Just a short 3o minutes away from Mérida, Mexico is the city of Chelem. This sleepy little pueblo is home to the perfect spot for a getaway.
Playa Bonita Beach Club is the perfect spot for a day trip. For only 100 pesos (about $5 usd) you can spend all day on a comfortable beach lounge.
There is a lovely little pool, changing rooms and very clean restrooms.
I was especially delighted by how good, I mean really good the food and drinks were. There is a full, moderately priced menu. The waiters were attentive and friendly. You can have your food brought to your oceanside lounge or table.
I enjoyed a lovely walk along the beach and several people were actually enjoying time in the waves. All in all I spent a perfect day at Playa Bonita Beach Club. I can’t wait to go back!
If you have a special getaway spot in the Yucatan or wherever you are, we’d love to hear about it. Comment here or write us at BOLTraveling@gmail.com
My friend, Olivia, gave me the inspiration for this week’s blog post. She asked some great questions which I will answer here.
How was your time in Vietnam? It was wonderful! Vietnam handled the Covid crisis very well. It was very safe. Da Nang is beautiful and affordable. However, we came for a month and ended up staying for 10. We were concerned about having to review our visas every month and the strong possibility that we would eventually be denied.
Will you ever return to Asia? We hope so. We love Asia, especially Thailand and Malaysia. Plus there are several countries we still want to visit (India, Sri Lanka and Cambodia for sure). But if 2020 has taught me anything it’s that nothing is for certain.
What was your impetus to move to Mexico, in the middle of a pandemic? How did you choose Merida? Merida is one of the safest cities, not just in Mexico but the world. While the pandemic is of course a concern, we chose Merida because of it’s relatively low Covid numbers, thriving black ex pat community, affordable housing and proximity to family and friends in the U.S.
How are you feeling today? We traveled for 2 days, 4 planes plus all the packing and preparation. We are exhausted and jet lagged but grateful to have arrived safely. We tested for coronavirus before leaving Vietnam and were both negative. We plan to isolate for the recccomended 10 days and will wear masks and practice social distancing until further notice.
One question Olivia didn’t ask but I wanted to share on briefly is: What was traveling like during a pandemic? It was really surreal and a bit anxiety producing. Most of the airports were REALLY empty until we got to Houston. We treated ourselves to better seats, lounges and a hotel stay during our Houston layover. We wore masks at all times and my hands are so dry from all the washing and hand sanitizer. Overall our travel was a positive experience, for which we are very grateful!
Thank you Olivia for helping me to clarify what I wanted to share today, our 5th day in beautiful Merida.
We are so fortunate to be sheltering in Da Nang during this pandemic. We are able to go places and do things. The virus appears to be under control and with sane precautions we are able to enjoy this part of Vietnam. We’ve been here long enough that we have our top 5 spots.
5. Hoi An Ancient Town
This picturesque town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s touristy with lots of shops and souvenirs. It also has lovely ancient buildings and views of the water. Hoi An is a short. (less than 45 minutes) ride from Da Nang. A highlight for us was the river boat ride.
4. Bana Hills Sun World
This place is amazing! A marvel of engineering and design, it’s set high above the city. To get there you take the world’s longest cable car. After a breathtaking ride you can spend hours exploring the park. There are amusement park rides, arcade games, flower gardens and beautiful buildings. A highlight of Bana Hills for most folks is the amazing Golden Hands Bridge.
3. Kwan Yin Statue
I love that we are sheltering in a city that is overlooked by Kwan Yin. She is the Buddhist goddess of love and compassion. A short ride up into the hills can take you for a visit. There you can oooh and ahhh at beautiful statues and gardens and even see some monkeys (a highlight for me).
It’s a water park! It’s a zoo! It’s an amusement park! It’s an awesome place to spend the day! Vinpearlland is the kind of place you have to experience, it’s hard for me to really tell you how much fun can be had there! I’ve been twice and each time I discover more. I especially loved feeding the giraffes on the safari river!
1. Hot Springs Park
I LOVE a good soak in a hot springs or even a hot tub. Unlike most hot springs that I have visited, this place has so much more! It’s a fully loaded water park with all the slides and water features you’d expect. There’s a 5D movie theater, an area full of growling, moving dinosaurs and there are lovely gardens. I really enjoyed the mud bath I had and spending time with Kathy and our friends at this lovely place.
We are grateful for our time here in Da Nang. It’s a beautiful big city. We are looking forward to exploring more of Vietnam in the near future and sharing our experiences with you!
Take a deep breath, face any fears of heights you may have and ride the world’s longest non-stop cable car to the beautiful Golden Bridge.
I had been looking forward to seeing this bridge since I knew we were coming to DaNang, Vietnam.
Little did I know, Ba Na Hills, home to the Golden Bridge, offers much, much more.
Bà Nà Hill Station (or Bà Nà Hills) is a hill station and resort located in the Trường Sơn Mountains west of the city of Da Nang, in central Vietnam. The station, advertised as “the Da Lat of Danang province” by local tourism authorities, was founded in 1919 by French colonists. The colonists had built a resort to be used as a leisure destination for French tourists. Being located above 1500 metres above sea level, it has a view of the East Sea and the surrounding mountains.
Today it is home to a world class theme park and a must visit when in DaNang. There are several levels of the park with cable cars and walking paths connecting each level. The Golden Bridge is the first stop and of course, everyone spends lots of time marveling at the bridge and taking pictures.
There are meticulously maintained gardens and lovely statues to enjoy. We certainly got a lot of walking done on each level.
There is a whole amusement park level full of rides, exhibits and arcade games!
I was especially impressed as all the games and rides were included in our admission price of 750,000 Vietnamese Dong ($32 USD). Its really a great place to take children of all ages. You could really spend the whole day just on the amusement park level.
