Suitcase and World: 2006

Friday, December 29, 2006

The education of Julee - lesson on the flags of Egypt and Jordan.

The currencies of Egypt and Jordan are fairly similar - with common elements such as the bilingual Arab and English faces and the common piastre subdivision. I was curious to see if the symbolism of their flags also shared common themes. As it turns out, aside from the design that is based on 3 horizontal bands and colors common to many of the Pan Arab nations, the underlying symbolism of flags is remarkably different.

The education of Julee - lesson in currencies.

This past Wednesday, Lei and I went to the Credit Union and placed an order for Egyptian pounds (EGP) and Jordanian dinars (JOD). According to our Egypt guidebooks, there are plenty of ATMs in Egypt so we basically got a small amount of currency to get us going and then we'll use our debit cards to withdraw whatever else we need while we're there. I'm hoping we can do the same thing in Jordan.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Egypt & Jordan. The Itinerary.

Here's our travel route. The description of days 1-18 is what's posted on Intrepid's website.

Egypt and Jordan - Here we come!!

It's been more than a month since I posted anything to my travelog and SOOO much has happened since then. As best as Lei and I have tried to be organized and plan this trip, the events that have transpired over the last month have been an odd mix of bad luck (GAP trip cancelled, Lei having to wait 6-8 weeks for Jordanian visa approval) and good luck (Intrepid tour available, Egyptian visa in one day....for each of us). Organization and planning be damned!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

The planners.

Here's proof. Lei's a manic planner. She showed up in my office this past week and handed me a project plan listing all the major tasks, dependencies and resource assignments that needed to be done in preparation for our trip. There were even a couple of checkmarks indicating a couple of completed tasks! No detail is too small for Lei - there are even separate task entries for packing the daypack and the backpack! 

Thursday, November 9, 2006

...and I'm waiting.

I booked my tour two nights ago and yesterday, I got an email from Kathy (the travel counselor at GAP) that there was a problem with confirming my ticket. Seems that my credit card transaction did not go through. Same thing happened with my trip to Peru. I checked my Visa account, on-line, and indeed there was no transaction made to the account the night before last. I emailed Kathy to let know, told her the same thing happened to me before, and asked her to check their reservation system. I got a reply back that she's checking into it and so I'm on hold......and waiting.

Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Okay, Houston, we may have a problem.

Lei's posted her packing list on her blog ( If I'm bringing the proverbial kitchen sink, she's packing the entire house! Realistically, I think she can fit everything into her Kelty but Lei is tall and very slender - probably pushes the scale at 100 lbs. So, the big question is can she carry her packed Kelty? I couldn't help but shake my head (with a grin on my face) when we went down the list and she indicated why she needed every item....including her Game Boy. Hopefully, we won't have to hire a pack of camels just to carry her backpack :-)

Phobias, allergies and food tastes.

During our lunch time get together today, Lei asked me if I have any phobias and at first I replied that I didn't have any but actually I do.

Trip booked. Woohoo!

Lei and I had agreed to get together at lunch time today to book our trip but she was so excited that she went ahead and booked her trip in the morning. By the time lunch rolled around, she was getting antsy waiting to get a reply back from GAP. She wanted to call GAP but I told her that they would email her back to confirm her booking and to finalize the trip arrangements. I decided to see if I could calm her down by showing her (through emails) how I arranged my previous trip to Peru with GAP. I assured her it was an easy process - they assign a travel counselor to work with you and you can ask them as many questions as you need. The person I worked with was even able to make last minute changes for me.....all without any additional charge!

I did my booking tonight so both Lei and I are in holding pattern for now. Once we get our GAP tour confirmations, we'll then book our flights. By now, it did not come as a surprise to me that both Lei and I had discovered the same set of flights to get us from DC to Cairo and then from Amman back to DC.

Sunday, November 5, 2006

The packing list.

