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January 20, 2008

 

suggestions for India?

Does anyone have any tips on get non-metro, non-Taj, non-Himalaya destinations in India? Any Rajastan tips to offer?

September 20, 2007

 

Cool new photo site





Cool new photo site called ZoomIn.com. I wish this site had been around when we were on our trip:
- Free unlimited storage
- Slideshow widgets that you can embed in a blog (see below)
- Professional quality prints (only $0.25 for a 5x7!)
- Earn free prints credits by referring friends

Worth checking out!




September 13, 2007

 

Queen Hatshepsut: Unbelievable, My Body Was Discovered in the Valley of the Kings



A few months ago, I was inundated with emails (actually about 5, but Clint also got 5) directing me to news reports about the fact that my body had been discovered by Egyptologists/Archaeologists in the Valley of the Kings. I could not believe it for several reasons. First, I thought I had my body (how else could I move around, etc.). Second, one of my friends (Carol) told me I was a fat woman who may have diabetes. As far as I know, I do not have diabetes. Third, I thought I did a really good job of instructing my servants to hide me far within the crevices of the Valley of the Kings. Apparently, they did not exactly follow orders. Otherwise, my body would never have been discovered. But, on the bright side, I was buried in the Valley of the Kings and not in the Valley of the Queens. Last, I am the most important discovery since King Tut…sweet! Honestly, I was far more powerful than Cleopatra. As the saying goes, I was the Queen who ruled like a Pharaoh. Here’s a link to a news article in case you are interested about the discovery, which includes a picture of my body: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/main.jhtml?xml=/earth/2007/06/27/sciegypt127.xml


 

The World Tour Book Report




The book report is a bit tardy....it is being posted over one year after we returned from the trip. Oh well.

Below is an example of what I do when I have a lot of free time on my hands, lots of trains and planes to take and want to escape from my husband for a few hours….I read.

I think I dragged Clint into at least one bookstore per country and at times in just about every city we visited in certain countries. Depending upon our locale, the selections could be limited (e.g. reading Naomi Wolf in Essaouira, Morocco). But, because I was traveling I had the opportunity to read a variety of works by foreign authors that I likely would not have read if I was at home.


The books are in no particular order and the reviews may be repugnant to some:


1. The Moscow Club (Joseph Finder) - purchased in Sydney, Australia and read in Byron Bay, Australia. Decent mystery novel and had me transfixed while I coped with very sun burned legs and, as a result, was stuck indoors.

2. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (John LeCarre) - purchased at the Salvation Army store outside Sydney, Australia and read in Byron Bay, Australia. You have to be a LeCarre fan to read this book. I am one.

3. The Shadow of the Wind (Carlos Ruiz Zafon) - purchased in Barcelona, Spain and read in Morocco. Great read and amazing story. I would definitely read this again and again.

4. Dangerous Summer (Hemingway) - purchased in Florence, Italy and read in Spain and Morocco. Perfect book when you are on your way to Pamplona for El Encierro and La Corrida (the running of the bulls and bullfighting, respectively).

5. The God of Small Things (Arundhati Roy) - purchased in Rome, Italy and read in Italy. Interesting.

6. The Unforgettable Lightness of Being (Milan Kundera) - purchased in Rome, Italy and read in Italy. Thought-provoking.

7. Dante's Inferno - purchased in Florence, Italy and read in Spain. I only read this book because Clint bought it and I had nothing else to read at the time.

8. DaVinci Code (Dan Brown) - purchased in Florence, Italy and read in Spain. Decent story but by far the worst book I have read in a long time. The writing is perfect for a second grader.

9. Catch 22 (Joseph Heller) - purchased in Byron Bay, Australia and read in Thailand. One of the best stories I have ever read in my life. I love crazy people, is that a reflection of me? I would read this book again and again.

10. No God, But God (Reza Azlan) - purchased in Cairo, Egypt and read in Egypt, Israel and Turkey. This book should be read by everyone in the world who does not have a clue about Islam. It might not bring world peace but it would be pretty close to those with an open mind.

