Where’s Craig Now?

As part of traveling independently, a person ends up sometimes in places that they wouldn’t have necessarily chosen had they planned ahead. Liberia, Costa Rica is one such place. I started out yesterday from Playa Del Coco and couldn’t make it all the way to La Fortuna on the public bus (cheapset way to go). I almost got stuck in an even less desirable place and quickly got back on the public bus and backtracked to Liberia. I’m going back to La Fortuna today and from there to Tortuguero to go to that huge wildlife park they have there.

Posted under Costa Rica, Latin America, Press, Trip Itineraries, Where's Craig?

This post was written by WorldlyTraveler on July 1, 2006

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New Sections on the Way!

Attention! Important re-release from the Ministry of siliness. It’s been brought to my attention (by the ‘Sup, Pup?) that I’ve been slacking. I have several recommendations for Accomodations as well as Culinary Delights. Keep in mind this is for budget (but not destitute) travelers.

I carry a backpack on my front and one on my back if that helps any.

Accomodations

Culinary Delights

Tours

All free information from me to you…well, some of it came from other travelers so I can’t take full credit.

There I go waxing philosophical again…somebody give me a cigarette burn, please!

Posted under Press, Tips

This post was written by WorldlyTraveler on June 25, 2006

Photos Schmotos…

I’m all caught up on the photos for now…again, these are to give you a rough idea. Any pro would know the content is not bad (if I do say so myself-course I take what I like and am partial to it…but the instrument used has poor reproduction capabilities. I’m using a Sony Handycam HDR-HC1, which is a small consumer level video camera utilitizing the new HDV standard (and it also takes stills, too). The video is fantastic when viewed on an HDTV and the DV Conversion feature works great for editing in DV mode on a Laptop. Here are some fun photos from Costa Rica.

I love this dog! I call him “‘Sup, Pup?”. I bet he’s still sitting there in that same place greeting folks as they pass by!


World's Most Photogenic Dog Monteverde, Costa Rica

More Photos from Costa Rica! For the rest of the bunch, go to Photos or click on the Photos link under the Page area in the navigation bar at right. :)

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WT

Posted under Costa Rica, Latin America, Photos, Press

This post was written by WorldlyTraveler on June 25, 2006

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More Photos! (than you can shake a stick at)

I know, I know…don’t ever end a sentence with a preposition. Being originally from Texas, that doesn’t hold true for me. ALL Texas sayings end in a preposition or gun play…there are no exceptions.

Anyway, here one of my favorite photos from France of the Notre Dame Cathedral on the Seine River which flows through the heart of Paris.


Notre Dame Cathedral Paris, France

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I’m working on getting some more travel video done and all the rest of my photos up on Flickr so I can go back to having fun! You know what they say about all work and no fun…it makes the laptop hot on my legs! Ouch! See all the Photos here.

WT

Posted under Europe, France, Photos, Press

This post was written by WorldlyTraveler on June 22, 2006

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Where’s Craig Now?

OK, so here’s a little update that hopefully will be of interest…this is a cool little application that I’ve used quite a bit to figure out what time it is at home and if I’m calling in the middle of the night (I used this without fail after I woke someone up just to say ‘I’m having a great time-what about you?’)

WorldlyTraveler’s Personal WorldClock

I’m currently in Tamarindo, Costa Rica. This is a beach-centric town with surfers, strip malls and even a TCBY! You can buy a surfboard, a yoga outfit, high-priced therapuetic soap, a ‘Bali’ style massage with two massueses at once, some really nice wood boxes and any kind of drug you want without walking more than 100 yards! Really, the drug thing isn’t a problem here, it just kind of something that just exists to serve a certain type of visitor and the unsavory types seem to know one another and only approach one another (although I was approached multiple times-uh oh). The people offering such things also offer cool  jewelery and surfing tips!

I have found the Costa Ricans to be very kind and friendly and like the Thais, don’t have a mean bone in their body. Crime is non-violent down here so apart from the normal vigilence of watching your stuff (which you need to do anywhere in the world), you are pretty much free to enjoy the country without having to watch your back. Some people might disagree, but that is my WASP opinion at present.

I’ve bodyboarded and surfed in Playa Grande, toured canopies in Monteverde and Hacienda Guachipelin, ridden horseback to hotsprings and whitewater tubed in Hacienda Guachipelin and whitewater rafted in The Pacuare River (beats Colorado whitewater hands down), hiked in the Santa Elena Cloudforest and eaten a lot of good food. The weather here is great and the rainy season seems to come and go. It hasn’t rained on me for 3 days but when it does rain it doesn’t mess around! I’m enjoying myself here and looking forward to diving and visiting the Carribean coast. 

WT

Posted under Costa Rica, Latin America, Press, Where's Craig?

Quick Itinerary – Northern Thailand

Here’s a quick run-down of my favorite places in Northern Thailand. Again, this was at the request of a friend of mine who will be visiting the area. Hope it helps!

I also really liked Northern Thailand so I hung out there for quite a while. When you get close to Northern Thailand, you’ll want to start looking at Pai (Laid-Back Hippy Town-eat at The Good Life and stay across the street at Baan Pai Village), Chiang Mai (Beautiful-100′s of Temples within inner city walls) and Mae Hong Song (visit Mae Awe on Thai/Myanmar border-magical little town-hit at sunset…not sure if they have places to stay-buy the best tea you’ll ever find anywhere-the ginseng is amazing!) to visit in Northern Thailand.

You’ll also want to go to Doi Inthanon (highest point in Thailand and amazing Stupas near the top-and I mean amazing…hit them right at sunset for best pictures) and Doi Suthep (on hill right by Chiang Mai, nice way to cool off from the heat of the city-rent motorbike at Smile Rentals from a female named Joe 1 block into inner cityfrom Thapae Gate which is right by the Sunday and Night markets). Whew!
That should be enough to keep you busy for a while. :-)

WT

Posted under Asia, North, Press, Thailand, Tips, Trip Itineraries

Traveling Tips for Thailand

A friend of mine asked if I could give her any tips for traveling in Asia so I decided to put it on my blog where the whole world can take advantage of my Worldly Traveling Knowledge.

These are general tips, please add yours in the comment section if you would like to share your experiences!

Tips for Thailand:

  • Thailand is a country of Buddhists. Buddhists do not show public affection between couples. Don’t do it, it will not be popular and is considered rude. This includes holding hands. You can do that in larger areas like Bangkok, but not in smaller towns-unless you see the Thais doing it and even then it may not really be OK.
  • Don’t point at anyone with your foot! Feet are considered dirty by Thais. This includes washing your shoes with the hotel towel. They were very nice about telling me that I had really committed a crime in their eyes. :(
  • Minibus is the way to go from point A to B. They’ll pick you up at your hotel and it’s cheap. In Northern Thailand, carry motion sickness pills. The roads are windy and they drive pretty fast. If the driving scares you, close your eyes! There are also larger VIP type buses but they are not available everywhere. VIP buses have larger seats and some lean back. Check how many seats are on the bus…the more seats the smaller they are.
  • You’ll need to get your Visa renewed every 30 days unless you get a Tourist Visa before you go into Thailand (60 days max). The ‘Visa Run’ is available from pretty much anywhere but is much more accessible from Southern Thailand (run to Malaysia) or Northern Thailand (run to Mynanmar/Burma). It costs a bit (US$10-20) and takes a whole day including the transport. The fine for overstay just went up to 500 Baht/day.
  • Don’t try to work without a permit. I personally witnessed the implementation of a crackdown on illegal workers in Phuket. The Thais aren’t out to hurt anyone, but they will try to make some money off you if you’re not following the rules.
  • Get a motor scooter and see the countryside! It’s very, very reasonably priced and it’s the ‘thing to do’. I rented a full-on motorcycle in Northern Thailand and toured around a bit. It was easy (although watch out for areas that don’t have any gas. Fill up often!) and a lot of fun and I saw areas that I wouldn’t have seen otherwise.
  • NOTE: The Thais drive on any side of the road they want to! This is called ‘driving by Buddha’ by one Thai seasoned Westerner. Please, please get comfortable with the traffic situation before you jump on bike. It is unnerving to the Western mind to see someone coming at you on your side of the road for the first 100 times. After that, it get’s easier. :)
  • When you’re in traffic, it is totally a flow with communication occuring on a nonverbal, nonhonking level…get in the flow and you’ll be fine. Don’t fight it grasshopper, just let go and go with it!
  • Get a Thai Pay-As-You-Go SIM for your unlocked GSM cell phone or a cheap GSM cell phone if you don’t have one (they can be had for around US$30 used at one of the electronic markets). It’s the easiest way to make reservations and keep up with and make plans with fellow travelers. You buy minutes at any grocery or convenience store.
  • There are a zillion 7-11 convenience stores in Thailand and much as I didn’t want to support a foreign giant, they had some things consistently that I needed and I shopped there if I couldn’t find what I wanted at a local haberdashery.
  • If you haven’t traveled much, the use of ATM cards is the way to go to get cash. They’re easy to find and are safe and the exchange rate is plenty fine. More expensive places take credit cards but the budget places do not. Don’t get caught without cash!
  • Smile at the Thais and they’ll smile back at you. They are gracious people and don’t have a mean bone in their bodies. While some might view you as their meal ticket, they will still treat you with respect as they would any human being. While they may not treat their pets as Westerners do (read lonely spinster in Ohio), they don’t eat them. That’s a myth.
  • The sex trade is not nearly as visible as everyone fears. If you’re a Western female, you will be invisible and might enjoy not getting hit on all the time. You will see a lot of Western men with Thai girlfriends. It’s a common thing there…don’t pay any attention to it if it bothers you. You won’t accidentally wander into a donkey show, don’t worry.
  • If things go wrong, don’t get mad or loud-this is considered weak and rude. Just stay calm and quietly work on a solution with the Thais. You’ll find that you will almost always be able to get what you want, although it may not look exactly like you thought or be within your exact timeframe. Traveling is all about surrendering your preconceptions about people, places and things. The sooner you do that, the better time you will have! If you can’t do that, go to an expensive hotel and they’ll meet your every desire, just like at home.

