PHEBESS's SparkPeople Blog PHEBESS's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community Night Music - Fireworks and Philharmonic We've been enjoying the Lunar New Year celebrations all over Kuala Lumpur, including fireworks most nights of the past week or two. <BR> <BR> But last night, we went to the philharmonic orchestra for a wonderful concert. Plus the concert hall is in Petronas Towers, a gorgeous place for music in an incredible building! <BR> <BR> And loving the mix of tradition and modern - this is Malaysia!!! <BR> <BR> <link><BR>/a-little-fireworks-music.html </link> ... Sat, 24 Feb 2018 23:10:25 EST Revisiting My Kitty Last time we were in Malaysia, I helped care for a kitten who somehow showed up inside a pillar in the hotel's dining room. The hostess adopted him, and I gave him breakfast every morning. <BR> <BR> He's now all grown up, and the hostess is working at the bigger hotel currently. <BR> <BR> Plus we're gearing up for the Chinese New Year - and this year, it will be the Year of the Dog! <BR> <BR> <link><BR>/year-of-dog-three-years-of-cat.html </link> ... Sat, 10 Feb 2018 23:48:44 EST We are NOT going to the Maldives We should have been in the Maldives by now. In case you haven't heard, the president there has declared a state of emergency. Politicians arrested, the Supreme Court calling for their release but some judges arrested, people protesting in the streets and calling for impeachments and clashing with the police. <BR> <BR> Yeah, we decided to avoid that. <BR> <BR> Here's how we handled this political crisis: <BR> <BR> <link><BR>2/sometimes-good-karma.html... Tue, 6 Feb 2018 09:50:17 EST Riding the Sri Lanka Railroad We took the train from Kandy back to Colombo, passing through small towns and through tunnels. All very colorful and interesting, especially the random statues and temples. <BR> <BR> <link><BR>2/rolling-on-rails-of-sri-lanka.html </link> <BR> <BR> We also have been here for two major holidays, including National Day, the Sri Lanka Independence Day. <BR> <BR> And I bought a few lovely batiks of elephants! <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photosaws.sparkp... Sun, 4 Feb 2018 14:00:16 EST Time in Kandy, Sri Lanka I know, what a name, right? This city was once the capital of the Kandyan kingdom, from whence it gets the name. <BR> <BR> Lovely city with a lake, a forest sanctuary, a temple with Buddha's tooth, and a big festival each August. <BR> <BR> We had fun just tuktuking around! <BR> <BR> <link><BR>1/three-weddings-and-kandy.html </link> <BR> <BR> A big Buddha: <BR> <BR> <img src=" Wed, 31 Jan 2018 08:37:42 EST Baby elephants!!!!!!! I visited the Elephant Transit Home, which is a rescue center and sanctuary for orphaned baby elephants. It was wonderful, and emotional, and sort of sad because there was one little guy who was recently orphaned and spent a bit of time all alone, without food or drink. He's coming along, getting special formula and making friends, but I'll admit I felt very sad for this little ellie. <BR> <BR> <link><BR>1/elephants-part-2-babies.html </link> <BR> <... Sat, 27 Jan 2018 10:28:57 EST Safari in Sri Lanka! I went on a safari yesterday - not a hunting safari, a find the animals and be amazed safari! <BR> <BR> No leopards, but so many elephants! <BR> <BR> And it was so thrilling, I didn't eat my packed breakfast until it was all over! Now THAT is the way to control eating - stay so busy you don't even feel hungry! <BR> <BR> It was amazing. Incredible. Exciting. And I'm happy I was able to do this! <BR> <BR> <link><BR>1/elephants-part-i.html </link> ... Thu, 25 Jan 2018 12:41:17 EST Travelling in Sri Lanka We had a four hour trip to the southern foothills - a crazy winding road that included the rather manic way everyone drives here. <BR> <BR> We are settled in at our resort, full of flowers and exotic birds. Not that the birds are imported or enclosed - no, these are the normal birds of the Sri Lankan highlands! <BR> <BR> Having a great time, and heading out to see the