I learned in Peru that I can travel with very little luggage - on that trip, my backpack checked in at 8.5kg or about 20 pounds. So when I read that I was limited to 15kg or about 30lbs for this trip, I wasn't worried as I would have ten more pounds of stuff that I could bring along - important since I would be travelling for 3 weeks and not 2. Here's what I've managed to cram into my backpack and still stay under the weight limit!

Friday, November 3, 2006

....and then there were two.

When I came back from Peru in August 2006, Ian who is a colleague of mine at work, told me that a mutual colleague of ours, Lei, was also interested in travelling "off the beaten path". As I left Ian's office, I made a mental note to contact Lei - just to mention to her that I also enjoyed adventure travel. As often happens, I got distracted with work and forgot all about calling Lei.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

"Oh...but why go to the Middle", my aunt asked.

...and the answer was simple. Because I have always wanted to go to see the Sphynx, the Pyramids and Petra and to put my feet in the Dead Sea. Those of you who followed my travels to Peru will know that I have a fascination for ancient civilizations and as far as I'm concerned, Egypt and its ancient past is at the top of my list of places to visit.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

So where am I going? Here are your clues.

Today's posting is specifically written for my colleagues at work. As I'm sure you've figured out by now, I have not revealed where I am going on my trip though a handful of you do know. Usually when asked the question "Where are you going?", I would just blurt out the answer but this time around, I thought I would have some fun (and hopefully, you will too) by turning this into a guessing game.

This will be a test of your knowledge of world geography, biology and ancient history or perhaps, more accurately,

...... your ability to surf the web using Google

...... or your skills at bribing the very smart kids you have at home in to giving you the answers :-)

Saturday, August 12, 2006


I've been home for two days now and my trip to Peru is still fresh in mind. As I finish posting my travelogue to the blog, I fondly recall each moment that now lives as a digital image on my pc.

They say it takes a village to raise a child. Well, it took a small army to make a vacation happen for me and I would like to thank the people that made it all possible.

6 hours on a bus back to Lima.

My last morning in Nazca began as all the other ones - with breakfast and then meeting up with the guide.

Fredy showed up on his bicycle at 7:30am to escort me to the bus station. We stood on the curb outside the hotel's front door and literally, just crossed the street. In the photo below, you can see the hotel on the right and the bus station on the left. That's right, the bus station is just across the street from the hotel!

Nazca - Mummies, Lines, aqueducts and more.

I awoke to the sound of a rooster crowing and a pack of dogs barking. It was a crisp, cool, sunny morning in Nazca.

Onto Nazca...and oh, what a journey it was.

My flight from Cuzco to Lima arrived in the late afternoon. By the time I got to the hotel, it was just getting dark. I decided to make a quick trip to the Metro supermarket to pick up some water and munchies for my trip to Nazca. The trip description said that it was going to be a 6 hour bus ride from Lima to Nazca so I wanted to be prepared.....little did I know then that food was going to be the least of my concerns!

Goodbye to Cuzco and back to Lima.

My last day in Cuzco started out as many of my other days had....bright and early with what had become my "traditional" breakfast in the hotel restaurant. Just as I was finishing breakfast, Susie came down and we agreed to meet back at the hotel at noon to do a last bit of souvenir shopping.

The weather was beautiful - sunny, mid 70'sF and no humidity - perfect day for one last walk through the city. I started by going to San Blas - a barrio (neighborhood) that is known as an "artsy" community. There's a pretty little square where the Chapel of San Blas (shown in the photo below) is located. It was early morning and vendors were just beginning to set up their display tables. I didn't stay around long enough to see if what they were going to be selling was the same as what I had seen in the local handicrafts market but I suspect it is.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Aguas Calientes to Cuzco.

The bus from Machu Picchu deposited me back near the original pickup point in Aguas Calientes. It was a beautiful day and a bit too early for lunch so I thought I would do a quick walk around town - to catch some final views before leaving. The picture on the top is a view of the town taken from a bridge that crosses over the Urubamba River which runs through the town - I'm looking up river. The picture on the bottom is taken from the same bridge and is of the tented roofs of the stalls that make up the handicrafts market.

The magnificent Machu Picchu.

This was the day for Machu Picchu and I couldn't wait! This day was also all about timing as you'll see.

The day began with a 4:15am wake up call from the hotel front desk. Simon's plan was for us to have breakfast at 4:30am. Then at 5am, we would walk up the street to the bus stop where we would catch the first bus which left at 5:15am for a 30 minute ride up the to the control point (entry gate) at Machu Picchu. We would wait at the control point til it opened and then be among the first to entry the site grounds. Kim and Andrea were going to be ending their Inca Trail hike at Machu Picchu so Simon, the Stelzers and I we were going to meet up with them at around 7:15am. The re-formed group would then tour Machu Picchu.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

My journey through the Sacred Valley: Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes.

Aguas Calientes is the town that is the launching point to Machu Picchu and it was to be my destination after Ollantaytambo.

My morning in Ollantaytambo began with a wake up call from a rooster and wait......could it be? Why yes, it was.....the sound of a cow mooing in the distance. You know you're in the country when the call of barnyard animals takes the place of an alarm clock!

Sunday, August 6, 2006

My journey through the Sacred Valley: Cuzco to Pisac to Ollantaytambo.

....that´s pronounced "Oy yan tay tahm bo" and it was to be my final destination on this day of travel. Along the way, I would get to see the Incan ruins at Pisac.

The game plan was to leave the hotel, in Cuzco, at 8am so I awoke early and had my "traditional" breakfast of eggs, roll, ham, cheese and coffee. With time to spare, I got on the internet (free on the hotel pc) and updated the blog. Simon showed up at 7:45am (on the dot) as he said he would. As we had discussed the previous day, all I would be taking with me would be my daypack so I handed him my backpack for safe keeping.

My day in Cuzco.

...began bright and early. By the time I woke up, the side effects of the Diamox had worn off and I was ready to face the day. I armed myself with my travel guide and headed down to the hotel restaurant to grab breakfast. Like other elements of my days in Peru, what I ate for breakfast had become a ritual - two scrambled eggs (dos huevos revueltos), a roll, some ham, some cheese and two cups of the Peruvian coffee that I had become addicted to. The travel guide told me that the local tourist information office, located on Calle Mantas - just about a block off the Plaza des Armas, would open at 8am so that´s where I planned to start my day.

Wednesday, August 2, 2006 long last!

I started my last morning in the Amazon with a very light breakfast and a Diamox pill. At 7am, I met up with Simon and we walked back to the boat. The sun was just coming up over the horizon. Figures that it would be a sunny day on the day I was leaving. Though it was cold cloudy during my entire stay in the jungle, I was in way glad that it was because it kept the mosquitoes away and I didn´t need to use the sunblock.

It was nice to see the river in sunlight and the water was calm. Along the way, we passed a few families boating in their wooden skiffs which is the main form of transport for people living along the river. We retraced our "steps" back to Puerto Maldonado airport, Simon got me checked in and then left to meet up with the rest of the group who would be arriving in Puerto Maldonado about two hours later.

Tuesday, August 1, 2006

A day in the life of a city girl in the Amazon.

Well, our first full day in the Amazon started with a wake up knock on the wall from William at 4am!! Breakfast was at 4:30a so I stayed in bed as long as I could, stumbled out from under the mosquito netting that surrounded the bed, fumbled for my flashlight and headed to the bathroom to clean up, dress and get ready for the day ahead.

Despite the kerosene lamps that lit the walkway outside my room, I still needed the flashlight to help guide me along certain portions. Thank God I had a flashlight - can´t tell you how much it got used in my two days in the jungle!!

Monday, July 31, 2006

To the Amazon I go!