11. Book of short stories by Egyptian woman author - purchased in Cairo, Egypt and read in Greece. Interesting stories because it revealed a side of Muslim women not typically seen. I wish I remembered the name of the book or author so I could find some more books by this particular author. Unfortunately, all I can remember is the shopping experience at the American University in Cairo bookstore.

12. Countless guidebooks - We did travel around the world so I suppose guidebooks are a necessity.

13. Countless language books especially Italian, French and Arabic. Again, we did travel around the world so being able to speak or try to speak a language is invaluable. I can’t stress this enough!

14. The Life of Pi (Yann Martel) - purchased in Sevilla, Spain and read in Spain. Awesome book, captivating story. Anyone who likes animals will like this book.

15. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (Jonathan Safran Foer) - purchased in Sevilla, Spain and read before making it to Poland. It’s about 9/11 and has some great phrases…the book is definitely “heavy boots,” not “shitake.”

16. The Ciderhouse Rules (John Irving) - purchased in Prague, Czech Republic and read in Hungary and on way to Austria. What can I say: I absolutely love John Irving’s writing and am currently trying to read everything he has written.

17. With No One As Witness (Elizabeth George) - purchased in Salzburg, Austria and read in Austria and on way to Pamplona. Fun read.

18. At First Light (Ernest Hemingway) - purchased in Pamplona, Spain. This is a fictional autobiography about Hemingway’s time at camp in Africa. I really enjoyed this book and firmly believe Hemingway led a privileged (not necessarily monetary but rather all of the adventures he found himself in) and interesting life.

19. Great Expectations (Charles Dickens) - purchased in Barcelona, Spain. Loved it.

20. Kafka on the Shore (Haruki Murakami) - purchased in Munich, Germany and read in Berlin. I really enjoyed this book. The story is peculiar and fascinating.

21. Samarkand (Amin Maalouf) - purchased and read in Essaoira, Morocco. Interesting read.

22. Misconceptions (Naomi Wolf) - purchased and read in Essaouria, Morocco. If you are pregnant, have been pregnant or contemplating pregnancy, then I strongly urge you to read this book.

23. Well Schooled in Murder (Elizabeth George) - purchased in Munich, Germany. George taught at my high school. She would have been my honors English teacher but for the fact she stopped teaching to pursue writing full-time. She’s a great story teller and writer. Dan Brown could learn a thing or two from George.

24. Ghostwritten (David Mitchell)- purchased in Paris, France. Interesting read.

25. The Tipping Point (Malcolm Gladwell) - purchased in London (England), Great Britain (U.K). Read in Ireland. This book is a must read for everyone, especially those in the business world.

26. Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (Tom Robbins) – purchased in Dublin, Ireland. Robbins’ writing is maniacal – still reading this book.

27. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini) – purchased in Ireland and read in Seattle. I love, love, love this book. The book comes alive as you read it.


June 06, 2007

 

Venice Meat Wagon



An ambulance working the canals of Venice. Not sure why I found this so amusing... something about the romantic ambiance of Venice being fractured by a loud and routine reminder of death and injury. I suppose the wake of the ambulance splashed some water (or even cap-sized) one of those emblematic gondola boats that you pay $100 dollars to ride for an hour of storybook dream fulfillment.

April 10, 2007

 

VIDEO: Enchanting prayer call in Essaouira, Morocco

We had the luxury of spending time in a small, laid-back seaside town in Morocco called Essaouira. We made the trip on a bit of a whim, looking for surf (which we found) and unsure how long we'd stay. We had no accommodations secured at our destination before we departed, a sign of success in my mission to get my wife to relax, be spontaneous, and go with flow. As luck would have it, we really dug the place and stayed for a week.

After a peculiar and eventful 2-hour bus ride from the admittedly sketchy bus station in Marrakech, we meandered and negotiated Essaouira until we found a decent place to stay. Our pension was brightly decorated, affordable, comfortable, and only 2 blocks from the rocky Atlantic shore. Each night, we would go to the roof to soak in the sunset, watch the swallows streak through the corridors above the streets, and listen to the most magnificent prayer call.