elephants tomorrow - and a leopard or two if I'm really lucky! <BR> <BR> <link><BR>1... Tue, 23 Jan 2018 10:21:14 EST Adventures in Eating in Sri Lanka We're still travelling in Sri Lanka, though life sometimes intrudes itself. <BR> <BR> I didn't mean for this to become a food blog, but it did. I've been trying different Sri Lankan foods, and this is the overview, complete with photos. <BR> <BR> <link><BR>1/adventures-in-eating-sri-lanka-style<BR>.html </link> <BR> <BR> Today's lunch: <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR>... Sat, 20 Jan 2018 14:19:21 EST I was Goldilocks today! For people who don't know, my husband and I are retired. We sold 90% of what we owned, and we've been travelling for, well, going on six years now. Without a plan. Just doing all the things we've always wanted to do. <BR> <BR> We're currently in Sri Lanka. Our hotel on the outskirts of Colombo includes breakfast, and most of the food is traditional Sri Lankan breakfast food. I decided this would be a great opportunity to try foods that I've never seen or heard of. And my policy is to t... Mon, 15 Jan 2018 13:18:48 EST Sri Lanka! We're here in Colombo, acclimating to Sri Lanka. At some point we'll head to the national parks to visit the leopards and elephants who live there, but we're enjoying the big city for a bit. Though our neighborhood is definitely off the beaten path, and we're enjoying adapting to a new place and a new culture. <BR> <BR> <link><BR>1/tea-temples-tuktuks.html </link> <BR> <BR> This place is full of color, good food, friendly people, and crazy tuktuk dr... Fri, 12 Jan 2018 07:55:32 EST Left Mauritius, Now in the Seychelles Back in the Seychelles for less than 48 hours, and we have an early morning flight. Insanely early. But I had to write a wrap up blog about our time in Mauritius, our tropical cyclone (in our third ocean), and of course let people know the update on our red-whiskered bulbul babies. <BR> <BR> <link><BR>1/a-tale-of-two-islands.html </link> <BR> <BR> Orchids! Tortoises! <BR> <BR> <img src=" Sun, 7 Jan 2018 11:32:39 EST New Year's Eve, and Maybe a Cyclone We had a spectacular New Year's Eve, with both professional and amateur fireworks displays for several hours. Macarons delivered by our hotel owner. <BR> <BR> And maybe a tropical cyclone heading our way later in the week. Right now it's not yet named, but rain is expected for the week. <BR> <BR> Ah well, it doesn't look like it will come right over Mauritius, but it will definitely be wet. At least it isn't cold! <BR> <BR> <link><BR>1/bye-bye-bir... Mon, 1 Jan 2018 15:03:30 EST Our bird neighbors! We have new neighbors - a family of red-whiskered bulbuls! The parent birds are very attentive, and they have three tiny babies in a rather small nest! <BR> <BR> <link><BR>2/three-little-birds-beside-our-doorst<BR>ep.html </link> <BR> <BR> The parents sit on our patio rail and watch us watching them. They also eat bread bits and croissant crumbs, but we're careful to not put out too much - the babies need seeds and insects for better birdie nutritio... Wed, 27 Dec 2017 13:01:03 EST The Sounds of Mauritius Every place has its own sounds, its own music. I like to think of it as the soundtrack, the music in the background of the action. Just like in a movie. <BR> <BR> <link><BR>2/the-sounds-that-are-mauritius.html </link> <BR> <BR> We have fireworks every several days, though I never get photos. <BR> <BR> But there's also temples with bells and chanting, and amazing sculptures: <BR> <BR> <img src=" Thu, 21 Dec 2017 14:42:59 EST A Peach Colored Temple by the Aqua Bay I love colors. So I visited this little temple by the sea, a wonderful peachy color against the aqua blue waters. Even the roof was peach, gorgeous against the bright blue sky. <BR> <BR> <link><BR>2/the-temple-by-beach.html </link> <BR> <BR> This is the roof. Gorgeous, isn't it? <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <BR> Fri, 8 Dec 2017 12:28:14 EST An Island Named Maurice We're having fun in Mauritius, and getting