Our group, headed by our fearless leader Simon (more on him later) left Lima bright and early on Saturday morning. Turned out the 9th member of our group bailed out at the last minute so there were 8 of us in the group: the Stelzer family from Scottsdale, Arizona - Greg and Susie (dad and mom) and Kyle, Riley, and Carson (3 brothers); Andrea from Huntington Beach, California; Kim from NYC, NY and me.

Friday, July 28, 2006

A day in Lima.

The best part about travelling is mingling with the locals....something I had a chance to do today as I did not have a conducted tour to go on. My day began with long walk down one of the city´s major avenues (Avenida Jose Lorca), heading towards the Pacific Ocean.

Okay, just a few more observations about Lima which I picked up on my walk today:
  • Chinese restaurants are known as chifas here. I read a few menus that had pictures of the dishes, and didn´t recognize a single dish. I also came upon a small stall selling Chinese dim sum and again, didn´t recognize a thing. I think Chinese food has been re-interpreted by the Peruvians to match their own tastes!
  • The street vendors sell everything from potato chips to fresh fruit to newspapers to Peruvian pastries. There doesn´t seem to be any rule about where they can/cannot set up shop so you see them in the most unexpected of places.
  • There are casinos everywhere. None were open today. Had they been, I might have been tempted to just go in and check out the slots!
  • Lima is a very polluted city despite its location next to the ocean. After a few hours of walking in the smog filled air, I found myself having to constantly clear my throat and my eyes were beginning to get very irritated. Sad to say it but refuge means going indoors. I can´t wait to leave the city if for no reason other than to escape the smog :-(
  • People will exchange currency on the street. I can´t tell you the number of people who approached me asking me if I wanted to buy Peruvian Nuevo Soles with US dollars. Of course, I would never do this so I just kept turning every request down. In all my trips outside the US, this the first time I´ve ever been approached by someone on the street offering to sell local currency!

Greetings from Lima!

....I know I said I wouldn´t be updating the blog on my trip but I have free web access from the hotel so I can´t resist! The only struggle has been to figure out how to type in English on a Spanish keyboard and translating brower commands from Spanish. Where´s Kathy when you need her :-)

I finally arrived in Lima after a very long but uneventful travel day. By the time I cleared immigration, got my bags and went through customs, it was barely 6am. I had arranged for pickup through the tour company and the driver was there to greet me as I exited customs and immediately headed for the hotel. With the exception of the drive out of Reagan National Airport, I have never been on drive to/from any airport that was scenic and the drive out of Jorge Chavez Int'l airport was no exception.

Monday, July 24, 2006

.....and the winner is.

...Kiat who was the first person to e-mail me the correct answers to all 5 clues.

Congratulations Kiat!! You'll have to wait to see what your prize is!

I had several people send me correct answers so kudos to each of you. I hope you had a bit of fun trying to figure out the answers and at the same time, learn a few interesting facts about Peru.

For the record, the correct answers are:

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

So where am I going? Here's the fifth and final clue.

Clue #5

It's been said that a picture is worth a thousand words so here are your two pictorial clues. If you've figured out clues 1-4, this should be a no brainer for you!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

So where am I going? Here's the fourth of five clues.

Clue #4

Note: This is a clue that will require you to provide two answers - you'll see why when you get to the end of the text.

A conquistador reported in his account of the great Spanish invasion of South America in the 1500s, that while the masses of Andes Indians were small and dark, the members of the ruling Inca family were tall, had red hair, fair skin and thin noses.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Gone vacationin' for a few more days.

Up until last weekend, I had pretty much been planning my trip by surfing the web but I finally broke down and bought a travel guide. Seemed like a good idea at the time but considering it was a picture on the cover of a travel magazine that got me going on this trip in the first place, I should have thought twice, no 10 times, before buying the book. But I couldn't help myself. Not only does the guide have lots and lots of "pretty" pictures to whet the imagination but there's something about the act of thumbing through the pages of a book that surfing on the web will never replace.

