer
22/09/13 Leon – Spain @ Gran Café
23/09/13 Cadiz – Spain @ Sala Supersonic
24/09/13 Estepona – Spain @ Louie Louie
25/09/13 Murcia – Spain @ Sala B
26/09/13 Madrid – Spain @ La Boite
27/09/13 Zaragoza – Spain @ La Ley Seca
28/09/13 Barcelona – Spain @ Rocksound
29/09/13 Torredembarra – Spain @ La Traviesa
30/09/13 Las Palmas de Gran Canaria – Spain @ 3X1
01/10/13 Castellon – Spain @ Pub d’Leyend
02/10/13 Lleida – Spain @ Stones Pub
04/10/13 Weikersheim – Germany @ W71
05/10/13 Krefeld – Germany @ Kulturrampe
06/10/13 Norderstedt – Germany @ Musicstar
07/10/13 Bremen – Germany @ Meisenfrei
09/10/13 Olomouc – Czech Republic @ Bounty Rock
10/10/13 Prague – Czech Republic @ TBA
11/10/13 Isernhagen – Germany @ Bluesgarage
12/10/13 Berlin – Germany @ Wild At Heart

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Keep in mind, Americans, the days and months are listed “backwards” 🙂

I hope hope some of you in the blogosphere have an opportunity to catch this great bunch of musicians in their travels.. believe me when I say it’s totally worth while. Not only are they great musically but they are a wonderful group of people!

If you like true, heartfelt rock n roll, southern rock, dirty music..you’ll love it!

Take a visit to their website to learn more about them and hear some of their music. http://www.hogjawmusic.com

Post a comment and let me know what you think!!

Best,

Kristi

It’s My Birthday…con’t :)

This past Friday made for a long long day! After getting to sleep late Thursday night and getting up early to see Jason off to the airport Friday morning, 03:15 to be more precise. I did get a little nap in before I had to be to leave for work at seven A.M..don’t worry, I stopped off at the local convenience store to pick up a GIANT Red Bull so I made it through the work day.

Being excited to go on a road trip to visit my friends the Snyders with my friends Amy, Danny and Brian also helped get me through the day!

After picking Danny up and dropping him off at Brians, I went home to shower and throw a few things in a bag and waited for Amy – poor girl had to work until four.

The drive from Weedville, AZ to San Diego, CA was pretty uneventful and not nearly fast enough, we rolled into town around ten P.M ~ we had to make a quick stop at the 7-Eleven though because Danny had to go to the bathroom so bad, especially after Brian and I busted out in our best Kareoke version of “Love Shack” by the B-52’s – he was laughing so hard he almost peed himself. 🙂 WIN!

Onward, I dropped Amy and Danny off at their friend Tracys house and off to Shane and Kims we went to start our fun-filled weekend!

Thankfully, Shane and Kim were both still awake 🙂

We hung out and talked for a while with some drinks and called it a night, the little one was sure to wake up early and we wanted to get a good start to the day anyway so all was good.

Sure enough! It was about five-thirty in the morning and I hear the lil one talking away, ready to get out and play. Thank goodness she wakes up in such a happy mood, her big smile makes the lack of sleep not seem so bad 🙂

Shane made us all coffee and Kim made us a delicious egg breakfast with toast covered in avocado. Talking and playing and relaxing before we left Shane with Kaili while Brian, Kim and I drove to Campland on the Bay for a little stand up paddle board action!

Brian went along for the ride and was nice enough to get some pictures of us on our adventure – thankfully we did not fall in! I was more than a little nervous getting in – I thought I was going to fall and crack my head open on the pier..that didn’t happen. 🙂

I did what exactly what the man told me to do, sit on the pier while he held the board and climb onto the board – hands and knees. Slowly got up and all is good, about five minutes go by and I was a little board of it – mostly because I was afraid and not really sure what to do but I was ready to go back. I hear Kim off in the distance say, ” Wow look at all the jelly fish”!!