We enjoyed a modestly priced Asian buffet ($14 USD) and there are lots of snack options throughout the park.
We went with a great group of people which of course made the whole outing more enjoyable. I highly recommend BaNa Hills to anyone visiting this part of Vietnam. If you have any questions or comments please leave them here. We’d love to hear from you.
Chiang Rai is known for its colorful edifices. Our lovely group of 10 set off from Chiang Mai to explore the Blue and White Temples and the Black House. We left at 6 am for the 4 hour drive to Chiang Rai in a comfortable air conditioned van. Our driver, Pituk, was friendly and helpful. We made one stop half way there at a local hot springs. There we had a restroom break and were able to purchase some local fruits, goodies and clothes.
One of our faithful followers reminded me that I haven’t posted a blog lately. Kathy and I have been very busy but I wanted to take a few minutes out for a brief update.
One project that is keeping us joyously busy is helping our dear friend, Wanvisa, in the development of her wellness center, Inthakin Green Village. We’ve had lots of fun brainstorming ideas, getting treatments (the best part) and doing some administrative tasks. Kathy has been working hard, designing a website and it should be published soon. We do have a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Inthakin-Green-Village-254781621989943/
The other thing keeping us (me) busy is that I am doing my first community theater gig. It will be a readers theater production of James Baldwin’s “The Amen Corner”. I am working with a fabulous group of people and we are under the direction of the very skilled Stephan Turner, who is the founder of the Gate Theater, here in Chiang Mai. If you are in or near Chiang Mai please come out and support us: https://www.facebook.com/TheGateTheater/photos/a.466250796762976/1791627774225265/?type=3&theater
So that’s us for now, how about you? We love hearing from you: where you are, what you are doing and how can we help? More about our Black Old Lesbian Traveling adventures soon!
It has been a whirlwind month for BOLT. In addition to our wonderful stay at Inthakin Green Village we had a delightful time playing host to our dear friends, Lecia and Sergio.
It was wonderful showing them around, playing tourist and sharing with them the Thailand that we know and love.
Kathy and I are not crazy about Bangkok but it is a must stop for your first visit to Thailand. We were waiting for Sergio and Lecia at the Air BnB we rented and had planned a fun-packed 5 day stay in Bangkok. The first day we spent shopping at the humoungous Platinum Fashion Mall. We had fun, got great bargins and returned home exhausted.
We had a ball the next day, being pure tourists at the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. We even got to enjoy a boat ride during a monsoon rain!
Of course, no visit to Bangkok is complete without going to the Grand Palace.
Thanks to Lecial and Sergio we finally got to visit Wat Pho.
In contrast to the sacred beauty of Wat Pho we got to experience another type of beauty…the faboulous queens at the Stranger Bar drag show!
One of the most fun things we did in Bangkok was also the cheapest! We took the local (15 Baht) boat and saw the city from a different view point.
We loved showing Lecia and Sergio around our beloved city of Chiang Mai. They got to meet some of our friends, do more shopping and enjoy the local cuisine. Lecia and Sergio also got to spend some time at an elephant camp.
My dear friend the phenomenal Lacey Clark asked the question that inspired this post. She asked what does community mean to me. While I can’t give a precise definition I can share what community looks and feels like for me.
Community is embarking on a 5 hour pilgrimage up Doi Suthep Mountain for Visakha (Buddha Day) with the beautiful group above. Community is getting a Facebook shout out even though Kathy and I quit after 2 and a 1/2 hours.
Community is Sunday Dinner and seeing old friends and meeting new ones.
Community is cherishing friendships and having great memories no matter how far away the friends are.
Community is beloved family, near and far.
Community is hours spent at Cafe De JJ talking politics, philosophy, science and a bunch of other random stuff, not to mention enjoying the love on a plate served up by the fabulous Beer (top, right above)!
Community is making friends everywhere we go and doing our best to stay in touch. Hey Keiko (our friend met in Mexico, from Japan and currently in Canada)!
Community is exploring nature with friends. Community is something that must be built, nurtured and cherished. I’m sure community is something that looks different to each of us. One thing I know for sure is that true community feels so wonderful and is something I need. I am grateful to have found it here in Chiang Mai!
As Dorothy, famously said, “We are not in Kansas any more.” Nor anywhere close! The wide variety of exotic fruits is one way I know this for sure. I had my first bite of durian yesterday. Durian is known as the king of Asian fruits. It is considered a delicacy and is quite expensive. It is also so stinky that you will see signs in hotels and on buses, across Asia, warning no durian. The fruit vendors, above, were kind enough to give me a taste. I have to say, that once I got past the smell (kind of like rotting fruit) it was quite delicious. It has a creamy sweetness like a cross of coconut and mango.
There is such a great variety of fruit here in Thailand. Things I had never tried or even heard of before. My favorite is the tart and juicy passion fruit. I have it almost every morning. There is lychee, rambutan, longan and salak. Right now the longan is still sour but later in the season it becomes very sweet. I have had lychee and rambutan in the states but only rarely saw it. Here is is everywhere. Salak, also known as snake fruit is weird. It is very prickly and hard to open, kinda smelly and with a taste that is hard to describe.
There are also most of the fruits I am familiar with in the states. We are only buying locally grown fruits so I skip the apples that come from New Zealand. But there are plenty of coconuts, oranges, mangoes, papayas, watermelon, pineapple and banana. I think the tropical climate makes everything extra sweet and juicy.
This week, at our local mall, there was a fruit festival. There was an all you can eat fruit buffet, entertainment and lots of samples to try. I thought this was a good week to write this post and share the pictures I took. Hope you enjoyed them!