Marc's Public Blog - Trips to other locations


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This is a collection of my blog entries related to short or long trips I, or Jennifer and I went on.
I have some master pages for some specific locations/trips:

Paris over many years | Australia over many years | Canada over many years | Japan over multiple trips | Italy in 2011 | France in 2013 | Indonesia in 2013 | Japan in 2013 | Japan in 2014 | Taiwan in 2014 | Indonesia in 2014 | New Zealand in 2015 | Japan in 2015 | Costa Rica in 2015 | Singapore in 2016 | South Korea in 2016 | Japan in 2016 | Japan in winter 2017 | Great Britain in 2017 |

Table of Content for trips:

More pages: August 2017 July 2017 June 2017 February 2017 January 2017 December 2016 October 2016 September 2016 August 2016 July 2016 June 2016 May 2016 April 2016 February 2016 January 2016 December 2015 October 2015 August 2015 July 2015 June 2015 May 2015 March 2015 February 2015 January 2015 December 2014 November 2014 October 2014 August 2014 July 2014 June 2014 May 2014 January 2014 December 2013 November 2013 September 2013 July 2013 June 2013 May 2013 March 2013 February 2013 January 2013 December 2012 October 2012 September 2012 June 2012 April 2012 February 2012 January 2012 December 2011 October 2011 September 2011 August 2011 June 2011 January 2011 December 2010 November 2010 September 2010 August 2010 May 2010 January 2010 September 2009 August 2009 June 2009 January 2009 December 2008 August 2008 February 2008 January 2008 October 2007 July 2007 February 2007 January 2007 December 2006 October 2006 August 2006 July 2006 April 2006 March 2006 January 2006 December 2005 September 2005 August 2005 July 2005 June 2005 April 2005 December 2004 October 2004 July 2004 June 2004 January 2004 January 2003 January 2001 August 1997



2013/11/26 Trip to Raja Ampat to go Diving
π 2013-11-26 00:00 in Indonesia2013, Trips
I have many pictures of Diving in Raja Ampat on the Waow.

While you should go to that page for more details, I'll put a few pictures here:










For more many pictures of Diving in Raja Ampat on the Waow, go here.

See more images for Trip to Raja Ampat to go Diving
2013/11/24 Indonesia: Bali, Day 5
π 2013-11-24 00:00 in Indonesia2013, Trips
Our last day in Bali was really just the morning to burn before going to the airport for a couple of flights to Sorong (via Makassar) to reach Raja Ampat, our ulimate diving destination.

A few more pictures of our resort, Ubud by Como, on the way out:




We got up early to visit the Bali Zoo and Saphari Park. Lack of planning and knowledge (and them having a useless website), caused us not to know they had private safari tours in a jeep for 2 where you could hand feed the animals. That would clearly have been the highlight of the visit. Instead, we got the normal group safari tour, which was still good to see animals there.
We didn't sign up in time for an elephant ride that would meet the time we had to leave by, but we got the camel ride instead, which wasn't bad :)










the private jeep we should have been in :)
the private jeep we should have been in :)



We went to visit the tigers:


just like our cat, but a tiny bit bigger :)
just like our cat, but a tiny bit bigger :)

either it was very tired, a bit too drugged up...
either it was very tired, a bit too drugged up...

but eh, it was hard to pass on :)
but eh, it was hard to pass on :)

grooming, just like our cat
grooming, just like our cat

Time for our camel ride:





Even if we didn't get to ride one, we did get to feed some elephants before their bath. Their trunk is very very good at probing and tickling you everywhere until you hand out the food :)




Then was time for the elephant show, this zoo's main feature:







Last but not least, we had a quick look at the rest of the place before heading out:







After the Zoo, Tawan drove us towards the airport, but since we had a bit of time left over, we had lunch by the beach, where we hadn't spent any time so far :)




some good shrimp before the flight did the trick
some good shrimp before the flight did the trick

And that was it, the end of our trip in Bali. Next were the flights towards Sorong (via Makassar) to reach Raja Ampat, our ulimate diving destination.

See more images for Indonesia: Bali, Day 5
2013/11/23 Indonesia: Bali, Day 4
π 2013-11-23 00:00 in Indonesia2013, Trips
We started with another great breakfast and since we had a bit of spare time in the morning, we spent it to enjoy the resort:


the lizards were having breakfast too :)
the lizards were having breakfast too :)

the staff kept the ground meticulously
the staff kept the ground meticulously

This is not what I usually do, but we had some spare time in the morning :)
This is not what I usually do, but we had some spare time in the morning :)


We then started our day with the bird park, which I figured would be fun. I was indeed right, on top of having unusual birds, they had some you could interact with (including the big blue parrot that came down from its perch slowly and calmly to bite my finger pretty hard, stupid parrot).


they showed us how cocks fight. Mmmh, ok
they showed us how cocks fight. Mmmh, ok


this one was super friendly and literally asked me to scratch under its feathers :)
this one was super friendly and literally asked me to scratch under its feathers :)

the big one bit me later when I came to say hello without its handler
the big one bit me later when I came to say hello without its handler





this little guy wanted to clean our ears :)
this little guy wanted to clean our ears :)