I am humbly ignorant of what constitutes a "good" prayer call from the muezzin towers of Muslim mosques. Most of the prayer calls I heard while traveling were an odd cacophony of blaring chant and speaker fuzz, and it wasn't always the most pleasant sound to my ear. But this prayer call that we heard each night in Essaouira was extraordinary! It was beautiful, booming, heartfelt, and powerful. I'd get a soothing sensation in my chest when I heard it. With an audience of only me and sometimes my wife, I'd embarrass myself trying to imitate it as a chanted along with the parts that I knew. It was amazing, and I was glad to capture that rooftop bliss on video one night.

Now back in the US, nearly a year later, I wish I could hear it every night while I watch the sun slip into the sea...

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April 09, 2007

 

Quickie on Tasmania

Lots of people struggle on the decision to go to Tasmania: is it worth it? Once you get to Australia, there is SO MUCH to see and do, and the trip out to the island of Tasmania seems out of the way. The logic goes as follows: there is a lot to do on the mainland, why burn so much time getting to and fro to Tasmania?

Well, seeing the Tasmanian devils and hiking in Walls of Jerusalem (see short slideshow below) made it worth it to us. Here's a picture of our not-so-nice, growling little friend:





March 02, 2007

 

Drunken buffoonery in Keri, Greece

Who let this guy out of his cage?



Homemade wine courtesy of Stavros Bratis, the proprietor of Pansion Limni in Keri, Greece (on Zakynthos Island)

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Amazing Morocco

As I mentioned before, Morocco is the next "IT" country. Muslim and Berber culture make it exotic and intriguing to a westerner, and the mountains, desert, and ocean offer a diverse natural buffet table from which to choose. The people are amiable and approachable, but definitely aware that you are a potential source of income. Here are a few slides from Morocco.



January 23, 2007

 

Photos: The Best of the Best

After much gnashing over several thousand photos, we've finally narrowed down our picks as our best photos from 8 months of world travel. If you'd like to see The Best of Best photographs from Schmidt World Tour 2006, please follow this link to our shared album on ImageStation.

Also, thanks to all of the strong encouragement from many of friends, family, and colleagues, I'm now starting to pursue some writing opportunities. Not sure whether it will be a memoir about this trip, a new adventure, or perhaps some articles for a magazine, but I am at least looking into the possibilities. If any of you have specific ideas that might hold potential for me, please let me know. -CS

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November 27, 2006

 

Movie: Running with the bulls in Pamplona

I started tinkering around with some of many movies clips we captured during our trip, and I created this little thing from Pamplona:



I might upload a few more if I find myself (again) wishing I was not back in the US...

October 29, 2006

 

Schmidt World Tour

Clint's posts:
NZ 1, 2
Aussie 1, 2, 3, 4
Thailand
East Africa: Kilimanjaro , Serengeti
Egypt 1, 2
Israel
Turkey
Greece
Italy 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
Mid-Trip Awards
Barcelona, Spain
Morocco
Sevilla, Spain
Granada, Spain
Madrid, Spain
Switzerland 1
Eastern/Central Europe
Pamplona 1, 2, 3
northern Spain
Swiss Alps hiking
Munich and Bavaria, Germany
Berlin, Germany
Denmark
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Paris and UK combined post
End of trip SHOUT OUTS

October 17, 2006

 

We’re back…..and it’s the end of the world as we know it

The above picture taken at Lincoln Park is why I love West Seattle!!!!

While I enjoyed Ireland, (amazing views of the sea, sheep, cows, camping in the rain, drastic landscape and of course, Guinness), our drive around the country seemed to drag on forever. I think part of the problem was that the weather just did not cooperate. It rained most days and the few days it was sunny, we would drive all over in order to take in as much of the country as possible. As a result, we were not able to do much in the way of outdoor activities other than to walk from the car to the pub and back. I am not opposed to this but between my Guinness half-pints and cheap fried food, my girlish figure soon began to suffer.

