travel

My Top Animal Encounter Moments on Trips

Who doesn’t love animals? I certainly admire them. This list will include moments from both local and exotic trips. It will not be in any favorable order, either.

1: Crabs at a park near me

This happened on a sixth-grade field trip, many years ago. We got to walk on the beach and play with the crabs. I remember naming mine Bob for that moment, Lol.

2: A chameleon in Hawaii

After watching the sunrise, our tour continued. We stopped somewhere for breakfast and outside of the place, our guide let us handle a chameleon. I recall it crawling on my arm, but cursing a bit since I was worried about it falling. This happened when I was 19.

3: An octopus and pufferfish in Costa Rica

While snorkeling, our guide there showed us an octopus and pufferfish. He let us touch them, too. I was too grossed out by the octopus, but was fine with the pufferfish.

4: Feeding fish in the Bahamas

A year before I went to Costa Rica, I went to the Bahamas and stayed at Atlantis. We went snorkeling at a place outside the resort and were given fish food for the fish. I was surprised that they permitted it, but it was because the fish would forget human interactions shortly after. After I dropped the fish food, I thought a fish bit me. But it turned out that the fins scraped my finger. I got a Band-Aid after, though, although not right away.

5: Swimming with dolphins in Cozumel and the Bahamas

The first time I swam with dolphins was when I was 10, in Cozumel. The latter happened when I was 16, one or two days before we snorkeled outside of Atlantis. Their skin felt rubbery and I could easily kiss them, which I could never do with any other creature, especially those with fur.

So, there you have it.

travel

Why Flying First-Class is Worthy if You Can Afford it

Image from Pixabay

Okay, we’re living in a pandemic, and flying for pleasure is discouraged. But there will come a time when travel returns to normal.

I’ll tell you a little something about my travel experience. On certain flights, especially long ones, my family flew first-class. It was totally worth it.

Here are some perks of flying first-class:

Seats that can adjust their positions

You can lay them flat like a bed, or just simply push the headboards back a bit. You may also get blankets and pillows on these extra large seats. Who wouldn’t want that on a very long flight, especially when you’re traveling for pretty much the entire day? Plus, the bathroom was a short walk ahead. On a flight to India, we also got provided pajamas, which I didn’t wear because I didn’t think they were stylish. Anyway, let’s move forward.

Hot food service

Airplane food might not get the best reputation, but it can taste good, especially if you’re hungry. First-class food could taste better. I don’t really remember. I do recall having hot roast beef sandwiches and other goodies. Perhaps, they were higher quality.

Screens with various entertainment to choose from

I don’t remember if economy class got this when I went to India in 2011, but first-class passengers definitely did. We could choose from different games, music, TV shows, and movies. I watched the show, “Family Guy,” because I really love it. It’s super-funny.

Of course, flying first-class is not very cheap. If anything, it’s the opposite. But if you do have the money, it is worth it. There are also flights where you can get your own suites, like a hotel. But I think that’s a little silly. Plus, fewer can afford something like that. Even if I had the money, I wouldn’t spend it on a suite.

I hope these benefits inspire you for when normal travel is safe to resume. Obviously, if you’re on a budget or you can’t afford first-class, then I wouldn’t recommend it. Otherwise, though, you’d love it.

travel

My Most Memorable Moments on a Girl Scout Trip to London in 2008


Many years ago, when I was 14, I went on a trip with my Girl Scout troop to London for 5 days. I enjoyed it, except where we stayed. But I am not going to talk about that here.
Instead, I will focus on a few memorable moments that happened there. So, without further ado, let me get started.

1: Mature t-shirts in an outdoor flea market 

On our last day in London, we toured more sites and then shopped at a flea market. I noticed some t-shirts with naughty language, but there was one word I didn’t know the meaning of. So, I  asked my mom loudly what it was. But she whispered me the definition. I will stop there on that.

2: Low-quality fish n’ chips

I know, the UK is known for having awesome fish n’ chips. I did have good ones, too. However, the first night there, my troop ate at a restaurant where the food quality wasn’t what I expected. I even told my mom the fish tasted like a frozen kind.

3: Excitement on Legoland 

On our way back from Stonehenge, we passed a park called Legoland, and everyone got excited. But the guide said, “We’re not going to Legoland.” Not only was it not part of the itinerary, I think it was also closed.

4: Touring the London Dungeons 

Although it was memorable, it was far from my favorite. It scared me and I experienced haunting effects in my room at night. I might have had trouble falling asleep. I don’t remember. But visit that at your own risk, no matter how brave you think you are.

