Turistas Por un Día

Yesterday BOLT had lots of fun being Ensenada tourists for a day. While Kathy and I are enjoying the simple life here at the Mona Lisa RV Park, there is not much excitement. So, along with our neighbor we set out to have some fun. We caught the mini-bus just outside our gate and within thirty minutes we were in the center of town. From there we had a great day! Let me show you in pictures. Our first stop was lunch. We ha a delicious and inexpensive meal at Antojitos Lula. Three meals, including soup, appetizers and beverages was 300 pesos ($15) total! Definitely a place where we will return. We worked off our lunch by strolling through the busy streets of downtown Ensenada, window shopping and just taking in the sights, sounds and colors. We visited this really cool museum. The Museo Histórico Regional is a small museum set on the site of a former prison. You can visit the former cells and there are exhibits about early life in Baja. I especially enjoyed practicing my Spanish with one of the curators. We both agreed that: “En todo el mundo la mayoria de los prisioners son inocentes.” That most are imprisoned for lack of money. Our walk continued to the cruise ship harbor. A big ship was in port so there were lots of vendors out. We are savy enough to know not to buy anything, it was all overpriced but fun to see. Our last stop was the beautiful Instituto Nacional de Antropologia y Historia. This is a fairly large museum and we didn’t have time to explore it all. The part we visited replicated a cave and had anthropological finds exhibited throughout. Another place we will definitely return to. We most definitely had the perfect day of tourism and we were happy to return to our peaceful Mona Lisa home.

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!Es una vida maravillosa de perro!

It is truly a wonderful life for a dog here in Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico!  In the U.S. Kahlo was almost always on a leash when outdoors and she spent a lot more time with us in the R.V. 

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Here at the Monalisa R.V. Park Kahlo has found a new way of life and we have too.  There are a lot of dogs living here (at least 9, including Kahlo). As there is no traffic here, they all run free during the day.  At first, I was very cautious about letting Kahlo join in the fun but now she runs with the pack for hours out of each day. 

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All of the dogs and their owners are very friendly.  It is interesting to see dogs playing together in this way. Nikko, the alpha male, keeps everyone in line. Kahlo is very submissive towards him and he is very gentle but firm with her.

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Another big difference from the states is that dogs run freely on the beach here. Kahlo absolutely loves this!  She is a really fast runner and loves to chase and be chased by her buddies.

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I love all the dogs here but I think Lucky is one of my favorites. He was a stray, in terrible shape, until Javier took him in.  Javier is the groundskeeper here and a lovely man.  Thanks to him Lucky is in great shape now!

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We are really happy to have found this puppy paradise and I am pretty sure Kahlo is too!

 

 

 

Mona Lisa, Mona Lisa! We adore you!

The Mona Lisa RV Park and Motel is far from the fanciest or most modern place in Ensenada but we find it absolutely perfect for BOLT! 

We are right next to the Pacific Ocean, separated by a rocky breakwater. There is a stone stairway that leads down to a clean, shell strewn beach. When the tide is out you can walk along the ocean for miles.

Of course, the ocean is beautiful, but the uniqueness of the Mona Lisa is all the art work here. There are murals and sculptures all over, many of them depicting Mexican history and Toltec and Aztec sacred figures.
All the necessities of life (groceries, laundry, drinking water) are within walking distance. Plus there is a sweet little mini bus that comes practically to our door and takes you right into Ensenada Centro.

Things are a little run down but the staff is wonderful and very helpful. We have a great spot for our Winnie. It looks out onto the crashing waves and has a little table, outdoor kitchen and a palapa  (thatched shade). There is really good wifi and our spot has electric, sewer and non-potable water hook ups. A spot like this in California would be at least  $65 a day.  Here at the Mona Lisa it is  $20 a day and a month is a huge discount down  to $330 a month. 

We are really enjoying the mild weather, relaxing lifestyle and affordable prices. We will probably be here for a couple of months. Ensenada is a less than 6 hour car trip for our So Cal friends and there’s an airport for everyone else. We sure would love to see you! 

Along the Shores of Gichigami

Gichigami is the Anishinaabe name for the largest freshwater lake in the world. It has been given the name Lake Superior by the United States and Canada. The Anishinaabe are the First Nations Peoples who are from the areas surrounding this great lake. They are also known as Ojibwe, Ojibwa or Chippewa. I vaguely remember hearing Longfellow’s 1855 poem about this lake and more clearly remember a racist I Love Lucy sketch. It saddens me that I didn’t know, until 62 years of age, that this is a real place and with real people.

We have had a lovely 2 weeks driving and staying along this amazing lake. Our Gichigami drive started in Minnesota, continued in Ontario, Canada and concluded in Michigan. We’ve only driven about 2/3s of the lake!

We stayed at wonderful campgrounds with winding trails that led to the lake.

Along the way we got to learn a little Anishinaabe history. They were integral to the vibrant fur trading industry of the 1800s.

