All posts by schinygirl

I've lived in Hawaii nearly all my life. Although I love my home, I travel every chance I get, and once I spent 13 fabulous months traveling around the world solo. Claim to fame: I've been to every continent.

In an alternate course of events . . .

. . . I would be posting live from Playa del Carmen, Mexico, where I had planned to spend a month before heading souther to Belize, Guatemala, and Panama. Alas, those plans went awry, and I post from South Kona still. Therefore, this is another backward-looking post to my time in Aotearoa/New Zealand. It is a lovely and surprising country, but I’m just gonna come right out with it: there are SO many people there who look like Hobbits, and SO many places that look like Hobbiton. Ok, enough of that.

Also, there are 870 shades of green there.

I hope you enjoy the photos.

Sign supposedly taken at an “undisclosed location somewhere in Northland.”
AKA House of DISharmony.

Other road signs I wasn’t able to photograph (because the driver herself had a rather heavy foot): “High Speed.  Low IQ” and “The quick ARE the dead.”

Te Puia, a Maori cultural center built around thermal vents and geysers.
Just a cool shot.
There are a lot of sheep there, and they have really beautiful views.
About to land on the Franz Josef glacier.
I would call this a “rugged coast.”
Te Paki dunes.
This visit to new Zealand/Aotearoa was part of a 13-month, globe-circling, setting-foot on-every continent journey. I kept detail-rich daily notes, including these: “In Arrowtown, a man rode a horse down the one, short main street, while a little brown bulldog trotted along, right next to the horse’s hooves.  The horse plopped big piles of poop all along the road.  Moments later, a lowrider car drove slowly down the street, bass blasting, occupants slumped down, heads swiveling slowly to the beat; they were on the prowl.  The boys in the car appeared about 14 years-old and failed miserably at looking badass.  Da Gangstahs of Arrowtown.  And the pooping horse guy and his dog.  What a town.” This photo is the tragic aftermath of the horse’s cruise down the street.
I just love this photo. It was taken as I flew out of the country.

So, this is my final Schinydays blog entry. It’s been fun, but I have cancelled four trips this year, two just days before departure, and this was born to be a travel blog. In an ideal world, I will take off in January for Panama, but really, who knows? That and the yearly expensive-for-me WordPress payment is due soon, so it seemed a good time to bring this to an end. If I get to travel again, I’ll look for a cheaper way to share photos and stories. If you’d like me to alert you of a new platform, post a comment that I’ll keep private, and I’ll save your contact info.

Thanks for traveling with me!

Laughter is the best medicene.

Argentina and Iguazu Falls

I was in Argentina only a few weeks, but it was action-packed and exciting, from the city to the wilds. I hope you enjoy the photos.

From the Argentine side of Iguazu Falls I could see Brazil and Paraguay. Not visit, but see.
Black-chested jay.
Adventurous folks took boats to the falls . . .
and got closer . . .
and closer! Not me; I get scared just looking at this.
If anyone can identify this spider (?), I would be grateful.
I love effective signs.
The groovy Yacutinga Lodge.
My trendy digs in Buenos Aires. The owners were tango teachers and Picasso admirers. I had private tango lessons with the husband, and learned tango is saturated with emotion. Later at the BA airport, I almost did not board my flight back to the US – I was going to stay and spend the rest of my life learning tango. That, sadly, did not happen.
I wish I had better photos of all the tango I got to see, but I do have LOTS of videos.
Antique market, Buenos Aires.

“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us” – J.R.R. Tolkien

Peru and Machu Picchu, 2nd try

(Apologies, WordPress seems to be having a day, so I’m resending.)

I don’t think it’s possible to adequately portray in photos Peru’s amazing ancient agriculture, architecture and rock technology, so please trust me: here is where “amazing” is used rightly. Brilliant and ingenious are good, too.

The salt mines of Maras are one of the most beautiful and memorable places I have ever been, but again, my hundreds of photos could not do its splendor justice.

Machu Picchu is as spectacular as advertised, or rather more so. Still photos don’t reveal the precariousness of its position perched atop a pointy, steep mountain, or the fast moving clouds and rolling fog, or the perplexity of trying to figure out how the heck they got all those stones up there.

I had a specific reason for going there, and my visit paid off in spades: problem solved. What an experience.

I hope you enjoy the photos.