The Education of Julee: Lesson 2. Protection from mozzies and "no see-ums".

I thought that since it was going to be cold on some of the days during this trip, that I wouldn't have to worry about fending off the mosquitoes and "no see-ums" but it seems they will be out in force despite the temperatures and humidity. Apparently, the "no see-ums" are particularly nasty at the higher elevations. Oh joy!

For whatever reason, biting insects just LOVE me and so I NEED PROTECTION from these annoying creatures - especially the mosquitoes as these are the carriers of West Nile, malaria and dengue fever and ticks which carry Lyme disease. I'm hoping that the "no see-ums" will be more annoying than biting.....ever so hopeful, I am :-)

Thursday, July 6, 2006

So where am I going? Here's the third of five clues.

Clue #3

On days 5 and 6, I will be in this city whose name, when translated from Quechua, means "Navel" which seems appropriate since this city was once the capital of an ancient civilization. Driven by a greed for gold, the same conqueror that founded the city in Clue #1 led his army into this city in 1533 and conquered it for his motherland. In the years that followed, the invaders undertook the construction of a new city, atop the old, replacing temples with churches and palaces with mansions for the conquerors. During this time period, the city prospered as a result to agriculture, cattle raising, mining and trade with other nations. Today, the city thrives primarily on tourism and was inscribed as a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1983.

So where am I going? Here's the second of five clues.

Clue #2.

On days 3 and 4, I will be in a region that encompasses 1.2 billion acres with parts located within nine nations. It is considered by many people to be one is one of the world's greatest natural resources. Because its vegetation continuously recycles carbon dioxide into oxygen, it has been described as the "Lungs of our Planet".

Monday, July 3, 2006

So where am I going? Here's the first of five clues.

As I'm sure you've figured out by now, I have not revealed where I am going on my trip though a handful of you do know. Usually when asked the question "Where are you going?", I would just blurt out the answer but this time around, I thought I would have some fun (and hopefully, you will too) by turning this into a guessing game.

This game will be a test of your knowledge of world geography, biology and ancient history or perhaps, more accurately,

The education of Julee: Lesson 1. Energy bars.

The last time I did any serious hiking/camping, we carried out plastic bags filled with dried fruits and nuts (otherwise simply known as "GORP") for munching on while we were on the trail - a quick way to fend off hunger pangs until we could get a "real" meal into our stomachs.

Now, there are energy bars that effectively cure the need for a quick snack. However, they have the advantage of delivering the same number of calories as dried nuts and fruit but in a much more compact and lightweight form - important in keeping the weight of a backpack down.

Sunday, July 2, 2006


Vaccinations. Ugh. I knew I had to have shots to go on my trip....didn't know exactly which ones as it had been more years than I could remember since I had been anywhere that required vaccinations of any sort. Probably on my last trip to Malaysia when I spent time in Borneo.

Friday, June 30, 2006

....and the planning and packing begin.

Well, it didn't take me long to realize that I was not equipped to go on this trip. It had been ages since I had been on any sort of a trekking/hiking/camping trip so I really needed to get outfitted. The tour company had provided a fairly detailed list of what I needed to bring along so armed with that I decided I would spend a Saturday afternoon at REI picking up all the bits and pieces of gear, clothing and other necessities.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

It all started with a photo on the cover of a travel magazine.

It all started one afternoon when I picked up a travel magazine while waiting for my car to be serviced at Jiffy Lube.

There it was, on the cover ...... a full page, color photo of an ancient monument that I had always dreamed of someday being able to visit. As I read the accompanying article, I found myself mesmerized by photos of faces, landmarks, and wildlife of a place that had always seemed so foreign, beautiful and exotic to me and that I've always been inexplicably drawn to.

Thursday, May 4, 2006

Where have we been for the last two days?

We finally left Nice at headed out to Paris. We were organized enough to book the reservation two days in advance, so we didn’t encounter any trouble at the train station.

