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Month: September 2016

Tips To Connect With Locals While Traveling

I love to sample new foods and I love to try things that are very local. Hojaldres, for instance, are Panama’s equivalent to fried dough and when served with breakfast make you feel like you are getting eggs at the fair.

There is a tendency for travelers to eat at places that look clean and have a nice ambiance. Occasionally those places are fun to visit because they offer high-end foods that appeal to the tourist’s tongue. But they are usually expensive and, in all honesty, don’t always offer the best food.

Little local joints typically don’t look the cleanest from the outside and in some cases look down right terrifying. I am fearless when it comes to trying new places to eat, but occasionally I have paid a very dear price for my bravery.

Once I stopped at a little restaurant in Mexican Rivera Maya, just south of Cancun. It consisted of two plastic tables sitting outside a tiny cement home. Two people were sitting there, but they had the appearance of being family. I figured it would be a great way to meet people and try something local at the same time so I took a seat at the red plastic table and ordered a bowl of seafood soup.

Big mistake.

The soup looked so interesting. It had fish and squid and shrimp and clams along with yucca and carrots and potatoes and right in the middle of the bowl was an oyster still in the shell. Often soups in Central America have bits of things in them that require a little work to get at. An ear of corn that needs to be picked up and nibbled or a piece of pork that is still on the bone. So I happily attacked the large sea shell and ingested its contents.

To this day I do not know if it was the oyster inside the shell or the fact that a possibly unwashed shell was in my soup that had me running to the bathroom for the next 2 weeks. Either way, the results were less than desirable.

So how do you find good local food in a manner that you can be pretty sure won’t give you similar results?

Look for the crowd.

The locals don’t want to get sick any more than you do.

Places that don’t have a big turn over of customers have food lying around in less than ideal conditions and that makes for less than ideal conditions in your stomach. Local people know where to find the best deal with the best food for sure. But they also know where to find food that won’t make them sick.

Central America is a wonderfully free place with less regulations and rules to stop people from opening their own little businesses. And that is great because it allows for a small family to open up a eatery with a minimum of fuss. That does however mean that the kitchen may be a little less than sanitary or the food may be less than fresh.

So follow the locals. Go where you see the crowds. You can even stop at someone’s table and ask what they recommend on the menu. They will be excited you asked and feel honored to give their opinion.

When I lived in Mexico we used to go to a little seafood place in La Colonia (the poor part of a famous and dear-to-my-heart fishing village). It was packed most of the time. Again, there were red plastic tables. But this time there were people coming and going and talking and laughing and slurping soup everywhere.

The first time we sat down I leaned over and asked a handsome Mexican man wearing a nice button up shirt what was the best thing on the menu. He recommended the seafood soup. I’d already had some experience with sea food soup as I mentioned earlier.

But I was unafraid (well mostly unafraid) so I ordered a bowl. Again, I found a bowl with shrimp and fish and squid and clams and I think this one had octopus too. This time it was served over a huge mound of rice and topped with fresh slices of avocado and lime. I added a little hot sauce (it kills bacteria. I bet you thought the Mexicans just like their food hot) and dug in.


That little restaurant became my favorite La Colonia joint for the next year and a half and I got to know the owner, his brother, and many of the people who lived in the town just by stopping by to slurp down a bowl of soup.

I learned my lesson.

Follow the Crowd.


The Meaning Of Adventure

Do you like to take vacations? Where do you go? Depending on your answers, you will tag yourself somewhere in a range between the cautious traveler and the thrill seeker. There is nothing uncool about being anywhere on the range. Folks tend to take vacations that fit their age, experience, temperament, judgement, and budget. Also, a thrill seeker who has a young family with children, will be impeded by responsibility, so it evens out.

What is the essence of adventure? I define it this way: It is an adrenaline rush of exhilaration, an experience that combines freedom with vulnerability precisely when a spark is fired by sheer terror! If you survive it, you will have a hair-raising memory that you will share with other people for the rest of your life. If you are harmed by it, you have my sympathy.

I cannot fit examples of my adventures into this article, but I can tell you how to have your own adventure. Play Airport Bingo (Railway Bingo, Cruise Ship Bingo, Taxi Bingo), a game in which you and your favorite person snag two discount tickets, a bargain basement savings to fill in an otherwise empty pair of seats. Then, just go! Don’t even pack a suitcase! Realize the power of this. Those tickets are the way to go everywhere. The fact that you don’t know where you are going until you spontaneously buy them is the thrill!

Suppose that you chicken out. After all, you have no luggage, no guaranteed place to stay when you get to your impromptu destination, and you can think of dozens of reasons not to do this. But, you do have your favorite somebody to share the experience, and figuring out what you will do is like finding the pieces of a puzzle. You live in the now. It is easy to chicken out, and if you do, years will pass. Regret haunts the caverns of a mind that has no memories. Be brave.

Do this just one time, and you will gain confidence, plus you will relive this experience as a happy memory. Even the struggling parts will add their colorful threads into the fabric of a good time. Bring your ATM-capable credit cards, your camera-capable iPhone, and passports if you go overseas. Otherwise, realize that on the other end of your journey you will find a local cab driver who will be glad to see you. He is your guide.



