City Parks of Surabaya

It feels good to be outside. Under the shade of tall tropical trees, catching a nice cool breeze while strolling around the park. Taman Prestasi city park follows the curve of the Kalimas river right next to it. It is long and narrow, green, and filled with swing sets, slides, and climb-ups. The look on Anja’s face each time we go to a park is pure joy. So Jeff and I made it a mission to take her to parks and outdoor playgrounds in Surabaya as much as we can.

I left this city 20 years ago and I returned with a husband and a toddler last year. Both Surabaya natives, Jeff and I had been worried about outdoor activities. Surabaya is known for its heat, traffic and congestion and it is saturated by indoor shopping malls. Are we just going to be indoors all the time? What to do with a toddler in this city? I had those questions in mind along with so many other things anyone would after a major move across the ocean. Time went by. Jeff and I were too busy to notice city parks! Last week something inside of me just nudged and prompted me to take the three of us to visit a park nearby where we live. And wow, how glad I was to do so. We liked Taman Flora (Kebun Bibit Bratang) a lot.  There is joy in discovery, isn’t there? Especially when it is a clean park with playgrounds in it. That “discovery” felt encouraging. I was determined to look for other parks nearby.

A keeps asking for the swing while we’re walking through the park. She lights up immediately when we find a set, farther away from the crowd. She doesn’t care if the swings or slides or climb-up are not made of quality materials. Aren’t kids awesome that way? She plops down on the seat and swings slowly. Our daughter notices  our gestures and hears every little thing we say. So Jeff and I try not to be so critical toward things we find different from what we are used to from our lives abroad.

The three city parks we visited are decent. Sure, the playground could be better. But for Surabaya to have these outdoor spaces where we could stroll, feed the deer, swing and slide, and just enjoy being outside in the city for a bit, I think is pretty damn good. Keep up the good work, Surabaya! Stay clean and green!

Note: The third park we visited in these past two weeks was Kebun Bibit Wonorejo – forgot to take pictures!

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Categories: Outdoor Living in the City, Surabaya, The Great Outdoor | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fall Hike

The chance of enjoying a gorgeous autumnal vision and sipping french press coffee on a cliff overlooking foggy winding river and colorful trees seemed irresistible. We gave in to the urge to return to this hilly, curvy, and scenic trail and hike in the midst of falling leaves. It was early fall in Michigan after all, a beautiful time of the year to go for a hike.

I came to a realization during the trip. The desire to experience nature’s hidden beauties up close demanded the willingness to do some work. For this one, it required a 23-mile hike with a backpack in a forest and sleeping in a tent in torrential rain and thundering sky, that shook the ground beneath the sleeping bag and pad, for two nights. It also asked for the determination to keep going despite the rain and a sunny attitude even when the feet and shoulders started to throb. Still, efforts did pay off.

Manistee River Trail MI 1

Manistee River Trail 2

Manistee River Trail 3

Manistee River Trail 4

Manistee River Trail 5

Manistee River Trail 6

Mushroom Manistee River Trail 7

Manistee River Trail 8

Manistee River Trail 9Manistee River Trail 10

Photos properties of The Traveling Chili Pepper

Location: Michigan Manistee River Trail

Some of the backpacks: Deuter and Osprey 

Some of the sleeping bags: Lafuma and Sierra Design

Sleeping pads pump by Camp-Tek 

Shoes (waterproof, trail/hiking): Columbia and Merrell

Check out REI for more cool backpacking/hiking gears

Some rain gears: CampmorMarmotOutdoor ResearchMountain HardwareIntegral Designs

Categories: Michigan Travel | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Mystical and Historic East Java

(Touring the Motherland Series)

As part of the Majapahit Empire in the 13th – 16th century, Surabaya and its surrounding area in East Java province has much history to tell. About 35 miles south of Surabaya, nearby Trawas, Mount Penanggungan stands keeping hundreds of historical monuments left by the kingdom. East Javanese in Majapahit era embraced both Hindu-Buddha spirituality and considered the mountain to be sacred. Hence the places of worship built all over Penanggungan. So when my guy and I heard about an archaeological trail being developed on the mountain by University of Surabaya, we immediately signed up for a short day-hike.