The trip to Paris was uneventful, and we finally arrived in the afternoon, under a sunny and warm sky. We found our hotel with the help of a cab, and dropped our suitcases there. We then bought some passes for the metro, and went to the place Julee has been talking about for DAYS: Le Bon Marche! It was indeed an amazing food store, where there had severals aisles for chocolate, cheese, and saucisses! Where else could you find such an amazing assortment? A few hundred dollars later, we finally left the store, and came back to the hotel.

Wednesday, May 3, 2006

The Cote d’Azur – Days 6 and 7

Greetings from the south of France!!

We arrived in Nice, on the train from Lyon, early Sunday evening. Trudging our suites off the train and out the front door of the train station, we patiently stood in line to wait for a cab. After a few minutes of waiting, a cab showed up and, to our utter surprise, he refused to take us to our hotel – telling us that the street that it was on was all torn up (for road repair) and that cars were not allowed on it. Neither of us had ever been rejected by a taxi cab driver so we were a bit dumbfounded by what we heard. We went to the Information Desk and Diep asked for directions to the hotel. We were told that is was about a half hour walk or we could take the bus. Being the adventurous twosome that we are, we opted to hoof it. Considering we had no map to guide us, we had to rely on the kindness of people to give us directions.

Monday, May 1, 2006

Lyon: We came, we saw, we vanquished! Day 5.

Greetings from France! We hope you are enjoying our adventures!

The only thing worth noting during our stay in Lyon was that we almost missed the train…. again! For once, this has nothing to do with our lack of planning! We went to station Perrache about an hour before our departure time to make sure we weren’t going to miss the train. From the station, we caught the train to the main station at Part-Dieux, and took less than 10 mins to get there. We were so proud of ourselves that for once, we had successfully executed the plan we hatched. We went to look at the departure announcement board, and I noticed that our train was going to be late by 15 minutes. I mentioned it to Julee, who, then had this panicked look as she pointed out frantically on our tickets that we had to switch trains, and that we had only 17 minutes to do so.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Friday, April 28, 2006

Frites, frites, frites,.....and more frites!!

Okay, Diep had her turn at updating the blog and now it's mine!

Diep's recollection of our arrival here is pretty accurate...with just a few bits of info left out....

a) She arrived at the departure gate 3 hours before the flight took off. She was ready to go!!

b) While Julee couldn't figure out how to turn off the faucet in the airplane bathroom, Diep grappled with the finer points of putting down the tray behind the seat......and she's in charge of security :-)

c) Diep refuses to change the time on her watch and so Julee who has no watch has to wait for Diep to look at her watch and add 6 hours to the time just to know what time it is!

d) Diep loves malted balls......ooooooh, malted balls. She loves them so much, she even hugged the vending machine at the train station. See pic to the left.

e) Diep loves frites.....oh she loves frites. Frites, frites, frites.

Finally in Brussels!

Greetings from Brussels :).

We almost got delayed at Dulles because Diep's boarding pass jammed up the reader as we were getting ready to board. Now, what a way to start the trip! They made her step aside while they were trying to fix the machine, with all the passengers (aka Julie) behind getting upset.

Since Julee was the tallest of the two (grin), she sat on the aisle seat to help out with getting the bags in the overhead bin. Lo and behold, Diep's bag weighed a ton (thank you DIT for chosing IBMs), so it took a while to get Julee to put the bag in the overhead bin. Finally, the exhausted Julee managed to put the bag away, when she heard a small voice next to her: "Julee, I forgot something important in my bag....". Julee almost sent Diep in the overhead bin WITH the bag!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

We're off!!

Today's the day we leave on our adventure. Bags are packed, travel papers are all in order and enough Euros to get us started. We're still missing a hotel reservation or two and we're not quite sure how the rail system works but we'll figure it out when we get there....hopefully, we'll get there.

Keep your eyes on this blog. We'll update it the next chance we have!

Diep and Julee

Saturday, April 22, 2006

The countdown begins....!

