Suitcase and World: May 2015

Friday, May 8, 2015

Visa. Check.

Got my visa today!  I dropped off the application at the consulate this past Monday.   No service fee but I did have to give them a copy of my trip itinerary and flight information.

I was that it would take five business days. Yesterday, I received an email telling me the visa was ready and I could come and get my passport.  So, first thing this morning, I drove down to the consulate and picked it up!  Not about to have it sitting and waiting for longer than necessary.

I have to say that as an obsessed traveler, the best thing about living near DC is the fact that the vast majority of countries that have an embassy and consulate in the US, have them located in DC.  Makes getting visas a simple task!

George got his visa a week after I got mine.  No issues for him either.   Key task done!   Next is to check on what travel medicines and vaccinations are required for Madagascar so we can take care of that task next!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

The Drone Has Arrived!

Here's the drone!
Late last November, around Thanksgiving to be more precise, George emailed me to ask me for recommendations for a camera.  Given all the traveling he does for work, during which time he occasionally has the opportunity to squeeze in a bit of sightseeing, I was surprised to find out he didn't have a camera or maybe he just wanted to get a new one.  Of course, I always have suggestions :-)

Given the type of trip we're going on, I suggested that George consider a sports camera - they're usually compact and very durable - withstand heat/cold, dirt and are water resistant.  I gave him a few names and of course, threw in GPro.  I have to admit, if I didn't already have a good sports camera, which I'm not yet ready to replace, I would own a GPro.  They're just so darn fun and the possibilities of what you can do with them are pretty much just limited to your imagination.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Madagascar. Itinerary.

I'm retired so I have all the time in the world to travel so long as I have the financial means. Poor George though. He's still a worker bee and while he does get vacation time, he understandably wants to be able to spend it with his longtime partner as well. So, I am grateful to Joe for allowing me to borrow George for a few days.  This will be by far the shortest duration trip that I've been given the cost and expense but hey, you gotta live when you have the chance!  Besides, it's worth it just so I get to harrass travel with George for a few days.

When we finally agreed to go on this trip, we split up the planning responsibilities.  George would look for the flights - not easy given the constraints that I put on him.  I would handle the itinerary which I think is the more difficult of the two tasks but given that I have the time plus if I might say so myself, I am a whiz at planning trips, it made sense for me to handle this task.

I started by searching on the web for ideas for a 7 day trip to Madagascar.  Most trips I came across were for 10 days or more but rare as they were, I did find itineraries for a week long trip.  It also just so happened that I received the 2015 National Geographic Adventures catalog in the mail.   Look what's on the cover.  It's a trip to Madagascar. The Nat Geo trip is a much longer in duration but I figured that the places were going to would be the highlights so I focused on putting those on our itinerary. Using the ideas I found for the 7 day trips plus ideas from the Nat Geo trip, I put came up with a list of the places that I though we could cover in 6-7 days.   As you can expect, I had to cull out a few places here and there as we just don't have the time.  Maybe one day, we'll go back and see what we didn't get to cover on this trip.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Excited to be going to Madagascar

George's one and only blog post.  He had good intentions to do more!

Well, this is my first time using a blog -- Julee, don't shot me :)  Very excited to be planning this trip.  things to consider;

1.  How many batteries for the drone for the quad copter
2.  Will we get arrested for having a drone (probably not)
3.  Will my rudimentary French either get us good things or into trouble (probably the latter)
4.  What will I look like after a 14 hour economy class flight

Let's see if this posts.

Note:  This post was originally published on November 14, 2014.

Monday, May 4, 2015


Stunning photo of a Malagasy child walking down the famed Alley of Baobabs in Mondorova.
The photo was taken by Ken Thorne and was a Merit Winner in the 2012 National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest.

I've always wanted to go to Madagascar - ever since seeing images of the lemurs, baobab trees and strange rock formations that call this island nation home.  As I grew older and my desire to explore the more remote corners of the earth, Madagascar held a solid spot on my travel bucket list.  But for whatever reason, each year would go by and some other country would be put on that year's travel itinerary, dropping Madagascar off the list.  That is until the 2015 travel year.