“Return To The First” (Paradise Falls – February 21, 2010)

I didn’t remember the pool being this dirty the last time we were here, but apparently Julie noticed this too as she pulled a face and gave me that look that something really stunk…

“Holy Jim Massage” (Holy Jim Falls – February 14, 2010)

We had only gone roughly two miles along the rough road, but it seemed like we had gone further than that. Mom was sitting nervously in the back (I could tell by her silence) as her car was jostling.

“Opportunistic” (Sycamore Canyon Falls and La Jolla Canyon Falls – January 24, 2010)

Continuing along the familiar trail, we noted that the trail was much softer and muddier than last year. However, it was disconcerting not to see or hear any stream. So we asked…

“To Boldly Go Where Captain Cook Has Gone Before” (Cook Islands – January 11, 2010 to January 17, 2010)

As for the swarming gnats, these little buggers were even after my cocktail drink which was a yellowish reddish color, and I think one or two even managed to swim in my drink…

“Ch- Ch- Ch- Changes” (North Island, New Zealand – January 4, 2010 to January 10, 2010)

I guess our sentiment that this place was rather “Dead As” was challenged when we happened to witness some hideous shouting of two Maori gangs hurling insults and even bottles at each other…

“Whale Of A Way To Start The New Decade” (Northern South Island, New Zealand – December 30, 2009 to January 3, 2010)

…no one was exactly rushing to do it, so that prompted our MC to say, “I know it’s difficult to leave the dolphins and return to your seats, but one thing I do know is that all of you can hear me..”

“Putting Our Book To The Test” (Southland, Fiordland, and Westland, New Zealand – December 24, 2009 to December 29, 2009)

Sometimes Mother Nature dictates what and when you can do any activities, and today was certainly not one of those days where you could do anything. We’ll just have to cross…

“Picking Up Where We Left Off” (Christchurch and Canterbury, New Zealand – December 20, 2009 to December 23, 2009)

It’s strange how it always seems that something goes wrong in every one of our trips. And I guess this was the bit of adversity we were faced with this time…

“The Vacation from the Vacation” (Maldives – November 20, 2009 to November 23, 2009)

It was funny that we had to leave the resort to get the real Maldivian experience… to do things that are more indicative of the local lifestyle than try to have a home away from home…

“Laid Back India” (Kerala and Courtallam, Tamil Nadu, India – November 17, 2009 to November 20, 2009)

…sun went down, we started to notice crabs coming out of their holes. Just a few paces from our hotel, I felt something squishy on my left sandal. I feared the worst as apparently I did it again…

“Converted Soul” (Karnataka, India – November 14, 2009 to November 16, 2009)

When I Lokesh noticed I was busy washing my boots at a water spigot near his car, he inquired what I was doing. “I’m washing sh*t off my boots,” I said, squeamishly as my fingers were in the grooves..

“A Tale Of Two Goas” (Goa, India – November 12, 2009 to November 13, 2009)

…furious after realizing there was no hot water (I took a cold shower), no hair dryer, no filtered water, toilet cover broken, no hand towels, and overall the room felt quite dirty and subpar…

“Black Nostrils” (Meghalaya, India – November 9, 2009 to November 11, 2009)

At 6:30pm, the plane was in a holding pattern. The captain announced that there was a thunderstorm in Mumbai (probably influenced by the cyclone), visibility was a 3km, and the runway was wet. The…

“Hello, Delhi!” (Delhi, Ranthambore, and Agra, India – November 1, 2009 to November 8, 2009)

Subhash seemed like he was in shock as he sat silent, and then got out of the car. From that point, he was swarmed by villagers (one of them hitting him repeatedly). And it was then that I started…

“Spreading The Love” (Eaton Canyon Falls – October 17, 2009)

There were a lot of firsts about today’s hike to Eaton Canyon Falls. It was the first time I was leading a hike with co-workers to expose them to some of the local waterfalls…

“Overcome By Events” (Oregon – August 19, 2009 to August 22, 2009)

But when his wife came over, she said, “You should’ve seen him. He was pouting all trip long because his tripod was too big to fit in a carry-on and I wouldn’t let him bring it…”

“Mozzie Mayhem” (Big Pine Creek Backpack – July 16, 2009 to July 19, 2009)

I couldn’t figure out what was causing the stomach discomfort, whether it was ingesting too much DEET, or from the filtered water, or what. In any case, my bowels were telling me it was time to go…

“As Wild As Japan Gets” (Hokkaido, Japan – June 5, 2009 to June 12, 2009)

We couldn’t read the Japanese script by this closure sign, but a sign further up the path showed a picture of a menacing bear. “I don’t need to read Japanese to understand that sign,” said Julie…

“From The Alps To Old School Japan” (Japan Alps and Kansai, Japan – May 28, 2009 to June 4, 2009)

For an hour-long train ride, there’s no way there could be nine more stops so my doubts that kept nagging at me finally became action. Julie asked some employee on the train, “Toyama?”…

“Completely On Our Own” (Tokyo, Akiu Onsen, and Nikko, Japan – May 21, 2009 to May 27, 2009)

The train was about to move and both Julie and I were separated! Julie panicked and my heart started to race. So both of us tried real hard to force the doors open before the train moved…