Tuesday, August 28, 2012

I love Seattle

Click on the photo to see the album

Sybaritic Seattle
& the Charming Critters I encountered there

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Seattle 2012

Click on the photo to see the album Seattle 2012
The album cover photo shows the annual Summer Green Lake Contradances, put on for free by a group of musicians. Here is a video:

THE big event for me in Seattle is the FOLKLIFE Festival, every year during Memorial Day Weekend (the last weekend in May), Friday through Monday.
I volunteer for it (this year I helped my friend Beth, who is a festival staff member, in the week before the event, and I worked at Festival Services), but 90% of the time I dance in the Roadhouse (now called Warren's Roadhouse, after a much beloved late organizer).

I want to include Doug Plummer's amazing videos ...

... and dance glimpses filmed by others (I am in the crowd somewhere, but not visible):

This is the Waltz Night:
In my few breaks from dancing, I enjoyed the jamming in the Hospitality Area (for performers and volunteers):
and I watched International Folkdancing:
Monday evening sees another amazing event, the "Folkfloor Party" (again, Doug Plummer):

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Beloved Big Island

My first visit was in 1992; I had stumbled on the possibility to be a volunteer in national parks in the Olympic NP, Washington State, and had loved it. When I arrived on the Big Island I marched into the Visitors Center of Volcanoes NP and told the Volunteer Coordinator I was ready to work straight away (just as I had done in the Visitors Center of Olympic NP in Port Angeles). Alas, the same thing happened in both places: they needed volunteers urgently because they were desperately short of staff, and took me on immediately, ignoring all the rules and red tape for volunteer applications...
My second visit was in 1998 - I returned to visit one of my former colleagues, and to snorkel around the island (following "The Ultimate Guidebook: The Big Island Revealed").
Click on the photo to see the album Hawai'i 2012: Big Island, Kona side
This time, latest edition of the same guidebook in hand, I went to revisit favorite places from previous explorations, and to discover new secret coves, groves, and beaches.

As I have been asked by many people about the "Queen's Bath", I have created a separate album for those who do not want to wade through all the other pictures.
I have visited just  four of the many secret ponds in lava fields which are commonly called "Queen's Bath", really just denoting a special place for bathing, although some of them indeed may have been used by the Hawaiian aristocracy.

Click on the photo to see the album

Click on the photo to see the album Hawai'i 2012: Big Island, Hilo side

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

HAWAI'I: Enchanting Islands

Click on the photo to see the album Oahu part 1:Kaneohe & North Shore

Before and after my visit to the Big Island I stayed with wonderfully welcoming and generous Servas hosts on Oahu: Linda & Ron in Kaneohe (on the bay of the same name north of Honolulu), and Ann in Honolulu, at the foot of Diamond Head. I was also lucky enough to encounter various charming animals...

Click on the photo to see the album Oahu part 2, Honolulu (also contains a video of the dolphins at the Kahala Hotel)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Snorkeling Around the World

Click on the photo to see the album  "Marine Marvels"

 I would like to add a video here that I wish I could have taken myself: the most awesome collection of rays ever!

Friday, April 13, 2012


“Tourists don't know where they've been, travelers don't know where they're going.”
― Paul Theroux

Did I know where I was going when I chose Vanuatu? Yes and no.

My friend Carmen, who has spent ample time in various Pacific island states (http://www.cchph.net/portfolio/eng/personal-e.html), had said "Go to Vanuatu" when I asked her where she would go if she had to choose just one Pacific island. Now I think she said that because she had just recently returned from Kosrae, Marshall Islands, when I asked her - and the food on Kosrae had been so atrocious that she tried to protect me by recommending Vanuatu, as it has better food because of the French influence...

Joking aside: I'll try hard not to generalize - any of my comments are just personal opinions (or stuff stolen from Wikipedia, which I hope is more or less correct).

Carmen, or anyone else who knows better: please don't let mistakes go uncorrected, thank you!

When I got off the plane in Port Vila's tiny airport I soon found out that the 24-hour kiosk promised by www.vanuatustandbyaccommodation.com did not exist (not any more, or maybe had never existed?) - anyway, as I had not made any bookings in advance, I did what I always do in such a situation: ask the taxi drivers. They wanted to take me to town, but I had seen a village near the attractive-looking Hideaway Island from the airplane, and alas, one of the drivers knew a guesthouse there (actually, THE guesthouse, as there is only one).
 Click on the photo to see the album Vanuatu

Here is a video about sand drawing:

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Kool runnings in Kiwiland

After a lot of hot weather and wetness (snorkeling and sweating) I was looking forward to cooler temperatures and to a reunion with two cool Servas ladies on the South Island of New Zealand.
Click on the photo to see the album New Zealand

Here is also a short video of the seal pups we saw at Wharariki Beach: