Archive for the ‘Tropical Destinations’ Category

Hurricane Gustav has its perks! You could wind up in San Antonio!

Monday, September 1st, 2008

Mission San Jose by Sheree Zielke

(An early morning view of the beautiful Mission San Jose in San Antonio’s Missions National Park.)

Thank you, Hurricane Gustav.  We are sitting high and dry in one of the loveliest cities in North America, San Antonio. We are supposed to be in New Orleans. But thanks to a little convincing by Gustav and American officials, we changed our plans.

On the day we were set to arrive in NOLA, evacuation orders forced nearly two million folks to leave the southern seaboard.  We had planned a holiday riding the rails, the Amtrak rails, but the trains were needed to take people out of New Orleans, so Amtrak cancelled our reservations.

We were in Houston (another area slated to be hit by Gustav) so we had no choice but to rent a car and head north to San Antonio.  In fact, on our way, we passed a convoy of 2 dozen buses that were heading south on a rescue mission.  Later, on TV, we watched as an endless line of buses, filled with those folks escaping the storm, headed away to safer zones like Dallas and Houston.

Now we are watching as the eye of Gustav makes landfall — the good news, maybe, for New Orleans, is that the eye will be passing farther to the west than expected.

But in the meantime, we are in San Antonio, where we have rented a comfortable house, we have walked the famous Riverwalk, we have ridden the canal boats, we have paid homage to the Alamo, and we have made an early morning trek to the old Spanish missions.  What a joy!

Read on . . .


Foreign travel can be dangerous: Visit these sites for traveler reports

Saturday, June 14th, 2008

Alberta Pond by Sheree Zielke

This is a typical sight from an Alberta highway.  A quiet little pond, so innocuous, so charming.  But many countries, many lands have similar vistas – sights which look perfectly safe, including those sights in some of the more questionable areas of the world like Egypt and Africa. 

How can a traveler know if a decision to explore a new world is a smart decision? 

Luckily, there are many web sites that can help you make an informed decision.  Some even have links to other travel tools (like currency conversion charts) that make travel to a foreign land a whole lot easier.

Read on . . .


Adventurous Travel or Dangerous Travel? Which would you choose?

Friday, June 13th, 2008

Queen Isabella Causeway Texas Morning by Sheree Zielke

There’s “adventurous” travel and then there is “dangerous” travel.  Since neither my husband nor I are members of the CIA, nor are we navy seals, we have placed limitations on our travel experiences.   Those limitations recently affected one of our travel decisions: an end-of-summer trip to Belize.

Having reviewed a recent Canadian foreign affairs travel report, we have decided that Belize is not the place for us – at least not this year.

Read on . . .


Malaria? Alberta has mosquitoes but they don’t leave parasites behind!

Saturday, May 31st, 2008


It’s a word I have heard, but I never really spent much time thinking about it.  That is until I began researching Belize (I am tripping there end of August).

I thought Malaria was prevalent only in far away countries like Africa and India, not the Americas.  But I was wrong.  Malaria is also common in South and Central America.

Yikes, I thought, what do I do?  Read on . . .


Brownsville, Texas: You Must Crash a Mexican Wedding!

Saturday, April 26th, 2008

Photo by Sheree Zielke

Who are these people? We didn’t know them either, that is until we attended their wedding, uninvited. But you haven’t lived until you’ve crashed a Mexican wedding.

My husband and I don’t normally go uninvited to the wedding of strangers, but cheap happy hour drinks, great Mexican food, and authentic Mariachi music were too attractive to resist. An evening out at a local Mexican restaurant sounded like a great idea. We weren’t planning on the wedding.

Read on . . .


Progresso, Mexico: Cheap drugs, get a tooth fixed, or chow down on great food!

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008

Photo by Sheree Zielke

Looking for drugs? Do you need a tooth fixed? Or maybe you just have a yen for a darn good taco.

A visit to Brownsville, Texas is great but you must spend at least one day in a foreign country when in the area. And that’s so easy to do, because Mexico is just a short drive, or walk, away.

You can choose from a variety of entry points (International Bridges), but double your fun with a drive up Hwy 281, the “Old Military” highway, and hang a left at Progresso.

Read on . . .


Wild decision to leave DSLR camera at home in favor of a Fuji FinePix F50: Crafty or Crazy?

Saturday, April 19th, 2008

Photo by Sheree Zielke

Okay, call me a traitor, call me a fool, call me any name you like but I had to take the chance.  I made a decision, before a recent trip to southern Texas and New Orleans, to leave my heavy Olympus Evolt E-300 DSLR at home.  I replaced it with a sleek little 12-megapixel Fuji FinePix F50 compact digital camera.

My husband looked at me askance as he repeatedly asked me if I still wanted to take my DSLR camera.  I told him, firmly, “No.”  That I would take my chances.  And that I would live with my decision.  Only time would tell if I had made a terrible mistake . . .


Deep Sea Fishing: Hell on the High Seas!

Tuesday, April 15th, 2008

Photo by David Thiel

There is hell on earth, and it’s called, “deep sea fishing.” What was I thinking, or rather, what was my husband thinking when he agreed to a 5-hour deep sea fishing adventure?

We took our first deep sea fishing trip just off the coast of South Padre Island in Texas. To me, it was an adventure; to my husband, it was an unending journey into the depths of hell.

Read on . . .


Elvis Fans? Vintage Memorabilia Fans? This Museum is a MUST-see!

Friday, April 11th, 2008

Little Graceland Museum in Los Fresnos, Texas

In the army, you never know who you’ll be bunking with. Except Simon Vega had a fairly good idea that the dark-haired handsome guy from Tupelo, Mississippi, was special. Back in 1958, Vega shared army duty with none other than the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley. Vega remembers fondly his days with a young Elvis. But remembering his former army buddy wasn’t enough for Vega; only a museum would do. But what a place to put a museum!

Read on. . . (more…)

Most Haunted House in New Orleans is Owned by a Big Hollywood Star!

Tuesday, April 8th, 2008

Most Haunted House in New Orleans

Who owns the most haunted house in New Orleans, Louisiana?  He’s a big star, he’s done lots of movies, he’s an Oscar-winner, and he was once married to the child of a King.  Can you guess?

Okay, here’s another clue: he lives down the street from another famous star, in fact, a pair of Hollywood notables: Brad and Angelina.

Have you guessed yet?  No?

Read on. . .