Places You Should Visit Around the World

Need a break from that hectic routine? What can be better than travelling to a completely new place? Nothing can be more refreshing than a vacay in one of the following destinations, because each one of them is filled with amazing fun. A few of the must consider places to visit are mentioned below:

Krabi in Thailand

Sun-kissed beaches, pellucid blue water well buckled with a perfect climate is an ideal quick-fix when you want a small break from the everyday normal life.

Srinagar in kashmir

Srinagar, a true heaven on earth, beautifully curled up amid the adored Himalayan range. Experience and enjoy some time near the Dal Lake or in the houseboat floating on the waters, here you can do some woolgathering about a fairy tale lifestyle.

Colombo in Sri Lanka

Enjoy the best of the town life and lavish beaches in the capital city of Sri Lanka. Spend your complete day lounging on the beachside and end it with club-hopping in the city.

Tokyo in japan

Tokyo is a whole new world in Japan that will make you question everything you have ever believed about life. Just imagine person with a tattoo cannot enter into a swimming pool here. One can just feel calm at the charming cherry blossom trees well segmented here.

Pattaya in Thailand

Pattaya has it all from glossy beaches, sparkling waters and an amazing seaside mall. What else do you want to relax your mind and body?

Amalfi Coast in Italy

One will never forget the time spent in the beautiful town of Italy – Amalfi Coast. The graceful mountains liquefy into the astonishing sea, making Amalfi an opulent city to visit. You can enjoy great cuisines, good wine and amazing people here. It is a perfect place to untangle and will take you away from the mundane life.

Andaman and Nicobar Islands

An exotic destination to enjoy some adventurous activities like scuba-diving in the crystal clear waters of Andaman. You can explore the colourful treasure under the sea here. Plan a family beach vacation and spend some gala time with your dear ones.

Istanbul in Turkey

An ancient city, Istanbul in Turkey is an exemplary source of architecture. It is worth visiting at least once. If you love to see the aesthetics, then the city has beautiful domes that justifies the rule of various dynasties and has left its hints behind.

Morocco in North Africa

It is rightly accepted that Morocco is the most divergent country place in Northern Africa. One will find that this place has the fabulous desert well infusing into the grandiose Atlas Mountain range that has tons of attractions to offer to its visitors.

Bali in Indonesia

Bali in Indonesia is just like achingly beautiful scenery. Head out to this gorgeous island destination for some much-needed soul-searching session. Practice some yoga, get rejuvenating massages and calmly meditate on the beach or just have a perfect sunbathe for an easygoing holiday.



Get The Best Tour On Grand Canyon

You can tour the Grand Canyon any time of the year, but now the weather is ideal for sightseeing, so you should start planning your helicopter or airplane tour soon. You’ll have lots of choices and options when you book your tour, and these 5 tips will help you plan a great time.

Buy Your Tour Online For The Best Price

The best way to buy your tour of the Canyon is to do it online. When you book your tour yourself online, you’ll cut out commissions from travel agents and sales persons, so the price will be lower. Since you can save up to 35 percent off the retail price of your tour, it pays to avoid buying through a travel agent. Buying your tour online is quick and easy, and your seats will be instantly locked in for the day of your tour.

Secure Your Seats With A Credit Card

Booking online means you pay for the tour at the time with your credit card. Buying with your credit card is how you get the low Internet price, and even better, your seats will be secured so you won’t have to be worried about a sold out tour. Also, the tour price is all-inclusive, so you won’t have to worry about paying extra for fees or taxes when you arrive for your tour. You should try to book your tour about two weeks in advance if you can so you get the best price and widest selection. If you wait too long to book your tour, the price will probably be higher if you can even find any available seats.

Consider Booking The Airplane Tour

An airplane tour is the ideal option when you have a limited budget or when you want to go with a large group of people on the same tour. You can book an airplane tour to either the South or West Rim. The South Rim tour can be upgraded to include a 4×4 ground tour of the Canyon. You can also add on an exciting helicopter flight from the South Rim to the North Rim and back.

Add A Float Tour Of The Colorado River

The Colorado River flows through the Canyon and makes an ideal setting for a raft tour, and one of the options you have is to take a tour package from Vegas that includes a bus ride to the South Rim for a floating tour along the river. These tours stay on the smooth water section of the river, so kids and seniors can enjoy these relaxing and scenic tours as well. The raft tour includes stop offs at different beaches along the way so you can get out and stretch your legs and explore the area near the river bank.

Opt For The Deluxe Helicopter Tour

If you want to take a helicopter tour, then you should definitely consider upgrading to a deluxe tour. These tours utilize the advanced EcoStar 130 sightseeing helicopters. This helicopter has more room, is quieter, and has comfortable seating that is arranged stadium style for the best views. These helicopters also have 180 degree windshields, so there are no obstructions as you view the Canyon below. In addition, the deluxe tours provide pick up and drop off service in a limousine and a flyover of the Vegas Strip. It’s a VIP experience that is worth the extra cost!

To Wrap Up

When you plan your tour from Vegas to the West Rim or the South Rim, be sure to keep the above 5 tips in mind. If you have questions about the Canyon tours, just come to my website. I have a chat feature we can use to discuss tour options and choices, so you book the best tour that matches your budget and interests. Just keep in mind, you’ll need to buy your tour early, and do it online with your credit card, so you can lock in your seats on a scenic tour to one of America’s most loved landmarks.