In Pukaskwa National Park, Ontario, Canada there is a beautiful trail called Bimose Kinoomagewnan (Walk of Teachings) trail. Along it you can read and learn of the Seven Grandfather Teachings from Anishinaabe elders and enjoy art work, representing the teachings, from the younger generation. The teachings are love, honesty, respect, wisdom, truth,humility and bravery.

In Sault Saint Marie, Michigan we saw the locks which enable ships to travel from Gichigami to the lower great lakes.

We are now on Anishinaabe land, staying at the Kewadin RV Park and Casino. It’s a beautiful and restful place. We are looking forward to attending a pow wow on Saturday. I’m really humbled by how little I know about this area and First Nations Peoples. I’m really grateful for any opportunity to learn even a little bit more!

The ABCs (and more) of RVs

There are many different types of recreational vehicles and probably almost as many articles written about them. It took me awhile to learn the difference between a class C motor home (like the Minnie Winnie we have) and a behemoth class A (like the one in the hilarious movie RV) and then there are all the trailers.

There are 3 basic types of motor homes and they come in all sizes. Class As are the ones that resemble buses. They are built on a chassis and have large front and rear windows. They often have slide outs and can be quite large and luxurious.

Class Bs are also called campervans. They are easy to park and drive and are great for weekend trips. Not so good for full-time RVers like us.

Our Minnie Winnie is an older class C. The way I can identify class Cs are by their cab over design. They come in many sizes, with and without slide outs.

Then there are all types of pull behind trailers like cute little teardrops.

In Minnesota we have seen several of these ice fishing trailers. They drive them right onto the ice in the winter!

There are pull behinds that pop up into tents and pull behinds that are long and luxurious inside. I really love the retro ones!

Fifth wheel trailers are another option. Instead of being towed the coupling is actually in the bed of the truck.

I had fun taking most of these pictures here at at Lake Bemidji State Park. Kathy and I are always exclaiming over fancy new ones and really cute older ones. You can get lots of information on line or by visiting an RV dealership. We are really happy to answer answer any questions you may have.

Uh Oh! Do-Over and Never Again!

Kathy and I have been traveling for eight months now.  We’ve been extremely blessed with drama free experiences, good travel health and very few problems. We’ve learned a lot about what works for us, what we love and what we prefer to avoid. 

Uh Oh!

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There is a vast difference between economy class...

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and first class train travel.

Economy Class Train Travel
While traveling through Indonesia we missed a connection to the “first class” train we had reservations for.  An economy class train was leaving the station soon.  Rather than wait a whole day for the next first class train we decided to hop on this really low priced train. I remember thinking “how bad can it be?”. Well, it was pretty bad.  Economy trains make more stops so the anticipated 4 hour ride turned into 8. The seats were uncushioned, hard benches. We had to sit 3 across where even 2 people would have been uncomfortable. There was no air conditioning. I was pretty miserable for most of the trip. The upside was we were sitting with very kind and helpful  local people.  Locals travel this way all the time, it is not for me for long trips.  The experience helped me see how privileged we are and also what I’m willing to pay more for.  This Uh Oh! was a great learning experience.

Do-Over…

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On our second visit to Georgetown we rode the ferry instead of the very expensive taxi we took on our first visit.

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We got to explore so much of Georgetown, including this beautiful Burmese Temple.

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And all of our wonderful Chinese New Year experiences.

Georgetown, Penang Island, Malaysia

When we first got off the boat, landing in Singapore, we moved pretty quickly.  We spent a day and a night in Singapore, 4 days in Kualu Lumpur and 5 days in Georgetown.   Neither of us were crazy about Georgetown.  We had yet to learn the value of slower travel, longer stays.  I’m really glad we made a decision to visit Georgetown again. Exploring this lovely island town a second time, for a whole month was a wonderful experience. Now Georgetown is one of our favorite places, it’s even on our short list for a permanent retirement home.

Never Again!

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Questioning our visit to the Tiger Kingdom, Mae Rim/Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Tiger Kingdom, Chiang Mai, Thailand

We visited the Tiger Kingdom on our first visit to Chiang Mai on a whim.  We did no research.  We just hopped into the cab of a friendly driver for what I thought would be a pleasant adventure.  Had we done more investigation we would have easily seen that there is a lot of controversy about this place.  Mistreated, drugged tigers are kept in small cages.  Tourists (including Kathy and I) lie on, pet and take lots of pictures with these beautiful animals. I wanted to believe what the keepers say: that the cats are not drugged, that they grew up with people and are thus friendly.  But I left with the nagging feelings that those things are not true.  I have decided to never again visit attractions involving animals without first making sure the animals are being treated humanely.

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The animals at the Sacred Monkey Forest in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia are free and happy.

Home free, serendipitous travel has great opportunities to find out more about oneself.  I’ve learned that I like a certain level of comfort and am willing to pay for it; that staying long enough to get to know a place is best and that thorough research is a valuable tool in deciding where to visit.

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What are some of your travel uh ohs, do-overs or never agains?  Please share in our comments section. We love hearing from you!