I don’t know when international travel will be safe and normal again. But when it resumes, be careful. Also, keep in mind that some of the places might have gone out of business either recently or a long time ago, whether related to the pandemic or not. Discovery Times Square in New York City is an example.

If you choose to go to London when it’s safe again, you can consider these places and activities I’ve listed. Just check to see if they still exist.

travel

If I Went to Puerto Rico, This is What I Would Want

Image from Pixabay

I’ve been to Puerto Rico when I was 12 during a school break. I had a good time. I also considered going back there in 2017… until they experienced a hurricane.

Of course, now that we’re living in a pandemic, I won’t plan any trips as of now. I probably won’t even go to New York City, which is about an hour away from where I live, until we’re back to typical life. 

But this is just a game of make-believe (sort of). Maybe I will think about visiting Puerto Rico again when it’s safe. For now, though, I will just list the things I would want to do if I traveled there. I’m basically just using my imagination.

Let’s get brainstorming!

Duration: a week

How to get there? Obviously, I would take a plane to Puerto Rico. I would likely want a flight in the morning on the way there and an afternoon one on the way back to New York. I would want a comfortable seat and a plane where they serve food. Sadly, many flights have removed food service, but some brought them back in recent years.

Where would I stay? in a hotel! Hands down. I would never consider a hostel or even a motel in Puerto Rico. One, I am a little bit spoiled with places to stay. Two, cleanliness and quality may make the place safer. 

That being said, I would not mind an apartment-like suite or even an Airbnb. As long as they have enough amenities, are comfortable, and clean, I would be happy.

What would I do? Go to the beach, kayak, hike, zip-line, snorkel, swim, ride horses, watch wildlife, maybe raft (if it’s an option there), and visit a cave (if they exist there). 

I know that when you are older, trips shouldn’t necessarily be all about fun. I understand that. However, I wouldn’t go on any educational tours in Puerto Rico. I would save that for places in Europe or Asia. Plus, I strongly prefer active vacations more.

Where would I eat? If I stayed at an all-inclusive resort, probably the restaurants within the place. Otherwise, I would go to different places, depending on what I craved. I might not necessarily pick somewhere fancy, though, unless I was with others.

How would I get around? Walking or car service. I wouldn’t feel comfortable renting a car. I would also stay somewhere where I could walk around easily and safely. I like to go out a lot.

What would I pack? Summer clothes, of course. Puerto Rico usually does not get hotter than 80’s, though, due to their winds. Maybe I would also pack cardigans and long pants, like if it gets cold at night or if I go to a fancy restaurant for dinner.

So, that is my ideal plan for if I went to Puerto Rico.

travel

Is DisneyWorld Worth it for Every Disney Fan?

Like many, I absolutely love the Disney franchise, from the classics, such as “The Little Mermaid” to the kinds like “Hocus Pocus” and just about every Pixar film. I’ve even been to Walt DisneyWorld twice in my life. Once when I was 5 (almost 6) and once when I was 13.

Unfortunately, when I went to DisneyWorld the second time, I didn’t really have fun. My family went to the Magic Kingdom and my dad, then 11-year-old brother (he’s now 24), and I just walked around. We had gone to other parks, such as Hershey Park, where there were lots of roller coasters and rides friendly toward adults and older kids. At the Magic Kingdom, there were mostly smaller rides. There was an indoor roller coaster, I believe called “Space Mountain” (I don’t remember 100%). However, you had to get a special pass and come back later. So, basically, the experience wasn’t the best for me.

But that was back in 2007. DisneyWorld has changed drastically since then, excluding the restrictions put in place due to the covid-19 pandemic. At that time, checking in was simple. You just paid your ticket, went through those wheel turners (I’m not sure what they’re really called), and you were all set. It’s not like that anymore, though.

Despite not going to DisneyWorld since 2007, I know how their check in-process has changed, based on research and what others have told me. It is now like going through security at the airport in a post 9/11 time. Bags go through scanners, people go through metal detectors, and get patted for anything unsafe.

Another aspect to be aware of is that the prices are drastically expensive. I think each ticket is now at least $100 per adult, and maybe a little cheaper per child. During this pandemic, the park has removed a lot of special amenities, features, and more, including what people usually go for. Those are the parades, character-meet-and-greets, dining, and possibly others. Not suprisingly, many folks are not visiting. But it could be more than just the removed specialties. DisneyWorld has to limit the capacity, reduce hours, and enforce things like social distancing and mask-wearing. Some people might not go because they’re concerned for their health and safety. It also may not be worthy, especially for families with young children. They can’t meet Mickey, their favorite princesses, or any other characters. I have to agree with one of my Facebook friends when he said that going to DisneyWorld now is worthless.