around. Really interesting mountains, and maybe a sunken continent below this group of islands! Odd bird nests. And a croissant delivery on a motorbike. <BR> <BR> Yup, fun!!! <BR> <BR> <link><BR>2/some-people-call-it-maurice.html </link> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=" Fri, 1 Dec 2017 13:49:09 EST The Botanical Gardens of Mauritius I spent a wonderful afternoon walking around the botanical gardens in the central area of Mauritius, hanging out with a young Dutch couple. Amazing plants, tropical flowers, and tons of flying foxes in the treetops! Plus a batch of cute birds! Exercise and nature all in one! <BR> <BR> <link><BR>1/the-botanical-gardens-of-mauritius.html </link> <BR> <BR> And some photos: <BR> <BR> <img src=" Sat, 25 Nov 2017 08:50:48 EST Adventures in Mauritius I made rookie mistake while shopping - sigh. At least it wasn't a huge amount of money. But it was quite the two day adventure! <BR> <BR> <link><BR>1/the-sweater-saga.html </link> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <BR> Okay, the link should be working now - sorry about th... Thu, 16 Nov 2017 11:06:25 EST The Flying Foxes of the Seychelle Islands People have been asking for photos of the flying foxes, or giant fruit bats, here in the Seychelles. I tried. I really did. But bats aren't easy to photograph. So I have some of my photos, and some photos from online by people with better cameras, better lighting, and more patience than I have. <BR> <BR> <link><BR>/2017/11/bats-bats-and-more-bats.html </link> <BR> <BR> And tomorrow we head further south to a different island nations. <BR> <BR> Bu... Mon, 6 Nov 2017 15:44:24 EST Thomas the Tortoise! We're living with a celebrity! Thomas the giant tortoise is 199 years old, and seems to be well known on the island. And he lives right here! <BR> <BR> <link><BR>1/thomas-oldest-tortoise-on-mahe-islan<BR>d.html </link> <BR> <BR> Here's a photo of our new friend: <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Wed, 1 Nov 2017 12:23:38 EST Adventures in Travelling Somehow, when travelling, even a simple thing turns into an adventure. And brings new friends into one's life. <BR> <BR> We went out for lunch. Came back. (On local buses.) And a shopkeeper found us a ride up the very steep hill. It was just a little crazy. <BR> <BR> <link><BR>0/adventures-in-bougainville.html </link> <BR> <BR> And here's a photo of what MAY be a Madagascar fody. Orange, rather than bright red. We've seen quite a few - maybe a... Wed, 25 Oct 2017 06:02:50 EST More Seychelles! More beaches, some geology, some history - we're making our way around, learning more about this unique set of islands. Plus the impact we travellers make on the environment as we go, and ways we can minimize that. <BR> <BR> <link><BR>0/granite-islands-make-powdery-sand.html </link> <BR> <BR> And my favorite photo from yesterday: <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Thu, 19 Oct 2017 15:03:04 EST We're in the Seychelles! It took us two and a half days to get here, but the island is so gorgeous it is totally worth the long trip! Loving the warm weather, beautiful beaches, and the delicious Indian Ocean waters! <BR> <BR> <link><BR>0/suddenly-seychelles.html </link> <BR> <BR> And yes, it really looks like this: <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=" Sat, 14 Oct 2017 00:12:08 EST Good-bye to the USA, Hello New Horizons We're on the road again after four months in Washington state. Our medical procedures are all finished - I have a brand-new bionic knee (well, metal anyway), and DH has new and improved vision. <BR> <BR> Currently in Dallas at the airport, we have a flight out in a few hours. Heading to the Seychelles - with the long flight, and the time change, we'll arrive Tuesday morning. Looking forward to more knee building with lots of walking and swimming and exploring what looks like a gorgeous ... Sun, 8 Oct 2017 17:52:16 EST The rest of the summer It's been a quiet summer, but I finally wrote the blog. Mostly about my brother's wedding, which of course was the social event of August. We're almost ready to book our trip elsewhere for the year - but here's the catch up blog: <BR> <BR> <link><BR>9/and-suddenly-its-autumn.html </link> <BR> <BR> And weddings mean gorgeous flowers! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Thu, 21 Sep 2017 01:58:43 EST How I Spent My Sunday My youngest brother married a woman he met in first grade. Really, they knew each other all through school, but never once dated. Bumped into each other in their 40s, and it blossomed into love. <BR> <BR> And I got to be the officiant. <BR> <BR> I don't have a lot of photos yet - but it was a beautiful day in a lovely garden park, and I managed to stand on my new knee for over an hour. It was a fabulous day all around! <BR> <BR> <img src=" Tue, 15 Aug 2017 19:45:39 EST It's My Birthday Party!!!! August 3 is my birthday, so I'm having a big virtual party! Please join in! <BR> <BR> We're on the most beautiful beach you've seen, with white sand and aqua water. Lots of room for swimming, playing on the beach, and of course places to sit and eat and chat with Spark friends. And of course lighting on the beach for the evening guests. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photosaws.sparkpeople.... Thu, 3 Aug 2017 01:40:08 EST "Good genes are nice, but joy is better" My Spark friend Watermellen has been writing a series of blogs about intentional happiness - what makes us happy, how do we stay happy, how can we be happy given everything that goes on in life, and how does our happiness impact our health, fitness, and weight. Great series, and I'd suggest taking a look if you're interested. (Her blogs are always thoughtful and thought-provoking.) The first of her series talks about how relationships impact happiness: <BR> <BR> <link>www.sparkpeople.c... Fri, 21 Jul 2017 22:28:37 EST My new knee Some people know that I spent June getting a new knee. Here's the overview blog - and yes, there are vaguely abstract photos at the end, but nothing gross - just photos of the x-ray of the knee replacement in place. But you can skip them too, if you prefer. <BR> <BR> <link><BR>7/where-did-june-go-oh-new-knee.html </link> <BR> <BR> And now, not quite 4 weeks later, I can walk 1/4 mile or so with just a cane. Plus pedal a bicycle. <BR> <BR> So doing... Sat, 8 Jul 2017 22:34:00 EST A wonderful time in New York We had a great time in New York City - I even met up with several Spark friends! Had a fabulous time, got in lots of walking, and found new things to see in this ever changing city! <BR> <BR> <link><BR>5/some-days-in-parks-with-friends.html </link> <BR> <BR> Including a fabulous mural I somehow missed last time! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I don't have photos of our... Thu, 1 Jun 2017 01:31:10 EST My baby chickadee DH saw a tiny baby chickadee resting on the edge of a flowerpot outside the back door this evening. It was getting dark, this bird was so little and seemed so alone. We kept an eye on him/her, because there didn't seem to be any parent birds nearby. <BR> <BR> Well, a couple of hours later it was colder and little baby bird was still in the same spot. DH was convinced it was shivering and crying. (Yeah, well, it really was just asleep.) <BR> <BR> But I'm a sucker for little lost animals ... Tue, 30 May 2017 23:05:42 EST My Debut on Broadway Okay, off Broadway. But still, just a few blocks over on 42nd street. <BR> <BR> I was IN an off-Broadway hit last night! Really, I was one of the characters and had to act and everything! Fortunately, I had experience with my role. <BR> <BR> Really, it was one of the more hilarious things that I've done in quite a while! <BR> <BR> No photos of me in my role, but lots of photos in the blog. <BR> <BR> <link><BR>5/so-about-that-time-i-was-in-off.html </l... Thu, 18 May 2017 18:09:40 EST Re-visiting St. Thomas in time for Carnival!!! We enjoyed living on St. Thomas for 20 something years, and Carnival was always a special event that we enjoyed. Colorful, crazy, loud, and