Snorkeling with Kids and Ready to Trade them at the Next Bazaar

There are certain things in life that you should not attempt to teach your children. Like riding a bike. Invariably, you will work your heart out, huffing and puffing beside that bike, hovering so as to catch it should it lean too much to one side, and when things go wrong, as of course they will, who is the person getting yelled at? You, of course. Snorkeling belongs in that category.


Yallah, Yallah!

pyramids at giza

At the pyramids of Giza, we decided to ride into the desert on camels. Mahmoud, on a horse, would ride up behind my camel, whack it in the knees, and yell yallah yallah! And off we trotted up and down the dunes. If the camels made any sign of slowing down, they'd get whacked again, and the speed would be turned up another notch with something that sounded like harrakah!


Journey to the Other End of Africa

We had two days in Cairo. One for the Egyptian Museum and one for the pyramids. Noisette had had a lively email conversation with the hotel to select a few different tours for us, but of course when we showed up at the front desk, ready to go on our city tour, nothing was arranged. But not to worry, that's where Hassan came in. Hassan was hellbent on making the most of this assignment.


Apparently Botswana is not in Africa

If our arrival in Maun is anything to go by, our stay in Botswana is going to be out-of-this-world extraordinary.

Although I should mention that we’re travelling without kids for an entire week. I’ve often said that I’d go ANYWHERE without kids. Just imagine – no last minute screaming at the house because Sunshine can’t find Billy. No ghastly realization halfway to the airport that we’ve forgotten the Drammamine. No confiscated scissors at security, or being whisked off to be checked for explosives because we brought a suspicious looking light-up bouncy ball. No having to pretend mid-air that these are someone else’s children when two of them start throwing up because we’ve forgotten the Drammamine. No squabbles over the window seat. No spilled apple juice on your lap. No “I HAVE to go to the bathroom” while we’re waiting at security. No “when do we get there’s” whatsoever.

Even so, our arrival at Maun International Airport – a big word – is exceptionally smooth as African arrivals go. We step into the crowded entrance hall ... 


Hotel With a View

I have to return to the topic of our Singapore Mystery Trip one more time, just to talk about the hotel we stayed in. It deserves its own post because it’s like nothing I have ever seen before, as far as hotels go. Even though I probably wouldn’t go there again, as you will soon see.

Marina Bay Sands hotel, as seen from Marina Bay, with ArtScience Museum on the right
Side view of Marina Bay Sands, Singapore

The ... 


Journey into the Past, and the Future


That’s where our mystery trip of kid-free bliss was headed to.

Singapore skyline at night as seen from Marina Bay Sands hotel
I could hardly stand the excitement. And Noisette could hardly stand the excitement of finally sharing this with me, as we were waiting – and waiting – at the Singapore Airlines check-in counter (note to self – or, rather, those who book mystery trips for me: use Internet check-in option next time).
Two very excited travelers on their way to Singapore

Singapore, you see, is where we used to live in the past. From 1998 to 2000, to be exact. It seems like an entirely different lifetime now, and it was. The girls weren’t born yet, the boys ... 


Geography Lessons: Part Two

Flag of Pitcairn Islands. Credit Wikipedia

I know ever since I mentioned them you have been dying to learn more about the Pitcairn Islands. Why them, you might ask?

Well, Zax was reeling off the world’s most populous countries to me while I was driving, and I was getting overloaded with too much information, so I had him change course ... 


Geography Lessons: Part One

Indonesian flag from CIA World Factbook

One of the best ways to have a conversation with your teenager is to go driving someplace. I learned all about the Pitcairn Islands on such an occasion this week. Have you ever heard of the Pitcairn Islands?

But actually, let’s start at the beginning. Today you will learn about Indonesia. This ...