I kept it with me and it spent its time cleaning my ear
I kept it with me and it spent its time cleaning my ear


Next door, they had reptiles, we had a quick look:





Our next plan was to have suckling pig, a local specialty. Yummy piggy was had :)




Next, we got to visit places that had art for sale: wood carvings and paintings:




art indeed
art indeed




To finish the day, we went to Tanah Lot to see the fesh water source in the middle of the ocean, the temple that hosts it, and the surroundings. Once is supposed to see the sunset there, but it was an utter clusterfsck of people due to a special gathering of motorcrossers that day, as well the regular tourists. It took us almost 45mn just to get out of the parking lot before sunset, never mind what it would have been later... (yeah, we missed sunset, but we were going to be 10 days on a boat, so we'd get many more):






at the lowest tide, you can walk to the fresh water island
at the lowest tide, you can walk to the fresh water island


fresh water comes out of the small island
fresh water comes out of the small island

they have a secret snake in a cave you're supposed to pet (for a tip)
they have a secret snake in a cave you're supposed to pet (for a tip)

they have a secret snake in a cave you're supposed to pet (for a tip)
they have a secret snake in a cave you're supposed to pet (for a tip)



After a long drive back to Ubud (which would have been twice as long, if not more, had we waited for sunset), we got an evening reflexology massage, which did include some severe foot plant manipulations to stimulate nerve endings


We're still wondering how much we really got for the painful foot manipulations :)

And that was the end of our 4th Day in Bali.

See more images for Indonesia: Bali, Day 4
2013/11/22 Indonesia: Bali, Day 3
π 2013-11-22 00:00 in Indonesia2013, Trips
We got to enjoy the pool and views by the resort in the morning:


breakfast location
breakfast location



Tawan then took us out for a drive:

lots of rice fields
lots of rice fields

people drying their rice on the side of the road...
people drying their rice on the side of the road...





We went to Gunung Kawi. On the way down to a temple, lots of stores:








Next door was Tirtha Empul Temple:




offerings
offerings







Next, we went to a Volcano Rim, but unfortunately the weather and visibility were poor, so the view was not that great and we ended up not going to the hot springs that were down there, but we still had lunch at the view restaurant that was right there, and the buffet was tasty and quite cheap:




Later on the road, we went fruit hunting for Jennifer :)



We finally found the smelly Durion fruit
We finally found the smelly Durion fruit


On the way back, we went to Penglipuran temple and its street of traditional houses for tourists to see:









Last, but not least, the elephant cave and its surroundings:




On the road, we saw a flock of ducks used to 'clean' a rice field :)


See more images for Indonesia: Bali, Day 3
2013/11/21 Indonesia: Bali, Day 2
π 2013-11-21 00:00 in Indonesia2013, Trips
We enjoyed the views from our beach hotel in the morning (Puri Satrian) before heading out. It's a beach resort hotel, which wasn't really what we're about, but we still had a look around:










Next, Tawan, our guide, came to pick us up. He drove us around Denpasar in the morning and took us to the Bajra Sandhi Monument:








Next, he took us to the near island where we booked our dolphin experience with Bali Dolphin Interaction (beware, there is another one, and apparently it's not as good). Driving around was "interesting", you got to see all kinds of things:



Eventually, we got there. Before I put more pictures, I'll answer the "isn't this mean to inhumane to the dolphins" part. I'm not an expert, but while their enclosures didn't look super big, they were in the ocean (i.e. real water), they are allowed to go swim with one another after their work hours (bite marks and scratches they do to one another confirmed that), and allegedly, they're let out to swim in the ocean on sundays, but they come back for the easy food and the routine they're used to. While I'm not sure if I could believe that, cats and dogs do that happily and come back for food and companionship, so maybe it's possible for dolphins too, at least I hope so.
All that being said, we were split up in groups and had one dolphin to play with for each group. The dolphin is obviously trained to do tricks, but just like a dog that likes go fetch a ball, apparently our dolphin was more than happy to do some of the tricks and bring us back a ball too:










Once our dolphin fun was over, Tawan took us to a place that sells Luwak Coffee, the most expensive coffee in the world, where individual beans are eaten and pooped half digested by a local animal (Luwak). Apparently, it makes coffee better (I wouldn't know because I hate coffee :) ):


Luwak, the choosy animal
Luwak, the choosy animal




Next, we went to the monkey forest, which is both a nice temple, and lost of wild monkeys, which you're not supposed to feed since if they bite you, you can get rabbies, but you can pay a local to feed them for you and make them climb on you:




some tourists fed the monkeys directly, but it wasn't a grand idea. Some do end up bitten.
some tourists fed the monkeys directly, but it wasn't a grand idea. Some do end up bitten.