The distinct profile of Penanggungan, with its cone shape, rounded summit as the center, and the small hills that looked like they sat symmetrically circling the mountain’s shoulders, made a majestic backdrop. By mid morning, we joined a small group to hike through the woods up to the mountain. The rocky and grassy trail turned muddy and slippery after the rain. It made ascending and descending on the short distance route we chose to be quite challenging. I think all five of us must have slipped at least once (and many times for me!). 

Mount Penanggungan's summit

Mount Penanggungan’s summit

Mount Penanggungan

Going up the mountain

The two ancient ruins we saw, Selo Kelir and Telong Blandong, looked like gigantic terraces that made up one big temple for spiritual ceremonies. The consultant explained that most artifacts at the ancient sites all over the mountain have been stolen. Archaeological theft is such an unfortunate reality and a real challenge in history preservation effort.

Overlooking a stretch of lush green valley, the view from the top of Telong Blandong was nothing short of spectacular. The fog set in as we started to descend slowly. We passed a spring on the way back. The smell of incense burning along the weir added a mystical feel to the experience.

I’ve always been fascinated by Penanggungan ever since I was little. Little did I know that behind its beauty lies mystical and rich cultural history of East Java. Penanggungan’s charm didn’t disappear with the fall of the Majapahit empire. It continues to allure people to admire its magnificence closely on its wild slopes or from afar. Either way is a treat for the soul.

Carved stones that probably used to make up part of the temple.

Carved stones that probably used to make up part of the temple.

Carved stonesPart of the monument Selo Kelir

Some part of the trail has been developed

Some part of the trail has been developed

Locals look for grass in the mountain to sell to cattle owners.

Locals look for grass in the mountain to sell to cattle owners.

A spring

A spring

Water from the spring passing through a weir

Water from the spring passing through a weir

Offerings and incense burning along the weir

Offerings and incense burning along the weir

Other historic places we visited while in Trawas:

Jolotundo Temple: a water spring reservoir dated back to 977 CE. It was said to be King Airlangga's place to meditate. It is also said  that the water from the spring behind the temple to be very clean and has high minerals. Bathing pools are available on the two sides. One side for women and another side for men.

Jolotundo Temple: a water spring reservoir dated back to 977 CE. It was said to be King Airlangga’s place to meditate. It is also said that the water from the spring behind the temple to be very clean and has high minerals. Bathing pools are available on the two sides. One side for women and another side for men.

A giant Buddha statue carved in one stone. Dated back to the Majapahit era (13th-16th century).

Reco Lanang: A giant Buddha statue carved in one stone. Dated back to the Majapahit era (13th-16th century).

From the side

Thanks for reading! Hoped you enjoyed it.

More articles on the archeological trail and East Java’s history from various sources:

Exploring the Ancestor Site (Part 1)

Exploring the Ancestor Site (Part 2)

Memory of Majapahit Kingdom 

A special thanks to Pak Kus and Mas Ronald at UTC

Photos by The Traveling Chili Pepper and friends

Categories: Indonesia Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Touring the Motherland Series: Surabaya

Like most big cities, Surabaya feels packed, busy, and sounds a bit loud. My visit last December changed my point of view about my hometown though. After experiencing the congested Jogjakarta on one of the busiest national holiday weekends—chock full of tourists, jam-packed, and overcrowded… you get the idea—my guy and I were incredibly thankful for and to be back in Surabaya. We let go a sigh of relief when the plane landed at Juanda. Surabaya had never felt so much bigger, roomier, better organized, cleaner, and greener. Isn’t travelling great? I gain a lot from it, including: perspective.

What else can I tell you about my hometown? Ah, yes, Surabaya is a city with good eats. This is the place to be for delicious East Javanese cuisine like sate klopo, sate Madura, soto ayam, and soto Madura. And of course, my must-haves: the thick, spicy, and fragrant petis-based (shrimp paste) dishes: rujak, lontong balap, tahu campur, kupang lontong, sate kerang, and oh so many other. Adjectives I’d use to describe East Javanese cuisine would be the same words I’d use to depict its people: bold and gutsy! The flavors “kick” the taste bud, as a friend puts it.