Cuzco.
The twelve-angled stone in Cuzco. It weighs about six tons, and was shaped and put in place about 700 years ago. This was managed 700 years ago!
I couldn’t decide between these two photos of the ancient, masterly agricultural practices, so I added them both. Extreme care was taken to acclimate plants to different altitudes to increase harvests: plants were planted slightly higher or lower on mountainsides over years. Plus, with all the steep inclines, it provided/still provides more arable land.
Even methods for moving between levels was impressive – those are stone steps sticking out of the rock retaining walls.
Some of my scores of photos of the salt mine.
People do hike to Machu Picchu, but I opted for PeruRail and a bus.
I caught the train in Ollantaytambo.
So, this famous peak image is actually Huayna Picchu taken from Machu Picchu.
Machu Picchu sits atop a very steep mountain.
Yours truly.
This little llama was minutes old.
Ancient amusement park ride.
It seems to me that kids are the same everywhere.
Paw of the jaguar!

Oh, the places you’ll go! – Dr. Seuss.

Peru and Machu Picchu

(Apologies, WordPress seems to be having a day, so I’m resending.)

I don’t think it’s possible to adequately portray in photos Peru’s amazing ancient agriculture, architecture and rock technology, so please trust me: here is where “amazing” is used rightly. Brilliant and ingenious are good, too.

The salt mines of Maras are one of the most beautiful and memorable places I have ever been, but again, my hundreds of photos could not do its splendor justice.

Machu Picchu is as spectacular as advertised, or rather more so. The still photos don’t reveal the precariousness of its position perched atop a pointy, steep mountain, or the fast moving clouds and rolling fog, or the perplexity of trying to figure out how the heck they got all those stones up there.

I had a specific reason for going there, and my visit paid off in spades: problem solved. What an experience.

I hope you enjoy the photos.

Cuzco.
The twelve-angled stone in Cuzco. It weighs about six tons, and was shaped and put in place about 700 years ago. This was managed 700 years ago!
I couldn’t decide between these two photos of the ancient, masterly agricultural practices, so I added them both. Extreme care was taken to acclimate plants to different altitudes to increase harvests: plants were planted slightly higher or lower on mountainsides over years. Plus, with all the steep inclines, it provided/still provides more arable land.
Even methods for moving between levels was impressive – those are stone steps sticking out of the rock retaining walls.
Some of my scores of photos of the salt mine.
People do hike to Machu Picchu, but I opted for PeruRail and a bus.
I caught the train in Ollantaytambo.
First glimpse.
So, this famous peak image is actually Huayna Picchu taken from Machu Picchu.
Machu Picchu sits atop a very steep mountain.
Yours truly.
This little llama was minutes old.
Ancient amusement park ride.
It seems to me that kids are the same everywhere.
Paw of the jaguar!

Oh, the places you’ll go! – Dr. Seuss.

Australia

(To any Australians reading this, please don’t be upset with anything I write. Your country seems rather unusual to many of us from tamer parts of the planet.)

I planned a two week trip to Australia; I stayed for six. I had no idea I would be so bowled over by the place. Plus, it’s, um, big. I wanted to stay six years.

That said, Australia is full of extremely dangerous things: while cruising down a river in the northwest, the man operating the boat, a tough and sunburned outback-type, went pale when one woman trailed her hand in the water; he shouted at her to stop – this incredibly macho guy was manifestly disturbed by the prospect of a crocodile snatching a passenger off his boat. “They live to kill,” he said in a numb voice. He proceeded to tell me how these huge “salties” (one was over 15 feet) kill after mating, eat their kids, and are patient, sly, and obscenely dedicated killers. He transferred his dread to me with the telling. (Yet, in practically the same breath, he asked would I come live with him out there on his houseboat, but I demurred. He needs to work on his pickup skills.) That was definitely not my only scare; the continent is chock full of ways to die; stressed guides everywhere were constantly having to shout, “Watch out! Don’t touch that! Don’t step there!”

Australia boasts lots of “mosts” and “ests”: steepest ride; most venomous animals; largest ecosystem; oldest surviving civilization (50,000 years!); oldest fossils; most dangerous birds (birds!) . . . and the safest airline.

I spent a lot of time on trains: first from Sydney to Queensland; then Adelaide to Darwin on The Ghan, with a stop in between at the Red Center; then Perth to Sydney on the Indian Pacific. Sadly, one has to fly to Broome; I never wanted to leave that place, but for the crocodiles . . .