I hadnt seen them and finally..OH MY GOODNESS..now I was really ready to go back..If I fall in on top of a jelly fish??? That would ruin a day.. Kim convinced me to stay out and I am so glad she did because once you get paddling at a faster pace…S.U.P is F.UN!!!

We ventured off to a little inlet in the bay away from the general population and it was so pretty. A couple of bridges off in the distance, big trees with roots exposed due to weather and water erosion, weathered white boat docks and river rocks with a small beach area. Next time I do this I am definitely bringing a small water proof pouch or something to take a camera. I am sad I did not get evidence!

A watch will be another item I put in the water proof pouch because we had no idea what time it was, we only rented for an hour and we ended up getting back too early. We lost twenty minutes of play time! Oh well..lessons learned and it was still a great time!

Here we are! Photograph courtesy of Brian Warner

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Docking these boards was NOT easy! We both crashed and almost fell in and cracked out heads open..Almost…but we didn’t 🙂

Back to the house we went but on the way had to stop at Vons for wine, champagne and Bud Light (for Brian, smh, haha)

Enroute, we saw a mariachi band playing in front of a Del Taco, what? Yes, a mariachi band..playing..in front of a Del Taco..

It was at Vons,  two miles from the house, Kim realized the guy at Campland forgot to give her ID back! Good thing Campland really wasn’t that far away AND on the way back Brian would be prepared and be able to take a better picture of the mariachi band – see everything does happen for a reason 🙂

Didn’t happen…mariachi band was on break by the time we rolled back around…boo!

Kaili was still napping when we returned, the grown ups had a DELICIOUS Vanilla/Coconut cake (that was HOMEMADE courtesy of Kim – she wasn’t impressed with herself but I..loved it! And with champagne..mmm mm delightful!

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Mid bite of my delicious slice I realized…OH NO…we were supposed to wait for Kaili, she was so excited about the cake  I wanted her to be there when we cut it but…oops! I made up for it by getting her out when she woke up from her nap and PROMPTLY…sat her down in front of a glass of milk and a slice of cake..who wouldn’t be happy to have a wake up like that?? 🙂

Soon thereafter, we all went to the train station into downtown San Diego…

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I brought my camera BUT forgot to put the battery in it – I was more than a little disappointed. At least I had my phone to document some of this day.

When we stepped off the train there were so many people! Apparently Comic Con is a big deal – later we found out the event was sold out and they sold over 181,000 tickets! Carazy!

I would like to get tickets to next years – we could have sat there all day and walked around and people watched in awe..

We walked a ways, were all hungry so we went to Hodads..I had never been to the downtown Hodads – only in Ocean Beach in the past – this one is off the beaten path (perfect because anywhere else and we would have never been able to eat…sooooo many people) and we only had to wait five minutes! Score! AND I ran into more friends – unexpected, welcome surprise as our friend Martin usually works at the OB location.

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There was a mini protest march regarding the Zimmerman trial that put me in a bad place for a minute or so but I won’t get into that for two reasons. 1) I am TIRED of hearing about this trial and 2) That issue is a WHOLE other blog..

All I need to tell you is the food was great, the service was great and we all enjoyed ourselves. OH, and Kim and I got Hodad tank tops (of which I either left at the wine bar, on the train or at the Snyders house…boo00…)

On the way back to the train Kim wanted to take us to a wine bar she likes but it was closed for a private event — we wondered if Alexander Skaarsgaard (sigghhhh) was in there!!

En route to the Fallbrook Winery, which most likely was the better spot anyway (so many crazies to watch!!) we found the Ghostbusters mobile!!

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Next door to the winery..there was a whole set up for Sega mega nerds — it was awesome – the people playing looked like they were in HEAVEN!

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I think we all pretty much agreed that we should buy tickets to next years event!!

Tomorrow..I’ll tell you about my Sunday! 🙂

Until then blogworld!

Kristi