just what you're not supposed to do
just what you're not supposed to do

we paid a handler to get the monkey to climb on us without risking our hands :)
we paid a handler to get the monkey to climb on us without risking our hands :)

the forest was quite nice too
the forest was quite nice too




We ended by having dinner close to our new hotel in Ubud, at Indus, with a great view and good food:






See more images for Indonesia: Bali, Day 2
2013/11/20 Indonesia: Bali, Day 1
π 2013-11-20 00:00 in Indonesia2013, Trips

We arrived in pretty good rain, which only got worse over time for the rest of the day


Everyone seemed to have a tour or a guide waiting for them, we did too
Everyone seemed to have a tour or a guide waiting for them, we did too

Our guide took us for an evening at the Zoo where we had dinner, saw an animal show, and got to visit the Zoo at night with a flashlight (not forgetting getting to feed an elephant):




bearcat
bearcat


After the visit, we got a drum and dance, and fire dancing show:



and that was it for the evening, despite the great flight, we were beat and jetlagged.

See more images for Indonesia: Bali, Day 1
2013/11/19 Trip to Indonesia for visiting and Diving
π 2013-11-19 00:00 in Indonesia2013, Trips
Jennifer and I had planned to go to Raja Ampat, which is in the middle of nowhere, Indonesia, and probably also why it's so pristine and filled with aquatic life.

To get there, a good option was to go through Bali, and since we used award flights (free flight in business using the stack of United miles I had gathered), we had to arrive in Bali 4 days before our connection to the next towns on the way to the boat.

After a quick online search, and asking some friends, I quickly figured out that spending 4 days in Bali wasn't the worst thing in the world, so that's what we did.

The flight from SFO to Bali (via Taiwan) with EVA Air was really good. Made flying as much of a breeze as it can be:


seabass was on the special order in advance menu, quite tasty
seabass was on the special order in advance menu, quite tasty

met the definition of lie flat :)
met the definition of lie flat :)

Taipei has a very nice airport
Taipei has a very nice airport

The EVA Business Lounge was quite nice too, even had ice cream :)
The EVA Business Lounge was quite nice too, even had ice cream :)


2nd and last flight to reach Bali
2nd and last flight to reach Bali

After the last flight, we arrived in Bali in pourring rain, to be greated by our guide, see next post.

2013/11/02 Visiting Washington DC
π 2013-11-02 00:00 in Trips
It had been more than 20 years since I last went to Washington DC and visitted the attractions. Needless to say that I didn't remember much, and I was well able to enjoy a new visit. Since I was speaking at LISA 2013, which happened to be in DC, I added a few days before and after to get around. It was the same for Jennifer, so it worked out great :)
Since we went in November, there were fewer people, but it also got dark early. Since all the museums close at 17:30, we went to see a few monuments like Lincoln, at night.

A few pictures:






One night, we went to see the Lincoln Memorial, and the other war memorials:









The first morning, I followed tripadvisor recommendations, we started with the Newseum because it opens earlier. It was interesting, but maybe not worth limited time compared to Smithsonian museums:





The Air and Space Museum was next, and fantastic (follow the link for many many more pictures):



The next morning, we went to the bureau of engraving and printing:







Right after, we went to the museum of American History:

they had a google rack, cool!
they had a google rack, cool!











The next day, we started with the library of congress. It's beautiful inside, the guided tour was well worth it, and the museums inside are worth the time if you have it:










We however ducked out of the library a bit early to get to the Capitol for our scheduled guided tours. We even got tickets to see the parliament (not in session) and the senate (in session, but nothing happening when we were there). No pictures allowed there though:












After the capitol, I went back to the smithsonian air and space museum for the 3rd time, since I was still not even close to be finished.

The next 3 days, I was at LISA, attending and presenting.

Saturday morning, we went to the Jefferson Memorial before going to Mount Vernon:





We drove to Mt Vernon next, where Jefferson used to live, beautiful grounds:









this is where the slaves used to stay
this is where the slaves used to stay


a few pictures from the museum on site
a few pictures from the museum on site



From Mt Vernon, we drove to the Arlington Cemetary for a few hours, which also has beautiful grounds:

It looks very nice in autumn
It looks very nice in autumn


the walk by the unknown soldier is still just as impressive
the walk by the unknown soldier is still just as impressive





Kennedy's Tomb
Kennedy's Tomb

Good views from up there:





We were left we just 1h20 for a very quick visit of the Natural History Museum, which was worth more, but that's better than nothing:










great picture!
great picture!

Sunday morning, our last day, we started by going to the Washington National Cathedral. OMG is it impressive, it's absolutely huge. Unfortunately we arrived during a service, and couldn't really stick around for a long time to visit the top after the service was over, but we visited the crypt underneath and that one along was worth the visit:





down to the crypt
down to the crypt







From there, last but certainly not least, we went directly to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum Udvar-Hazy by Washington Dulles Airport, which is probably the best such museum in the world (click on the link for a page dedicated to it.





Right after the museum visit, we got back to the other side of the terminal for the last flight out home, and this concluded a great 8 days in DC.

See more images for Visiting Washington DC

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