Don’t let this discourage you, though. At some point, those limits mentioned will go away, and DisneyWorld will return to normal. While I personally wouldn’t want to pay $100 for a day to one of their parks, others will. There are also items the parks do not allow, such as selfie-sticks (I don’t own or know how to use them, anyway), lounge chairs, and wrapped gifts. So, if you’re attending an occasion, such as a birthday, put the presents in a gift bag instead. These guidelines don’t bug me, though. I don’t carry those things regularly, anyway.

So, as long you’re okay with the airport-like check-in process, price, and rules, you could go at some point. But I would not recommend visiting DisneyWorld until the pandemic is fully over in the US, or in your country if you’re don’t live in America. I’m hoping that’s by summer of 2021 for the USA. Hang tight.

movie

I’m Going to Review “Night at the Museum 2: Battle of the Smithsonian” from 2009 Right… Now!

Warning: contains spoilers***

The items at the Museum of Natural History in NYC are being packed away to the Smithsonian in Washington D.C. Meanwhile, night guard, Larry Daley, is promoting something to a live audience.

Not long after, though, Larry is whisked away to Washington D.C. for the museum figures. The enchanted tablet brings the things in the Smithsonian to life, including a villainous Egyptian Pharoah named Ahkmenrah. Danger begins from there.

Like the first and third films, this movie had great humor. One of the funniest moments was when the other bad guys on Ahkmenrah’s side asked about his “dress,” which it wasn’t. It was a tunic. I laugh at when another person asked if he and everyone had to wear that, too. Lol. 

Another amazing aspect was when Oscar the grouch and Darth Vader tried to convince Ahkmenrah that they could be bad, but Ahkmenrah calmly turned them away. There was also a clever twist where Sacagawea made a point about how alerting the dark side about their attack could endanger them. So, when the time came, the good guys yelled, We are not going to attack right… now!”

Let’s not forget about the thinker and when he went “Fire power,” while developing strong feelings for a nearby female statue. Which brings me to the romance between Larry and Amelia Earhart. It wasn’t conventional at all. Amelia wanted leadership and helped Larry a lot. I found that to be fantastic since it was quite unique.

That being said, when Larry told his son, Nick, about her, his reaction was a little too casual. He asked in a neutral way, “You found Amelia Earhart?” 

Aside from that, though, everything else ruled. The Einstein figurines and their little song as well as their advanced knowledge cracked me up. I also appreciate the twist where Octavius encounters a squirrel on the white house property and then rides it.

The review ends here. I would rate this film 5 out of 5 stars.

travel

My Experience with Museums

Image from Pixabay

All right, you’re probably wondering why I’m posting this during a pandemic. Some museums near me are open, but with lots of restrictions. Therefore, I won’t go to them, not until the pandemic is over and all restrictions are lifted.

However, we won’t live like this for the rest of time. Eventually, the pandemic part will be irrelevant and my experiences will matter when the time comes again. So, here they are:

1: Going to a museum alone might be worthless.

Well, maybe not for everyone. But for me, it was. Unless you’re an expert or super-passionate about the items in the museum, it’s better to go with at least one other person. That way, there is some socialization and you could possibly educate the other person about what you see, or vice versa. This happened to me when I went to the Museum of Modern Art in New York City alone. I left after twenty minutes or so.

2: Going to a museum you’ve been to many times might bore you, no matter how interesting the theme is.

This happened to me when I went to the Museum of Natural History, also in New York City. I enjoy natural history very, very much. However, I’ve been to it so many times, that I left before I could visit a certain exhibit at my scheduled time. This was another instance where I went alone, which brings the part about it not being worthy here, too.

3: Museum food may be delicious, but it’s expensive.

I love the café at the Museum of Natural History. The food is delicious. And who doesn’t remember the dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets? However, it’s pricy. So, if you’re budgeting, try to eat food in museum food courts sparingly. Also, you could get tired of it if you consume it often.

There you have it. Hopefully, my (and maybe even your area, depending on where you are) area will be pretty much pre-pandemic normal before March 31st, at least by 75 to 80 percent.

travel

How I Packed for Traveling in Recent Years

Okay, okay, I can assume what you’re thinking. Traveling is probably not the best option now. And I have no plans to go anywhere outside Long Island, New York, any time soon.