joyous - the sort of sums up Carnival. <BR> <BR> But here are all of the details: <BR> <BR> <link><BR>5/st-thomas-deja-vu-visit.html </link> <BR> <BR> And just one photo: <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Tue, 16 May 2017 10:19:02 EST Still Dancing in Cartagena We're absolutely enjoying this city - full of music, color, culture, interesting holiday celebrations! So much to see and do, though we also take time to swim in the hotel pool and just relax - days are hot and quiet, evenings are cool and loud and crazy. <BR> <BR> Loving it! <BR> <BR> <link><BR>7/04/still-dancing-in-cartagena.html </link> <BR> <BR> And one of my favorite murals: <BR> <BR> <img src=" Wed, 19 Apr 2017 01:07:25 EST Cartagena, Colombia! We've been here five days, and are having a great time! It's colorful and full of history, with friendly people, lots of music, and we just saw some fireworks outside! <BR> <BR> <link><BR>7/03/cartagena-old-city-in-new-world.html </link> <BR> <BR> Plus lots of walking all around! <BR> <BR> I love the bicycles as a display for items on sale: <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <... Fri, 31 Mar 2017 02:34:47 EST Visiting Ernest Hemingway's Cats We stopped at Key West on our last full day of our cruise - I visited the home of Ernest Hemingway, which was amazing! And of course played with the great-great-great-grandchildren of his cats, famous for having more than five toes! <BR> <BR> <link><BR>7/03/hemingways-cats.html </link> <BR> <BR> Great way to get in my walking (11,000+ steps), and see the sites, get my kitty fix, and feel literary all at the same time! <BR> <BR> <img src="http://pho... Sat, 25 Mar 2017 22:51:28 EST Out of the Amazon and Into the Caribbean Here are the last several blogs from our cruise - we're in the Caribbean now, with super speedy wifi which is great! <BR> <BR> A kitschy, touristy "indigenous" village: <BR> <BR> <link><BR>7/03/boca-da-valeria.html </link> <BR> <BR> <BR> The city of Manaus, a huge metropolis halfway up the Amazon: <BR> <BR> <link><BR>7/03/manaus-capital-of-amazonas.html </link> <BR> <BR> <BR> The river cruise I went on, com... Sat, 18 Mar 2017 14:16:57 EST Carnaval, the Amazon, Even Some Piranhas! We're having a great time - Carnaval was unbelievably gorgeous and crazy and colorful - the photos only begin to give the feel of the samba parades! <BR> <BR> <link><BR>7/03/carnaval-in-rio-sambadromo.html </link> <BR> <BR> Then we had a few sea days, and a visit to the coastal town of Fortaleza: <BR> <BR> <link><BR>7/03/fortaleza-brazil.html </link> <BR> <BR> We're now cruising the Amazon River, which yes, is... Fri, 10 Mar 2017 14:13:17 EST Update on our Cruise Around Brazil We're currently visiting Santarem, a small city on the Amazon! Really, the AMAZON! <BR> <BR> But I'm trying to catch up on blogs - working on the Carnaval blog, which has tons of photos and was one of the most fabulous events ever! <BR> <BR> But here are two blogs to update everyone on our adventures: <BR> <BR> <link><BR>7/03/finally-ashore-in-ilhabela.html </link> <BR> <BR> And: <BR> <BR> <link><BR>7/03/rescu... Wed, 8 Mar 2017 11:45:19 EST Cruising along We're still having fun in Brazil, though I missed a few ports of call because I developed bronchitis, and then was quarantined. Yeah. Thankful for room service and chicken soup! <BR> <BR> We're currently south of Rio, visiting a lovely island with mosaic all over. <BR> <BR> But here's the blog about Salvador da Bahia, and being put into isolation on a cruise ship. <BR> <BR> <link><BR>7/02/quarantined-in-ilheus.html </link> <BR> <BR> And a lady in ... Sat, 25 Feb 2017 10:10:20 EST We're in Brazil! Wifi has been very iffy, and sometimes nonexistent. <BR> <BR> So here's the list of blogs - <BR> <BR> Leaving the Caribbean, and visiting Devils Island, French Guiana: <BR> <BR> <link><BR>7/02/good-bye-caribbean-hello-devils-i<BR>sland.html </link> <BR> <BR> <BR> Crossing the equator, and Belem, Brazil: <BR> <BR> <link><BR>7/02/across-blue-equator.html </link> <BR> <BR> <BR> Recife, full of color as they ... Mon, 20 Feb 2017 10:26:55 EST Birds, Roti, a Flood, and All is Well We had a great time on Trinidad, first being greeted by a student steel pan band - made me feel right at home! Then we toured by walking around town and being adopted by a lovely young lady who may be Trinidad's next big track and field star. Really! She's a part-time tour guide, had just finished a tour, and somehow found us and adopted us for the afternoon! <BR> <BR> We missed out on Tobago, though - our room flooded that morning, and we had to move. Got a room upgrade in the bargain, ... Sat, 11 Feb 2017 10:24:04 EST Aruba, Curaçao, and now on Trinidad! We're so happy to be back "home" in the Caribbean - after 20+ years on St. Thomas, we've missed the warm sea breezes and aqua blue water! We spend a good part of our time chatting up locals, just so that we really do feel at home again! <BR> <BR> Having a great time! <BR> <BR> <link><BR>2/the-abc-islands-aruba-and-curacao-bu<BR>t.html </link> <BR> <BR> Oh, and I rode the pontoon bridge as it opened and re-closed - free and fun! Plus everyone is gea... Thu, 9 Feb 2017 10:22:06 EST Life on a Cruise Ship We signed up for a cruise from Florida down to Brazil, around to a number of cities including Rio for Carnival - then up the Amazon a ways, and eventually back to Florida. <BR> <BR> It's a little crazy, and a bit of a splurge, but, well, I explain why we opted to travel this way in the blog. <BR> <BR> <link><BR>2/cruising-caribbean.html </link> <BR> <BR> And even though the average cruiser gains something like 2 lbs a day (!!!), I'm losing weight. S... Mon, 6 Feb 2017 10:26:24 EST And now, the Argentinian side of Iguazu Falls We stayed at the hotel in the midst of the national park, and had an amazing view of the falls. But of course I had to get in some hiking to the falls, though I didn't do all the trails. <BR> <BR> Gorgeous, dramatic, and WOW! <BR> <BR> <link><BR>/iguazu-falls-argentinian-side.html </link> <BR> <BR> And a couple of views from the top of the biggest and baddest waterfall of all: <BR> <BR> <img src=" Fri, 27 Jan 2017 13:53:33 EST The Brazilian side of Iguazu Falls On Monday, I went across the river to Brazil to hike along the waterfall trail. This is about 2 miles long - at least, I put on about 2 miles on the trail. <BR> <BR> This series of waterfalls in incredible! Amazing! Gorgeous! Majestic! And just about every superlative you can think of - it really is one of those places where every corner yields a vista that just takes your breath away! <BR> <BR> LOTS of photos: <BR> <BR> <link><BR>7/01/iguazu-fa... Wed, 25 Jan 2017 16:16:54 EST The Women's March goes WORLDWIDE! This is incredible - you really need to see that on all seven continents, women and the men who support us were out there marching! Pink pussy hats and all! <BR> <BR> <link><BR>21/world/ </link> <BR> <BR> Makes me so PROUD to be a woman!!!!!!! Sun, 22 Jan 2017 09:22:45 EST Up one moment, down the next I fell today. <BR> <BR> It's a good thing I walked four miles yesterday - we headed out for a walk and lunch and I don't know what happened. I was walking and talking with DH, next moment my right foot is sliding off the sidewalk and my left was in mid-step and I went careening into a telephone pole! Couldn't quite grab it to hold on, the momentum kept me going and I kind of slid around the pole and ended up lying on my back in the street, between two parked cars. Without any idea of how I... Fri, 20 Jan 2017 22:49:04 EST Happy Birthday to Lima, Peru! This is the 482nd anniversary of the founding of Lima, Peru, by the conquistador Francisco Pizarro. <BR> <BR> So some of the staff at our local neighborhood casino were dressed in 16th century clothing to help celebrate the occasion! <BR> <BR> <link><BR>/happy-birthday-lima.html </link> <BR> <BR> I LOVE stuff like this, so of course I ran around taking everyone's photos! I think the rose and burgundy dress was my favorite! <BR> <BR> <img src="http... Wed, 18 Jan 2017 22:29:28 EST