The Dark Side

We didn’t want everyone getting the idea that our trip has been all smiles and tropical cocktails, or that we’re not telling the whole story on our blog…so for a few months we’ve been meaning to share some of the “dark side” moments from our travels. And finally, here they are.

By the way, a number of months ago, I ACCIDENTALLY posted an early and incomplete version of this blog (who noticed? It was called “Swing and a Miss”).  Oops. Subsequently, the kids saw that  parents also receive  “consequences” occasionally.  Read on to hear about the darkness that rained down on me as a result…   WARNING:  regurgitation photos below!

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Switzerland! High Altitudes, High Adventure… High Fevers!

by Kristina.

The Switzerland Alps are awesome!  I’m so glad Joe proposed spending our 4 open days between Provence and Croatia there.

Did we have beauty?  AMAZING views!  Did we have nostalgia?  Of course!  See where we returned to after a 25-year absence.  Did we have drama?  YOU BET!  We reached 12,000 feet… we reached a fever of 103.  Did we reach Barfcon 13?  Read on and find out…


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Myanmar: 5, Belfiores: 0

by Kristina


“Has anyone seen the monk?” When I was asked this on our ship, I thought, “Now that’s something I’ve never heard back in Seattle.” I used to refer to Myanmar as Burma — the only thing I knew about it was where it was on the map. Prior to our arrival, we met with and learned from a Burmese monk, U Nan, and a couple Burmese college students that the local people preferred Myanmar (over Burma)

Steaming up the river to Yangon, Myanmar!  Goodbye, Un-An!

Steaming up the river to Yangon, Myanmar! Goodbye, U-Nan!

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Susono with friends

After eight packed days in Japan, we were fortunate to be able to spend a couple nights with my college roommate, Beth, her husband Hiro and 14 yr old daughter Emily. They have a beautiful, new house in Susono where her husband, Hiro, is a Japanese healer. Hiro also coaches the #4 Sumo wrestler in the world, Kisenosato Yutaka, who beat the #1 Sumo wrestler in the world while we were staying with them — Hiro was very excited.

Staying at Beth’s was a welcome, relaxing break for all of us. We were able to sleep in, eat where the locals eat, watch movies together in the evenings and enjoy some western food (the kids loved the pizza, cold cereal and hashbrowns). We also had fun at a local karaoke place – Elena and Alexander sang some great duets.

It was so nice to not have a schedule! Joe and I enjoyed 2 days which we didn’t have to plan or figure out how to get our family anywhere. We both received treatments from Hiro, who helped Joe and me with our alignment and me with my kidneys which he says will help strengthen my immune system (I have a terrible sinus virus/infection). Finally, I was awakened by a very small earthquake one morning at 5:30 (we’re on the 4th floor of a building) which was exciting.

And now, we’re off to Kyoto! We had a lovely ride here on the Shinkansen, including a great view of Mt Fuji!

Central Japan: Matsumoto & our Ryokan stay

by Kristina

On our 6th day in Japan, we woke early at Tokyo Disneyland, bought some rice balls and hot tea (which you can buy in plastic bottles) from a convenience store and boarded a train for Matsumoto. When we arrived, we stuffed all our luggage and backpacks into two lockers at the Matsumoto train station and headed out to explore the town and its famous castle before our 3:15 shuttle to a Ryokan. To the delight of the kids, there was a lot of snow on the ground. It appeared they’d received a a foot of snow the previous day (while we were getting soaked at Tokyo DisneySea).

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