We got our hotel confirmations and vouchers - at least for our first few travel days.

Thanks to FedEx, we got our Eurail tickets!! ....and we've decided that our first "real" stop in France is going to be Lyon....and we've booked a hotel - Nothing fancy but it's very centrally located so we should be able to easily make our way around the old part of the city and if we have time, do a day trip into the outskirts of the city.

After Lyon, we'll be heading to Nice. Woohoo!! Some sun and sand ....okay, so it's really sun and rocky beaches. Not to mention maybe some "eye candy" for two travelling chicks, if you get our gist.

After our whirlwind tour of Belgium and Lyon, it'll be nice to just have a few days to relax. Julee's hoping for warm weather so she can actually sinking her bare feet into sand. Diep is already planning the daily meal menu :-)

From Nice, we can easily hop on the train and head to Cannes and Monaco - maybe do some hobnobbing with the rich and famous. Okay, maybe not but it's a nice dream ;-) We haven't booked our hotel yet but should have something picked out before we leave.


Diep and Julee

Monday, April 17, 2006

Testing the camera.

As many of you know, I recently bought a digital camera. Okay, I admit it...., the last time I bought a camera, it was an Olympus 35mm SLR so the digital camera is definitely new territory for me. Of course, I will be bringing my camera with me on the trip and I'm planning on posting photos as we go along - hopefully there will be internet cafes and/or wireless hotspot available along the way.

Anyhoo, some "anonymous" blogger challenged me to test out my ability to post photos on this blog. Unfortunately, I haven't taken that many photos to-date. So, I picked one out - had to put the obligatory "gray" circle to protect the innocent "victim" (hehe). So here's proof that not only can I take photos with my new camera but I have some photo editing skills (actually, I'm quite good w/Photoshop) and I can post photos to this blog.

You've all been warned!


It's one week and two days before we leave

 .....not that we're counting down the days or anything like that!!

So the game plan is to fly into Paris and immediately hop on train to go to Brussels. Don't ask why we didn't fly directly to Brussels instead - kind of a sore spot for Julee.

It took a couple of nights of text messaging via gtalk to get our hotel booked for Brussels. All we can say is thank God for the internet and secured websites!! Here's where we will be staying during the few days that we'll be in Brussels => Check out the interactive video for pics of the rooms - some pretty wild artwork hangs on the walls, particularly for chambre #3.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Two more weeks to go!

A bit of news:

1- It is now confirmed that there will be two traveling chicks going to Europe. Julee finally got her passport all squared away :). I almost thought I would travel alone, as the process of obtaining a new passport was not too promising, and Julee just started the process of hers in March.

2- We still haven't booked any hotel reservations anywhere, no train tickets, but we definitely know what we will be eating when we get there :). Nothing beats eating a "cornet de frites" at the train station in Brussels.

3- Julee is convinced that she will be taking a lot of pictures of me sleeping everywhere. For some reason, she's under the impression that I love my sleep. I really don't know where she gets that idea!

Friday, March 31, 2006

Belgium and France - Here We Come!!

When we spread word that we were going to be travelling to Belgium and France, we quickly discovered that:

a) everyone was excited for us though many of you expressed the hope that Belgium and France would survive our visit :-)

b) many of you had been to the same countries and offered up advice on where we should go, places we might want to visit, sights to see and things to eat. We're open to all ideas - conventional and unconventional so please share your suggestions with us.

So, we've set up this blog to tap into your travel experiences as we plan our trip and to share ours with you as we move through Belgium and France.

....and yes, we will be bringing digital cameras to record events and posting them to this blog so you'll be able to keep up with our travels! Can't help it, we're as geeky as the rest of you :-)

We welcome your comments. All that we ask is that you keep them "clean" or else we will edit you out.

Diep and Julee

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Our own blog!

Well... that's it! We finally have our own blog :). We can now officially start planning for our trip in Paris. Yoohoo!