Another crazy story: Australia has a lot of wild camels. Because the roads in the Outback are so empty, drivers go very, very fast, and camels and other critters suffer the consequences. There were so many carcasses, carrion birds were said to have developed health issues from the unhealthy diets of easily-picked fatty organs. Roadsigns hoping to get folks to drive slower read LIFT UM FOOT.

Yet another story: once I was having lunch on the second floor of an open-air restaurant in Sydney, the country’s most-populated-with-humans city. Halfway through my sandwich, I saw that there were hundreds of bats hanging upside down in the trees an arm’s-length away. How I did not notice that right away I will never understand.

Also, kangaroos are not out in the wild: they’re in the neighborhood, hop hop hopping along, cruising around like the neighbor’s loose dog.

In those six weeks, I hiked the Blue Mountains and King’s Canyon. I cruised the Daintree River. I saw a platypus. I rode in a submersible in the Great Barrier Reef. I camped in Kakadu. I explored the fantastic Red Center, including Uluru, or Ayers Rock, and Kata Tjuta, or The Olgas. I visited Broome in the far northwest, and it holds a place of special affection in my heart. I toured the gold-seeking Super Pit, with its machines with 13-foot-tall tires. I crossed the Nullarbor Plain. (I did NOT climb the Sydney Bridge.)

What a place. Hope you enjoy the photos. I thought using the bat photo as the header was appropriate for this time of year. There will be more photos of Down Under next week, and no talk.

High on eucalyptus.
Off Cairns, on the Barrier Reef.
My lunch companions.
See the little joey?
A lot of areas looked like the Flintones’ neighborhood.
Ancient art.
The Olgas, or Kata Tjuta, which enchanted me.
And of course, Uluru, or Ayers Rock (although neither name makes everyone happy).

Visit Australia.

Some of the Best Days of My Life

The Galápagos Islands are magnificent. I’m guessing they are a lot like Hawai`i once was. I got to spend ten days on a boat going from island to island, and during the voyage, there was a full moon.

Magic.

While sailing I read The Beak of the Finch by Jonathan Weiner, which upped the trip’s coolness factor by 100%.

Next week Galápagos: Birdie Edition.

Some critter’s tracks.
These two fellows were scraping.
It’s the law to stay at least two meters from critters, but it’s almost impossible. I mean, this is the pathway.
That would be a seal having a beach day.
The pleasure of warm rocks.
Solitario Jorge, the last known Pinta Island tortoise.
Upward dog.
Post Office Bay is how people used to communicate – if you saw a letter there addressed to someone who lived near your home, you were supposed to take it and deliver to them. Nowadays, people just write graffiti or stick stickers.
Me and a Galápagos racer. One of the boat’s crew really wanted my hat (it says University of Hawai`i), but I wouldn’t give it up. I told him I’d send him one, but I never did. I’m sorry.
Iguana art.
These iguanas are gorgeous and freaky at the same moment.
I could totally live here.
Iguana spa.
Critters all hung out with each other.
Next week is Galapagos Birdies Edition, but I felt that I couldn’t post a post about the Galapagos without at least one shot of a Blue-Footed Booby.

Live all you can. It’s a mistake not to.

ANTARCTICA: CRITTERS EDITION

So, with the first photo below, look for the reddish mark on the lower left of the berg. It turns out it’s a thing for captains to push their ship’s bow into an iceberg and leave a mark. This took a few hours. When done, we pulled away and sailed on. It was weird. To me, anyway.

I hope you enjoy the photos. Next week: the Galapagos Islands! Seems like this is turning in to a Friday thing.

The ship had a former life in the Chilean Navy.
Dangerous critter!

I took this photo from my own Zodiac. Climbing down the side of the ship on a rusted, rickety ladder to get in the Zodiac was an adventure in itself.

Live all you can. It’s a mistake not to.

This Just In From The BBC

I made up “cloudbow” and now I know the scientific term – if you can’t read the caption, it’s “An upside-down rainbow, more technically known as a circumzenithal arc, fills the sky in Burnley, Lancashire. Photo by Weather Watcher Syed Bukhari.”

So that’s in England, and I also got a report of a sighting in Buffalo, New York. Cloudbows are trending!

For more loveliness from the BBC:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/1sMtbgQKBf0BtB4vPNHDFMg/pic-of-the-season-summer-2021