Founded in 1293, Surabaya, is an old and historic city with a youthful look and modern feel. In a certain section, the city displays its colonial-style houses left by the Dutch. The Arab quarter and Chinatown remain vibrant, reminding everyone of the attractive qualities of this port and trade city to foreign traders since way back when. Other parts of Surabaya are decorated with luxurious shopping malls with brands such as Jimmy Choo as one of its tenants. Competing shopping malls attract Surabayans the same way Chicago’s Lakefront Trail/park draws enthusiastic joggers, bicyclists, and sunbathers in summer months. Local coffee shops multiply rapidly all over you’d think that the whole city must be highly addicted to coffee. City pulse is strong and growth is apparent. Surabaya might be 720 years old but it looks like she’s far from slowing down. 

 

Next blog entry: the mystical and cultural charm of East Java

Bambu Runcing

Bambu Runcing Monument: was built in memory of the people of Surabaya who fought against the Dutch and British imperialism.

Always crowded

The consistent traffic jam

Hotel Majapahit

Hotel Majapahit (since 1911)

Related readings from various sources: 

Eating Out in Indonesia

Travel to Surabaya

Official Site of the City Government

Sparkling Surabaya

Memory of Majapahit

Surabaya’s Chinatown

Ampel: The Holy Heart of Surabaya

Photos properties of The Traveling Chili Pepper

Categories: Indonesia Travel | Tags: , , , , | 10 Comments

Touring the Motherland Series: Yogyakarta, Central Java

Last Post: Bali Island

Almost every Indonesian I know loves visiting Jogja (short for Jogjakarta. Also known as Yogyakarta or Yogya.) There’s something romantic about this folksy, laid back town that holds such rich history of Java. As a cultural center of Indonesia’s most populated island, Jogja continues to preserve its tradition and uphold its cultural heritage. Tranquility and hospitality, some characteristics identical to the delightful Javanese way of life demonstrate themselves clearly in this town. They seem to send calm vibration to the town’s active streets and people. The people of Jogja are known for being patient and pleasant—traits that might easily separate them from local tourists or newcomers. A fascinating juxtaposition to observe. It’s comforting to feel the strong pulse of Javanese cultural identity in the midst of Indonesia’s growth and changes.

I remembered coming to Jogja with my family a few times when I was little and then in another occasion with my junior high classmates on a school field trip. The last time I visited Jogja was 14 years ago. I came with my childhood best friend in Surabaya. Along with her family, we helped her move to attend college in Jogja. So I wasn’t sure what the town would look like when Jeff and I planned to stop by for a weekend in December. What a relief it was to see the town’s familiar scenes. Other than the traffic jam, not much has changed. It still felt like that old romantic Jogja I had remembered from a long time ago.

One thing to note: It might be more enjoyable to visit Jogja during the off-season when it is less crowded. I was told by family and friends that tourists fill up the town during big national holidays like Christmas/New Year and Eid. We were included in that group of people who overcrowded Jogja during the New Year’s Eve long weekend! 🙂

Andong, a traditional form of transportation

Andong or horse carriage, a traditional form of transportation

Malioboro Street

Performing on the always-crowded Malioboro Street

The crowded sidewalks of Malioboro where I managed to shop tons of batik handicrafts.

The crowded sidewalks of Malioboro where I bought lots of batik handicrafts.

Borobudur Temple

Borobudur Temple, a 9th-century Mahayana Buddhist Temple in Magelang, a little bit outside of Jogja.

Borobudur Temple, a 9th-century Mahayana Buddhist Temple in Magelang, a short distance driving from Jogja.

Inside the stupa

Inside the stupa

A Buddha statue inside of the stupa

A Buddha statue inside of the stupa

The Buddha's teaching carved in stone.

The Buddha’s teaching carved in stone.

More BuddhaBuddha1

StupaThe Buddha

Selling salak fruit

Selling salak fruit

Traditional ceremony celebrating harvest time

Traditional ceremony celebrating harvest time, Kaliurang, outside of Jogja

The volcanic Mount Merapi covered by clouds. Jogja is located close to the volcanic Mount Merapi.

The volcanic Mount Merapi covered by clouds. Jogja is located close to the volcanic Mount Merapi.

The Sultan's Palace of Jogjakarta

At the entrance of the Sultanate Palace of Yogyakarta

Ancient ruins of Tamansari, a bathing complex and water castle of the Sultanate of Jogjakarta

Searching for the ancient ruins of Tamansari, a bathing complex and water castle of the Sultanate of Yogyakarta

Rice field in the rain

Rice field in the rain

Mendut Temple

Mendut Temple, another 9th century Buddhist temple close to Borobudur

Mendut Temple, another 9th century Buddhist temple close to Borobudur

Hoped you enjoyed the read!