I hate to say it but Ireland is a quaint country. There are castles, rolling hills, sea views, sheep, small pubs and tons of B&Bs. Unless you count me, (although I do not have red hair or pointy ears), we did not see any leprechauns while we were in Ireland. In addition, we did not spot pots of gold, rainbows or Keebler elves. All things promised by our tour company. Also, while I did kiss the Blarney stone, I do not believe it has made me eloquent but it has resulted in my mouth flapping a little bit more than usual.

The flight back to the States from Ireland felt like it would never end. It was a long flight…about 11 ½ hours. Unfortunately, Aer Lingus failed to provide me with the proper entertainment equipment. Basically, I did not have my own personal movie system. I was not pleased. I tried to read a bit on the flight as well as sleep but was basically pretty restless. Someone was kind enough to throw up in one of the bathroom sinks. I don’t quite understand the point of that…why not throw up in the toilet where it can be flushed down as opposed to clogging up the sink in effect letting everyone know on the plane, there’s a barfer. Whatever! Our arrival in L.A. was greeted with enough smog to blanket half the country. I am now convinced that the smog makes people in Los Angeles a little off; it is full of chemicals and the people there do enjoy plastic. Need I say more? Aside from the smog, we were greeted by my cheerful mom. As we exited the airport, Clint and I immediately recognized we were back in America. How could we not with the humungous trucks and SUVs that use up more gas in one day than some people use in a year. The excessive consumption and materialism of America really hit us hard that day. When you’ve been out of the country for eight months, it really hits you between the eyes.

My days in Southern California were spent going to a few Angels games, spending an afternoon with my friend Jenny, the future Parker James and her husband Ryan, painting my mom’s bathroom (because that’s what anyone wants to do when they come back from an eight month trip around the world), and convincing my cats and dog to forgive me for leaving them at Stonehenge and with Old Man River, respectively. Every time I go back to Orange County, it makes it that much easier for me to leave. I just can’t take it anymore…the pollution, traffic, materialism and unnecessary SUVs. Clint ditched me in Orange County 2 days after we arrived for greener pastures….finding the “Hottest Mom in America.” As a result, I got the privilege and honor to drive back to Seattle in my GTI with my mom, Sir Charles, Chloe and Dali. Yes, 2 people, 2 cats and a dog in the GTI (could make for a good Volkswagen commercial). The drive was effortless as my furry children were really quite well-behaved. Although, Sir Charles did make a point to remind me he gets car sick by barfing at least once each day he was in the car. We were all very happy to get home and my mom was quite a trooper for gutting out the car ride with me. Now I have the privilege to begin a Master’s program in law at the UW. While I am sure I could create a blog about my experience in the program (e.g., people freaking about where they sit in class during my second week of school), I shall refrain from doing so. I am sure many people will be disappointed by this fact.


October 02, 2006

 

Blogging continued

There may be some additional savory blogging to be seen at Seattle Superfly.

Here's a blog from another US couple who are still in the midst a world trip that is very similar to ours in many ways, but longer... http://www.runonsentence.com/allysonandbryan.html

September 15, 2006

 

We're back...



Maybe if you are lucky, The Missus will get buzzed after a few sips and you can have the rest.



















Dork Patrol
-or-
The Two Coolest Cats You've Ever Seen?


You decide...





Finishing up the last 12 days in Ireland was rad, but now we're back. With a vengance! Whenever I feel like it, I'll post my not-yet-finished post about our Ireland travels. But right now, I ain't inclined to do so. Now it feels like I'd be reminiscing, therefore giving the trip all the more finality. And that makes me mildly despondent, and definitely irritable. See shout-outs below.


Clint's posts: NZ 1, 2, Aussie 1, 2, 3, 4, Thailand , Kilimanjaro , Serengeti , Egypt 1, 2, Israel, Turkey, Greece, Italy 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, Mid-Trip Awards, Barcelona, Morocco, Sevilla, Granada, Madrid, Swiss 1, East/Cent Europe, Pamplona 1, 2, 3, northern Spain, Swiss Alps hiking, Munich and Bavaria, Berlin, Denmark, Amsterdam, Paris and UK combined post, SHOUT OUTS

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