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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Hawaii on my mind!

So how good was Hawaii? Well for a resort-type experience it was amazing - wonderful pool, great beach, the service was outstanding and the weather just peachy. All that being said, the jetlag took us by surprise, I guess you forget that it’s a three hour time-difference and for some reason that hadn’t registered with me. For first few days the children were a touch grumpy and that’s putting it kindly, but as someone reminded me yesterday, we had just moved house so it really has been quite an upheaval for them.
Maui is a great island and I would recommend Wailea for families with lots to do. We took an Atlantis submarine ride, which was perfect for the kids, just two hours and they got to see some fish and even a shipwreck. At 4 and 5 they are still too young for a snorkeling expedition really, but not us grown ups! We did go snorkeling, sailing out on a Catamaran for the day which was thoroughly enjoyable. Another excursion was the Sugar Cane Train ride which I’d read about. I would NOT recommend this. The train itself is delightful, but the view, well, unless you are in the mood for peering into people’s backyards the entire time, it’s not exactly picturesque.
All in all it was a wonderful trip. I would do it again, but a week was enough.
Now we are back home and getting ready for summer!

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Thursday, October 1, 2009

UK Trip

I don’t know what it is about this time of year, Fall, that brings out the melancholy in me. The falling leaves, the misty mornings, followed in LA of course by a scorchingly hot day to remind you that summer is not quite over.

That is probably it. The sudden changes in temperature are a stark reminder that I am not home, that I can’t snuggle up, get cosy by the fire and knuckle down for Winter. I’m in Los Angeles, not London after all.

So around this time I try and sneak a trip back home. To visit my nieces and nephews and see how they have grown. To visit my brothers, my Mum, and see how they are, or are not, taking care of themselves. To remind myself that whilst some things change, many things remain comfortingly the same.

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Saturday, June 7, 2008

The UK

The Taylors

Originally uploaded by taylorkydd

I think this may be one of the only photos of almost entire family all together. It was Freddy’s idea to take the shot and I’m so glad we did. Of course I say almost the whole family, but the one huge gaping hole was our own children, who we decided to leave in the US this time with their Meme and Nanny. It seemed like such a long haul for such a short period of time. But boy did we miss them - especially on the last day when we got to see all their cousins - who ran me round the garden silly!

All in all it was a great trip. Anna’s wedding was fantastic - great to see some old faces from uni and meet some new folks. Her husband is champion too, so wonderful to see them together, to see her, happy, at last.


Sunday, February 17, 2008

Day Three: The Real Deal

Rural Cuba
Originally uploaded by taylorkydd.

This was I think my favorite day when our driver Leo (just a taxi driver we basically hired for the day) took us into rural Cuba and Las Terrazzas.

las Terrazzas is a former reforestration project community turned artists sanctuary. Castro basically forced all the local people to move into one area so he could undergo a reforestation project to replant trees after Cuba was denuded during the batista regiime. In a nutshell. when the wall fell in eastern Europe the funds to continue the project dried up too and so they turned the area into an artists community and ecoresort. It is stunningly beautiful.

We swam in Los banos di San Juan - cold pools in the river - wonderful! Visited the old coffee plantation at Cafetel. And chatted with artists at las Terrazzas. Wonderful wonderful day. Oh and ate with the peacocks and the chicks at Cafe Campesino - highly recommended.

Wonderful wonderful day. All with the wonderful assistance of Leo who hardly spoke a word of English!!

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Saturday, February 16, 2008

Day Two: Alla playa

Alla playa
Originally uploaded by taylorkydd.

Total beach-veg day. Found a fantastic beach at Santa Maria after realizing we couldn’t afford to rent a car we took a taxi and it worked out just fine. Santa Maria is pretty close so it wasn’t too too pricey.

In retrospect am relieved we didn’t hire a car as Cuba is notoriously poorly sign-posted and we wouldn’t have gotten anywhere!

The beach was great. I got sunburned. We ate great fish. VERY relaxing.
Money becoming an increasing issue as we realize our US credit card won’t work and we have no way of getting extra funds.

In the evening we were planning to go to Club Tropicana but at $100 a head, you guessed it, we couldn’t quite stretch to it. So cocktails at Hotel Nacional (can’t recommend this highly enough) followed by watching flamenco and eating some kind of Spanish food at Meson della Flota - also very worthwhile.

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Friday, February 15, 2008

Day One - Old Habana

Old Habana
Originally uploaded by taylorkydd.

We began our adventure in Havana with a wonderful lie in! Ah wonderful sleep! Great way to start a vacation. We had had a great breakfast in our casa populare. This is what you call a bed and breakfast. One of Castro’s few reforms was to let follks rent out rooms for a profit - so it is a great way to get a feel for how ordinary Cubans live. I would strongly recommend it. Ours was in Miramar one of the smarter neighborhoods - it was a nice retreat at the end of the day after all the hustle and bustle.