Next post: Surabaya and East Java

Photos property of The Traveling Chili Pepper

Categories: Indonesia Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Touring the Motherland Series: Bali Island

It had been too long since my last visit to Bali, or Jogja in Central Java, or to Batu, Malang, or Trawas in East Java. Living 9800 miles away from home certainly has made it harder to visit Indonesia’s cultural gems. With my guy, who is also my best travel partner, we flew back to the motherland this past December. We regrouped with the families and reconnected with our native land. With unwavering travel ambition, we toured Java and Bali and re-immersed ourselves back in the culture. In a little bit over two weeks, we were reminded of the beauty, the comfort, the different faces, realities, and challenges of Indonesia. 

Here’s a glance at a country loaded with cultural diversity and natural beauty. We took pictures of parts of Java and Bali—two islands among thousands in Indonesia’s archipelago. The dissimilarity of ethnic group, language, culture, and cuisine within the nation would easily fascinate anyone. Indonesia’s islands, parts of islands, urban cities, smaller towns, and villages offer different feels and views, you’d be surprised you’re still in the same country. Rich. Rich, I tell you.

I’ll do Java on the next posts. For now, let’s check out:

Bali Island

 

Thanks for reading!  

Next posts: Central and East Java 

Photos property of The Traveling Chili Pepper

 

 

Categories: Indonesia Travel | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Backpackers Getaway: North Manitou Island – Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Late September breeze carried a little chill, a preview of what’s to come in the coming months. The blazing sun balanced the cool air and offered a perfect hiking weather for us that weekend. Trees on the outer part of North Manitou Island have begun to change colors. Inland, the leaves stayed green like refusing to accept that summer was over. After the hour-long ferry ride to the island and checking in with the ranger, the three of us sat on the grass and enjoyed turkey pita sandwiches for lunch. We had packed enough food and snack for the weekend. We were in the wilderness, which means no restrooms, showers, let alone restaurants. The ferry would be back to pick us up on Sunday, two days away. From where we sat, we could see other backpackers, all came in on the same ferry, eagerly dispersed into the wilderness, racing to get to their solitary and exploratory mode. Seemed like we all wanted to feel that the non-populated island was our own playground for the weekend.  

After lunch, we headed south on the trail. About three miles later, we took a break on a beach. I wanted to stay there and just sleep under the sun. 

My guy wanted to have one more backpacking trip before winter returned with its cold air and long nights. The dreadful thought of winter made me jump at the offer to spend two nights out in the wilderness, sleep under starry sky, walk in the woods, and take naps on a beach.

A novice in this whole backpacking-universe I find myself learning about new places, the art of exploration, and the technology that supports this hobby (the latter: my guy’s biggest attraction to this backcountry activity). I never realized that there were many little islands in Lake Michigan. Maybe this is why people keep saying that  hobbies would do us good: they open our eyes to things we hardly notice before. 

North Manitou Island of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore offers a friendly terrain for hiking enthusiasts. The scenic panorama of Lake Michigan, endless white sandy beach wrapped around the island, and a manageable trail for outdoors lovers make this tiny island an ideal place for a backpacking getaway. 

After hiking for nine miles, we found a perfect spot on the southwest part of the island to camp that night. With the three of us, setting up the tent took less than five minutes. I prepared the sleeping pads/bags inside of the tent while the men got some water from the lake to filter and then drink. Not long after that we sat around a tiny but powerful gas stove heating up our dinner: beef rendang and rice. I had cooked them the night before, put them separately in zip lock bags, and froze them. By dinner time, all we had to do was boil hot water in a pot, drop the food bags in it, and let them warm up—a trick my guy taught me a while ago. We had a fantastic dinner overlooking sunset by the lake.

the boys

In the morning, we walked six miles northeast toward the village where the ferry would come to pick us up the next day. By this time, every muscle of my feet sent painful signals to my brain. Other than that the hike was far from arduous. Thankfully, our friend Dod’s hilarious stories about his college friends distracted me from the pain. At lunch time, we all shared sliced corned beef deli meat with pepper jack cheese, sliced honey roasted turkey deli meat, pita bread, hummus-to-go, and herbed olive oil that we put in a tiny little bottle. Pretty gourmet wouldn’t you say? 🙂

We arrived at the village campground in mid afternoon. Once we set up our tent, we had a second lunch! It was amazing how ravenous we got from being outdoors all the time, well that…and walking for miles with heavy backpacks. We prepared chicken and vegetable soup. My guy mixed the dehydrated vegetables soup mix with boiling water, added dried beef stock, and sliced chicken (chicken in a pouch). After our second lunch, we decided to do more hiking toward the northeast side of the island. We moved a lot faster without our backpacks. By sunset, we finished another five miles of the trail and went back to our site. A total of 20 miles in two days.