WT

Posted under Asia, North, Press, South, Thailand, Tips

This post was written by WorldlyTraveler on June 11, 2006

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Where’s Craig Now?

After a few days in San Jose to recuperate from my long, long trip from London (feeling sorry for me yet?), I struck off on my itinerary which took me first from San Jose to La Fortuna. La Fortuna is famous for the second most active volcano in the world (it just moved into second place two weeks ago), Conical Volcan Arenal. Visitors from far and wide come to see the fiery tumble molten rocks down the side and hear the beast groan.

I saw and heard the aforementioned and it was nothing short of COOL! Apparently not all visitors get to view activity since the cone is shrouded in clouds quite often and activity can vary greatly, but some activity is always present. Local information was sketchy, but the volcanoe saw some major activity just the day before I got there and had been quite active two weeks before then as well. This baby is a must-see if you’re in Costa Rica!

I took a tour where we hiked on some old avalanche lava fields and also through the jungle where we saw Toucans and all sorts of ants (leafcutters and army ants, mostly). The tour then continued to Tabacon Hotsprings which of the two in town, is the best. I watched Arenal belch fire and rock while I enjoyed my steak after soaking to the point of prune-ness in the natural flowing waters and somewhat natural soaking areas. It was definitely worth it the price of admission. I went with Eagle Tours who I found to be very professional, courteous and thorough. The guide, Walter, knew literally everything there was to know about everything we encountered. I was very impressed! I highly recommend Walter and Eagle Tours for your visit to La Fortuna/Arenal!

Also, if you hope to take pictures of the activity on Arenal, please be aware that the photos that show red lava during the daylight hours on the web are not real!!!! You will only see the red color at night which means you need a tripod to set your camera on. Night mode works well on video cameras if you have that function.

Happy Fiery Eruptions!

WT

Posted under Costa Rica, Latin America, Press, Where's Craig?

Where’s Craig Now?

After a very expensive tromp through Europe, I’m in the land of clouds and green. I was worried about Costa Rica being hot this time of year-far from it! It’s cool and moist as they’re in the beginning of their wet season. It is cloudy a lot with some sun and plenty of rain.

Here’s where I’m at… San Jose, Costa Rica

I am planning my itinerary in Costa Rica and a local Tico (Costa Rican) is giving me tips for a great time. There are plenty of things to do! I will try to post my Itinerary…I have it in an Excel spreadsheet right now…I’m organized this time. I want to do everything I can!

Posted under Costa Rica, Latin America, Press, Where's Craig?

Where’s Craig Now?

As part of traveling independently, a person ends up sometimes in places that they wouldn’t have necessarily chosen had they planned ahead. Liberia, Costa Rica is one such place. I started out yesterday from Playa Del Coco and couldn’t make it all the way to La Fortuna on the public bus (cheapset way to go). I almost got stuck in an even less desirable place and quickly got back on the public bus and backtracked to Liberia. I’m going back to La Fortuna today and from there to Tortuguero to go to that huge wildlife park they have there.

Posted under Costa Rica, Latin America, Press, Tips


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