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Friday, February 15, 2008

Cuba - First Impressions and Weird Facts

Originally uploaded by taylorkydd.

So here are some interesting things you may, or may not know about Cuba that struck us during our short stay. Some banal, some curious, but these are our stories.

- There are hardly any street lights so it’s pitch dark at night in the town - but so alive. Even in the early hours of the morning every street corner is crowded with folks, waiting for rides, hanging out, who knows what. You might imagine this didn’t feel safe - but it did - at least where we were in Miramar - admittedly one of the better parts of town.

- Two worlds - there are two currencies in Cuba - the convertibiles for tourists and the pesos for Cubans. the convertibile is of course worth a lot more and so everything for tourists cost a lot more. Not only that, but certain restaurants, forms of transport, hotels, are reserved for locals or tourists alone. The bici-taxis you see here for example, are only for Cubanos, the yellow taxis are for u foreigners. This is both bizarre and makes Cuba, paradoxically one of the most expensive places you can visit.

- There are stray dogs everywhere, dozing on the streets, always looking emaciated, filthy and exhausted. Funnily enough they all seem to be from the same somewhat woebegone breed too. No labs or pedigrees here.

- We also saw a couple of instances of dogs being kept on peoples roofs at night. I have no idea if this is intentional or not - for security maybe? But seeing them appear in the inky blackness was a spectral vision.

- You can’t use any US credit cards. We realized this after we landed of course. we were woefully ill-prepared for this trip. Our guide book (the fantastic Lonely Planet) arrived the day before we left, we only had a certain amount of cash and we didn’t take a dictionary. Needless to say most people don’t speak English altho some did. So we valiantly made ourselves understood with what little we had. The money however was another story. By day three we realized we only had a certain amount left and it was running out fast. Fun and games!!!

- Che is everywhere, much more so that Fidel. I’m sure, because he’s dead he could never be a threat to Fidel’s legacy so he’s a useful tool as a martyr to the cause. Nonetheless the use of his iconic image is everywhere, which surprised me.

- More random facts. Missiles on the back of trucks heading down the highway, past cows chewing cud tethered to the side of the road and horse-drawn carts trundelling pas the Ladas and old Chevvies.

- The vintage cars are everywhere and wonderful as they are to look at, the smog they spew out of their decrepit engines is overwhelming. God knows how they keep them running….

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

En route

Stopped off in Cancun en route to Cuba, its wonderfully mild weather,
humid but breezy. We are preparing ourselves for the Cuban reality.
Rations, poor sanitation but wonderful people, music and beaches.
Bring it on! The flight itself should be memorable by all accounts!
Unfortunatly no time to do much in Cancun other than hang out at the
airport, but we’ve been reading up for the next leg of our trip.
Buonos noches!

Sent from my iPhone

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Sunday, December 30, 2007

Sante Fe

Snowy Santa Fe
Originally uploaded by taylorkydd.

Steven and I got away for a few days the day after Christmas. I had some reservations about going, only because it is always hard to leave the kids. I don’t think you ever get used to that. We needed the break though and we were fortunate enough to have Loring and Claudette here to help with the kids. Together with Bianca I knew no-one would be pulling their hair out. Jeez - I make it sound like they are a real handful, but it’s not that, it’s just a lot of work for anyone.

Santa Fe was magical. We stayed at the Inn of the Anasazi which was wonderful, open log fires and Southwestern decor. Our room was a bit chilly so they upgraded us - what a treat! If you haven’t been to Santa Fe I strongly recommend it for a romantic getaway - although it was cold!! The second day we were there it snowed like crazy which was the icing on the cake! Together with the lit paper lanterns dotted along the rooftops, it really did feel wonderful. Day two we went to the Ten Thousand Waves spa. I had a very good massage and we sat and steamed outside in the hot tubs as the snow came down. It’s exquisite there, I think we almost wished we had stayed there.

The most important thing though was to get some head space and quiet time with my wonderful husband. We get so carried away in the day to day, it’s good to just unplug and get that quality time. Sounds like such a cliche but it’s absolutely true. We’re lucky that we have the support to be able to do that.

Came back recharged and re-energized. Missed the kids like crazy, but I was even happier to see them when we got back and they had a really great time with their grandparents who got to know them even better whilst we were away


Thursday, October 25, 2007

UK Trip

Originally uploaded by taylorkydd.

Went back to the UK a week ago and had the best time. It was a flying visit - I left on the Thursday and came back on the Tuesday - but worth every second. Got to spend time with my family - so great to see the nephews and nieces. It’s a cliche but true - they are growing up so fast! You notice it so much more of course when you’re not there all the time. Really made me start thinking about when we will move back East. I know it’s still a few years away, but I look forward to being able to spend more time with family.

I also managed to have some good meetings. Hopefully something will come to fruition there….


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