The menu for dinner that night: pasta and meatballs with marinara sauce. Dod boiled the pasta and heated up the frozen meatballs and marinara sauce. Having hot meals during a backpacking trip always felt luxurious. I also think that the wilderness never failed to intensify the taste of food. Everything became incredibly delicious, even the add-boiling-water-to-the-pouch freeze-dried meals we had. Maybe it was my brain’s way of being grateful to find something comforting in such a rugged and undomesticated environment.  

The air got a lot cooler that night. We met a few backpackers at the community fire pit and shared our hiking experience with each other before turning in for the night. The bright full moon illuminated the area. Even inside of the tent.

On Sunday morning, the ferry came back to pick up all of us backpackers. At exactly 11AM, as scheduled, we all boarded the ferry to return to Fishtown Dock in Leland, MI and then drove home. Despite of my aching feet, shoulders, and back, I was happy we did this trip. It was a perfect way to close our hiking season for the year. 

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Photos property of The Traveling Chili Pepper

Thanks for reading. Until the next adventure!

Categories: Hiking, Michigan Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Jasmine…

I am crazy about jasmine and its sweet fragrance. They are mystical and romantic. Their scent seems to trigger nice memories of my childhood and of the people who I deeply care about.

About three summers ago, I bought two jasmine plants from a nursery in my old neighborhood in Chicago. I planted them together in a rectangular plastic container and placed them outside of my apartment window. I would move them inside of the apartment when the breeze turns colder, keep them close to a bright window, and hope they stay alive until spring returns. Once the air becomes warmer, I’d move them back outside again and let them stay out for the whole summer. That dance continued every year to this summer in our new home in Michigan. As a native to the tropical regions of the world, my jasmine plants love and thrive in the bright sun, heat, and humidity that summer offers this year. I just have to make sure that they drink lots of water once a day.

Here are the little beauties. Wished you could smell their intoxicating beautiful fragrance.

I notice that they start budding and blooming like crazy in July.

My morning coffee ritual on the patio becomes even more special with the little beauties’ scent all around. It’s pretty fantastic!

Hope you’re enjoying your summer wherever you are!

Categories: Outdoor Living in the City | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Returning to Puerto Rico

We returned to Puerto Rico for our friends’ wedding. The bride and groom exchanged their vows on a sweet spot on  San Juan‘s Condado Beach. Witnessed by beloved family, friends, the ocean, the wind, and the sun, the happy couple beamed. They looked like they just stepped out of a fairy tale, breathtakingly beautiful. We were all enchanted.

After two days of wedding fun and catching up with friends, Jeff and I set off to Ponce. Wanting to experience the mountainous region of Puerto Rico, go off the beaten path for a bit, and absorb the local culture, we chose a less straightforward route from San Juan to Ponce. We went west on route 22 and then south on route 10.

We stopped by La Cueva del Indio, an off-the-map cave site by the ocean, in Arecibo area. A woman named Carmen welcomed us as we parked in front of El Coayuco cafe. She gave a brief overview about the cave and told us how to get around the site. According to Carmen, Taino Indian (15th century) used the cave to hide from the Spaniards. We then paid $2 for parking and went on a short hike to the cave. The challenging hike on the cliff’s spiky and rocky surface led to a few magnificent views of the area. The cave itself hid at the bottom of the cliff. It looked like some kind of an entrance to the underworld. A ladder was prepared for those who wanted to see the inside of this small hiding place with an opening to the ocean. Carmen said that the Taino used that opening to swim away from the Spaniards chase. A few petroglyphs covered the walls of the hideout and some bats hung out at the very tall ceiling of the cave. We climbed back up to take in the gorgeous scenery of the ocean and the surrounding beaches. The ocean breeze sure felt nice.  We ended the visit with gulping coco frio that Carmen sold (at $1.50 a coconut) at the cafe. The perfect thirst quencher on such a hot day.

