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Distant Lands

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Money Makes the World Go 'Round

I've passed one of my bad habits on to my son.  I've collected foreign currency since I was in first grade, and in the last few years I've been putting my collection in a scrapbook, with notes about when and where the money's from, and short journal entries about the trip.

My son recently started to get interested in what I was doing with the scrapbook, so we sat down and went through it.  He's been obsessed with money for a year (it was a year ago he scooped the change out of the dish at the cashier's, yelled, "MONNNEEEYYYY!!!!" and ran for the door), and he was thrilled to see that it comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes and patterns.

I gave him the extra coins that I had, obsolete and current, from euros to pesos to yen to lei, and he's keeping them in a special box.  It reminds me so much of me at his age, and gives us another activity when we travel.
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Friday, 06 June 2008

Checking the fine print

We just received a packet of info for an upcoming trip (more on that later), and I'm glad I checked it carefully.  Our profile address was wrong, which is why it took so long to reach us, and our daughter's age was 6 years older than she is.  Plus, the car seat we'd requested wasn't on the invoice.

Like I said, glad I checked.

My personal favorite so far as these things go was when we flew to Cologne on Continental a couple of years ago.  We were booked on a Monday afternoon flight.  Our daughter, who was supposed to be flying as a lap-child, was booked on a different flight, 12 hours earlier.  Someone would have been in for a big surprise.

I've heard that the infant ticket date and time doesn't really matter, but I didn't feel like testing that theory out at the airport.
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Wednesday, 04 June 2008

A Man, A Plan, A Canal

We spent the Memorial Day holiday in Panama.  This is not a bad place to travel with kids.  Pretty much every migratory bird comes through the isthmus (and you get to listen to your kids say "isthmus" for hours), there are always ships waiting to get into the Canal, and there's the Canal itself.

Panama City has all the major US food chains, if you need something familiar, and tons of good local food if not.  We had big bowls of garlic clams in a hut on the beach that were fantastic, but the hit for my son was a restaurant on Av. 6 Sur that had a river full of fish in it.  Each booth was in its own tropical grove, and the fish would swim right by.

We drove through Casco Viejo, which I found interesting and he found boring, and spent a day going to the Panama Canal, of course.  This was also painfully boring for the kid - until a ship came through, when he was riveted by the hugeness of the cargo ship and the action of the locks.  The crew of the ship all came [...]More

Friday, 30 May 2008

The Accidental "Naturist" Hotel

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"Let's get the rooms with the kitchens if we can," I suggested when my in-laws asked about which hotel option to pick for a family friend's wedding in Stollberg-Zweifall, (near Aachen,) Germany.  I was thinking of my daughter's love for yoghurt and cheese, and how it would be very handy indeed to have a cold place to keep those things, and a small stove to cook pasta if/when she decided nothing else would do.  There were [...]More

Thursday, 15 May 2008

The World's Greatest Travel Game

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When I was a kid, my family used to drive 18 hours straight from our home in Maryland to our summer cabin in Hilton Beach, Ontario.

Let me state that a little more clearly: 4 kids, 18 hours, 1 car.  Okay, so it was a full-sized van, but still.  Oh, and a dog.  You get the idea.

This was long before the era of the PSP, the iPod, and the in-car DVD player.  Heck, this was before CDs - when we got bored of the radio, we had to pull out a cassette tape!  Uphill! In the snow! Both ways!

But what we did have [...]More
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