However, when it does become safe and normal again, these tips can apply. They also could apply if you’re driving somewhere local and have to stay there overnight. For example, when Tropical Storm Isais hit, I lost power and my parents had to leave town for business purposes. So, I stayed with a family friend not far from me until my electricity restored.

Anyway, here are some suggestions for packing, whether you must travel or not. I will exclude anything related to the pandemic as they are currently mandatory, but won’t be for the rest of time.

1: Airing out and rolling clothes instead of folding them

This saves a lot of room in bags, especially if you have to fly on a plane. But even if you don’t, whether you take a train where restrictions might be more relaxed, or drive and have pretty much no regulations other than your own, this technique still comes in handy. You will be less likely to receive muscle aches and exhaustion from taking it around.

2: Pack only what you know you’ll use.

I emphasized the word, “know”, because I truly mean it. When I was younger, I would pack lots of things I ended up not using like magazines, books, and other items. Now I would pack less and only include things I am a hundred percent certain I’ll use. And I did.

Although this time is not exactly the ideal time to travel, unless you absolutely have to, these tips can still be used once it is. Even if you are staying at someone’s house overnight and they reside within minutes from you, it’s still a good idea to consider these packing methods. Less can be more at any time. Hopefully within less than a year, the part about the pandemic and travel restrictions will no longer be relevant.

travel

My Top 3 Unique Travel Moments

Image from Pixabay

I’ve traveled so many times throughout my life that I’ve learned so much about other areas, cultures, and much more. I can’t even keep track of how many places I’ve been to.

Anyway, when you travel a lot, you may experience unique moments or activities. So, without further ado, here are the top 3 unique moments.

3: A trip to a cooking school and getting to prepare a meal

Now this one was not out of town, although I still consider it unusual, but in a good way. When I was in 10th grade, the students who took Italian as a foreign language got to go on a trip to a small cooking school several minutes away. We were assigned different foods to cook. After we finished, we got to eat. I got the polenta group (we worked in teams), but when I ate it, I didn’t like the taste. Nevertheless, the trip was fun.

2: Visiting the “Harry Potter” exhibit in Discovery Times Square

Unfortunately, Discovery Times Square has gone out of business and the space is now for a National Geographic Museum. However, I went to Discovery Times Square in 2011, and there was an exhibit with the “Harry Potter” films’ props, costumes, and more. No phone use, touching, or photographing anything was permitted. Yet it was still exciting to see the items used in the movies. I was especially surprised and amazed at the life-sized Hagrid model. It stood so high that I found it strange that Hagrid never seemed to get stares in the muggle world in either the books or the movies. I remember thinking that real people that size would probably receive tons of stares in public, which would make me feel sorry for them.

And now…drumroll

1: Running into a former school classmate and doing an activity with her

This was back when I was in 5th grade. A girl who was in my 4th grade class and I ran into each other in Cozumel, Mexico. I recall that she’d left my elementary school starting in 5th grade. Not only did I hang out with her for a bit, but we also participated in a dolphin-swim that same day. What a miracle! Not many people run into former school classmates on vacations and get to do activities with them.

So, there you have it.

travel

Going to Europe? Here is What You Should Expect

Image from Pixabay

Traveling not only means going somewhere, at least, kind of far, but also expecting some differences, subtle or drastic. That includes if you’re going somewhere within your own country.

Anyway, this post is about if you’re traveling to Europe. Of course, every country there is different. But here are some common details I’ve noticed when I’ve been to Europe, regardless of where I was.

1: Stronger coffee

Europeans seem to favor dark, dark roast. Even when I was trying to drink my coffee black at home in the US (although I put cold water in it so that I didn’t have to wait as well as make it less strong), I had to put a lot of dairy and sweeteners in European coffee. So, if you already prefer stronger coffee, you might be okay. But if you like your coffee milder, than be prepared to have to use a ton of milk and sugar.

2: Higher-quality food

That includes fast-food restaurants, although my family didn’t eat in those there. But the food in Europe tastes fresher and sometimes, it’s denser. Many countries there have stricter food laws than in the US. Therefore, the food will probably taste different, but likely in a good way.

3: Smaller spaces wherever you stay

Many European locals pack light because they often have to deal with smaller spaces in most places. Of course, there are exceptions here and there. But no matter where you stay, whether it’s a luxurious hotel or a hostel, it might be best to pack less.

So, there you have it. I hope these tips are helpful.