Another off-the-map site we visited was Cueva Ventana on route 10. A short hike inside of the cave would have taken us to a picturesque view of the valley. But as we got close to the mouth of the cave, the sky turned dark and started to growl with thunder and lightning. Not fully equipped with hiking/rain gear we decided to retreat. The minute we reached our car, as if on cue, the rain poured hard and lasted for the whole afternoon.

We continued the trip to Lagos dos Bocas, a merely 10-minute drive from Cueva Ventana, for lunch. I asked a girl, who was waiting around with her family, to tell me about how to get on the ferry to go to the restaurant across the lake. She explained that there were four restaurants we could go to. She also mentioned that this particular line she was in was for El Fogon de Abuela restaurant and that I should get on the wait list. Then she pointed to a guy who has the wait list. This friendly and kind gentleman, Francisco, took down our names and asked us to wait for the ferry. He warned that it might take a while since all of the four restaurants were full and busy. It was Mother’s day after all! (You could also drive to the restaurant. But hey, “When in Rome…”) Thankfully, Jeff and I had a big breakfast to hold us over. Joining all local tourists, mostly families with children, we waited. Meanwhile, the rain continued to fall.

Finally Francisco called our names and the short boat ride took us to El Fogon de Abuela. The restaurant has this open-air but covered seating area with a nice view of the lake and a relaxed ambiance. Jeff ordered a super delicious goat stew and I had my favorite Puerto Rican cuisine: shrimp mofongo. We only heard Spanish conversations that afternoon. I wished I spoke the language so that, at least, I could respond properly to the nice woman who offered me her umbrella. But she also understood and spoke English anyway (as many do in Puerto Rico). In a strange but good way, it felt nice not being able to tune into any conversations for a moment. We simply enjoyed the happy and friendly environment.

After refueling with mofongo and goat stew, we headed south to Ponce. Route 10 became this curvy route 123 passing through small towns such as Utuado and Adjuntas. From the road, the little towns looked like they had these low-hanging clouds, mountains, and valleys as the backdrop. The view reminded us of Tretes in Java. Quaint and beautiful. Each little town we passed seemed to have its own little cafe playing either reggaeton or salsa music. Local patrons sat and enjoyed each other’s company. We crawled slowly on this very narrow and winding two-way road. Thankfully we got a small rental car.

It was late when we got to Ponce. We drove into the historic colonial district and checked into our hotel. Didn’t want to waste a beautiful night, we joined the Ponceños and just hung out at the their town’s main square, Plaza Las Delicias.

The next morning we drove northeast toward Fajardo to catch our East Island Excursion catamaran tour to Culebra island. Ocean fun was next in our itinerary. With all English speaking tourists we snorkeled for a bit at the Luis Pena underwater preserve and then spent the rest of the afternoon at the Flamenco beach of Culebra. While in Fajardo, we also caught a night tour to check out the Bioluminescent Bay. It was my first time to kayak…at night…in an ocean bay that illuminated when touched!

We left Fajardo late morning. It was time to return to San Juan and the airport. I tried to stretch our Puerto Rico experience a little longer by asking Jeff to pull up for an early lunch somewhere along highway 3. There were tons of food kiosks along the way. As the saying goes, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” 🙂

Notes:

  • On the part about snorkeling in Culebra, the tour provides snorkeling gear. But we brought our own since we have them. Lunch, snacks, and drinks are provided during the tour.
  • Bring a light rain jacket when traveling to Puerto Rico in May. It’s their rainiest month!
  • The restaurants at Lagos dos Bocas are open during the weekend.
  • A smile and saying “Hi” goes a long way. The Puerto Ricans we met were the friendliest people.

Travel info sources:

Photos property of The Traveling Chili Pepper

Categories: Travel | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Scary/Beautiful

The abnormally warm but glorious weather seemed to invite everyone and everything out to play. Jeff and I were riding our bicycles on Sunday. Just as we entered the Central Park South trail, Jeff spotted this little turtle. “Oh, turtle! I love turtle!” I shouted.

I thought about taking it home and keeping it as a pet…

But it hissed when I touched it! I never knew turtles could do that!

And look at those nails! So of course I changed my mind about keeping it as a pet.

3/20/2012 

Today was the first day of spring. It was 85 degrees…in Michigan! 


Photos property of The Travelling Chili Pepper

Categories: Outdoor Living in the City | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

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